Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa, has a population of just over 1 million people. Recent statistics show that about 57 percent of the population are children. Figures also reveal that there are about 200,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in the country. TheTimes of Swaziland, the nation’s largest daily newspaper, says this means that 200,000 children have ‘no way to cope with family disasters such as sick relatives’, which forces many young people out of school. In response to the challenges faced by children in the Swaziland, CANGO — with support from UNICEF – organised a workshop in 2008. Twenty-nine (29) NGOs that work with children were brought together to begin co-ordinating a better response. The NGO directors thought it was time to set up a Children’s Consortium. The Consortium advocates for children’s rights as enshrined in the Swaziland’s Constitution. Section 29 of the Constitution protects the rights of the child. The Consortium also advocates for the recognition and enforcement of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Moreover, the Consortium works to:
- reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS on children
- assist children to access care, support, basic services and support
- advocate for enabling legislation to protect children against neglect and gender based violence
- provide a platform for NGOs to share information, experiences, best practice, and minimise duplication.
The Children’s Consortium is led by the elected Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson.