Africa: Climate Change Is Hurting Children the Most - Here Is How to Protect Them

2/2/2018
All Africa

In the United States, the 21 young people who are plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States will soon make their case against the government for failing to take action against climate change. Similar lawsuits have been filed in countries including Portugal, India, and Pakistan.

And in the 2017 Bonn climate change conference, a 12-year-old Fijian boy whose village had completely been devastated by cyclone linked to climate change, addressed negotiators and urged them to find solutions to the changing climate.

Sadly, these children are outliers and millions of their peers in other parts of the world, including children from sub-Saharan African countries, will never have the chance to tell the world how climate change harms them. All too often, children are the unseen victims of climate change.

Policy makers and development organizations agree and have documented evidence that when properly implemented school feeding programs serve as incentives for children to attend and stay at school. And because they are not hungry, children can focus on their studies resulting in better performance.

According to UNICEF in 2017, 175,000 children were not attending primary and pre-primary school as a result of the food shortage in 10 counties and a further 1.2 million children in Kenya were in need of education assistance.

The report further states that more than 100,000 children aged less than five years need treatment for severe acute malnutrition. In Malawi and Mozambique and Madagascar, with little or no food to feed the families and income to pay for the girls school fees, parents have been forced to marry off young girls as young as 13 years to ease of the pressure from the family.

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