The study highlights the most prevalent child protection risks in Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Physical and emotional violence against children has risen and the risk of sexual and genderbased violence has increased. Early and forced marriages are increasing in number, facilitated by a lack of official oversight and economic pressures on families.
The report evidences an important increment of child labour, abuse, and exploitation in all five countries. Children are supplementing family earnings with heavy, dangerous labour. Some girls are forced to exchange sex for money and food while other children are forced to beg.
Both children and their parents are experiencing increase psychological and emotional distress, and children are facing higher levels of emotional and psychological abuse from parents and caregivers. While some children are ending up joining armed groups or gangs, the pandemic has amplified the risks that children with disabilities already face.
Co-funded by the European Union, the JOFA project aims to benefit nearly one million children, parents, caregivers, and service providers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, and Uganda until 2023.