Ending child poverty

UNICEF advocates for greater national investments in social protection and supports government efforts to track and monitor progress on poverty reduction.

child in a red beanie, Moldova

The challenge

The legacy of child poverty can last a lifetime.

Children in Moldova remain disproportionately poor.

Although in 2015 social protection spending amounted to 13 per cent of Moldova’s GDP, more than 60 per cent of the social protection budget is spent on pensions. Less than half of families with children were receiving poverty-targeted social assistance within the “Ajutor Social” programme in 2015.

Families with three or more children are amongst the poorest, and both the incidence and the depth of poverty are twice as high among Roma children as among non-Roma children.

Eight in ten poor families with children live in rural areas. Risk to be poor for children from villages is three times higher compared to children from urban areas. Use of improved sanitation facilities varies greatly between cities and villages: 75 per cent of the urban population uses flush toilet facilities, compared to only 9 percent in rural areas.


Water and sanitation in Rural areas

Use of improved sanitation facilities vary greatly between cities and villages. One fifth of the Moldovan rural population does not use improved sources of drinking water. 9 in 10 rural households are not using a flush toilet facility.

Poverty in childhood can have life-long consequences, with the poorest children less likely to access health care or complete their education and more likely to suffer from poor nutrition.

Children who do not reach their full potential cannot contribute fully to social, political and economic growth, and those who grow up in poverty are more likely to be poor when they are older, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and disadvantage. 

It is in every government’s long-term interest to invest in children and in child-sensitive social protection to prevent, manage and overcome the poverty that threatens their well-being. Social protection includes cash transfers, as well as services to provide vulnerable children and families with the extra support and care they need. 


The poorest children are two times more likely to be anaemic and four times more likely to be stunted - too short for their age - than the wealthiest ones.

The solution

The best interests of the child should be at the heart of the reforms

All children have the right to a standard of living that ensures their full development. That is why UNICEF supports governments as they attempt to shield children from the impact of poverty and deprivation. 

Aiming for an end to poverty – in line with Sustainable Development Goal 1 – we work with the government and other partners to strengthen social protection systems to diminish the impact of poverty on children's lives. 

We gather and analyse evidence on what works, pushing to translate that evidence into concrete policies and actions for children, especially the most disadvantaged. 


The government put into place a nationwide health insurance scheme in 2004 with advances in the coverage of antenatal care and immunization. The National Health Insurance Company fully finances childhood and adolescent health services.

UNICEF supports the assessment of the national poverty alleviation programmes focusing on child-related benefits and allowances. It advocates for expanded coverage of social assistance services and the introduction of simplified administrative procedures. In striving to increase the outreach, identification and provision of assistance to vulnerable families with children, it is initiating the modelling of a single registry at district level covering the social assistance, education, and health services. Innovative approaches to cash benefits and equity-based targeting of social services are being sought as well. 


A new funding formula ensured that two per cent of the State education budget is dedicated to inclusive education, leading to progress in the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools.

Policy and investment decisions made by the government have a direct impact on children’s lives. Moldova needs civil servants, parliamentarians, media and civil society organizations that understand the value of investing in children. In turn, these professionals require data and policy oriented research to help in their decision-making.


These resources on child poverty represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information.