Tuesday July 16, 2019

Most Children Globally Lack Social Protection Coverage

The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day.

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Children
Syrian children queue to receive food distributed by humanitarian aid workers at a makeshift camp for displaced people, near the village of Yazi Bagh, Feb. 7, 2018. VOA

A joint study by the International Labor Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund finds the vast majority of the world’s children lack effective social protection coverage. It says this dooms them to a life of extreme poverty, with negative implications for society.

The study finds only one third of children between zero and 14 years of age have any social protection. That means two-thirds, or 1.3 billion children live without a social safety net.

International Labor Organization Social Protection Department Director Isabel Ortiz says just slightly more than one percent of GDP is allocated to social protection for children. She says this huge under-investment gap needs to be covered.

Children
The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day. Pixabay

“And, of course, the numbers worsen as we go by region. In Africa, for instance, children represent 40 percent of the African population overall. However, only 0.6 percent is actually invested in social protection for children,” she said.

The report finds children fare best in Europe and Central Asia where 87 percent have social protection coverage, followed by children in the Americas with 66 percent. Asia and Africa have the worst records. The report says no data is available on the Arab States.

The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day.

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Stewart says this has negative implications for children, and for societies and economies as well. Pixabay

“I think one of the most striking statistics, which emerges is that children are two times as likely to be living in poverty as adults,” he said. “Now, for children it is particularly concerning because poverty can have a lifetime implication for children. You do not have a second chance at nutrition, at health care, and education.”

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Stewart says this has negative implications for children, and for societies and economies as well.

The ILO and UNICEF recommend the rapid expansion of social protection for children including the consideration of universal cash grants to children. Authors of the report say evidence clearly shows cash transfers play a vital role in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability. (VOA)

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UNICEF: ‘Education Under Fire’, Militant Attacks on Afghan Schools Tripled in 2018

More than 1,000 schools across the country remain closed because of security threats from groups

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UNICEF, Education, Afghan Schools
In this April 5, 2017 photo, Afghan students attend school classes in an open air primary school on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

Attacks on schools in Afghanistan increased almost threefold last year, making it increasingly difficult to ensure an education for children in many parts of the country, the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF said on Tuesday.

The agency, which promotes education and children’s rights, said the number of attacks against Afghan schools jumped from 68 in 2017 to 192 last year. It was the first time since 2015 that a rise in attacks had been recorded.

“Education is under fire in Afghanistan,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The senseless attacks on schools; the killing, injury and abduction of teachers; and the threats against education are destroying the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children.”

More than 1,000 schools across the country remain closed because of security threats from groups such as the Taliban and Islamic State, which have sought soft targets for attacks aimed at extending and consolidating their influence through intimidation.

UNICEF, Education, Afghan Schools
Attacks on schools in Afghanistan increased almost threefold last year. Pixabay

Although the Taliban have shifted from their previous opposition to all forms of girls’ education, they have faced regular accusations of shutting down schools run in a way they do not approve.

UNICEF said the use of school buildings as voter centers during last year’s parliamentary election may have been a factor behind the rise in attacks.

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Afghanistan has a young and fast-growing population but about 3.7 million children, or nearly half of all school-age children, are not in formal education, UNICEF said. (VOA)