Building knowledge

© UNICEF Serbia / Zoran Jovanovic Maccak

If we are to reach the most marginalized children, we need to know who they are, where they are, and why they are slipping through the cracks. UNICEF leads efforts to gather and analyse the knowledge to guide national policies and programmes for such children and monitor progress.

In 2010, for example, UNICEF conducted an analysis of the likely effects of a proposed increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) on the most vulnerable groups. This led to a public debate on the possible costs and benefits and a call for more evidence on the potential impact before proceeding with the increase.

Our work on costings includes efforts to calculate the true cost of providing inclusive education for a vulnerable child. This will guide a per capita formula funding system, shifting the focus from the costs per class to the costs per child. Similarly, on child care reform, we are calculating the costs of keeping children with disabilities with their families, aiming to ensure that the money ‘follows’ the child in the family, not the bed in an institution.

We also gather knowledge that makes an immediate difference to individual families and communities. This includes the work of the Roma Health Mediators  who use laptops and software provided through an innovative tri-partite partnership between the Ministry of Health, Telenor (a Norwegian Telecommunications firm), and UNICEF in their daily work to connect Roma families to local health services. As they do so, they are building a unique database on the well-being of Roma communities and their children.



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