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Social Affairs



The study has empowered the African Union Commission to take the lead at the regional level to address nutrition issues, as well as equipping Member States to advocate for nutrition interventions. In addition, the study is an effective example of South-South cooperation as it was first initiated in Latin America and the Caribbean and later adopted into the African context.


COHA is based on a model that was originally developed in Latin America by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The conceptual framework was adapted to the African context with the support of experts and representatives from the national implementation teams of the participating countries. The process of adaptation was carried out in partnership with ECLAC and was endorsed by the African Task Force on Food and Nutrition Development (ATFFND).

AU School Feeding

This study aims to capitalise on the exchange of knowledge and ideas through increased South-South engagement vis-à-vis school feeding by presenting evidence on and real-life examples of innovations in school feeding programmes across the AU. This study organises and analyses an array of empirical data in order to construct a high-level landscaping of the state of school feeding in Africa, a conceptual framework for sustainable school feeding and a set of entry point recommendations enabling AU member states to advance their programmatic efforts in school feeding and achieve the development goals mentioned in Agenda 2063, CESA 16-25 and the SDGs.

Department of Social Affairs
The Department of Social Affairs (DSA) plays a leadership role in ensuring the overall coherence of social development programs and in promoting, monitoring and evaluating associated policies and strategies. To realise the Continental vision, DSA derives its vision, together with accompanying strategy to complement the AUC efforts.
Key African Social and Human Development Commitments
Social Policy Framework for Africa: The AU Commission’s (AUC) programme on social development is based on a human-centered approach that seeks to promote human rights and dignity. The programme encompasses health and endemic diseases; migration; population; reproductive health and rights; culture; sport; social welfare and protection of vulnerable groups including children, people with disabilities, the older persons; the family; gender equality; education; and human resource development, amongst others.
AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases (OIDs)

Head of Division: Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye

The Division provides a leadership role in policy development, advocacy, coordination and monitoring and evaluation in AIDS, TB and Malaria and other infectious diseases. It works in collaboration with Member States, Regional Economic Communities and development partners. It primarily coordinates the processes of developing, implementing and monitoring programmes in prevention and control of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, diseases surveillance and response and disaster preparedness and response. The division also serves as the Secretariat of AIDS Watch Africa (AWA).
Health, Nutrition and Population

Head of Division: Dr. Margaret Anyetei-Agama

The Division responds to vital generic health issues related to health policy and delivery systems, nutrition and other related public health issues and challenges that require a concerted and coordinated approach at a continental level. The Division works closely with the Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases (OIDs) and supports the harmonisation and coordination of public health and strengthening of health systems including human resources for health, medicines, e-health and traditional medicine as well as population, reproductive health and nutrition issues. The division also serves as the Secretariat for the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa.
Labour, Employment and Migration
Across Africa, unemployment and underemployment contribute to the high levels of poverty and compromise basic human rights and dignity of individuals and communities. The division of labour and employment focuses on the rights, labour standards, integrated employment policies and social security systems. It provides guidelines for Member States to draw up their own country specific frameworks, based on national needs and priorities. It supports the implementation of effective labour and employment policies and programmes aligned with the Ouagadougou Plan of Action which prioritises employment, labour, social dialogue and social protection.
Social Welfare and Drug Control

Head of Division: Dr Johan Strijdom

The Division works with Member States and development partners to create and strengthen social protection systems that aims at reducing social and economic risk and vulnerability. These social safety nets have multiple beneficial economic impacts, build human capital, break intergenerational poverty cycle and reduce growing inequalities. The Division leads in advocating the rights and welfare of vulnerable groups emphasising human-centred sustainable development and inclusion of vulnerable groups in development of policies and programmes. Due to the impact of drugs, crime and corruption on development efforts in African countries the department leads on continental efforts to address organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, money laundering and corruption. The Division works with Regional Economic Communities, Member States and development partners for policy development, advocacy, resource mobilisation and coordination of implementation social welfare and drug control policies.

