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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There is no typical father in South Africa. There are many types of fathers and many types of fatherhood in the country. There are biological fathers, social fathers, gay fathers, straight fathers, young fathers, older fathers. We have self-identified fatherhood, ascribed fatherhood, long-distance fatherhood and proximal fatherhood, to name only a few. The texture is rich by age, race, class, geo-type, ethnicity or family type. Mothers, fathers and children experience a wide canvas of fatherhood portrayals. Such a richly textured canvas requires sensitivity that moves beyond simplistic interpretations.

This report introduces the history of fatherhood research in South Africa, and of key moments about fatherhood in the country to date; it provides a description of the state of fathers in South Africa in the overview, and then examines fatherhood in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. The report explicitly uses an appreciative approach to document the importance of fatherhood for children, families and society by focusing on positive examples, and gives an opportunity for new voices to join the community of researchers, activists and others working on fatherhood.

This seminar will describe malnutrition in South African children aged under 15 years, using data from the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1) of 2012. South Africa has adopted several policies to address child malnutrition. However, indicators measuring undernutrition, such as the prevalence of stunting, remain relatively high for a middle income country. Undernutrition is linked to the environment in which children live, which encompasses familial, socio-economic and biological factors. South Africans are also undergoing lifestyle changes, marked by changing diets and lower levels of physical activity. In recent years, there is an emergence of childhood and pubertal obesity, leading to long term risks of non-communicable diseases.

Following on an earlier seminar on this issue, we will now host a further seminar where Katharine Frost from Ububele will present on the theoretical underpinnings of the approach taken to further build up our understanding of these projects. South Africa’s ECD policy is progressive but there remains a gap between policy and intervention/implementation. The centrality of relationships i.e. attachment and bonding in the first 1000 days of a child’s life is acknowledged, but this knowledge needs to be translated into practice. A case example will be presented where attachment theory has been integrated into a project and where there is now some evidence to support its effectiveness.

New research released by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg finds that social grants are associated with better health outcomes and school attendance for children under eight years. But, a cash transfer is not enough to promote the overall well-being of South Africa's children. To fast track their growth and development, other strategies are needed to complement cash transfers to promote their social, mental, physical and educational development.  The research highlights the important role that the state plays in supporting families in the care of children, but also of parents, caregivers of children, their families and communities. 

On 27 November PAN Children will host the second in the series where Katharine Frost from Ububele will present on the theoretical underpinnings of the approach taken to further build up our understanding of these projects which focus on infant bonding and attachment. ECD policy is progressive but there remains a gap between policy and intervention. The centrality of relationships is acknowledged but needs to be translated into practice. Carol Bews will practically demonstrate the beneficial effect of the Granny programme on babies.This will precede the third in the series, where the outcome of an evaluation will be presented and which is scheduled for early 2018.

This review aims to answer the following questions: (1) What is the impact of school-based decision-making on educational outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Review Question 1)? (2) What are the barriers to (and enablers of) effective models of school-based decision-making (Review Question 2)?

Overall, the study concludes that devolving decision-making authority to the school level can have a positive impact on educational outcomes, with magnitudes of effect in the median range for education programmes, but that this is only likely in more advantaged contexts in which community members are largely literate and have sufficient status to participate as equals in the decision-making process.

The World Development Report 2018 (WDR 2018)—LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise—is the first ever devoted entirely to education. And the timing is excellent: education has long been critical to human welfare, but it is even more so in a time of rapid economic and social change. The best way to equip children and youth for the future is to place their learning at the center. The 2018 WDR explores four main themes: 1) education’s promise; 2) the need to shine a light on learning; 3) how to make schools work for learners; and 4) how to make systems work for learning.

This report makes the case for ending violence against children across the world, stressing that violence occurs everywhere. It is an output of Know Violence in Childhood – an independent global learning initiative. The project, like the VAC Study, included a series of regional meetings in Central and South-East Asia, the Pacific and Latin America, which brought together a diverse, multidisciplinary group of researchers and experts, practitioners and policy makers to address the issue of violence against children. By examining existing data and commissioning new research, the Initiative has synthesized knowledge on the causes and consequences of childhood violence, and identified evidence-based strategies to prevent childhood violence.

A review of the status of the child’s right to play in South Africa, as protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’s article 31 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’s article 12.



This joint report from UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) explores in detail survey data from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, focusing on adolescents and youth on the move from Africa and Asia. The analysis reveals staggering rates of trafficking and exploitation, and also points to the xenophobia and racism that make young refugees and migrants − especially those from sub-Saharan Africa − vulnerable