Save the Children East Africa Regional Office is based in Nairobi and supports work in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. In 2012, Save the Children worked directly with an estimated 6.6 million children and indirectly with 13.6 million across East Africa.
Save the Children supports governments and partners to improve access to good quality child and maternal healthcare; promotes innovative education programs, literacy projects and early childhood care and development; responds to emergency situations, delivering life-saving humanitarian services to children and families affected by conflict and crisis; and supports governments and partners to put measures and structures in place to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children.
Africa hosts some of the most devastating and lengthy conflicts in the world and has experienced more conflicts in the last 50 years than any other region. In every armed conflict, children risk being physically and psychologically harmed as a consequence of being targets and victims of violence. With the changing nature of conflict in Africa from interstate to intrastate conflict children are increasingly among the most affected. According to the contextual analysis carried out by Save the Children in 2013, this change in nature results in the increased involvement of children as combatants as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons due to the blurred lines between combatants and civilians.
- According to Save the Children, over 50% of all primary school-aged children who are not in school live in a ‘fragile state’. – fighting disrupts a child’s education, sometimes forever.
- According to UNICEF, It is estimated that there are 14.2 million refugees worldwide, of whom 41 per cent are believed to be children (under the age of 18).
- 24.5 million People who are internally displaced because of conflict, of whom 36 per cent are children.
- There are more than 300,000 children under the age of 18 fighting in over 30 armed conflicts around the world. Africa accounts for a 120,000 of these children.
- An estimated 2,000 children were abducted in 2010 for military camps in southern Somalia.
While it is a complex task to assess the direct impact upon the lives of children from trainings conducted for security and defence forces on child rights and child protection, it does not make it impossible.
Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations
In 2012, Save the Children East African Regional Office (EARO) and Senegal Country Office received funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to implement the project: Strengthening Child Protection in AU Peace Support Operations. The overall project goal is to ensure that the rights of children affected by armed conflict are protected by the defense and security forces mandated to defend Child Rights, thus ensuring that children themselves are protected from abuse and exploitation in conflict, post-conflict and protracted fragile political contexts. This will be achieved through strengthening the structures of the African Standby Forces (ASF) at regional level and in key Peacekeeping contributing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.