Social inclusion

Delivering the best for every child, everywhere


The challenge

If children are not placed at the centre of policies and plans it is all too easy for their basic human right to be denied. All children deserve an equitable chance to achieve their potential in life but too many are denied that chance.

Addressing the needs of migrant children and children ‘left behind’; those out of school (14 per cent in the region); children with disabilities and functional difficulties; pregnant teens and young mothers and children from single-parent households is paramount.

One in three of our children is living in poverty, this doubles when there are four or more siblings in a household. In Grenada and Barbados the stark figure rises to 70 per cent.  Children are also significantly poorer than adults in the region: one in five of adults is living in poverty.

There is also a gender dimension to the issue. Across the region,    children are more likely to be poor if living in a family headed by a female than one headed by a male.In fact, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in general is not given sufficient prominence in areas such as poverty alleviation, health and education.

Discriminatory laws, policies and cultural norms often hamper the life chances of girls in the eastern Caribbean


Our ultimate goal is to help countries make the right choice of policies specially tailored to help the most vulnerable children and their families.

The solution

At UNICEF we focus on the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. We have adopted an equity-based, child rights approach, addressing issues such as poverty, social protection, and disaster risk reduction in the face of humanitarian crises.

Spreading the safety net

We see our role as working with countries to make social assistance programmes more effective. We advocate for universal social protection systems that include social assistance programmes benefiting families and children.  Resources invested for children should be used in the most targeted way so that children and families most in need stand to benefit more directly. UNICEF therefore supports governments in gathering data and information, including on child poverty, to ensure that no one is left behind.
Our ultimate goal is to help countries make the right choice of policies specially tailored to help the most vulnerable children and their families.

Every child counts

We work with governments to:

  • Make evidence-informed decisions in social protection.  For example, by supporting data collection, analysis and assessments governments will have better answers to tough questions on the need for fairness, gender equality and social justice.
  •  Provide technical expertise to help improve social assistance systems effectively, efficiently, with transparency and accountability. The focus is on creating child- and gender-sensitive social protection programmes, moving away from dependency and welfare and towards creating productive and engaging members of society.
  • Encourage countries to create and develop initiatives at both the regional and institutional levels to train relevant staff members on child-sensitive social protection, addressing child poverty. Countries are encouraged to include the wider society in general, and adolescents in particular, in regular discussions on social protection issues.

Partnership is key

We promote stronger stakeholder partnerships among governments, regional organisations, academic and research institutions, civil society, the private sector and youth organisations. The aim of stakeholder engagement is to have a pulse on the situation and gather the necessary data for the measurement of poverty in all its dimensions, the budgets government allocate to children, and the social safety nets needed to provide for the girls and boys who need help the most.


Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes close working with others to help make the right choices for children.