Child Poverty in Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea is the third richest country in Africa with a per capita income of $8,462.30. Despite this figure, poverty in Equatorial Guinea is among the highest in the world. More than 70% of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives in poverty. With a majority of the population being less than 18 years old, child poverty in Equatorial Guinea is also among the highest in the world.

5 Facts About Child Poverty in Equatorial Guinea

  1. Prevalence of diseases and immunization – In Equatorial Guinea, relatively high income levels do not translate into lower levels of poverty. According to World Bank data from 2021, only 53% of children aged 12-23 months received vaccines against DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus). Similarly, data from 2015 shows that only one in four newborns received a vaccine against polio and measles, while only one in three received a vaccine against tuberculosis. These numbers are among the lowest levels of child immunization in the world.
  2. Poverty and education – According to data from 2012, nearly 40% of Equatorial Guinea’s children aged 6 to 12 years did not attend school. Of note, in 2015, the gross enrollment rate of children in primary school was only 63% which is the second lowest in the world, ahead of Somalia. This is a worrying statistic as poverty levels have a direct effect on education levels which also affects the growth and development of children.
  3. Focus on economic growth and corruption – Extreme child poverty in Equatorial Guinea and its simultaneously high-income levels can be explained by the country’s sole focus on economic growth. For every $100 that the government spends, 80% of it is spent on infrastructure and only 2-3% is spent on health care and education. This is one of the reasons why Equatorial Guinea’s health care and educational parameters are often among the lowest in the world. The Human Rights Watch report also attributed this to some of the senior government officials accumulating a vast amount of wealth during the period of the oil boom.
  4. Social welfare measures – While the above figures paint a grim picture of the current state in Equatorial Guinea, there is still hope for the future. The government’s current social security system in the country reaches only a small portion of the population, with a limited number of social programs to assist the poor with health care and education. This means that if social welfare measures such as social insurance and health waivers fill this gap, there is a potential to drastically improve some of Equatorial Guinea’s social metrics. By ensuring a plan to redistribute its income, there is potential for rapidly improving not only child poverty but also the poverty levels of the entire population in the country.
  5. Support from nonprofits – The SOS Children’s Villages is a nonprofit established in 1949 that has its presence in multiple countries across the world, including in Equatorial Guinea. The organization actively supports children at risk of losing the care of their families and provides them with education and medical assistance. By addressing some of the key issues and with the help of organizations such as the SOS Children’s Village, there is no reason that Equatorial Guinea cannot be on a rapid road to progress.

Room for Improvement

Equatorial Guinea’s high-income levels also tell us that there is a potential to not only address its poverty issues but also other important problems such as education and health care. High levels of income inequality and limited penetration of social welfare have limited the progress of the country. However, as the report by the Overseas Development Institute suggests, by addressing these issues quickly, Equatorial Guinea could soon be on a rapid road to progress.

While this is what the government could do to improve the socioeconomic situation of its citizens, the work of nonprofits organizations such as the SOS Children’s Villages will go a long way to helping children in Equatorial Guinea.

– Ritvik Madhukar Annapragada
Photo: Flickr

Increase in Child Poverty
The Russia-Ukraine war has devastated the world since the invasion began in February 2022. It has halted economies and supply chains and as recent findings have shown, the war has caused a sharp increase in poverty. As a UNICEF report found, poverty will likely increase significantly in countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as a result of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Children bear the brunt of the increase in poverty, as an estimated 4 million children will likely end up in poverty – a 19% increase since 2021. Here is some information about the increasing child poverty in Ukraine.

The Cause of Poverty

The Eastern Europe and Central Asia region (ECA) is dependent on Russia and Ukraine for many essential goods and sources of income, such as food, fertilizer, trade and tourism. For the last two decades, the region has been growing economically. However, several recent economic crises have stifled economic growth. The war followed the 2020 pandemic, which brought about an increase in economic instability and market disruption. The war has exacerbated these issues and has also caused increases in the price of fuel and food. This has caused a decrease in disposable income and social and economic protection from the government, all of which have left families with children disproportionally impacted.

