Child Poverty Reduction
What we do to prevent child poverty
What we do to prevent child poverty
Focusing on child poverty is based on the notion that poverty being a multidimensional phenomenon and its experience goes beyond just lack of income/low consumption, as it manifests itself in malnutrition, poor health, poor education and capability to maintain livelihood or participate in society. For children, this multidimensional aspect of poverty is especially important as deprivation in early life puts them at a disadvantage throughout their life, increases vulnerability to exploitation and abuse and limits future prospects, which further harms communities and societies.
Globally, UNICEF overarching interventions to address monetary and multidimensional child poverty are as follows:
- Expand child-sensitive social protection programmes: Social protection is a key instrument to address child poverty and build human capital of children. Evidence from across the world shows the power of cash transfers, in particular cash plus programmes in improving health, nutrition and education of children, in addition to addressing income poverty of the family. Beyond provision of cash benefits to children, governments need to build and strengthen evidence-based, child-sensitive and shock responsive social protection systems as a whole, so that they can protect children in poverty and vulnerable to poverty and prevent them from the permanent harms of poverty.
- Improve access to quality social services: Child poverty is multidimensional, and a wide variety of public services are relevant for children’s survival, development and growth. These include early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling, health care, clean water and adequate sanitation, among others. Because the foundation of children’s future is laid in the early years, specific attention should be made to improve access and usage of services that help children get the nutrition, care and protection they need during the early years, ages 0-5.
- Promote adolescent development: A growing population of youth brings incredible potential to reap demographic dividend – if right investments are made for them. These include investments in quality education, skills development opportunities, sexual and reproductive health services, which altogether support adolescent boys’ and girls’ successful transition to adulthood and help unlock their full potentials.
Ensuring successful implementation of these interventions requires sustainable funding by governments and effective and meaningful engagement with key stakeholders. As such, comprehensive policy package to combat child poverty will not be complete without the following:
- Engagement in budget processes: To move from planning to implementation, it is essential that child poverty reduction policies and programmes are part of government budgeting and plans.
- Actively involve children, adolescents and youth: especially the poorest and most vulnerable in local and national planning processes through consultation and other participatory means, and as part of ongoing efforts to make children, adolescents and youth aware of these issues, inspire their positive action and expand the space for their participation in accountability mechanisms and activities.
Choosing the right mix of these and other interventions to tackle child poverty can be determined by consultation with key actors or through using evidence and research that can help identify interventions with highest impact.
According to the findings of the nationwide household survey, in Uzbekistan children are 1.5 times more likely to be poor than adults. At the same time only 17% of children live in the households that receive either Childcare or Family Allowance schemes. Due to insufficient financing, the impact of these has been minimal, reducing national poverty by only 8 per cent.
The way forward
In the last few years, the Government of Uzbekistan initiated ambitious socio-economic reforms. However, such reforms are usually accompanied with financial shocks and risks, which may potentially increase the vulnerabilities of families, especially those with children. Hence, a strengthening social protection system for families with children must be a key component of the current reforms agenda.
UNICEF partners with the World Bank in supporting the Government on designing and introducing poverty measurements. UNICEF specifically focuses on measuring child poverty within the “Listening to citizens of Uzbekistan” survey of the World Bank.
In partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, the World Bank and UNDP, UNICEF will contribute to the national poverty reduction strategy to enshrine the Government’s commitment to tackle child poverty in Uzbekistan. This work also includes supporting the Government is designing and implementing the child poverty measurements aligned with international standards.