UNICEF rallies behind the most disadvantaged children and families, ensuring that their rights are fully recognized in national and local policies, strategies, programmes and public resources.
Niger has made some progress for children in the past decade. Nevertheless, although monetary poverty has declined from 53.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.4 per cent in 2014, it remains very high at 51.4 per cent in rural areas (where 84 per cent of the population live) compared to 8.7 per cent in urban areas.
The social protection system covers only a small fraction of families and according to the 2016 Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis, 99.3 of 0-23 months old chidren are deprived in at least one of 5 essential dimensions of child well-being, and two thirds of children experience at least four deprivations simultaneously. Niger has one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in the world, estimated at 20.65 million in 2017, with 58.2 per cent under age 18. With population doubling every twenty years, expanding coverage of social services while increasing quality constitutes a core challenge.
Bottlenecks to effective service coverage in all social sectors include: (i) the lack of efficiency and accountability in the allocation and use of human resources, limited human and institutional capacity and limited outreach at decentralized levels; and (ii) traditional, cultural and religious beliefs and practices that limit demand. Across sectors, challenges in implementing child-sensitive national policies can be attributed to a limited government budget and weak coordination, data quality and monitoring and evaluation.
UNICEF collaborates with partners to stimulate dialogue around macrolevel policies that guide national frameworks, legislative reform and budgetary allocations affecting children and families.
To reduce inequalities and multidimensional child poverty, UNICEF supports the Government to leverage partnerships to:
• Boost budget transparency and accountability, and advocate for greater budget allocations for social sectors;
• Promote inclusive planning and budgeting and bottom-up accountability mechanisms in local governance and in the education, health and water sectors, building on the ongoing public finance and decentralization reforms;
• Build linkages between the formal and informal social protection systems to create a holistic social protection system based on the dynamization of community-based solidarity mechanisms and strengthening the national adaptive social protection system
• Strengthen the capacity of adolescents, youth and women’s organizations to claim rights and create formal spaces for their participation in policy decision-making processes enabling to hold decision makers accountable;
• Strengthen capacities for quality, integrated data collection and user-friendly data analysis and dissemination in support of the country’s statistical systems at central and decentralized levels, and contributing to the use of data and research to advocate for equitable child-centred policies through forward-looking development scenarios.
UNICEF’s programme will contribute to increasing children’s access to sustainable social protection interventions and social services by supporting an intergenerational dialogue and social mobilization on solidarity values and the role of adolescents and youths, particularly the most excluded and marginalized ones, in the social, economic and political development of Niger.
Available publications, surveys, reports will be added in this section