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Kenya, 26 April 2016: Save the Children and UNICEF launch the Every Last Child Campaign

Despite Kenya’s progress in child survival, 50 per cent of children in Nairobi are more likely to reach their 5th birthday than children in the northeast.

New research by Save the Children highlights the equity gap as a contributing factor

NAIROBI, 26 April 2016 – Inequalities in health and education outcomes threaten the well-being of the poorest children living in urban informal settlements and arid and semi-arid lands, according to a new report released today by Save the Children.

The new global survey on discrimination conducted in 18 countries has revealed that almost 40 per cent of adults worldwide were discriminated against as children because of their gender, ethnicity or religion, a disability or simply because of where they live. As a result, almost half (49 per cent) say their access to education was adversely affected, and just over one-third (35 per cent) were unable to access critical health services.

This new poll, which involved over 18,000 people across the globe, is the largest of its kind ever undertaken by Save the Children. For the first time, it tracks the impact that discrimination has on life chances.

While the research suggests that Kenya is among the few countries globally to have made rapid reductions in inequalities, significant barriers still prevent the most vulnerable Kenyan children from accessing life-saving services.

For example, according to the index, children born in Nairobi are 50 per cent more likely than children in the Northeast to reach their fifth birthday, be registered at birth, avoid hunger and malnutrition and to complete primary education.

These disparities are even wider when it comes to birth registration, which allows children to access essential services and school attendance. While 87 per cent of children in Nairobi have birth certificates and 93 per cent finish primary school, those numbers drop to 48 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, among children in the Northeast.

To ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to survive and benefit from access to healthcare, education and nutrition regardless of who they are or where they live, Save the Children is launching a new three-year global campaign – Every Last Child which will be implemented in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners in Kenya.

David Wright, Save the Children’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, says: “It is not an accident that discrimination is preventing some of the most vulnerable children from accessing life-saving services – these children are being systematically left out by design or neglect.”

Patrizia Di Giovanni, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Kenya, says: “Rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. Public and government attitudes must change to enable the country’s most marginalized children to access healthcare, food and the education that they need and deserve. This will put Kenya on the right path to attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which promise to ‘Leave no Child Behind’ by 2030.”

The Every Last Child campaign calls on decision-makers at the household, local, national and international levels to ensure that all barriers that prevent the poorest children from accessing life-saving services are eliminated.

Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and East African Affairs says: “The Government of Kenya has robust policies and legal provisions in place to guarantee access to services for all, but we need to continue working together with UNICEF, Save the Children and other partners collaborating with the Government to close gaps in implementation.”

“We are cognisant of the fact that the Kenya Traffic Act makes no mention of children. Consequently as children we continue to suffer violence on the roads especially as we make our way to and from school. The Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2014 is a step in the right direction in ensuring a safe journey to school for every child including safe roads and speed management around every school. We urge you as leaders to ensure the passage of this bill as this will help stop children like us from perishing in road accidents,” says Stephanie Akech, HandicapInternational Road Safety Projects Manager.

To ensure basic rights for all children, the Every Last Child campaign, calls on leaders to commit to three basic guarantees for all children: 1) fair financing – so that essential services are financed in a sustainable way and free for everyone to use; 2) equal treatment for all children; and 3) for decision-makers to be held accountable.

“Unless steps are taken to recognize that excluded children exist and to provide them with the services they are entitled to, it will be impossible for all children to survive and thrive,” says Dr. Khadijah Kassachom, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour and East African Affairs.

Notes to editors:

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children. We have been operational in Kenya since the 1950s. We work in Bungoma, Dadaab Refugee Camp, Garissa, Mandera, Turkana and Wajir and through partners in many other parts of the country.

The results of the poll in Every Last Child report are drawn from a survey of online panels of 18,172 adult citizens across 18 participating countries in total. The poll was conducted for Save the Children between March 23 and April 14, 2016 by the international opinion research and consultancy firm GlobeScan.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org/kenya

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About Handicap International
Handicap International is an independent charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

For more information contact:

Bella Nyamamu
Communications Manager
Tel: +254 722772370
Email: Bella.Nyamamu@savethechildren.org

Daisy Serem-Esinapwaka
Communication Officer, UNICEF Kenya
Tel: +254 (0) 738057030
Email: dserem@unicef.org

 

 
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