Social policy and advocacy
UNICEF Burundi’s Social Policy and Advocacy programme supports efforts to reduce multidimensional child poverty and to create a solid evidence-base for decision-making related to child rights.
The Social Policy Programme Component, titled "Every Child has access to inclusive social protection and lives free from poverty," is committed to ensuring that more poor and vulnerable children and their families benefit from social protection and quality social services, including, thereby reducing poverty in all its forms by 2027 by increasing budgetary allocations to the social sectors. This program is integrated with national priorities, including the Vision of Burundi as an Emerging Country in 2040 and a Developed Country in 2060, Burundi National Development Plan 2018-2027 and the African Union's Agenda 2063.
Children are particularly vulnerable in terms of multidimensional poverty, with 64% suffering from at least three concomitant deprivations in the areas of food, health, water, sanitation, housing, education and protection5. The socio-economic impact of coronavirus disease, climate-related shocks, and epidemics, including cholera, are aggravating an already difficult economic situation, particularly for the most vulnerable. In 2021, Burundi ranked 187th out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index.
Burundi ranks 165th out of 182 countries in the Notre Dame-Global Adaptation Country Index (ND-GAIN) , which means that Burundian children are highly vulnerable to climate change. They are increasingly exposed to the risks of extreme storms, floods, landslides, and drought, which affect basic social services as well as food security. While Burundi has declared its ambition to adapt to climate change and pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 12.6%, the ND-GAIN ranks Burundi 18th among the countries least ready to mobilize investment for adaptation measures.
While absolute budget allocations to social sectors in favor of children have increased in recent years, the percentage of budget allocation to key social sectors (health, education, social protection, child protection, EAH) is reduced to 36.6% of public spending in 2022-2023 from 50.6% in 2021-2022, with education and health accounting for 14.8% and 9.6% of the national budget respectively in 2022-2023. Current budget allocations are insufficient to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population.
The social policy program uses data to influence policies & strategies, increase funds for social sectors, and expand child-sensitive, gender-sensitive, inclusive, and shock-responsive social protection. In order to achieve this, the program is organized around two outputs:
- Focus on public finance for children and child poverty
- Support the government in collecting and analyzing disaggregated data on monetary and multidimensional child poverty as well as on the financing of the social sectors with the aim of improving child-focused policy, programming and budgets.
In more specific terms, the response will include capacity-building on child deprivations and how to take these into account in strategy, policy and development programming. In order to reduce child poverty, UNICEF will carry out advocacy activities to increase budgetary allocations to the social sectors through budgetary analyses, capacity-building on public financial management and national and local levels, support reforms to the implementation of programme-based budgeting, support research into financing strategies for the social sectors and will also produce investment frameworks related to sectors linked to children.
In addition, UNICEF will carry out activities to improve budgetary transparency, such as an open budget survey, expenditure performance in health, education and social protection and the dissemination of the budget to the local level through citizen budget initiatives. The support to strengthening the national social protection system: At strategic level UNICEF will support the ministries, the Permanent Executive Secretary of the National Social Protection Commission (SEP/CNPS), the social registry unit, the universal health coverage unit in the implementing new social protection policies and strategies.
At the implementing level UNICEF will support the capacity building of actors, develops operational tools for inclusive social protection, conducts impact assessments, implements cash plus approaches, and links the national cash transfer program with complementary activities. It also strengthens community-based social protection through the solidarity groups (SG) to reach rural populations and reinforce livelihoods, particularly in nutrition.
The program contributes to Early Childhood Development (ECD) by enhancing social protection to provide for children's needs and the integration of ECD needs into the planning and budgeting at local level. Additional strategies of the program include evidence-based advocacy, where it generates data to inform policies and advocates for increased public funding for social protection expansion. It also works with community structures for holistic support, linking social protection to local food systems.
In conclusion, this component aims to address child poverty through enhanced public resource management, expansion of inclusive and effective social protection programs, and community-based approaches. It focuses on building capacities, generating evidence, and advocating for policy changes to ensure vulnerable children and families have access to essential social services and revenues for their basic needs.
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