top of page


(Picture: Survivors Network Cameroon hold a Justice for Africa mobilisation in Bertoua with internally displaced and refugee children on 20th February, World Social Justice Day)

Youth activists, student leaders and survivor-advocates marked the International Day of Social Justice on the 20th of February by organising a united global mobilisation under the demand Justice for Africa: Don’t Cut Our Future. From Ghana to Greece, Chile to Cameroon, Namibia to Nicaragua, and the USA to Uganda, young people stood together against the systemic discrimination facing Africa and the devastating impacts of this injustice on the right to education for the most vulnerable children and young people on the continent.

Highlighting the staggering inequality within and between countries, activists called on decision-makers to take urgent action or risk cutting the futures of a generation. The action was fuelled by anger at the injustice of how since 2015, when world leaders promised to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Goals, there has been an enormous increase in the violation of African children’s and young people’s rights.

Read on for some of the global highlights of the Justice for Africa mobilisations on 20th February and then find out more about the national campaigns on our Country Profiles page.


No oppression exists in isolation and the denial of the right to education is deeply interconnected with other multiple, reinforcing injustices. Youth activists on the frontlines of the fight for education understand this reality, with their mobilisations and demands on World Social Justice Day demonstrating these linkages.

For example, youth activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (picture left) highlighted the impact of conflict on access to education. Mobilising in the local community of Uvira, a mining region, they drew attention to how decades of insecurity around the exploitation of the country’s abundant natural resources has led to long-term school closures and parents keeping children home to keep them safe.

Similarly, in Cameroon, youth activists organised a Justice for Africa day of action in the Eastern region of Bertoua, with internally displaced children from the anglophone crisis and refugee children from the neighbouring Central African Republic. Together they highlighted how many children face multiple injustices simultaneously, such as gender-based violence, forced migration, child labour and child trafficking, all of which reinforce each-other and undermine the ability to go to school.

In South Sudan (picture above right) youth activists also worked with children impacted by crises during their mobilisation, specifically former child soldiers, those at risk of recruitment by armed militias and children who have lost their parents or caregivers as a result of violence. Despite living in different contexts, the mobilisations in the DRC, Cameroon and South Sudan all demonstrated how vulnerable children are paying the highest price for conflicts they had no part in creating and called on decision to prioritise child protection and the right to education during emergencies.

The link between the injustices of being denied access to education and being forced into child labour was also heavily amplified during the mobilisations across Africa on the 20th February. In Burundi (picture left) the National Student Union brought child labour survivor-advocates alongside decision-makers for an intergenerational dialogue that highlighted the need for equal access to inclusive education, especially for left-behind students in rural areas. Youth activists stressed to their representatives that rural areas of the country, such as Kanyosha where the event took place, often suffer from low enrolment due to educational institutions being long-distances away, heightening the risk of being forced into child labour.

In Tanzania (picture right) the youth-led Tanzanian Coalition Against Child Labour also held an intergenerational and inter-sectoral dialogue with child labour survivor-advocates and local stakeholders. Their focus was on the urgent need for a robust child protection system to protect children from increasing injustices, including violence against children at home and in schools.

In Uganda (picture left), activists took their action to Busia, on the porous border between Kenya and Uganda, to draw attention to the rising number of children trafficked between the countries, demonstrating the interplay between child trafficking, child labour and forced disruption of education. In a statement, dubbed ‘What We Want’, co-signed by the Chairperson of the Local Council, children participating in Uganda’s Justice for Africa mobilisation demanded accessibility to education for all and laws that address trafficking. Youth activists also called for stronger teacher’ training on child protection for a quick response to potential trafficking indicators like absenteeism.

In Namibia, Liberia and Kenya student leaders and youth activists held mobilisations in informal settlements in Windhoek, Monrovia and Nairobi, amplifying the intersecting injustices communities living in such settlements face. Liberia’s activities (picture right), included a march led by child labour survivor-advocates demanding stronger child protection systems that prevent children from being exploited, trafficked, exposed to violence or denied an education. Their mobilisation culminated in survivor-advocates, youth activists and student leaders jointly drafting a set of demands for the national government to safeguard vulnerable children's rights.