In addition, since the beginning of the war, more than 3 million people have escaped war-torn Ukraine. Half of these refugees are children, with the U.N. estimating that one child per second becomes a refugee of the war. As these refugees flee to nearby European countries, they are much more susceptible to falling into poverty.

Effects of Child Poverty

Along with an increase in child poverty, UNICEF reported a higher rate of infant mortality, estimating that an additional 4,500 children will die before their first birthday in 2022. UNICEF also reported that more children are likely to drop out of school, with an estimated two in 2,000 children likely to miss a year of school in 2022.

In addition, poor children are much more likely to feel the impacts of fuel poverty, hunger, abuse and child marriage. Child poverty also impacts a child’s future, as one in three children who grow up in poverty will continue to live in poverty for the rest of their lives. This will continue to lead to a cycle of generational poverty that will affect children and families long after the war ends.

Fighting Poverty in the ECA

Child poverty in Ukraine significantly impacts children, their families and the economy. However, it is possible to prevent and mitigate child poverty in Ukraine. In its report, UNICEF outlines a framework that, if implemented, could significantly reduce child poverty rates and protect families from financial distress. The framework includes introducing price regulation on food items for families. It also calls for expanding social systems, such as universal cash benefits and social assistance to families with children. In addition, UNICEF plans to continue highlighting the importance of health and medical care to infants, mothers and children.

Moreover, UNICEF has partnered with several EU countries to launch the EU Child Guarantee. This initiative aims to decrease child poverty and provide opportunities enabling children to succeed in adulthood. Some options include free early childhood education, free healthcare and adequate housing. By providing these opportunities, the EU hopes to ensure equal opportunities for all and stop the cycle of poverty at its roots.

– Padma Balaji
Photo: Flickr

Christopher Hohn’s Philanthropy
Sir Christopher Hohn is a well-known hedge fund manager and founder of TCI Management Fund. However, he is also one of the most prominent philanthropists in the world, establishing the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation which is dedicated to alleviating child poverty worldwide. Hohn’s net worth as of 2022 sits at $8.21 billion, the majority of which he has committed to charity. Here are nine facts about Christopher Hohn’s philanthropy.

9 Facts About Christopher Hohn’s Philanthropy

  1. Christopher Hohn’s Beginnings: Christopher Hohn was born in October 1966 in Addlestone, Surrey. He became a hedge fund manager while completing his bachelor’s degree.
  2. The Origins of Hohn’s Philanthropy: Hohn studied Economics and Accounting at the University of Southampton and received his MBA from Harvard University in 1993. In 2003, Hohn left Perry Partners to found his hedge fund, TCI Fund Management, along with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). With its founding, Christopher Hohn’s philanthropy would begin to take shape and make immense contributions to his goals of helping children across the world escape poverty. Hohn’s wife encouraged Christopher to conduct his philanthropic work publicly because “she was against starting a fund just to make money for myself,” he says. “She said if you [did the philanthropic pledge] publicly, it would encourage other people.”
  3. The Knighthood: Christopher Hohn’s philanthropy earned him a knighthood in 2014. As a hedge fund manager of a company that managed billions of dollars, he separated himself from most other hedge fund managers entering the market, due to his active approach to charitable policies through his TCI Fund Management and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
  4. About the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF): The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropy that focuses on improving the lives of children in developing countries. Since its inception, CIFF has established offices in Addis Ababa, Beijing, Nairobi, London and New Delhi and has also worked with other organizations to help children out of poverty.
  5. CIFF’s Offices: CIFF individually established these offices to collaborate with partners within those countries, to facilitate the organization’s goal of alleviating child poverty. For example, CIFF’s office in Nairobi underwent establishment in 2009, and the Addis Ababa office emerged in 2019. CIFF established its offices in Ethiopia for initiatives like WASH and NTDs, along with its regional investments, such as Girl Capital, all with the intention of alleviating child poverty. Similarly, CIFF’s office in Delhi (established in 2007), currently based in Rajasthan, aids India in promoting child health and development. The CIFF office there also supports the India National Deworming Programme, which works for the complete elimination of worms in children there.
  6. Climate Investments: In 2019, CIFF also established an office in Beijing, where it works with multiple partners to address changing weather patterns; it specifically focuses on sustainable development and a low-carbon economy. In London, CIFF’s offices focus on climate investments through involvement with EU policy-making and further involvement with local campaigns. In September 2019, CIFF launched the Clean Air Fund at the U.N. General Assembly, which focuses on the quality of air in India, the U.K. and Eastern Europe.
  7. Partnership with UNICEF: During Global Citizen Live in September 2021, CIFF partnered with UNICEF to pledge $50 million towards improving child nutrition, with a specific focus on tackling “child wasting,” a severe form of malnutrition that affects 47 million children worldwide and multiplies their risk of death in comparison to healthier children. CIFF’s collaboration with UNICEF resulted from the Global Action Plan (GAP) on wasting, a plan that UNICEF pioneered. The initiative employs a “holistic approach” that combines prevention, treatment and early detection methods. It also allows countries to unlock matched funding to treat child wasting.
  8. Other Efforts with UNICEF: In August 2021, CIFF also collaborated with UNICEF to raise $13 million for UNICEF’s Soccer Aid campaign, with proceedings going towards initiatives that fight child-wasting. Funds from the campaign also help UNICEF provide vaccines, safe spaces and proper nutrition for children.
  9. Recent Efforts: Sir Christopher Hohn’s work has contributed $2 billion to charity, and he has also pledged most of his net worth to these causes. In 2021, CIFF, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ELMA and other philanthropies, committed $130 million to help maintain essential health programs.

