Multidimensional child poverty - more than monetary deprivation

A roadmap to measure and tackle child poverty and improve general child wellbeing

16 October 2023
Мало девојче и нејзиниот поголем брат ѕиркаат низ венецијанер ролетни на прозор
UNICEF/2017/Georgiev

Skopje, October 17, 2023: At the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UNICEF and partners organized consultation with stakeholders from education, health and social protection sectors, including civil society, to create consensus on priority policy measures to address multidimensional child poverty. The consultation also provided a forum to discuss ways to improve the collaboration between sectors and identify linkages to sectoral priorities, goals, and existing policies.

The outcome of the debate will help design a roadmap for measuring of multidimensional poverty.

“Important aspects of well-being might not be fully captured through monetary measures alone. Child poverty is not contingent only on family income, but also arises due to deprivations in care, goods and services provided by the parents and by the public authorities. A child may live in a relatively well-off family in terms of income, but may suffer, for example, from physical or psychological violence,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative. “Such a multiple deprivation overlaps and affects the wellbeing of children. It diminishes the life chances of children and their ability to realize their full potential. They can have life-long consequences for children, future generations and society.“

A recent UNICEF research on multidimensional poverty indicates that education is a key factor to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty noting that households headed by less-educated adults have a higher share of multidimensionally poor children, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty. The lack of love and care are among the top two contributors to the multidimensional poverty of children aged 5-17 years in the country. This points to the need to pay attention to promoting good-parenting practice and specialized support to parents in this regard.

Limited access to pre-school education facilities may drive up multidimensional child poverty. This is worrying, as data shows that 61% of children never attended an early childhood education. Rural children are heavily deprived in this dimension as well as ethnicities other than Macedonian.

Action points from today’s debate include: North Macedonia should strive to increase expenditures in education, which are currently significantly below the EU average in terms of their share in the Gross Domestic Product and to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of spending in Education. The Government and the municipalities should continue the trend of expanding access to early childhood education, given its significance to future life outcomes. Introducing universal health insurance coverage for all children could also have a significant impact on ensuring access to healthcare. The importance of the love and care dimension confirms that decision-makers should stay vigilant and ensure North Macedonia maintains the results achieved by the de-institutionalization process and should support positive parenting programmes.

Participants at today’s consultation included representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and technical personnel from other relevant institutions: Bureau for Development of Education, State Educational Inspectorate, National Examination Center, Centers for Social Work, Health Insurance Fund, Public Health Institute, Immunization teams and State Statistical Office.

Earlier this year UNICEF supported three sectoral workshops focusing on educational, health, nutrition and social protection aspects of child poverty.

These workshops served to present to the key educational, health and social protection institutions the concept of multidimensional child poverty, obtain feedback on their sector indicators for multidimensional child poverty and identify linkages to sectoral priorities and existing policies.

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