Maxine Chisweto shares her recommendations for World Children’s Day 2023

Image c/o Maxine Chisweto

Today is World Children’s Day! To celebrate, we invited Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Maxine Chisweto to share her recommendations on the subject matter.  We commemorate the day this year under the theme, ‘For every child, every right.’

Maxine specialises in children’s law. She has over 5 years’ experience in legal reform and during this period, she has worked with an organisation that was responsible for banning corporal punishment and child marriages in Zimbabwe, as well as increasing the age of consent to 18 years amongst other pertinent issues. Maxine has also done extensive research on Section 81 of the Zimbabwean constitution which focuses on the Rights of Children, in particular, the right to a name and a birth certificate. 

At the time of these recommendations, Maxine has just handed in her dissertation for her LLM in Child Care and Protection. In her personal capacity, she has shown her passion for children’s rights through her charity organisation called ‘Lend A Hand,’ which at present is assisting in building four classrooms for children under the banner ‘Project 25.’ Maxine hopes that in this way, she will have contributed to realising the right to education in Zimbabwe.

Here are her recommended readings:

The 500 Windows Campaign, A Case Study on Youth Movement for Educational Resources in South Africa

By Angara Harini

I recommend this publication because it shows that children are custodians of their own rights. Many times we make decisions for children without children, but this South African case study gives us a different perspective and shows how childrens’ active participation in the decisions concerning their rights can truly make a difference. 

The Best Interests of the Child and its Collective Connotations in the South African Law

By Meda Couzens

We cannot talk about children’s rights without referring to the principle of the best interests of the child and more so written by one of the experts on the subject. The best interests principle is what holds the children’s rights discourse together and it would be de-service to try to learn about children’s rights without debunking the principle. 

Assessing the impact of the Constitution of Zimbabwe on Children’s Rights

By Maxine Chisweto

I recommend this article because it paints a picture of where the children’s rights discourse is in particular – in Zimbabwe. With a Constitution that just turned 10 years old, it is important to have an overall view of what is being done for children in the country.

A review of school nutrition interventions globally as an evidence base for the development of the HealthKick programme in the Western Cape, South Africa

By Steyn NP (PhD, MPH), Lambert EV (PhD) Parker, W (PhD), Mchiza, Z (PhD) and De Villiers A (PhD)

I recommend this reading because a lot of the times when we think about the right to education, we do not realise that it largely hinges on a child having a full belly. School nutrition becomes particularly important because for a child to grow and develop, they need to be well fed. So often, we believe that nutrition is the responsibility of the parent but when it comes to children – it is shared between parent and state. 

Married too soon, child marriage in Zimbabwe

By Maureen Sibanda

I recommend this article because child marriages are a silent plague in Zimbabwe. 1 in 3 girls are married before the age 18 and even though legal action has been taken to try and curb the crime – nothing significant has been done otherwise. Child marriages are an evil that needs to be uprooted from our communities, in order to give girl children a chance at life, at dignity and at opportunity. Look out for the release of The Zimbabwe Gender Commission’s report on the matter.