Despite progress, millions of children still live in poverty in Egypt, UNICEF study says
The study - Child Poverty and Disparities in Egypt: Building the social infrastructure for Egypt’s future - is the first such study in the country that looks at both childhood and poverty at the same time.The study highlights Egypt’s gains for children, particularly at the legislative front, but notes that millions continue to live in poverty and face the risk of passing on this deprivation to their own children. Egypt is one of five countries in the MENA region to conduct the study and it is the second country to launch the study, following Djibouti.
Some of its main findings include:
• More than 7 million children are deprived of one or more of their rights, which include the right to nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, access to basic health care services, shelter, education, participation and protection
The study calls for increased investment in children to maintain the pace of Egypt’s continued progress and development. Children and their families should be made aware of child rights and of laws protecting these rights, and policies intended to address poverty among children should target children directly.
“Children, who represent one-third of Egypt's citizen's today, should be explicitly considered in any poverty mapping or poverty reduction programme,” Her Excellency Moushira Khattab, Minister of State for Family and Population said at the launch of the study in Cairo University.
“Nearly half of Egypt’s under 18 year-olds live on less than US$2 a day,” Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, “It is important to look at how poverty is affecting their lives and how we can address it, because a child who lives in poverty rarely gets a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life.”
“If we are to break the cycle of poverty, it is key that children are at the heart of development policies,” Kaag said.
The study was commissioned by UNICEF and conducted by the Center for Economic and Financial Research Studies of the Cairo University (CEFRS). Its work was guided by a steering committee co-chaired by Her Excellency Moushira Khattab, Minister of State for Family and Population, and UNICEF.
The study was launched on February 16th 2010, by Her Excellency Minister Moushira Khattab; Dr. Alia El Mahdi, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University, and Ms. Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.