In 2022 together with our supporters we achieved great things . Together we have enabled many girls and boys in Italy and around the world to laugh, play, study and hope again. And the purpose for the new year is always the same: always and everywhere on the side of girls and boys.
1. END CHILD MARRIAGE IN ZIMBABWE AND SENEGAL
In May, Zimbabwe’s Marriage Act went into effect, outlawing child marriage. This accomplishment follows a decade of advocacy and campaigning by us and the wider Coalition for the Rights of the Child. As part of this advocacy work, we have facilitated public discussions between children and politicians , giving the former the opportunity to make their voices heard.
Meanwhile, the government of Senegal presented the National Action Plan on the Abandonment of Child Marriage , thanks to our efforts and other groups that promote child rights.
2. BAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
Zambia and Mauritius have banned corporal punishment in all walks of life for girls and boys, providing nearly 10 million of them with legal protection from violent punishment and sending a clear message that no level of violence in child rearing can be accepted.
Corporal punishment has also been banned in Cuba , in the home and in alternative care, and the Children Act 2022 has been introduced in Kenya .
3. COP27: CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ARE BROUGHT TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
For the first time, countries formally recognized girls and boys as agents of change in addressing and responding to the climate crisis and agreed that governments should include young people in the design and implementation of climate-related policies. A huge step in recognizing the climate crisis as a child rights crisis.
We supported 10 Egyptian children attending the conference , including Mustafa, 12, from Minya on the west bank of the River Nile, who said the increasingly heavy rains have caused flooding and power outages which sometimes prevent him from go to school or study.
We organized a side event in the Italian Pavilion at the COP27 in which the boys and girls of our Youth Movement also took part : “It is the first time that the Youth Movement has entered the COP since it was born: although small, our participation it is the confirmation that one step at a time we can take the space we want and make our voice heard, as we have always tried to do” said Sofia Torlontano, of the Youth Movement for Save the Children and Simona Vassallo reporter of Change the Future, the under25 editorial staff of the Movement.
4. PROTECTION FROM EXPLOSIVE WEAPONS
In November, 82 states, including more than two-thirds of NATO member states and two of the world’s 10 largest militaries, officially endorsed the Political Declaration on the Protection of Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons, which aims to “limit” and ” refrain” from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and mentions the particular vulnerability of girls and boys.
James Denselow, Head of Conflict at Save the Children UK, said: “Children are disproportionately impacted by today’s armed conflicts, as urban centers are transformed into battlefields. This is a significant step forward in stopping the war on children , but the declaration will mean nothing without robust and urgent implementation”.
5. HOMECOMING FOR HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN STRANDED IN CAMPS IN NORTHEASTERN SYRIA
The repatriation of foreign girls and boys stranded for years in unsafe and unsanitary camps in north-east Syria has tripled in the last six months, demonstrating the growing willingness of the international community to bring children home. From June to November, 411 children and women returned home from camps hosting people displaced after the collapse of ISIS, nearly the same number as those who returned between January 2021 and May 2022.
Overall, this year there has been a 60% increase in the number of boys and girls returning from the camps. In March this year, we warned that it could take 30 years to repatriate foreign children unless repatriations are accelerated.
6. LIFESAVING AID FINALLY ARRIVES IN TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA
In November, Ethiopia was able to deliver aid to Tigray for the first time in over a year, thanks to a peace deal . With hundreds of thousands of people facing catastrophic levels of hunger and 13 million people in need in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions of northern Ethiopia, this intervention was urgent and needed. However, while humanitarian access has improved aid delivery, ongoing challenges remain.
Earlier this year, the House of Assembly of Zamfara State in northwestern Nigeria passed the Social Protection Act and the Disability Act. The Social Protection Act guarantees the right to social safety nets for the poor and most vulnerable.
The Disability Bill protects all people with disabilities , including girls and boys, from all forms of violence, discrimination and abuse and promotes access to equal opportunities in life, including through the creation of a commission for people with disabilities. People with disabilities can also apply for government support.
8. END FGM AND CHILD MARRIAGE BY A REMOTE COMMUNITY IN SUDAN
A community in a remote area of Sudan ‘s Red Sea Mountains has pledged to end Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage, the first community in this area to do so . Fatima, a midwife, explained why she was motivated to support the community’s decision after seeing the harmful effects of traditional practices: ‘ In my work I have seen the consequences of FGM , such as deep bleeding, severe pain, complications of childbirth and , in the worst case, even death. In our area, this procedure has been performed on girls as young as two years old.” Read the article on the story of a woman who said no to female circumcision.
In 2020, Sudan criminalized all forms of FGM. However, very close community engagement and monitoring is required to ensure implementation of this law. Child marriage is still legal in Sudan and fighting it is one of our main goals in the country.
9. ADDRESSING COVID-19 DISINFORMATION IN NEPAL
A staggering 90% of the audience who participated in the “Get Vaxed ” audio game, developed by our Nepal office and technology partner VIAMO, pledged to counter rumors and misinformation and only share messages based on real facts regarding vaccines for Covid-19.
The game, which reached more than 30,000 people in its first week of launch, has encouraged people to get vaccinated to help communities get back on their feet after the pandemic.
10. VICTORIES FOR CHILDREN’S PARTICIPATION IN ETHIOPIA, GUATEMALA AND THE AFRICAN UNION
The government of Ethiopia has set up a national parliament for girls and boys: a space for young and old, between the ages of 10 and 18 , to discuss issues that concern them with national leaders. This landmark initiative will give Ethiopian children more opportunities to participate in the democratic process by voicing their concerns and standing up for their rights.
At the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC), we supported girls and boys from Somalia, Mozambique and South Sudan to participate in an open session, highlighting how they have been affected by armed conflict. The AU CPS has now committed to involving children in future sessions.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala, to commemorate World Children’s Day , the President of the Commission for Children and the Family of the Guatemalan Congress, with our support, established a National Parliament for Girls. On this occasion, 85 girls from 18 departments of the country gathered to discuss the challenges they face in their daily lives. Our on-site team invited three Indigenous girls from remote rural communities to voice their concerns about the climate crisis and inequality as part of the Generation Hope campaign .