Communities are key to ending customs that harm children, says UNICEFListen /
"Nothing is as powerful as a community itself seeing the harm being done to its own children and deciding – collectively – to end that practice." So says Nicholas Alipui, UNICEF's Director of Programmes, in a statement marking the Day of the African Child, observed Sunday 16 June. He stressed that "Communities are key to the health and well-being of African children subjected to harsh practices."
On the Day of the African Child, UNICEF joined the African Union to mark the efforts by African communities to promote social change and end practices that endanger the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of children each year.
The children's agency noted that harmful social and cultural customs such as Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) and the branding of children as witches have deep roots, but persist because they are often not questioned.
Evidence shows that engaging entire communities around human rights on FGM/C leads to greater understanding and abandonment of the harmful practice.
Theme of the Day of the African Child 2013 is "Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility"
Donn Bobb, United Nations.