Central Sahel: “this is a children’s crisis”

Children in Bersalogho, Burkina Faso Children in Bersalogho, Burkina Faso Birom SECK/ICRC

 21 October 2020

According to Save the Children, the ministerial conference on Central Sahel has failed to acknowledge children’s unique needs

The virtual roundtable was organized by the governments of Denmark and Germany, the European Union and the United Nations. Ended on October 20, the conference aimed to raise 2.4 billion dollars to respond to the humanitarian crisis affecting Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. As of Tuesday night, 20 donors had pledged US$1.7 billion.

While welcoming the renovated efforts of the International Community, Save the Children denounced the severe underrepresentation of children’s voices and needs during the conference. As highlighted by Eric Hazard, Save the Children’s Pan Africa Policy Director: “in central Sahel one out of two people are under 15 years old. Creating the space for children to share their experiences of living in this fragile and insecure environment is critical to ensure we can understand – and effectively respond to - their needs.”

According to Save the Children, already before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, eight million children were out of school due to the escalating conflict affecting the region. As pointed out in the non-governmental organization’s statement: “The longer they are out of school the risk of forced recruitment […] will only increase”. In Central Sahel, the population has an average age of 17. The humanitarian response must therefore prioritise the specific needs of the youngest generation: “this is a children’s crisis”, Hazard concluded.


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Author: Ester Zangrandi

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