Social policy and research
UNICEF rallies behind Rwanda’s most disadvantaged children and families, ensuring that their rights are fully recognised in national and local policies, strategies, and programmes so they can better access social services.
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Rwanda has made significant progress towards economic prosperity and human development over the past two decades.
Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in central Africa and was one of the few countries to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals.
Political stability, strong governance, fiscal and administrative decentralisation, and zero tolerance for corruption are among the key factors supporting the country’s inclusive growth and development.
However, Rwanda still faces some significant development challenges. Poverty remains widespread; 38 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and 16 per cent live in extreme poverty.
A person who is poor can suffer multiple disadvantages at the same time. For example, they may have poor health or malnutrition, a lack of clean water or electricity, poor quality of work or little schooling. Focusing on one factor alone, such as income, is not enough to capture the true reality of poverty.
Children are disproportionately affected by poverty. They are often deprived of multiple basic needs, such as education and health, compounding the effect that poverty has on their lives.
In Rwanda, 25 per cent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 experience multidimensional poverty, deprived of their basic needs in at least three different areas. For children aged 15-17, this number grows to an overwhelming 40 per cent. Similar to other countries in East Africa, the majority of these children live in rural areas.
UNICEF’s work in social policy and research aims to ensure that children are prioritised when the Government designs their budgets, ensuring the needs of children are adequately addressed. There must be sufficient funding to develop and implement social policies and programmes that deliver quality social services for the poorest children and their families.
In partnership with the Government, UNICEF works to improve equity-focused programming in three critical areas:
Child-sensitive social protection programmes
Child-friendly policies and budgeting
Applied research, evaluation and evidence generation, with focus on reducing multidimensional poverty and disparities among children