Success to Date

Christopher Hohn’s philanthropic work, through the TCI Management Fund and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, has made great strides in helping children across the world escape poverty. These organizations, in partnership with other philanthropies, have contributed billions of dollars to ensure that children across the world can escape hunger and poverty.

– Arijit Joshi
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Mali
With a population of more than 21.6 million people, the average Malian woman gives birth to 5.7 children in her lifetime, according to World Bank data from 2020. Children between the ages of 0 and 14 accounted for 47% of the population in Mali in 2020. Because children stand as Mali’s future leaders and changemakers, it is important to address child poverty in Mali. According to the World Bank, in 2016, 41% of Malian children aged 0-17 lived in multidimensional poverty.

The United Nations describes child poverty as multi-faceted. According to this definition, child poverty involves deprivations of “nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, access to basic health care services, shelter,
[and] education.” While poverty hurts every group of people, regardless of age, poverty disproportionately impacts children as it affects children’s ability “to reach their full potential and to participate as full members of the society.”

Poor health care, inadequate nutrition, inaccessible education and nationwide conflict impact the well-being of children in Mali.

Child poverty remains a global crisis because childhood is a consequential stage of a person’s life. During childhood, the availability of basic resources such as access to good health care services, education, shelter, food and clean water determines the ability to survive, develop and thrive.

