The State of the World's Children 2000 - A vision for the by Carol Bellamy, UNICEF

By Carol Bellamy, UNICEF

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They don’t know their rights as children,” says Mr. Haachintu. The workshop is part of an effort to support the orphans, which includes teaching them incomegenerating skills and basic agriculture. In this morning’s lesson, the youths watch a video on how to resist aggressive sexual overtures from adults. Walking through the wards at Chikankata Hospital, one sees surprisingly few patients – despite the fact that AIDS has ravaged the surrounding rural communities, killing 300 people between November 1998 and March 1999 alone.

It can help prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading with a full-scale campaign to educate all people – adolescents and youth in particular – in how to break the patterns of discrimination and coercion that put them at risk. The world has little valid excuse for not embarking on a strategy that is known to stop the spread of the virus: relevant information that is readily available, educational and health services that are accessible and cater to adolescents, and the direct involvement of young people in their own health, development and protection.

11 International and national leaders faltered when they did not respond as swiftly and forcefully to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa as they could have 15 years ago. They now have a rare second chance to marshal their resources to block the ongoing spread in Africa and similar outbreaks in other regions of the globe. What was indefensible before would be unconscionable today. Within a single generation: The global agenda There is renewed fervency on behalf of children as the 21st century begins, a clearer sense of what has to be done to promote and protect their rights and a surer sense that whatever needs to be done will be done.

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