Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, girls and boys in Southern Africa already faced various forms of abuse, including sexual violence, child marriage and exploitation, and throughout World Vision’s response over the past six months, we have continually been concerned about how the pandemic may worsen these trends.
This publication presents the voices of nearly 200 children and young people from across the Southern Africa region who shared their experiences on how COVID-19 continues to have an impact on their lives. During these conversations children and young people told us about increased isolation and vulnerability, fighting and physical violence at home, sexual abuse from close relatives, and an increased workload once schools closed. Altogether over 62% of the children and young people consulted mentioned having witnessed or experienced violence during the pandemic.
As a Christian organisation, World Vision's ultimate goal is to ensure that all children are cared for, protected and feel loved. We work towards empowering children and young people to become change agents on issues that affect them, and so, alongside our concerns over reports of increased child rights violations, it has been a source of inspiration to hear from children and young people about how they are rising to the challenge and raising awareness of the threats of COVID-19 in their communities.