Striving for the Sustainable Development Goals: What do children need to thrive?

Lucy Jamieson & Linda Richter - South African Child Gauge 2017

This essay from the South African Child Gauge 2017 critically engages with the 2030 Global Agenda and assesses the potential of the SDGs to transform our world to enable all children – regardless of race, gender, ability, or social background – to not only survive but thrive. In this essay, the examine the following key questions:

  • What enables children to thrive?
  • What interventions are needed to ensure that all children thrive?
  • To what extent do the SDGs promote nurturing care?
  • Do the SDGs create an enabling environment for caregivers and families?
  • Do the SDGs have the potential to transform the social, economic, political, climatic and cultural contexts in which families and children live?

Among the needs of children outlined in the essay is the need for responsive caregiving and nurturing care. The authors note that children need the care of parents or other primary caregivers in a family-based setting in order to thrive. "If infants receive only routine care for hygiene and feeding by staff on shifts, then no more than one in three babies reared in group orphanages survive. Those who survive, grow poorly and have severe cognitive and language delays," say the authors. The essay examines best practices from around the world and presents case studies in South Africa, including education and youth empowerment programs. The essay also assesses the extent to which the SDGs will promote nurturing care and help children and families thrive within the South African context.