Reimagining the future | 2021 and beyond
A call to action for a safer, fairer and better South Africa
In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 on children’s health, education, safety and opportunities – on children’s rights – has been devastating. UNICEF South Africa and partners are committed to mitigating the broad ranging impact of COVID-19 on childhood and to work towards achieving the National Development Plan and Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This past year has been extraordinarily challenging for everyone – but it is children who have been worst affected.
As we head into 2021, UNICEF South Africa presents six key recommendations to help build a safer, fairer and better SA for every child.
1. To ensure children are healthy and well-nourished, UNICEF calls for:
- the continuation of key child health and nutrition services – especially routine immunisation, prioritising the hardest to reach;
- a united fight against the spread of misinformation;
- equal and affordable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines as part of a comprehensive package of essential care.
2. To reach vulnerable children with safe water and improve hand hygiene, UNICEF calls for:
- universal access to sustainable safe water and handwashing facilities for children and families;
- investment in climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services in homes, schools, hospitals and public spaces;
- greater awareness to teach children and young people about climate change, the environment and responsible and sustainable consumption and production.
3. To support families to cover their needs, UNICEF calls for:
- the continued expansion of the social protection floor through the Child Support Grant and relevant COVID-relief grants;
- investment and donor support for key services for children and young people and to ring-fence spending on the most vulnerable children;
- commit to an inclusive recovery plan to prevent more children and their families falling into poverty.
4. To keep children learning, UNICEF calls for:
- collaboration between partners in the private sector, government and civil society to reduce the digital divide, so that every school and every child has access to online learning opportunities;
- state and private sector support to aid in the safe reopening of Early Childhood Development centres;
- access to in-school psychosocial support services WASH facilities and training in hygiene for parents, teachers and students in all schools.
5. To protect children and end violence, exploitation and abuse, UNICEF calls for:
- social compacts to intensify investments in childcare and prevention and early intervention services;
- accelerated youth empowerment through social compacts between the state, the private sector and community partners;
- investment in gender-sensitive mental health and psychosocial support services for children, adolescents and their caregivers, including through schools, social services and communities.
6. To redouble efforts to protect children on the move and their families, UNICEF calls for:
- national systems, policies and plans for the inclusion of children on the move – starting with COVID-19 recovery and response efforts, as well as specific donor support for this vulnerable group;
- expediting the process of attaining documentation for children on the move and their families so that they can receive access to comprehensive social relief, health and other services;
- all partners to condemn and counter xenophobia in all its forms.