Looking forward in 2021
As we look forward in 2021, UNICEF South Africa’s resolve to building a fairer world and reimagining a better future for every child remains unchanged and is focused on 6 key areas.
2021’s welcome has been rather subdued without the traditional festive fanfare and happy celebrations that normally accompany the calendar change. Sadness, caution, negativity, insecurity and anxiety are common sentiments as COVID-19 continues to tragically impact homes, hospitals, schools and businesses. In these trying times, UNICEF South Africa’s humanitarian radar is on the pulse as we fulfil our mandate to protect and advocate for the rights of children, especially in vulnerable communities.
As we engage with children, their families and communities across our country, we are amazed at the resilient spirit present in many across this country. Positivity can be found simmering beneath the surface, and despite hardship and suffering, hope is seen in childhood smiles and innocence.
Building a fairer world and reimagining a better future for those around us remains UNICEF South Africa’s priority, purpose and motivation.
And, as we step into 2021, our resolve is unchanged - we are here for every child, working to promote their rights and supporting them to reach their full potential.
Children do not live in an isolated vacuum - they are an integral part of families and communities, and we believe that all children should grow up with access to basic healthcare, sanitation, nutrition, sanitation, education and a safe environment which is free from violence.
Changing lives requires a sustained and targeted response. For our UNICEF South Africa team, donors and partners, this involves 6 key areas as we look forward in 2021 with the goal of making sure that the impact of COVID-19 does not become a lasting crisis for our children.
Resolve #1 - To ensure that children are healthy & well-nourished:
In 2020, this was the focus of our #EveryChildAlive and #Move4Change campaign.
Looking forward in 2021, this will mean facilitating continued access to key child health and nutrition services – including routine immunisation, fighting against the spread of misinformation and equal and affordable access to COVID-19 diagnostics and vaccines.
Resolve #2 - To reach vulnerable children with safe water & improve hand hygiene:
In 2020, our #LittleHandsMatter campaign set out to address the lack of running water in under-resourced communities and schools, and it grew to challenging and empowering our young people with the #TippyTap Challenge; to design a cheap, creative and easy-to-build DIY hand washing solution in their community.
Looking forward in 2021, our efforts will be targeted on universal access to sustainable safe water and handwashing facilities for children in homes, schools, hospitals and public spaces, as well as resources to teach children about responsible and sustainable consumption and production.
Resolve #3 - To support families to cover their needs:
In 2020, our #BucketsOfCare campaign was on a mission to assemble and deliver hygiene and nutritious care packages to 10 000 vulnerable families through our partnership with World Vision South Africa.
Looking forward in 2021, this will mean the continued expansion of social protection, including relevant COVID-relief grants as well as a commitment to an inclusive recovery plan to prevent more children and their families falling into poverty.
Resolve #4 - To keep children learning:
In 2020, we ended off the year with #WRITE4CHANGE - a timely opportunity for children to share their voices through poetry on what a better future for all will look like, and for donors and partners to invest in keeping children in school.
Looking forward in 2021, the focus will be on reducing the digital divide so that every child has adequate access to online learning opportunities. A priority will be the safe reopening of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres as well as access to psychosocial support services and adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities in all schools. This will require collaborations in the private sector, government and civil society.
Resolve #5 - To protect children from violence, exploitation & abuse:
UNICEF South Africa’s vision and proactive initiatives and solutions to end the scourge of violence against women and children in our country remain an ongoing priority.
The success of this will be dependent on intensifying our social interventions in early childcare services, in educating and empowering our youth, and by investing in gender-sensitive mental health and psychosocial support services
Resolve #6 - To redouble efforts to protect children & their families on the move:
The plight of families fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in South Africa poses many challenges. Looking forward in 2021, UNICEF South Africa will work towards advocating for the inclusion of children on the move, starting with COVID-19 recovery and response efforts and focusing on specific donor support for these vulnerable children and their families.
This will also include working to expedite documentation for children on the move so that they can have access to social relief, health services and education, as well as mitigating xenophobia in all its forms.
UNICEF South Africa
“Our results confirm that when communities, researchers and policymakers work together to strengthen and support families, both children and adults benefit” - Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) Director, Prof. Leila Patel, outlines her recent research - supported by UNICEF South Africa - on the benefits of combining cash transfers with family care programmes.
We don’t know what the future holds or how 2021 will unfold. But we cannot stand by and do nothing, and we cannot do anything without the continued help and loyal support of our partners and donors. Each and every donation is a powerful investment in empowering vulnerable children in our 6 focus areas.
We look forward to 2021 with a sense of hope as we stand together and work towards a common goal and a better future for every child.