International Day of the African Child in Tanzania
History of the International Day of the African Child
Established by the African Union on 16 June 1991, the International Day of the African Child is a reminder of the hundreds of South African children massacred in Soweto in 1976 during a march for their rights. Beyond this commemoration, it is an opportunity for African States to take stock of the rights of the child and to seek to take action to improve the well-being of children.
ATD Fourth World in Tanzania
In Tanzania, ATD works in different disadvantaged areas of Dar es Salaam: Tandale, Mwananyamala, the Magogoni fish market, and the stone quarries in Tegeta and Boko. In these communities, ATD has built long-term relationships through trust and partnerships.
ATD’s main projects include contact with families, a Street Library, educational support for children, getting the word out on ATD’s Hidden Dimensions of Poverty participatory research project, and support of income-generating activities for a women’s group.
There are friends of ATD groups in Bihawana, Mbeya, Njombe and Arusha.
ATD has been registered as an NGO in Tanzania since 2009 and has about 200 active members, including those with a lived experience of poverty.
The International Day of the African Child in Tanzania
The ATD team in Tanzania and its partners have been preparing for the International Day of the African Child 2023 for several months. Events organised around 16 June include the screening of the film Serafina! (that describes the events in Soweto) and workshops for children. On 16 June, a press conference at the Alliance Française is planned. In the Tansdale neighbourhood, 16 June events involve: planting trees (tress donated by Pakacha Street, Tandale’s local government and the Tanzanian Forest Services Agency), a children’s exhibition, workshops and entertainment.
On June 14, students along with Green Club of the Vocational Training Center in Don Bosco Oyster Bay planted some 250 trees. See photo below:
Waste recycling workshops for children organized by AfriCraft. Participants transformed pencils using newspapers, key rings and coffee capsules. See photo below:
Theme of the day
The official theme for the International Day of the African Child 2023 is the “Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment”. But the children from the Tandale street library chose a theme based on their own life experiences:
“Environmental Sustainability – The Right to a Clean and Safe Environment for all Dar es Salaam’s Children”.
In 2021, during the evaluation of Tandale’s Street Library program, some parents and children spoke about their neighbourhood’s environmental health and quality. They asked for better sanitation, waste collection, and more trees to improve their environment.
The poor sewage infrastructure in the neighbourhood is a health risk for vulnerable children who can step in raw sewage when the sewers overflow during the rainy season. It is also the cause of decaying walls which threatens to destroy homes. Families can lose crucial documents like birth certificates and other materials after rains flood their homes. Because of the loss of their legal identity, educational opportunities for some children are reduced. Toddlers starting pre-primary school and even older children face difficulties enrolling in school each year.
For these reasons, ATD members felt the importance of highlighting this theme for the 16 June commemoration. The experiences of Tandale’s children are significant for all African children.
ATD Tanzania hopes this year’s events can be a starting point for a long-term project that will bring environmental improvement to Tandale.