Facets of Child Poverty in Mali

  • Health. The poor health care system in Mali, especially in rural areas, affects children more than adults as preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, measles, polio and diarrhea, pose serious threats to children living in poverty. Yet, “only 45[%]of children in Mali receive all basic vaccinations and 14[%]receive no vaccination at all, depriving them [of] protection from common childhood illnesses,” UNICEF reports. The lack of childhood vaccinations contributes to one in every 10 Malian children dying before reaching their fifth year of life. Inadequate health care also contributed to one of out every 30 newborn babies dying within the first month. UNICEF works with the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Gavi and the World Health Organization to “provide critical vaccines for children, improve routine vaccination and support complementary vaccination.” UNICEF has led vaccination efforts in Mali, ensuring 387,422 children receive vaccinations against measles in 2022.
  • Nutrition. In Mali, undernutrition is responsible for almost 50% of deaths among children under 5. The acute malnutrition rate in Mali is one of the highest in the world. In 2018, 27% of children under the age of 5 had stunted growth (low height-for-age) and 9% suffered wasting (low weight-for-height), according to USAID data. However, as of September 2022, 94,681 children aged between 6-59 months with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) received treatment through the help of UNICEF.
  • Education. The shortage of trained teachers, lack of easily accessible schools, the prevalence of child marriage and conflict and insecurity across Mali contribute to poor education and child poverty in Mali. In the past 10 years, education in Mali has progressed, but more than 2 million Malian children between 5 and 17 still do not attend school. Furthermore, UNICEF reports that more than 50% of Mali’s youth aged 15 to 24 are illiterate. To tackle this, UNICEF and partners support the Government of Mali in providing out-of-school children with formal and informal education to enable them to reach their full potential. As of September 2022, slightly more than 16,000 Malian children can now access formal and non-formal education services, “including early learning,” and 19,939 children are benefiting from “individual learning materials.”
  • Conflicts. Ongoing violence and conflict impact children the most. Children miss out on education, risk displacement, exploitation and abuse and are unable to access essential services. Conflict and instability as well as funding shortages have led to the shutdowns of 1,700 schools in Mali as of March 2022. The European Union has given Mali more than €446 million worth of humanitarian aid since 2012. These funds go toward the provision of food, emergency shelter, access to health care services, protection and psychosocial services as well as children’s education.

The action of various groups helps to tackle the issue of child poverty in Mali. Through continued efforts, the international community can safeguard the rights of children in Mali.

– Oluwagbohunmi Bajela
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in ChadThe nation of Chad is a victim of extreme poverty with a national poverty rate of 42% as of 2018. The impact of poverty in Chad is widespread, leaving innocent children born into these unfortunate circumstances extremely vulnerable. This article will outline five key facts to know about child poverty in Chad.

5 Facts about Child Poverty in Chad

  1. Population: As of 2021, 46% of Chad’s population was aged between 0 and 14 years, making it one of the world’s youngest populations. While a young population can be an opportunity for economic growth because of a plentiful supply of potential workers for the future, there are also drawbacks. For one, a more youthful population means that a large proportion of the population has a high dependency on their elders. Many children rely on a few adults to provide for their needs. As an impoverished country, the little resources that are available are inadequate. Moreover, young children should be gaining their education but families cannot afford to not let the youth work. In addition, a younger population will result in a future population increase due to greater rates of procreation.
  2. Education: The PASEC 2014 found that the rate of illiteracy among the youth in Chad was approximately 70%. When looking at women aged 15-24, this number jumps to 77%. Furthermore, 34.3% of children aged 6-11 are out of school and more than 800,000 aged 9-14 do not go to school at all. These statistics are alarming as a lack of education limits the youth’s likelihood of future success and their chances of breaking out of the cycle of poverty. Humanitarian crises in Sudan, the Central African Republic and Nigeria impacted Chad’s failing education system, leading to over 600,000 refugee children also needing schooling in Chad. It is also important to acknowledge that three out of four pupils that do have access to schooling are supervised by teachers whose highest level of education does not go above secondary school because of Chad’s minimal access to higher education, technical education and professional training. However, there are projects that intend to rectify this problem. The Chad Improving Learning Outcomes Project aims to increase access to primary education. Its work seeks to simultaneously boost access to schooling while also increasing the quality of teaching in reading, writing and numeracy. The World Bank estimates that 2.8 million students enrolled in public primary schools will benefit from an increase of 31,500 teachers and staff. Roughly 3.2 million students overall will experience these benefits firsthand.
  3. Child Labor: The economic difficulties that families face in Chad mean that many children are forced to work to help provide for their families. Not only does this mean missing out on their right to an education, but these children are also subject to harsh conditions. The children of Chad often experience the worst forms of child labor such as cattle herding and domestic work, which sometimes leads to human trafficking and further exacerbates child poverty in Chad. They work long hours with little pay and no food while also facing threats of abuse, discrimination and prostitution. Organizations such as UNICEF continue to support child protection systems to try to prevent the violence, abuse and exploitation that many children face.
  4. Child Marriages: Chadian children are not only victims of the workforce but also subject to early marriage. In goal 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, Chad committed to eliminating child, early and forced marriage by 2030. The nation also adopted the co-sponsored 2015 Human Rights Council Resolution and the 2013 U.N. General Assembly Resolution on child marriage. However, these attempts have not yet eliminated the practice of marrying off young girls. The legal age of marriage is 15 for girls but in customary law, it is 13 years, which goes against the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the 2015 EDS MICS report, 70% of girls under 18 and 29% of girls under 15 are married. It comes as little surprise then that Chad has the third highest rate of child marriage in the world. Religion and displacement are at the center of child marriage in Chad. Preventing child marriage is also another benefit of boosting education in Chad because of the correlation between higher education levels and later marriage.
  5. Health Care: Access to health care in Chad poses one of the most substantial challenges to Chadians. According to UNICEF, 2.7 million children in Chad are currently facing malnutrition. This is largely a result of internal displacement and environmental conditions depleting crop harvests, leading to increased food shortages. Additionally, due to a lack of sanitation, drinking water and health care in rural areas, roughly 209 of every 1,000 children die annually. Diseases such as pneumonia are primary causes of child mortality, and work towards increasing the number of vaccinations is occurring. In 2021, the proportion of children who had received three doses of vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis increased to 58% – up from 50% in 2019.

