PAN: Children

Welcome to the PAN:Children Portal. PAN:Children is an online knowledge-hub complemented by dialogue and capacity building activities. We seek to provide timely and up-to-date information on child rights and equity. A partnership between the HSRC and UNICEF, this platform aims to provide a consolidated digital repository on the situation of children in South Africa. Please see the “About Us” page for further information.

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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

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This Topic Guide aims to answer the question ‘What is the interaction between social development issues and human development outcomes?’ An individual’s right to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living cannot be realised without addressing social development issues. This is because these issues determine individuals’ access to resources – who gets what, where, and how. This in turn affects whether human development is inclusive and equitable or perpetuates inequalities and exclusion.

This guide provides an overview of available evidence on how social development influences human development outcomes. It focuses on five social development issues (human rights, accountability, gender inequality, age and social exclusion) and their influence on four human development sectors: 1) health; 2) sexual and reproductive health (SRH); 3) education; and 4) water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

When do minimum ages protect or limit children’s rights? What is meant by capacity and free and informed consent? How can greater rights recognition rather than age thresholds better protect children from abuse? And why on earth is children’s access to justice limited simply because of their age? These are some of the questions CRIN addresses in its new discussion paper Age is Arbitrary: setting minimum ages (see link to discussion paper above), which examines a series of contentious children’s rights issues using general principles and rights-based criteria, and exposing how minimum ages can be inconsistent, discriminatory and arbitrary.With this discussion document CRIN wants to encourage new debate on setting minimum ages.

The ability to correct childhood malnutrition, or for children to display ‘catch-up growth’, has important population-level implications for economic and social development. According to most recent estimates, over one third of all children under the age of five in developing countries suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency, with approximately 27% classified as underweight, 31% exhibiting stunting and 10% exhibiting wasting. This working paper contributes to the catch-up growth debate by presenting results from three widely varying population based samples using identical statistical techniques, controlling for endogeneity of lagged health in several different ways, and measuring height in z-scores. The estimates for these three different populations indicate that while previous health does not track future health perfectly, there is still significant persistence in health status for young children. These estimates do not account for household health-related behaviour.

Link: Report

Children and adolescents living in relative poverty – regardless of overall material conditions – tend to experience more interpersonal violence, family turmoil, and environmental hazards that increase risk of injury, engage in more health compromising behaviours (e.g., physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking), report lower subjective well-being, and exhibit more social skills deficits and emotional and behavioural problems.

Link: Publication

This paper analyses the interplay between the rights to social protection and to adequate food, as well as the importance of a human rights-based approach to social protection. It explores the right to social protection under human rights treaties and standards arising from the United Nations. It describes the key issues that should be taken into account, in particular the importance of having legally enforceable rights, clear institutional responsibilities, transparency of eligibility criteria, application and termination procedures and recourse mechanisms. The paper recommends that social protection programmes have a clear legal basis that is consistent with human rights.

Link: Publication

KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa has the largest population of children under the age of five and experiences the highest number of child births per annum in the country. Its population has also been ravaged by the dual epidemics of HIV and TB and it has struggled to meet targets for maternal and child mortality. This report finds that focused attention on a set of key interventions could have a significant impact on averting stillbirths and maternal and neonatal mortality in KwaZulu-Natal. Concerted effort to prioritize family planning will save more lives overall and has the potential to decrease costs in other areas of maternal and child care.

The eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education presents a wide range of sex-disaggregated data produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) for all levels of education. Updated with the latest available data, the eAtlas lets readers explore the educational pathways of girls and boys in more than 200 countries and territories. The maps and ranking tables, which can be easily embedded on websites and blogs, can also be used to evaluate the extent to which educational disparities between the sexes are changing over time.

Link: Policy brief

Globally the use of corporal punishment in schools is increasingly prohibited in law, yet in many countries its use continues, even where outlawed. Proponents argue that it is an effective and non-harmful means of instilling discipline, respect and obedience in children, while others point to a series of detrimental effects, including physical harm, poor academic performance, low class participation, school dropout and declining psychosocial well-being. Using longitudinal data from Young Lives, this Brief summarises research examining whether corporal punishment in schools is associated with lasting effects on children’s cognitive development.The brief is part of the UNICEF Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children.

INVITATION: On 4 March 2016 the Africa Evidence Network and PAN Children are hosting a roadshow at the Human Sciences Research Council  (HSRC) offices in Cape Town. We have invited researchers, policy makers, parliamentary representatives and civil society. The event centres around the value of networks and building capacity in the use of evidence in decision-making across government. Ample time has been allocated to discussion and joining the networks. Please RSVP vfichardt@hsrc.ac.za (link sends e-mail) or imagaya@hsrc.ac.za (link sends e-mail). Note that the event can also be attended via videoconferencing facilities at the HSRC's Durban and Pretoria offices, with a webstreaming facility to be set up. Final programme to be circulated by 26 February 2016.

Link: Publication

It is now accepted that high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring lasting benefits to children from disadvantaged contexts. However, a significant number of families with young children who are disadvantaged find it difficult to take up resources in the ECEC system. As governments all over the world heed arguments that ECEC is a prudent social investment, it is useful to consider the service system from the perspective of the families targeted by these logics.

Outside of the United Kingdom, the question of how families make moral and practical decisions about their use of ECEC has received relatively little attention. This article draws on an Australian study, which explored how families who were disadvantaged imagined strong childrearing environments and then used services to progress this vision. These perspectives complicate and challenge social investment approaches that predominantly focus on the provision of childcare or preschool subsidies and places as a way of redressing social disadvantage. Many participants wanted to establish family stability and adequate material and social resources before participating in early years education. Investment in community development is an important mechanism for addressing service exclusion.