Despite progress, 180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents – UNICEF

World Children’s Day activities in over 130 countries to provide platform for children to speak out about their concerns; advocate for children being left behind

20 November 2017

NEW YORK & DAR ES SALAAM, 20 November 2017 – Despite global progress, 1 in 12 children worldwide live in countries where their prospects today are worse than those of their parents, according to a UNICEF analysis that was conducted for World Children’s Day.

According to the analysis, 180 million children from 37 countries are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school, or be killed by violent death, in comparison to children living in those countries 20 years ago.

The UNICEF analysis reveals that the share of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased in 14 countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This increase is mostly due to unrest, conflicts or poor governance. Primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries, including Tanzania, due to factors such as financial crises, rapid population growth and the impact of conflicts. Further, violent deaths among children below the 19 years have also increased in seven countries: Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen – all countries experiencing major conflicts.

“Fifty per cent of Tanzanians are under 18 years, making it one of the youngest countries in the world. The country has made vast gains for its children in recent years – the under-5 mortality rate has come down, immunization coverage is over 75 per cent and stunting has reduced to 34 per cent. However, these gains haven’t reached all. There are many who have been excluded from this development with disparities between urban and rural,” said UNICEF Tanzania Representative, Maniza Zaman.

A separate UNICEF survey of children aged 9-18 in 14 countries also released today, shows that children are deeply concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict, climate change, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty.

The survey reveals that half of the children across the 14 countries report feeling disenfranchised when asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect children around the world. Children also identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues that they wanted world leaders to take action on. About 40 per cent worried a lot about the unfair treatment of refugees and migrant children across the world. Violence against children was also a big concern, with 67 per cent reporting worrying about it a lot. Nearly half of the children (45 per cent) did not trust adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children.

Today, UNICEF globally is commemorating World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with global children’s 'take-overs', high-profile events and other activations of children in over 130 countries. Children from around the world will be taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on, and to voice support for the millions of their peers who are facing a less hopeful future. In Tanzania, seven children aged 9-17 will take over the role of presenters on the television (Clouds TV) and radio channels (Clouds FM and Choice FM) of Clouds Media Group, a multimedia company, and echo the global slogan – What About Us.

Children ‘presenters’ will take over Clouds FM’s Power Breakfast, Leo Tena and Jahazi, and Alasiri on Choice FM. They will also be on Clouds TV’s Alasiri show and will read the news bulletin in the evening. Later in the week, members of the Junior Council of Tanzania will hold a special interaction with the Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Job Ndugai. This will be a unique opportunity for children to interact with the Speaker and present their issues to be taken on the floor of Parliament. UNICEF’s aim is to give children their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.

“I am very excited to be a ‘presenter’ on Clouds FM. This is an opportunity for us children to raise our voices on issues that affect us, and let our parents, caretakers, community members and leaders know about their responsibilities towards us,” said Goodluck Eric, a 14-year-old young reporter.

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Notes to Editors

The 37 countries in which prospects for children are declining in at least one key respect are: Benin, Bolivia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Iraq, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania, Ukraine, Vanuatu. Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

For the survey, UNICEF worked with Kantar and Lightspeed to poll more than 11,000 children aged between 9 and 18 years old in 14 countries about their concerns and attitudes on global issues including bullying, conflict/war, poverty, terrorism and violence against children. The countries surveyed were: Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About World Children’s Day

More information on World Children’s Day, visit: https://www.unicef.org/world-childrens-day/

Media Contacts

Usia Ledama

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Tanzania

Tel: +255 762 871830

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/tanzania.

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