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33 million children in Bangladesh live in poverty

UNICEF study on child poverty and disparities in Bangladesh released today

DHAKA, 25 November 2009 - 33 million children in Bangladesh - about half of all Bangladeshi children - are living in poverty while about one in four children is deprived of at least four basic needs among the following: food, education, health, information, shelter, water and sanitation. These findings were presented today at the launch of the UNICEF Study on Child Poverty and Disparities in Bangladesh.

The document was launched by Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, State Minister of Women and Children Affairs. Mr. Azizur Rahman, Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commission, Mr. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, External Resource Division, Ministry of Planning, Mr. Shaikh Altaf Ali, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative, were also present at the event.

According to this new study, 64 per cent of children in Bangladesh are deprived of sanitation, 52 per cent are deprived of information, 57 per cent are deprived of nutrition, 41 per cent are deprived of shelter, 16 per cent are deprived of health, and 8 per cent are deprived of education. One key determinant of child poverty is the level of the mother’s education: the higher the mother’s level of education, the lower the chance for the child to be affected by deprivation. The mother’s education also has a mitigating impact on the severity of the child’s deprivations.

"Child poverty in Bangladesh remains a grave concern", said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative. "The majority of the Millennium Development Goals and targets are related to children. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to achieve MDGs without giving proper attention to children. Children need to be at the centre of national programmes that address poverty such as safety nets and social protection interventions."

UNICEF is proposing a shift in the definition of poverty - away from a narrow measurement that addresses income exclusively to a definition that includes income poverty, deprivation and well-being. The study focuses on the multidimensional aspects of child poverty looking at deprivation in seven areas: food, education, health, information, shelter, water and sanitation.

The report was presented by Professor Abul Barkat, lead consultant for the national study, which was conducted by the Human Development Research Centre. UNICEF initiated the study as part of a Global initiative involving 46 countries in seven regions, working closely with government and non-governmental organizations to pool expertise, knowledge and evidence on children.

In Bangladesh, technical oversight was provided by a working group involving 10 different Ministries and multisectoral partners led by the Planning Commission. 

UNICEF video and high-resolution photography for media organizations is available at: http://www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Christine Jaulmes, Chief, Communication and Information Section, UNICEF Bangladesh,
Tel + (880-2) 9336701 ext. 209; Mobile: (88) 01713043478,
E-mail: cjaulmes@unicef.org 

Arifa S. Sharmin, Communication Specialist, communication and Information Section, 
Tel + 9336701-10 Ext:442,
E-mail: assharmin@unicef.org




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