“The year 2010 will forever be synonymous with the first-ever FIFA World Cup™ held on African soil. South Africans came together with tremendous pride and solidarity to show the world the progress that has taken place in their country and on the continent.
UNICEF was there to rally its partners around child rights. The FIFA World Cup™ presented both opportunities and risks to children, and UNICEF seized the moment to create an alliance of government partners, civil society and companies to protect children from abuse and exploitation. Thousands of children were reached by child protection services and, together with adults, were exposed to messages about safety and child rights. The travel and tourismsector signed a code of conduct to protect children against sex tourism, which aims to make South Africa a tourist destination that is safe for children.
The year held other big moments for children. Key legislation – the Children’s Act and the Child Justice Act – came into force in 2010, marking an important milestone in the realisation of children’s rights.
In the health sector, we welcomed the government’s move to decentralise HIV services to the primary health care system, to reach many more children and women. UNICEF has worked with the Department of Health to strengthen models of down-referral and ensure that guidelines on prevention of motherto-child transmission (PMTCT) and paediatric HIVtreatment reflect the latest medical advances. UNICEF is also supporting the capacity of community health systems to increase uptake of PMTCT and high-impact child health interventions.
The Child-Friendly Schools programme is growing steadily and now reaches more than half a million children in 820 schools. School violence and other challenges faced by South Africa’s youth are being addressed through the Sports for Development programme, which uses sport as a vehicle for adolescent development. UNICEF is supporting a number of initiatives to improve the quality of early childhood development and scale up service delivery, including parenting programmes and a public expenditure study.
Our ongoing support to an impact evaluation of South Africa’s Child Support Grant will generate a better understanding of how the grant influences child poverty, health and education. We supported the first-ever analysis of the national budget from a child rights perspective, and will continue doing so in the years to come to ensure that children are at the centre of South Africa’s development. The government has taken great strides to improve the quality of services in communities. A key tool to do this is the recently completed Public Expenditure and Quality Service Delivery Study on early childhood development in 790 centres.
We continue to deepen our understanding of the manifestations and drivers of inequality in South Africa. We believe all children and women should benefit from the fruits of progress. In October, we brought together experts from different fields to discuss key issues, make policy recommendations and sharpen UNICEF’s equity-based advocacy andprogramming.
Looking forward, UNICEF will continue to work with South Africans to create a more equitable society. We are committed to supporting our government partners to achieve the 12 National Development outcomes. Our partnerships with the corporate sector, civil society, the media, research institutes and others will also grow in strength to accelerate progress for children.”
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