For every child a fair chance
Children under the age of 14 represent nearly half of the Somali population. 73 percent of these children are poor. While an adult may fall into poverty temporarily, falling into poverty in childhood can last a lifetime.
A child seldom gets a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. Child poverty puts children at risk and it is likely to be passed on to future generations, establishing and even aggravating inequality in society.
In addition to the lack of income, children are also disproportionately affected by multidimensional poverty which deprives them of the things they need most for survival and development, including health, nutrition, shelter, water and education.
UNICEF supports the Government of Somalia to develop more effective and equitable social and economic policies to fulfill the rights of all children.
We support the Government in building child-sensitive and shock-responsive social protection systems to protect children and their families from economic and environmental shocks. This covers a range of programmes and policies needed to shield children from the immediate and lifelong consequences of poverty – with proven impacts on addressing malnutrition, lack of clean water, and poor-quality education. We also help the Government to monitor and assess the situation of Somali children and support the development of national policies that meet the needs of children.
Protecting children from poverty requires also resource allocations. In 2019, Somalia allocated eight percent of its budget to social sectors that mostly benefit children – the total budget for education was increased from two to five percent and the budget for health from less than one percent to two percent. Despite the tremendous increase in budget allocations, Somalia still lags far behind the international benchmarks for public expenditure. For education the global target is 20 percent and for health 15 percent.
To realize children’s right to social protection, reduce poverty and enhance development, Somalia must scale up its investments in social protection and social services.
At UNICEF, we work with budget decision-makers to ensure that public finance delivers results for children, through effective and equitable social sector spending. Together with international finance institutions, UNICEF advocates for debt relief for Somalia to free fiscal space that will allow the Government of Somalia to increase its investments in social sectors. We also work to improve budget transparency and to strengthen the Government’s capacity in managing public finances.
UNICEF supports local governments in the federal member states to increase their investment in service delivery in education and health from local revenues. UNICEF provides develops the capacity of 17 districts in the areas of decentralized service delivery through a service delivery model, social accountability and civic engagement.