Child poverty has life-long adverse consequences, undermines children’s psychosocial wellbeing, and ultimately hurts all of us. Investing in the early years to stimulate development, provide adequate support and offer vital protection are all crucial to ensure that children live healthy and fulfilling lives, both during childhood and as they grow older. The need to get this right has become even more urgent in the wake of Covid-19 with many more children in poverty and exposed to risks such as lost learning, early marriage, and domestic violence.
In this episode, I speak with representatives of three world-leading organisations when it comes to tackling child poverty. David Stewart is Chief of Child Poverty and Social Protection at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, Yolande Wright is Global Director for Poverty Reduction, Climate Resilience, Gender Equality and Inclusion at Save the Children International and Joan Nyanyuki is Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). All three organisations are also members of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty.
Tackling child poverty is an objective that all countries have signed up to. The Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) are referred to frequently in this episode, with their targets on eliminating extreme poverty and halving poverty according to national definitions for everyone in the population – including children – committing governments to act and make progress. Despite efforts, such as in many countries in Africa, action towards tracking and monitoring child poverty is still limited. Empowering children’s voices, building commitment on behalf of government and developing policies such as universal child benefits can begin to turn the tide and ensure that increases in child poverty are halted and that countries get back on track to improve children’s lives.
If you would like to learn more, there are many interesting documents to look into:
- The hidden impact of Covid-19 on children by Save the Children and impact of the pandemic on child poverty around the world with studies by UNICEF.
- The 2020 edition of the African Report on Child Wellbeing by ACPF about the extent to which governments invest in improving children and especially girls’ lives.
- Reporting on child poverty in the Voluntary National Reports (VNRs) that countries produce to track progress in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The potential of social protection and universal child benefits to counter the effects of Covid-19 and reduce child poverty proposed by Save the Children, UNICEF and colleagues and the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty.