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Media Advisory: promoting family based care for children in Africa

Media Advisory: promoting family based care for children in Africa

First International Conference in Africa on Family Based Care

Experts on children, social workers, representatives of NGOS, UN Agencies
and government officials (see below for list of experts available for interviews)

28-30 September 2009

Inter Continental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to an estimated 46.6 million children who have lost one or both parents.

As this number continues to soar, many of these children are at risk of growing up without parental care, being discriminated against, disinherited, and trafficked into worst forms of child labour, including sexual exploitation.

Traditionally, children in Africa were to some extent cared for by extended family network that provided care, support and a safe home environment.

However, this noble practice has been challenged by social changes that have been permeating the African continent.

In addition, the impact of HIV and AIDS, poverty and migration has also weakened this network, putting increasing pressure on relatives to adequately provide for these children.

In response, across the continent there has been a proliferation of orphanages, which are now considered by many as primary alternative care system for these children.

Yet mounting evidence demonstrates that institutionalized children are often deprived of adequate opportunities for cognitive, emotional, physical and social development that are crucial to help them grow up to realize their full potential.

This has been a major concern among many groups working for orphans and vulnerable children in this continent.

In recognition that institutions are not the answer and the low capacity across the region to recognize and strengthen other alternative care for children, there is a growing movement seeking to strengthen family based care for children in Africa.

Against this context, this conference will bring together experts to share best practices on family based care; to review and improve the legislative and policy environments relating to family based care for children; and to provide an opportunity for the many actors in alternative care for children to improve their skills.

For more information please contact:
Kun Li, UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern & Southern Africa (ESARO), Tel: +254-20-7622218, email:



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