Building resilience: a rights-based approach to children and HIV/AIDS in Africa

Case Studies & Research
Save the Children Sweden
59 p.
Title other languages
Comment renforcer la résilience? Une approche basée sur les droits pour protéger les enfants contre le VIH/SIDA en Afrique

As the vulnerability of children living in communities affected by HIV/AIDS becomes a clear challenge, governments, international agencies, civil society, neighbourhoods, and families have mobilised to try to tackle the issues these children face. This report provides a brief overview of the responses of the international community and governments in rising to these challenges, the roles of the private and civil society sectors, as well as the responses of families and communities dealing directly with the children. A Rights-based approach can rectify many of the distortions that have arisen from a crisis-driven response to children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and conflict, and can provide a beacon for moving forward. The underlying principles of universality, indivisibility, responsibility, and participation provide a firm foundation for framing priorities and responses to vulnerable children and families. Extensive experience and empirical research are being used to direct efforts to support children through the concentric circles of care and influence that surround children, i.e. through families, schools, and neighbourhoods, extending outwards to the media, legislative frameworks, and policies that all have a bearing on children's lives. Substantial agreement exists amongst child-rights advocates that what is most needed is a set of collective governmental and community responses to strengthen the commitments of caregivers and households to the well-being of children. This should all be supported by constructive national policies and the mobilisation of resources. It is evident that the focus of programmes and strategic thinking must expand from the many small, unlinked initiatives to a coordinated approach aimed at long-term, universal benefits for all children. Further, a continuum of responses is needed to assist children living in communities affected by HIV/AIDS. At one end of the continuum, specific assistance must be provided for the relatively small number of extremely vulnerable children, including children with severe disabilities, abused children, children without adult support, and children living in and out of the streets; at the other end of the continuum, all children in AIDS-affected countries must have increased access to government-provided social protection in all sectors, including health, education, and welfare provision. Only in this way will the health and well-being of all children, including those made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, be improved.

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