Consultation with Children in East Africa for the World Humanitarian Summit: Messages from children affected by emergencies

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Save the Children,UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund

In the lead up to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), May 2016, Save the Children and UNICEF carried out a consultation that sought the views of around 500 children, primarily aged between 7 and 14 years. The children, affected by conflict and protracted, complex emergencies, and currently living as Internally Displaced Children (IDC), or refugees in selected regions of South Sudan, Somalia, Somaliland and Uganda, were encouraged to identify their needs, express their concerns and make recommendations for living in areas of conflict and /or protracted displacement.

From the consultation findings, the most important messages conveyed by the children are centered around the negative effects of conflict on their lives, and their urgent desire for peace. According to accounts from many children, peace will enable parents to return to everyday life and once again provide safe shelter, education and food. However, even when removed from conflict, there are still pressing issues that these children face, the most frequently mentioned being a general lack of sense of community and a lack of quality education opportunities. Children highly value education as a method to escape conflict, poverty and general harm, and look to leaders to help them with this.

Through this report, the children call on the humanitarian community to make a difference in reducing the vulnerabilities and risks they face. While presenting their voices is important, it is not enough to give them the opportunity to ‘express’ their views and opinions. These should be seriously taken into consideration enabling them to influence and affect significant change.

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