Head of Division: Ms. Angela Martins

The Division of culture harmonises and coordinates activities and policies across the continent, in order to build further structure and opportunities for using culture for integration and African renaissance, cultural development, promotion of creative and cultural industries. The Division works with the RECs, Member States and development to ensure the implementation of cultural policies that create jobs, promote the continent’s enormous resources and skills, and changes lives.

Head of Division: Mr. Machacha Shepande

Sport is an area where Africa already excels, mainly through the excellence and good character of its star athletes. Building on this, sport is a tool for the transformation of Africa and its renaissance, at every level of society up to the world stage. The Division promotes the implementation of the Sports Policy Framework as a factor for social cohesion, peace, development and integration in collaboration with Member States, Regional Economic Communities and development partners. The Division promotes participation and excellence, build capacity and promote ethics and values for sport in Africa. The Division works with various stakeholders to provide a dynamic sport environment that enables all Africans to experience and enjoy involvement in sport to the extent of their abilities and interests and to perform consistently and successfully at the highest competitive level.
African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Secretariat
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) was established in 2001, drawing its mandate from Articles 32-46 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The main goal of the Secretariat is to work towards making Africa a continent that is fit for children by protecting and respecting their rights. The committee’s main functions are to collect information, interpret provisions of the Charter, monitor the implementation of the Charter, give recommendations to governments for working with child rights organisations, consider individual complaints about violations of children’s rights, and investigate measures adopted by Member States to implement the Charter.
AIDS Watch Africa
The AWA Secretariat is in the Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases (OIDs). The Secretariat supports the AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee and the AWA Consultative Expert Committee. It supports strategy development and implementation of the AIDS Watch Africa activities which focus on stimulating leaders into action to mobilise the resources and to promote the accountability needed to address AIDS, TB and Malaria in an effective, sustainable and accountable manner. This includes coordination of high-level advocacy, accountability and resource mobilisation efforts.
African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage
The Campaign is aimed at promoting, protecting and advocating for the rights of women and girls in Africa. The overall purpose for the Campaign, which will run over an initial span of 4 years, (2014 – 2017), is to accelerate an end of child marriage in Africa by enhancing continental awareness of the implications of the practice by supporting legal and policy actions in the protection and promotion of human rights; mobilizing continental awareness of the negative socio-economic impact of child marriage; building social movement and social mobilization at the grassroots and national levels and increasing the capacity of non-state actors to undertake evidence based policy advocacy including the role of youth leadership through new media technology, monitoring and evaluation among others. The Campaign works towards building on existing activities of governments and partners in ending child marriage and is based on advocacy, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as well as the facilitation of technical assistance and capacity building.
Campaign on Accelerated Reduction on Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA)
The Campaign on Accelerated Reduction on Maternal Mortality in Africa was launched in 2009 with the theme ‘Africa cares: No woman should die while giving life’. CARMMA’s operations are derived from key priority areas enshrined in the 2005 AU Policy Framework for the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Africa and the Maputo Plan of Action (2006). CARMMA focuses on three key areas which are public information and advocacy; encouraging achievements and strides made in some countries in reducing maternal mortality and seeking to replicate them; and intensifying actions aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality. The campaign mobilises increased political commitment and action to reduce maternal mortality in countries with high rates.
The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN)
The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) fosters Africa’s integration and development through the development and promotion of the use of African languages in all domains of life in Africa. The academy seeks to empower African languages, promote use of multiple languages at every level, especially in the education sector and to ensure the development and promotion of African languages as factors of African integration and development, respect for values and mutual understanding and peace.
The Centre for Linguistic and Historical Studies (CELHTO)
The Centre for Linguistic and Historical Studies (CELHTO) promotes African cultures in their richness, diversity and convergence. It has oversight in safeguarding African cultural heritage and contributes to the promotion of African history and languages through the collection, conservation and dissemination of oral traditions. The centre supports the effective coordination of the African Union Members States activities in the field of culture, innovative cultural development programmes and networking and co-ordination with Universities and research Institutions.
African Institute of Remittances
The African Institute of Remittances develops the capacity of Member States of the African Union, remittance senders and recipients and other stakeholders to implement concrete strategies and operational instruments to use remittances as development tools for poverty reduction.