‘Zimbabwe hostile to children’

ZIMBABWE has been ranked among countries in which the livelihoods of children are “stolen” and least likely to be protected.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

In a report by Save the Children Foundation titled End of Childhood 2017 and also known as Stolen Childhoods, Zimbabwe was ranked 138 out of 172 countries polled.

Norway scored 985 out of 1 000 and was ranked number 1 out of 172 countries while Zimbabwe scored 664 out of 1 000 and was ranked 138 out of 172 countries.

The report ranks 172 countries based on where childhood is most intact and where it is most eroded. It shows which countries are succeeding, and failing, to provide conditions that nurture and protect their youngest citizens.

The indicators used to measure the end of childhood are: under-five deaths, malnutrition, being out of school, child labour, early marriage, adolescent births, and displacement by conflict and child homicide.

Speaking during the launch of the report that coincided with commemorations to mark the Day of the African Child held in Chinhoyi on Friday, Save the Children advocacy and communications adviser Sophie Hamandishe said hundreds of millions of children were having their childhood ending at tender ages due to child marriages among other issues.

“For hundreds of millions or more children — childhood has ended too soon. The major reasons include poor health, conflict, extreme violence, child marriage, early pregnancy, malnutrition, exclusion from education and child labour.

“Some of these childhood enders are not foreign to Zimbabwe. We also have cases of malnutrition among under-fives and a number of school-age children who are not in school. Some children are also engaged in child labour in our homes as maids, in the mining sector (kuchikorokoza) and child marriage,” Hamandishe said.

The concept of childhood is being defined in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The top 10 countries attain very high scores for children’s health, education and protection status. Niger ranks last among the countries surveyed with seven of the bottom 10 coming from West and Central Africa.