The Inspirer Staff writer.
New report ranks Rwanda as the biggest mover of change for improving children’s lives in the region and the second-biggest in the world.
It was revealed that Rwanda has made a great improvement in children lives in twenty-five years after the Genocide against the Tutsi and that Rwanda’s score rose 241 points, from 503 to 744 since 2000 in Save the Children’s “End of Childhood” index which ranks countries according to how well they create a protective environment for children.
The Save the Children’s 2019 Global Childhood Report that was launched last week evaluates 176 countries across the globe on their ability to protect children ‘childhood enders’ – life-changing events like child marriage, early pregnancy, exclusion from education, sickness, malnutrition and violent deaths.
The report includes the annual End of Childhood Index, which finds that circumstances for children have significantly improved in over 70% of the 24 countries in the East and Southern Africa since 2000.
Rwanda, the biggest improver in the region and the second-biggest in the world, with the country reducing under-5 mortality by 79 percent over 20 years. Many more children are in school and many fewer children are married before age 18, with the out-of-school rate and child marriage rate both down by 60 percent. Rwanda also cut child labor, adolescent births and child homicides in half since 2000.
Rwanda is among the four countries in East and Southern Africa – (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola and Zambia) – increased their index scores by 200 points, representing substantial improvements for children over the past 20 years.
While substantial progress has been made, the under-5 mortality rate remains high overall in the region, with 59 deaths per 1,000 live births. The highest rate in the world is in Somalia, with one child in eight dying before their 5th birthday. South Sudan also remained in the global top ten for under-5 mortality.
Globally, the report found at least 280 million children have a better chance to grow up healthy, educated and safe than at any time in the past two decades. In the year 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhoods due to ‘childhood enders’. That number today has been reduced to 690 million – meaning that at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago. Together, China and India account for more than half of the global decline in stunting alone.
Of the eight ‘childhood enders’ examined in the report, displacement due to conflict is the only one on the rise globally, with 30.5 million more forcibly displaced people now than there were in 2000, an 80 percent increase.
Commenting on the report, Philippe Adapoe, Save the Children Rwanda Country Director, said: “Rwanda has made this great progress due to strong Government leadership that forces accountability and encourages local level authorities to ensure great progress in all sectors including health, education and child protection.
Adapoe added that the Government of Rwanda in partnership with Rwandan people, civil societies and development partners has been working to improve health systems through education investment, strengthening legal frameworks and empowering children to make life choices that set them on a path to realize their full potential.
However, he said that there are still many stunted children and others who miss out on education. “We need to keep the momentum to ensure every Rwandan child accesses quality education, health and is protected.” Adapoe noted.
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