Given the high levels of violence against children which often make news headlines, colleagues from UCT’s Children’s Institute in partnership with Media Monitoring Africa hosted a workshop for members of the media on the ethics of reporting on children. The gathering, which took place shortly before the start of Child Protection Week, took a special focus on reporting on corporal punishment – an emotive topic which can be influenced by journalists’ personal, cultural or religious beliefs. Currently, a Constitutional Court ruling is pending on the unconstitutionality of the common law defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ which allows parents to hit their children as a form of discipline.
The PII’s April 2019 seminar was honoured to host two of the co-authors of an expansive international study on the consequences of childhood poverty. Young Lives, a longitudinal study by the University of Oxford, investigated the changing nature of childhood poverty in four developing countries over a 15-year period. UCT’s Emeritus Prof. Andy Dawes and Prof. Colin Treroux presented the findings from following two cohorts of a total of 12 000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Their presentation was followed by a discussion on the relevance of the findings for South Africa, led by Emeritus Prof. Viviene Taylor from the National Planning Commission. The seminar presentation is available online.
It has been three and a half years since the United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In July, South Africa will be among the 51 countries that will table voluntary national reviews of their progress towards addressing the SDGs at the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be convened by the UN Economic and Social Council. With the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng having identified capacity building, collaboration, and engagement with government and industry as areas for the University to contribute to achieving the SDGs, several SDG-focused initiatives involving PII associate units are underway at UCT.
Vibrant discussions marked a recent dialogue held in Gugulethu under the banner of the Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) for Health Project. This pilot partnership project of the Learning Network for Health and Human Rights is managed by UCT’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine and aims to develop the capacity of community members to build healthier communities. The dialogue created a platform for community members, CSS participants and other stakeholders to discuss issues and interventions relating to the social determinants of health.