A call to Action: IYF +20

(NB: To endorse the Call To Action below, send in your organization/institution’s name, with the subject  “Endorsing call to Action - IYF +20” through to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or comment below so we can add up your voice to the call.)



In marking the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family (IYF), Parenting in Africa Network (PAN) in partnership with ICS- Africa hosted a Regional experts’ meeting on 13th -14th at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, whose theme was “Restoring families as the Pillar of Development in Africa”. The meeting brought together over sixty (60) participants, drawn from 9 countries in Africa. They included representatives from CSO’s, Regional and International NGO’s, Government Departments, Local Media, Academia, the Private sector, Policy Makers, Family Services Practitioners, individuals and a representative from the African Union AU - Committee of Experts on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. 

The Plan of Action calls on Member States to “develop national capacities to reduce poverty at the family level and to increase the income per capita and GDP” (p.10). It also aims at guiding African Union Member States in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating appropriate national policies and programmes for the family on the basis of their specific requirements and needs. 

Outcome: A call to action (see below)was developed in the regional experts' meeting, ahead of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family on 15th May, (and the 10th anniversary of the Plan of Action - PoA - on the family in Africa). 

With a focus on nine priority areas, poverty alleviation; rights to social services - education, health and reproductive health; promoting environmental sustainability - environment, water and sanitation, adequate shelter and land ownership; rights, duties and responsibilities; rights of protection for the family; strengthening family relationships; control of major causes of morbidity and mortality; ensuring peace and security; and follow-up, evaluation and monitoring; the Plan of Action on the Family is meant to serve as an advocacy instrument for strengthening family units, addressing their needs, improving their general welfare, and enhancing the life chances of family members. 





(NB: To endorse this call, send in your organization/institution’s name, with the subject  “Endorsing call to Action - IYF +20” through to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or comment below so we can add up your voice to the call.)


Parenting in Africa (PAN) – Call to the United Nations, the African Union and Governments



Having considered our deliberations under our conference theme: 

We, the representatives of civil society, academia, policy makers, the private sector, family services practitioners and individuals participating in the Parenting in Africa Network – Expert Group Meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 13-14 of May, 2014 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations International Year of the Family (IYF +20); and the tenth Anniversary of the Africa Union Plan of Action on the Family in Africa and note that:- 

We are proud that our PAN initiative in Africa this week contributes to United Nations, government and civil society global actions taking place around the world promoting our commitment to supporting the vital role of families in strengthening development, building resilient, responsive communities and open, democratic societies. 

We endorse in particular the Declaration of Civil Society promoted by IFFD and co-sponsored by numerous organizations gathering to constitute a global platform for discussion and debate where policy makers, NGOs, experts, academics and other relevant stakeholders from all around the world have shared their views and experiences regarding the centrality of the family and its role in society.[i] 

We reaffirm that the family is not only the fundamental group unit of society but is also the fundamental agent for sustainable, social, economic and cultural development.

We stress the importance of designing, implementing and monitoring family-oriented policies, especially in the areas of poverty eradication, full employment and decent work, work-family balance and social integration and intergenerational solidarity.

We emphasize that the achievement of development goals, especially those relating to the eradication of poverty; education of all children; and reduction in maternal and newborn mortality, depends, to a significant extent, on how families are empowered to fulfil their numerous functions.

We advocate that a strategic focus on families offers a comprehensive approach to solving some of the persistent development challenges, such as inequality and social exclusion. 

In Africa, good practices in family strengthening remain largely undocumented and poorly disseminated and further,while the AU PoA on the Family in Africa is meant to direct action for family well being in Africa, it too, is relatively unknown.  Policy and legislative frameworks for family well being have not been satisfactorily developed. There are a plethora of other worthy policy initiatives and commitments such as the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction on Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and Africa Fit For Children that stand in seeming isolation to one another. These can be brought together into a coherent framework by focusing more on the potentially catalysing role of the AU PoA on the Family in Africa. 

The 3rd Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Social Development (CAMSD3) took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012. In developing its Common Position on the Family, the meeting noted that the 2010 mid-term review of the PoA stated that, while ‘there are promising signs of increases in allocation towards key sectors such as poverty alleviation, social services and sustainable development’; on the whole, most Africa countries’ are still lagging behind and fail to implement an effective protection and support to the African Family’. [ii] 

The meeting highlighted the need for member states to prioritize the implementation of the three most important areas of the PoA on the family, these being poverty, work-family balance and intergenerational solidarity. 