In Namibia, youth activists and the National Student Union highlighted the ongoing learning crisis ongoing in the country during their 20th February mobilisation, focusing on the impact this has on the most marginalised children. Recognising the critical role of solidarity between, as well as with, African countries in achieving social justice, Namibian young people also amplified the voices of children and young people across the continent who do not have the privilege of publicly mobilising due to risks of retaliation or violence as a result of their actions.

Kenyan youth activists (picture left), drew attention to how the high cost of living has pushed families who were already living in poverty, such as in the Mathare informal settlement, further into crisis. Marching alongside out of school children themselves, activists exposed how many families are now struggling even to meet their basic needs, leaving little to no money for education-related expenses, forcing many children to drop out of school or be unable to progress to the next level.

Connecting all the core demands of the mobilisations on World Social Justice Day was the urgent need to prioritise and fully fund education. This was the main focus for student and youth campaigners in Ghana (picture right), who are outraged that the education budget in 2023 is the lowest percentage of government expenditure for two decades. The imposition of austerity measures by the IMF alongside a spiralling debt crisis in the country, has compromised the right to education for millions of students, particularly those from marginalised communities. Similarly, in Nigeria, youth activists mobilising in Jos, Plateau State, called on national leaders and lawmakers to reform their education system to accommodate out-of-school children under the Almajiri system.


The compelling voices of youth activists, student leaders and survivor-advocates were heard loudly and clearly on the 20th February, with campaigners using innovative and bold mobilisation tactics to draw attention to the injustices facing African children and young people.

Public marches with music, dancing and speeches took over the streets of the capital cities in Kenya, Ghana (picture right) and Liberia, with activists in Kenya travelling over 7 kilometres from the informal settlement of Mathare to the Office of the Deputy President in central Nairobi.

In Uganda, the Justice for Africa public march covered over 4 kilometres from a primary school in Akipenet village to the border point of Uganda and Kenya. They used a brass brand to attract as much visibility as possible and ensured child-trafficking survivors led the procession alongside young students and the Busia Districts local leadership.

In Cameroon, youth activists used child-friendly activities like games, songs, rhymes, poems and group discussions to educate the children about their rights. Children wrote messages on cardboard based on what they had learnt, creatively displaying their demands for actions against child labour, child trafficking, child marriage, and education.

The use of ‘artivism’ was at the centre of the mobilisation in South Sudan (picture right). In a football tournament at an orphanage in Juba, children and youth activists with lived experiences in armed conflict demanded their right to education and an end to all forms of exploitation through music performances, poems, dance and comedy.

Despite the instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the general election in Nigeria (picture left) youth activists adapted their tactics last minute to ensure their demands for Justice for Africa were still heard. In a petition to the Uvira local authorities in the DRC, activists demanded security for school-going children and during a community event in Jos, Nigeria, the focus was on the urgent need to support Almajiri children to be integrated into the formal education system.


Student leaders and youth activists used both traditional and social media to spread awareness of the Justice for Africa demands and collective mobilisations. From the Global North to the Global South, young people shared live updates about their actions across social media platforms, amplifying each other's efforts and calling for wider solidarity.

In Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the mobilisations were covered in local and national newspapers, with Kenya achieving front page coverage. In Namibia (picture right), Tanzania and South Sudan youth activists also had live TV or radio interviews in the morning of the 20th February, creating public awareness and momentum ahead of their mobilisations.


As youth activists across Africa mobilised to demand justice for their continent, young people around the world came out in solidarity with their peers. Throughout the day messages, photos and videos of solidarity actions from Europe, the USA, Latin America and Asia helped amplify the demands of African young people globally, calling for an end to the shocking modern international injustices perpetrated against Africa. Take a look at some of their inspiring posts below:


The mobilisations across the world on 20th February were only the start of a concerted, collective effort to demand Justice for Africa. Student leaders and youth activists have already convened again to discuss the next steps they will be taking both in their national contexts and as a global movement.

Following up on petitions submitted on the World Day of Social Justice, escalating concerns to Members of Parliament, ongoing activities to engage the media and future mobilisations are a core priority for many of the national campaigns, as well as continuing to hold community sensitisations and engagements at the local level with affected populations. You can find specific next steps for each country on the Country Profiles page.

At the international level, a core team of youth activists and student leaders coordinating the global direction of the Justice for Africa campaign have set their next target as the 2023 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, planning a joint letter to the world leaders in attendance demanding action on education financing in Africa.


bottom of page