The Equity Approach
Income disparities in Jamaica are among the highest in the world. Children’s chances of surviving and developing to their full potential are heavily influenced by this reality. Similarly, life outcomes for thousands of Jamaican children are determined by where they live, their gender, physical ability, HIV status and other vulnerabilities.
Among the children who face the steepest disadvantages are those who live in poor rural communities, children who experience violence and crime, who are sexually, physically or emotionally abused, who are out of school or out of family care, and those who face stigma and discrimination for a number of reasons.
Compelling data show that in the global push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), children in these highly vulnerable situations are being left behind. National statistics indicating overall progress often hide the extent of the vulnerabilities children confront daily in their homes, schools and communities.
Increasingly, research is showing that until countries pay more attention to the most vulnerable children and their families, national development will remain uneven. In response, UNICEF is intensifying its efforts to reach these children through an equity-based approach.
Equity does not imply equality – it does not mean that everyone has the same resources. Inequities arise when certain groups of people are unfairly deprived of basic resources that are available to other groups. Equity means that everyone has the same opportunity to access the same basic resources.
Equity is not only right in principle, it is right in practice. Having access to basic essential services can alter the entire course of a child’s life, particularly in the earliest years when a solid foundation must be laid for future development.
In an equitable Jamaica, all children would have the same opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favouritism – in keeping with the fundamental rights guaranteed to each and every child by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Jamaica ratified in 1991.
UNICEF Jamaica is working closely with the Government of Jamaica and other partners to sharpen our focus on reaching the most vulnerable children and reducing social inequities.
The country programme 2012-2016 takes a more targeted approach than in the past, building on lessons learned from the previous country programme and the latest knowledge and evidence on the effects of inequities.
It is informed by a comprehensive Situation Assessment and Analysis of Children’s and Women’s Rights in Jamaica, conducted in 2011, and is designed to contribute directly to the achievement of national development goals detailed in the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTSPF) and Vision 2030.