The Scale of the OVC Situation
This chapter describes the current status of the most commonly found groups of OVC in Africa. It also presents some projections as to the evolution of these groups over time. It is difficult to get reliable data on OVC in Africa. Below we summarize what is available
for the core groups of OVC. Additional details can be found in the attached slides (extracted from the presentation on OVC) and in the main
section of the Toolkit, "Designing Interventions for OVC",
section on "Background research and secondary data".
UNICEF/UNAIDS/USAID have collected estimates and projections on the
orphan situation that are presented in the joint report Children
on the Brink [NB! Heavy!]. The figures below cover 0-17 year olds in Sub-Saharan
Africa and are from 2003:
- 12.3% of all
children (43 million) are either single or double parent orphans
- 28% of all
orphans (12 million) are orphans due to AIDS
- 2 % of all children
are double orphans (7.7 million)
- 59% of double
orphans are orphans due to AIDS (4.5 million)
For more detailed data on orphans, click here.
children affected by HIV/AIDS
Children who have been socially orphaned by HIV/AIDS, that is, whose
parents are so ill they are no longer able to care for them (or the
children even become the caretakers of their sick parents) can be roughly
estimated to be around 1/3 of children with parents who are infected,
or around 5 million children. In addition, it is estimated that 3 million
African children 0-14 years old currently live with HIV/AIDS, and 10
million 15-24 year olds are infected (see: AIDS
epidemic up-date, UNAIDS/WHO).
Children affected by armed conflict
War orphans. The International
Rescue Committee estimates that there are 150,000 war orphans in
Africa. This may be an underestimate as Sierra Leone alone operates
with figures of 60,000 war orphans.
Refugee and displaced children.
According to UNHCR, in 2003 there were 4.6 million refugees in Sub-Saharan
Africa, an increase of half a million since 2002, and 5.8 million internally
displaced people (IDP). At least half of these refugees and IDP are
children. The greatest numbers of refugees and IDP come from Burundi,
Sudan, Angola, Somalia and DRC (for details, see the UNHCR reports,
"Refugees by Numbers" and
Child soldiers. ILO estimates that
the number of child soldiers is currently 120,000 and that around 80,000
are so-called "abductees", that is, have been abducted to
work with armed forces (see ILO/IPEC's report "Every
Injured and traumatized children.
An estimated 6 million children have become severely injured or permanently disabled as a result of armed conflict according toUNICEF's Report "Impact of Armed Conflict on Children". UNICEF estimates that 4 million of these children live with permanent disabilities resulting from war. We tentatively assume that 2 million are in Africa. We should assume that at least the same number of children suffer from traumatic, war-related experiences (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder).
As early as in 1997, the United Nations Center for Human Settlement
in Nairobi estimated that "Street children represent 10-20% of
the urban child population in Africa, and streets are workplace, playground
and even home to as many as 16 million African children and will be
over 30 million by the year 2000." This definition would fit the
definition for "children on the street", while
the definition of "Children of the street" (children
with no home what so ever) would be much narrower, and tentatively comprise
only 10% of the children on the street, or an estimated 3 million. Ethiopia,
Kenya and South Africa would probably account for 2/3 of them, while
Nigeria, Ivory Cost and DRC also would have considerable numbers.
Children in the worst forms of labor
In the report Every Child Counts, ILO/IPEC
estimates that around 600,000 African children are engaged in the so
called "worst forms" of child labor - trafficking, slavery,
bonded labor, prostitution, pornography, soldiering and illicit activities.
To these should be added children in particularly hazardous and risky
labor situations, including children working in mines and quarries,
commercial agriculture involving the use of agrochemicals and machetes,
and many child domestic servants. ILO/IPEC's official figures for the
worst forms of child labor are: trafficking - 200,000; forced/bonded
labor - 210,000; child soldiering - 120,000; prostitution and pornography -
50,000. Based on the estimates of contemporary slavery (ref. Kevin Bales,
"Disposable people, modern slavery in the Global Economy"),
an estimated 200,000 African children currently are enslaved together
with their parents, the majority in Mauritania and Sudan. Among the
particularly hazardous labor situations, we typically count work in
mines and quarries. In the 1996 publication "Facts
and Figures on Child Labor", ILO/IPEC estimates that around
1% of Africa's 80 million economically active children work in mines
or quarries, i.e., 800,000 children. Finally, among the estimated 5
million child domestic servants in Africa (Andvig
et al. 2000) many must be assumed to live in circumstances that
would make them qualify as worst forms in accordance with ILO Convention
182, article 3d.
Children living with a Disability
There is no reliable data on disability for Africa as a continent. Studies
from developing countries suggest that the standard 10% assumption based
on the incidence in industrialized countries should be lowered considerably
(e.g., 3.6% in Zimbabwe, 5.5% in Ghana, 3% in Mali; see Helander H.
(1999) Prejudice and Dignity: An Introduction to Community-Based Rehabilitation,
New York, UNDP). Children on the Brink, 2004 (Table 1) estimates that the number of 0-17 year old children in Sub-Saharan Africa is around 350 million. Assuming a 5% incidence for Sub-Saharan Africa, there
would be some 15.5 million children living with a disability, while a 3% rate would give an estimate of 10.5 million.