Just a few months ago, Stats SA announced that while the childhood death rate in South Africa has decreased, our youngest are the most vulnerable and still at risk. This deeply concerning reality is one of many reasons why Momentum Insure has partnered with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the National Department of Social Development to improve the quality of services in Safe Parks and to integrate adolescent and youth friendly programmes in these spaces of sanctuary.
Safe parks are a place where children can go to learn, play and be free to be children while supervised and nurtured by a wide range of professionals and care givers. They are spaces for recreation, empowerment and learning created especially for at-risk children.
According to Stats SA, “Children’s education and well-being in South Africa”, more than half of the child population aged 0-17 live in low-income circumstances, and children in woman-headed households were more likely to live under these conditions. While childhood death has declined in South Africa, non-natural death occurrences were significant contributors to child mortality in recent years. Non-natural death occurrences among children aged five to nine increased from 23.8% in 2014 to 39.1% over the past few years with road traffic collisions being the leading cause of death and injuries for children under the age of 14 in South Africa.
The reality behind those figures is far more alarming as this has a knock-on effect on children's lives. More than 8,000 children die every year as a result of injuries – approximately 3,000 of them being intentional. Unfortunately, many children are unsafe and that means they are not allowed to be children – playing, learning, and growing. The feeling of being unsafe affects children’s confidence negatively and inevitably prohibits them from living their success journey. Feeling and being safe is important for any child, even more so because we live in a country with one of the highest crime rates and a vast array of socioeconomic issues. In many instances, safety is merely understood in terms of the physical safety and security of our physical beings and our assets. But it’s not so simple.
This aligns to the National Development Plan outcome 12: building safer communities. This partnership therefore enables reaching global and national goals for all children and Momentum is a proud partner of this collaboration with UNICEF.
“We recently launched the Science of Safety campaign that is anchored in the fact that safety ignites confidence which provides the momentum on your success journey – this extends to our youngest members of society, our children. Therefore, Momentum Insure sees the partnership with UNICEF to provide safe spaces to learn and play, as setting children up for a journey of success in the long run. We hope for these spaces to become a feature that people look to for the safety they need.” Says Momentum Insure CEO, Brand Pretorius.
“Just like international rugby player, Cheslin Kolbe, these children are growing up in circumstances that could hold them back from success,” says Pretorius. “His success story in our latest TV commercial echoes the need for safe parks like this and we are so excited to be partnering with UNICEF on this project.”
“This partnership will enable UNICEF to further scale-up our work in protecting and supporting some of the country’s most vulnerable children,” said UNICEF South Africa’s Representative, Christine Muhigana.
“The private sector can play a critical role in helping to realize every child’s right to a safe and nurturing childhood that is vital not only for their own futures but for the development of communities as a whole,” added Muhigana.
Momentum Insure and UNICEF understand that when children are denied their basic need for safety, the entire community suffers and the future becomes vulnerable to various threats. Every child has the right to survive, to grow, to develop to their full potential, to be safe at all times and to participate in all matters pertaining to them. Safe parks are therefore a model for society to ensure that no child is left behind.