Child rights barometer: Eswatini 2018: Measuring government efforts to protect girls and boys



World Vision notes with appreciation the significant progress Eswatini has made towards achieving global and national targets in key areas of child well-being. Children account for over half of the country’s population, yet their rights and needs are often seen as peripheral to development efforts.

Despite the progress, some glaring challenges remain and require urgent attention. Poverty and child rights violations continue to threaten the lives of children daily and take away from the gains already made. 1 in 3 girls experience sexual violence by the time they are 18 years of age and children are most vulnerable to violence and abuse in their own homes. Too many children also experience physical violence in schools and in their homes through violent discipline or corporal punishment. Despite government and civil society efforts, children in Eswatini, by and large remain poor and are often exposed to harsh living conditions. Some find themselves having to provide for their families even though they are children themselves. This is hard to accept, but the reality for the majority of children in Eswatini, life is tough, full of violence, and for some, exploitation.

This is why World Vision’s strategy in Eswatini, as guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Eswatini Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS 3), aims at bringing measurable impact in the lives of 400 000 of the most vulnerable children in the hardest areas to reach. The goal of World Vision’s Child Protection interventions is to work with partners to establish a child protection system that improves the prevention of and response to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of children, as well as the impact of HIV and AIDS. World Vision also supports the Eswatini government’s efforts to improve services for children affected by violence, neglect and exploitation. We hope this report will trigger policymakers to develop comprehensive responses to address all forms of violence and poverty affecting children. And that the evidence and analysis presented here will encourage a national debate about what constitutes violence against children as well as child poverty in Eswatini and how to address it holistically. Violence destroys everything World Vision hopes to achieve in a child’s life. And for this reason, ending all forms of violence against children in all its forms is one of our highest priorities.

The Child Rights Barometer (CRB) is designed to encourage regional cooperation, stimulate more robust implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and serve as a policy analysis tool for civil society, governments and donors. It consists of 861 main indicators that together measure a state’s policy and actions to protect and care for girls and boys under their jurisdiction. The CRB framework of indicators heavily relies on the Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, published by UNICEF. The Handbook provides a series of yes, no and partially-implemented checklists to create an understanding of each UNCRC article’s significance. The CRB uses these checklists as core indicators to measure state performance.