Social Policy and Data

Child-focused research, analysis, and social and economic statistics are vital to give visibility to children's issues in the national debates and decision-making processes.

Children in Egypt
UNICEF Egypt/Mounir ELShazly/2013


Poverty is widespread in Egypt and disproportionally affects children by lowering their chances of survival and development, with long lasting effects. In 2012/13, around 9.2 million Egyptian children (aged 0-17) were living in extreme monetary poverty. An additional 7.5 million children were vulnerable to falling in poverty, with levels of consumption just above the national poverty line[1]. The percentage of children in extreme monetary poverty grew continuously in the last 15 years, from 21 percent in 1999/2000 to 28.8 percent in 2012/13[1]. The bulk of extreme poor children are in the rural areas of Upper Egypt (4.9 million children living in poverty), but urban governorates accounts for a large part of the increase in poverty in recent years[1], reflecting the impact of the prolonged economic stagnation that started in 2011, and the concentration of poverty in urban slums[2].

Poverty among children is multidimensional and it is manifested in severe deprivation in health and nutrition, poor education outcomes, inadequate housing and lack of access to water and sanitation, poor socialization and lack of access to development opportunities. Household income and resources, availability and access to quality social services and social infrastructure, as well as family’s and community’s time, skills and resources are all important factors to fulfill the rights of children to a decent standard of living and being free from poverty.

Egypt had nearly 3 in every 10 children who were multidimensionally poor in 2014, which accounted for approximately 10 million children[3]. Addressing the challenge of child poverty, in its different dimensions, requires an enabling environment of inclusive growth, and a functioning integrated social protection system, sensitive to children’s rights. The reform of social protection - from a system based on consumption subsidies, benefiting mainly the richest, to a system of cash transfers better targeted to the poor, especially to families with children[4]– along with an increase in investments on quality basic social services is essential to effectively tackle poverty and support national human and economic development.

[1]CAPMAS and UNICEF (2015), “Child Poverty in Egypt”. The average value of the nation poverty line in Egypt in 2012/13 was 10.4 LE per person per day.
[2]Informal Settlements Development Facility and UNICEF (2013), “Multidimensional Child Poverty in Slums and Unplanned Areas in Egypt”
[3]MoSS, CAPMAS and UNICEF (2017), “Understanding Child Multidimensional Poverty in Egypt”
[4]Cockburn et al (2014), “Enhancing Equity for Children in the Context of the Energy Subsidy Reform in Egypt



Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. At UNICEF, we use data to drive change, to identify issues affecting children and to understand the scale of problems. Data shows us how far we have come in making children happier and safer. Data shows that far too many are left behind. Our data pushes policymakers and communities to take action. At UNICEF, we do not take numbers for granted, because every child counts.

The UNICEF’s social policy programme follows two main approaches to support Egypt in addressing child poverty. The first one aims at promoting generation and dissemination of research and statistical evidence on the living conditions of Egyptian children. The statistical data and research findings are used to inform the development of child sensitive social policies and to advocate for children’s rights. For example, UNICEF’s studies on child poverty shed light on the multidimensional nature of poverty, encompassing severe deprivations in health, nutrition, education, housing, water and sanitation, and access to information. The second approach aims at supporting the expansion and the strengthening of social policies to respond to the multiple deprivations faced by poor children, especially child sensitive social protection policies.



Key Achievements

Data on children:
• UNICEF contributed to the contents, the implementation and the analysis of the 2014 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey which addressed a wide range of areas such as child health, survival, nutrition, female genital mutilations, child discipline, and water, sanitation and hygiene;
• With the Ministry of Health, USAID and UNFPA, UNICEF contributed to the 2015 Egypt Health Issues survey and the 2014 Survey on Young People in Egypt;
• Since 2014, UNICEF producing a Statistical Digest for Children in Egypt, which represents a comprehensive database of indicators on children;
• With the support of UNICEF, CAPMAS developed and continuously updates the DevInfo databases CAPMAStat, EgySDGInfo and EgyChildDigest;
• UNICEF contributed to the development of Egypt SDG Observatory Dashboard and Mobile Application on SDGs and Child Digest to enhance the access and use of data through user-friendly platforms, as part of support to CAPMAS (Will be available soon).

National strategy on children:
Support has been provided to the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood for the preparation of the draft National Strategy on Children.

Generating evidence on child poverty:
Since 2010, UNICEF Egypt in collaboration with national partners has been generating statistics and evidence, which represent a comprehensive database of understanding the different contributors of poverty in Egypt


Child-sensitive social protection:
In December 2014, the MoSS launched the Takaful Karama programme, as part of the reform of social protection in Egypt, and UNICEF is one of the supporting partners. UNICEF is also supporting on enhancing the Monitoring & Evaluation component of the programme including a service readiness assessment of its Health and Education components to inform the cash transfer conditionalities.

Public Finance for Children:
UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Finance on key activities to engage citizens in the budget process and to monitor and analyse expenditure on children and social protection.

Cash grant in emergency:
Since 2015, UNICEF is collaborating with UNHCR to implement a winterization cash grant for refugees in Egypt and is currently expanding emergency cash grants interventions. UNICEF contributed to an assessment of the potential impact of the refugees’ crisis on public services delivery, with a focus on the education sector.

Monitoring and evaluation and data systems:
A Monitoring Results for Equity System (MoRES) data system for a joint Ministry of Health and UNICEF Integrated Perinatal Health Care and Nutrition Programme has been established since 2012.



Link to video on it's hosted site.
UNICEF/Egypt 2017/Giraffics