Child neglect occurs when a child’s carer fails to provide conditions which are essential for the healthy physical and emotional development of a child. The experiences of neglected children can lead to adverse effects on brain development, low self image, poor academic performance, and could be associated with negative impacts on their physical and social development, among other detrimental effects. This directly conflicts with a child’s right to a life of dignity and development.
As an organization that is dedicated to furthering the well-being and development of children in Cameroon, we have launched a campaign centered around raising awareness for child neglect in the country. As part of our campaign, we have appeared on television to discuss the prevalence of child neglect and the detrimental impacts it can have on children. We have also utilized other forms of multimedia, particularly public service announcements and social media, to reach as wide of an audience as possible.
Economic hardships, religious beliefs, alcoholism, a lack of understanding of children’s rights, and cultural and social norms have been cited as contributing factors to the neglect that has impacted children in Cameroon. Through this campaign, we are addressing these causes while educating the public about how to combat this issue.
For instance, we are developing guides for parents, educators, and community leaders that help them understand child neglect and the role they should take in preventing and reporting neglect if they see it happening. By providing guidelines and other resources for these community members, they become better equipped to play an active role in eradicating neglect in their communities.
We have also developed an advocacy brief that goes into depth on what child neglect is, the various forms it can take, and how it has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon. It can be found here