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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In a rapidly ageing world, sub-Saharan Africa stands out for its youth. Harnessing the potential of the region’s children and adolescents through expanded opportunities for health and education, could unlock a demographic dividend. However, demography also creates risks for Africa – and for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the next 15 years, Africa will account for a fast-rising share of the world’s under-five population, adolescents, and new entrants to the work force. This has far-reaching implications for the age profile of global poverty. On current trends, we estimate that by 2030 one-in-five African children will be living below the $1.90 poverty threshold – and that these children could account for over 40% of world poverty. In Child poverty, inequality and demography we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency. 

The government spends the biggest slice of its budget on education, more than any other African country. And yet the crisis persists. In How to Fix South Africa’s Schools: Lessons From Schools That Work, Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor at the University of the Free State and documentary filmmaker Molly Blank look at South African schools that work, in spite of adverse conditions – hunger, poverty, lack of resources, lack of toilets, and overcrowding in both rural and urban environments – and have drawn out the practical strategies that make them successful. Some critical strategies they found include: principal leadership; parental involvement; committed teachers; understanding the whole child; a commitment to quantity and quality; motivational activities; setting performance standards and working effectively to meet them; continuous student assessment; and outside partnerships. The book includes 19 videos that chronicle the stories of these school communities.At the link above excerpts from these documentaries can be viewed.

What is the evidence regarding positive and negative impacts of social protection programmes on children, and more specifically, the conditions and processes that cause these outcomes? What does the literature suggest as key guiding considerations and approaches to maximise positive impacts. The report finds that impact of social protection on children is under-researched. In addition it summaries key findings and insights from the existing literature.

This desk review surveys existing literature and research on the effects of traditional and religious practices surrounding child marriage on Africa’s socio-economic development. The review is the first part of a study that will also include field visits by the AU Special Rapporteur on Ending Child Marriage.

Although religious and traditional leaders may in the past have been the primary instigators and defenders of harmful practices against children, the research covered here offers proof and encouragement for the view that with the appropriate interventions they now may become key instruments – and in fact leaders – of the movement to end such practices.

Document(s): UNICEF_SOWC_2016.pdf
SOWC 2016

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030. At the start of a new development agenda, the report concludes with a set of recommendations to help chart the course towards a more equitable world.

Link: Details

This report presents the findings of the Optimus Study conducted in South Africa. This study was designed specifically to estimate the annual incidence and lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse and maltreatment in South Africa. Prior to this, no nationally representative data on the extent or impact of child sexual abuse existed.

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.