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Day of the African child: A reminder on the role of the African child in pursuing democratisation


The Election Resource Centre (ERC Africa) joins the rest of Africa in commemorating the Day of the African Child 2024, a day of remembrance for the role played by the youth on June 16, 1976 during the Soweto student uprisings. The Day of the African Child is celebrated to commemorate these children and the brave action they took to defend their rights. The Day of the African Child also serves to celebrate children of Africa as well as inspire a sober reflection and action towards addressing the challenges that children in Africa face on a daily basis.

ERC takes this day to remind the youth that our history is defined by the sacrifices of the youth in pursuit of a democratic Africa. This history underscores the importance of youths in safeguarding democracy.

With regular elections now a prerequisite in the pursuit of democratisation for African countries, the day presents African countries an opportunity to reflect upon the theme for 2024, Education for all children in Africa: the time is now.

Young people constitute the largest population demographic and can play a critical role in addressing socio-economic challenges faced by citizens.

lStates must ensure that African children and young people are central to nation building and have platforms and opportunities around the safeguarding and strengthening of democratic principles. A key step in achieving this is to raise awareness of their civic rights and responsibilities at a younger age as well as removing barriers for stakeholders to participate in this education process.

lWe implore the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the syllabus within the education system includes promoting active citizenship.

lWe urge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to consider rolling out civic and voter education targeting young people in primary, secondary and tertiary education and those in the informal sector of the economy.

lPlatforms such as the Junior Councils and Junior Parliament must be supported as vehicles that can harness the voices of young people to inform public policy and programmes that directly empower and improve the living conditions of young people in the country.

lWe urge that all youth wings and/or structures in political parties and movements be led by the youths and represent young people effectively thus providing a platform for leadership development and sharpening on civic and political consciousness critical in socio-economic development.

Last but not least, we appeal to young people who are turning or are 18 years of age and above to seriously consider being registered voters and when voting times comes, that they actively participate and exercise their constitutional rights and responsibilities. This pays tribute to the young people who contributed during the struggles for political independence and the democratisation of Africa.

ERC encourages Africa States to implement legislative and administrative measures that ensure the right to education, including the right to education on constitutional rights to all African children. - Trust Maanda ERC chairperson

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