Patricia Martin, Emmanuel Modikwane and myself, started talking and strategizing about a ‘network, coalition, affiliations, alliances, associations’, something that we could start formulating as a joint voice for and with the children of South Africa. We had some funding from DGMT that had carried us through this time of strategy and advocacy, and a start of some kind of movement for children in South Africa. In March 2020, just as the lockdown was happening in South Africa, we were on the cusp of something new, and we got support from Save the Children to be the secretariat, and assist with the website. Give a Child a Family gave funding, CRNSA also gave funding, and baby steps started with documents and discussions and getting people on board. We also needed to set up an interim steering committee, so we sent out invitations to various organisations and we got a group of 13 organisations that volunteered to be on the Interim Steering Committee. Hours, upon hours of work went into setting up the basics and in May 2020, we were ready to send out documents to as many organisations that we knew (and we still have not got to all of them yet) to get the organisations to be connected. The coalition is:
A voluntary association of like-minded organisations and individuals from across the country, including children/child-led organisations
We currently have 130 members who work through five thematic working groups to address critical issues:
Coalition growth and development
Child rights governance
Inclusive basic education
Health and nutrition are key: but that is already addressed through SACSOWACH – one of our partners
The rights of every child in South Africa, especially the most vulnerable, to survive, be protected, develop to their full potential and participate in decisions that affect them are realised.
To facilitate coordinated civil society communication and advocacy for a stronger national child rights governance system that ensures that children’s rights to survive, be protected, develop to their full potential and participate are recognised and advanced as a national rights-based, development priority by all role players.
South Africa has a child-centred rights-based national governance system that:
Ensures compliance with child and human rights treaty obligations
Ensures that children’s rights are recognised as a national, rights-based development imperative
Ensures government-wide action and accountability for realising the rights of every child, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised, to survive, develop to their full potential, be protected and participate in all decisions that affect them.
ON THE 30th OF MARCH 2021, THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CHILD RIGHTS COALITION WAS CONSTITUTED AND OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED.
As Nelson Mandela said “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”.
But for now, we are at the top of this hill and we are sipping the cool water from the fresh spring, just enjoying the scenery, the cool breeze, looking back and seeing the hill that we climbed, resting and chilling for a moment or two before starting to climb the next hill, because we cannot stop until it is done. We can rest, but we can’t stop.
But believe me, we were just a small part of this. There are so many people and organisations that made this possible, we cannot take credit for all, but we are happy to be a small part. The little bear that growled just did not give up. Thank you to each and everyone who is playing and has played a role thus far in this fight for children. I can’t wait to see where we will be in the next two years. Thank you! 🙏 ❤ #ChildrensLivesMatter