Social Policy, Advocacy and Partnerships for Children's Rights
Understanding and Confronting Child Poverty
Poverty is widespread in Egypt and has increased over the last decade. In 2010/11, around 20 million people, one quarter of the population, were poor, compared to 11 million in 2000 (according to national poverty line of $1.65 a day ). In a decade, the total number of poor people increased
The highest concentration of poverty is in rural Upper Egypt, where more than half of the population is poor; while in Urban Governorates the poverty rate is around 10% . In Egypt, poverty is the result of the combination of lack of decent work, low wages, insufficient infrastructures, low education, and the limited effectiveness of social protection policies in lifting people out of poverty.
Children in Egypt are disproportionally affected by multidimensional poverty. The consequences of poverty during childhood are long lasting and are likely to be passed on to the next generation.
Monetary poverty is only one aspect of child poverty, and it is often associated with poor health, malnutrition, poor education, inadequate housing, and other forms of deprivations, which all together are reflected in lower chances of survival and lower opportunities of development.
Egypt has invested a substantial part of its public budget in Social Protection, but this did not prevent poverty levels from increasing in the last decade, in spite of a period of sustained economic growth.
The need for more effective and efficient social protection mechanisms is widely recognised. New child sensitive and multi-sectorial approaches should support a broad reform of the existing systems with the aim of achieving greater equity and support national human and economic development.
The following are specific recent and ongoing interventions in the social policy area:
• UNICEF released, in 2010, the first two studies on child poverty in Egypt which shed light on its multidimensional nature and the interaction between deprivations in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, housing and information.
• Support national partners to conduct studies and collect data on child poverty and disparities, reflecting their multidimensional nature.
• Address the specific lack of data on poverty and deprivations faced by children in urban areas, through supporting a study on child poverty in slums and unplanned urban areas.
• Preliminary research on cash transfers for children and review of government budget expenditures, to support the reform of social protection policies.
• Support the dissemination of statistics on children through promoting the use of the UN endorsed DevInfo database technology, in particular with the establishment of a Child Rights Indicators Database.
• Support two postgraduate university diplomas on ‘Public Policy and Children’s Rights’ and ‘Research and Evaluation’, to create a cadre of professionals in the areas of child rights, policy, and monitoring/evaluation.
• Support the National Evaluation and Research Network to contribute to and reinforce the monitoring and evaluation discussion, expertise and culture in Egypt.
• Research and data on child poverty in slums and informal settlements.
• Update of the national child poverty and deprivation indicators.
• Public release, and regular update, of the Child Rights Indicators database.
• New research on child sensitive social protection (including cash transfers for children) and on the identification of fiscal space for financing innovative social protection policies.
• The graduation of students enrolled in the diplomas on ‘Public Policy and Children’s Rights’ and ‘Research and Evaluation’.