The vast majority of my work involves child rights advocacy for organisations such as UNICEF.
I feel particularly strongly about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, and the alternative care of children – subjects which can be related. For example, children in street situations, children in institutions or those trafficked for intercountry adoption are all vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
Over 80% of children in orphanages around the world have a living parent and most are there because their parents cannot afford to feed, clothe and educate them. In Ghana the figure is as high as 90%. In Ethiopia, the government recently attempted to trace the families of 385 children from 45 institutions. The families of all but 15 children were located.
When seen through this lens, the “orphan crisis” is largely a crisis in family support and the need for social protection systems.
Numerous rights violations and risk factors have a disproportionate effect on the girl child, which is an area also explored through my work on women’s rights.
Please see Elizabeth’s writing on child rights below. Please see other child rights articles in the sections on human trafficking, maternal and infant health, and the sexualisation of women and children.
- November 2016 Gender ~ Children with Disabilities: My research on gender and children with disabilities conducted in Rwanda in 2015, was cited by UNICEF and the Education Development Trust in their Eastern and Southern Africa regional study on the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities.
- April 2016 Child Marriage: Adolescents act against child marriage in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya
- April 2016 Children Affected by Armed Conflict: Profile of four boys who escaped the conflict in South Sudan and are now rebuilding their lives at Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
- November 2015 Child Marriage: The Faces of Change series prepared for UNICEF for the First African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa, profiles 8 advocates in the community who are changing the face of child marriage in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia by saying no to this harmful traditional practice.
- November 2015 Regional Child Rights Instruments: Working with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) on behalf of their partner UNICEF, to produce a range of communications materials for the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including a quiz for children.
- November 2015 Violence Against Children: Zambia: A safe space for the treatment of child survivors of sexual abuse. Malama has just arrived with her baby son and 14-year-old daughter who has been defiled by a man known to the family.
- October 2015 Children Affected by Armed Conflict: Hope for conflict-affected children in South Sudan through agriculture.
- September 2015 Child Protection Research: Editing and cartoon illustrations (right) for UNICEF Ghana national baseline study on child protection and Government of Ghana Child and Family Welfare Policy.
- April 2015 Birth Registration: The first right: Birth registration in Nigeria article and video
- February 2015 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics: Third Conference of African Ministers responsible for Civil Registration, Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire. Coordination of conference communications on behalf of UNICEF.
- January 2015 Children with Disabilities: Programme evaluation and video for Chance for Childhood’s Education, Equality and Empowerment Project in Rwanda which supports children with disabilities in education.
- January 2015 Child Sexual Exploitation: The Light Behind My Eyes Has Died: A poem about the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation.
- October 2014 Children Affected by Armed Conflict: Don’t tell South Sudan’s children “sorry, we should have” OpEd on the South Sudan conflict.
- 2014 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics: Communications consultant for Breaking with Broken Systems: Partnership for the Legal Identity of African and Asian Children, a European Union and UNICEF partnership providing assistance to eight countries in Africa and Asia to reform their civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, including support to birth registration. The work included field visits to Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda, an OpEd, photography and four videos promoting the project (watch the Nigeria video and Mozambique video).
- September 2013 Child Protection Research: UNICEF Research for Children 2013: From Evidence to Action (right). The first systematic attempt to showcase the breadth and depth of UNICEF’s research work, this publication includes a summary of research on subjects including: Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Children Returned to Kosovo; Children’s Vulnerability to Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific; and the South African Child Support Grant Evaluation and Impact Assessment.
- May 2012 Child Trafficking: Production of media pack for The African Child Policy Forum’s 5th International Policy Conference Intercountry Adoption: Alternatives and Controversies. Fact sheets included Intercountry Adoption: the African Context; Legal Frameworks; and Illicit Activities.
- October 2010 Child Abuse: Misguided child protection policies increase abuse risk. Impoverished levels of supervised access for at-risk mothers and their babies, means the rupturing of attachment and an increased likelihood of abuse.
- September 2010 Child Abuse: She-wolves in sheeps’ clothing
Almost half of child abusers are women. These are ordinary women not evil aberrations. Women for whom factors such as their own history as a victim of abuse, poverty and social isolation, have collided to create a parent unable to live up to the ideal of the all-nurturing, self sacrificing mother. Society has to take responsibility for creating both the idealistic image and the conditions under which women are unable to nurture their children. Meanwhile the female perpetrator is unacknowledged by society, giving her and her child victims no way out.