Ethiopian Children's Voices and Views on Urban Child Poverty

Report and Policy Brief


UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis of Ethiopia in 2019 suggest that 42% of all urban children are deprived in three or more of six dimensions and, even though child poverty remains predominantly a rural phenomenon, inequality prevails in urban areas.

 Conventional multi-topic household surveys used to assess household poverty fail to depict the full extent and nuances of poverty facing children—including children qualified as most vulnerable (migrant children, street children, orphans and children with disabilities). Qualitative research is particularly suited to help fill these gaps, as well as evidence gaps on stigma, discrimination, social exclusion, physical safety, violence and the psychological and emotional turmoil that often affect children.

New qualitative evidence on children’s experiences of poverty in urban settings of Ethiopia is thus provided in this study that focused on two sites–Kombolcha-city (Amhara) and Kolfe-Keraniyo sub-city of Addis Ababa. The study draws on information gathered from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with children aged 10-14 and adolescents from 15-17. Child and adolescent views and voices are complemented by those from adults, including FGDs with parents/ guardians, teachers, community and religious leaders, and a series of key informant interviews with government officials and representatives from NGOs at local, national, and regional levels. The study offers a comprehensive picture of child poverty in Ethiopia, also drawing from children’s own perceptions of poverty, its causes and consequences, and the impact of urbanisation on their daily lives. Qualitative findings are compared with innovative analysis of Welfare Monitoring Surveys that took place twice (2011 and 2016). Only urban households with children aged 17 years or younger were included in this work. Furthermore, a principal component analysis guided formulation of wealth quintiles and highlighted significant changes in living conditions for the poorest households that occurred between the years 2011 and 2016. The study concludes with a discussion of policy implications based on these research findings.

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ODI, Policy Studies Institute and UNICEF Ethiopia
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