The following questions beg for answers:

  • How is Africa securing her families as the pillar of development?
  • What can we exhibit as good African parenting practices?
  • What does the wealth of indigenous knowledge from African cultures teach us in strengthening families?
  • How are governments in Africa performing in ensuring that families are secure and that parents and caregivers can be empowered to nurture, guide and protect their children?
  • Where and how are civil society, other stakeholders and actors supporting the work of strengthening families? 

We call on the United Nations, the African Union, our member states and civil society to empower and enable family strengthening and resilience that will contribute to development by taking the following actions:

  1. Re-commit to and urgently review the African Union Plan of Action on the Family in Africa so that it gives impetus to the development of comprehensive and coherent policies; integrates cross-sectorial approaches to support family stability; and establishes/strengthens national mechanisms to develop family-oriented policies and programmes. Allocate adequate human and financial resources to training, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  2. Promote gender equitable parenting roles and responsibilities, reform discriminatory laws and policies, particularly family laws, and enact legislations to end child marriage, FGM and violence against women and children.
  3. Recognize and promote the contribution and responsibility of men, and particularly fathers to families and develop policies to address the impact of the absence of males/fathers on family wel lbeing and promote active, responsible fatherhood.
  4. Focus poverty alleviation strategies on the family as a unit and acknowledge that family breakdown can be both a root cause and an effect of poverty and its prevention is a priority.
  5. Adopt policies to ensure work-family balance, so that the responsibilities of parenting and maintaining families do not fall primarily on women and collaborate with the private sector to protect and support workers with family responsibilities.
  6. Value important contributions of all generations within the family, design and implement policies to strengthen intergenerational solidarity and partnerships and promote healthy intra-family relations.
  7. Ensure the systematic collection of data and statistics on family well being and collaborate on good practice exchange at national, regional and international levels.
  8. Develop and implement family focused policies and interventions to strengthen and support families in vulnerable situations (such as conflict, natural disasters and health epidemics including HIV &AIDS, TB and malaria).
  9. Create an enabling environment for a meaningful contribution of civil society organizations in the design, implementation and monitoring of family policies and programmes and remove barriers to the establishment, work and funding of non-governmental organizations.
  10. Shift their priorities towards the prevention of family separation, child exploitation and institutionalization, national governments and NGOs should collectively review their alternative care programmes and, as required, realign their budgets to support the prevention of family separation and the range of alternative care options available in their country context.
  11. Acknowledge that families are at the centre of sustainable development and ensure that families are an integral part of the post 2015 development agenda.


Signed this day; Wednesday 14 May 2014 in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya.


(Acknowledging individuals, organizations, government representatives who participated at the regional Experts meeting; but more importantly all position papers shared, from around Africa and beyond.) 


Regional and Pan African Organizations

  • African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child - ACERWC
  • Africa Fatherhood Initiative
  • Parenting in Africa Network (PAN)
  • Save the Children (EARO)
  • Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative – REPSSI
  • ICS (Investing Children and their Societies) - Africa
  • International Rescue Committee - IRC
  • SOS Children’s Villages – International
  • The East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights) 


  • SOS Children’s Villages – Kenya
  • Plan International - Kenya
  • Child Fund Kenya
  • Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship
  • NISELA Group Ltd.
  • Give a Child a Family - GCF
  • Kenyatta University Department of ECD
  • Egerton University, Department of Gender, Women and Development Studies
  • Nairobi Parenting Clinic
  • Teule Kenya /Futures Net Ltd
  • USALAMA Forums
  • Children’s Hope Foundation (CHF)
  • Good Health Community Programs, Kakamega
  • Tumaini Kwa Watoto
  • Katinda Widows and Orphans Group, Kisumu
  • Tamar Kenya  


  • Organization for Social Services for AIDS - OSSA 
  • African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)


  • Youth Net and Counselling - YONECO


  • Halley Movement – Child Helpline                                      

South Africa

  • The Parent Centre
  • Fathers in Africa
  • Sonke Gender Justice/MenCare
  • Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund


  • Chair, PAN UG Chapter (Parenting Uganda, Doctors on call, Teenage mother’s Centre, Uganda Parents of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (UPPID), Among others) 
  • Unbound Kampala Project Limited
  • Anti-Domestic Violence Coalition - ADVC
  • Uganda Child Rights NGO Network - UCRNN
  • Uganda Program for Positive Parenting
  • Lwabenge Child Caring Community
  • Doctors on Call
  • Center for Disability and Rehabilitation-Uganda (CDR)



  • Family Impact Africa            


  • Zambia Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS

International organisions (USA)

  • Yale University




[ii]AU Mid-Term Review of the Plan of Action on The Family in Africa – April 2010.

blog comments powered by Disqus