Inside a smoky makeshift kiosk, Julie*, 16, can hardly cope with the demand from her clients for a cup of tea and a snack - the men are parched from their work as gold miners in the western Kenyan district of Nyatike.

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Women have been left in charge of many of the households in the village of Zamkoye-Koïra, in western Niger, as food shortages have driven male family members to leave in search of work elsewhere.

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This week we publish surprising and, on the face of it, disturbing findings. According to Christopher Murray and colleagues at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, there were 1·24 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval 0·93—1·69 million) from malaria worldwide in 2010—around twice the figure of 655 000 estimated by WHO for the same year. How should the malaria community interpret this finding? Before we answer that question, we need to look beneath the surface of this striking overall mortality figure.

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Speaker of Children's Parliament, Giovanni Britz, says 45 percent of children acknowledge that they do not feel safe in classrooms and they want teachers to protect them from bullies.

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In the inner-city Johannesburg neighbourhood of Berea, where a large proportion of residents are refugees and asylum-seekers, it is not uncommon to see children playing football in the street or killing time at one of the local parks on a weekday. Judith Manjoro, an out-of-work teacher from Zimbabwe, teamed up with some other community workers two years ago to quiz the children about why they were not in school.

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As I sat in a sidewalk café, tranquilly sipping my coffee, an 8-year boy silently approached me and shyly put a flower on my table. I cajoled him about the price of the gift to start a conversation, but he was only interested in making his sale.

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Hundreds of children in Côte d’Ivoire were separated from their parents when people fled their villages during post-election violence in 2011, but nine months after the conflict formally ended only a quarter of those children have been reunified with their families, says the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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It is internationally agreed that the rationale behind trying children in juvenile courts and committing them to children detention facilities or prison is not punitive, but to convert and enable them to reintegrate in society upon their release.

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UNICEF appealed today for US$1.28 billion to fund its humanitarian operations in 2012, assisting children in more than 25 countries globally. The list of countries includes many long standing or so-called “silent” emergencies, but the crisis in Somalia and in other countries in the Horn of Africa accounts for nearly one-third of the total amount.

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Across many countries in Africa, thousands of young people are imprisoned without access to proper nutrition, education or healthcare, and once released, there is often little, if any, support to help them reform and reintegrate.  Aid groups are making headway to improve one youth detention center in Senegal, though the problems faced by administrators have not gone away.

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