Child poverty in Chad continues to run rampant with the youth facing harsh conditions, unfair lifestyles and limited health care. Child poverty is not only a breach of human rights but it also strips children of their innocence and forces them to grow up too quickly.

– Ruby Wallace
Photo: Flickr

Child death in Honduras
Child death in Honduras is becoming a significant problem as a combination of factors is creating a crisis of poverty in the country. With the Central American country already being one of the poorest in Latin America as well as having the second-highest poverty rate in the LAC according to the World Bank data in 2020, the children of the country experience the brunt of this poverty. The most significant impact this rising poverty rate has had is pneumonia which has grown due to malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and health care.

Poverty in Honduras: An Overview

  • Poverty in Honduras has been a concern for a long time. Before 2020, 25.2% of the country lived in extreme poverty and according to the World Bank, 4.4 million people lived in poverty. Since 2014, there has been very little decline in poverty levels as well.
  • When it comes to human development as well, Honduras has performed very poorly and has the lowest human development outcomes in Latin America. Children in particular suffer from child malnutrition as a result of this. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 23% of children under 5 experience stunting and anemia affects 29%.
  • The reasons for Honduras’ struggle with poverty have roots in economic, political and environmental factors. The climate makes food insecurity in the region much worse, with extreme droughts in Honduras’ Dry Corridor and irregular rainfalls that resulted in the loss of more than half of the crops in 2015. Moreover, 72% of the country relies on agriculture which makes matters worse.

Rising Cases of Pneumonia

The worsening poverty rates and resulting poor nutrition have resulted in an increase in child mortality rates in Honduras. One of the leading causes of child death in Honduras is pneumonia, which according to UNICEF is 16% of deaths of children under 5 years of age in 2019. The cause of the rising cases of pneumonia is the amount of malnutrition rising in the population due to the poverty crisis. With malnutrition comes a lack of safe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor healthcare systems. Some parts of the country, such as the south region, are mountainous areas where finding safe drinking water is difficult and jobs are lacking.

These levels could rise as famine will likely hit the dry corridor of Honduras as well as Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. In an interview with The Guardian, Ramón Turcios, the southern regional director for the Ministry of Agriculture, places the blame for this rising poverty on the government’s lack of response to the droughts. Although The Guardian reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing supplementary nutrition to children in the Vado Ancho region, many doctors and healthcare providers are concerned about the future. “I’m scared that, as a result of the drought, the situation will get worse and there will be more cases of pneumonia, especially in children under five,” said a doctor at a local health center in an interview with The Guardian.

Hope For the Future

While the future looks bleak, there is hope that Honduras might be able to tackle this crisis and help millions of children. The World Bank currently has 11 projects in Honduras that it has committed $814 million. These commitments aim to address sanitation, health care and food security. The World Bank has pledged $70 million to specifically provide water to the Dry Corridor. It is also working on a new Country Partnership Framework with Honduras as of April 2022. Honduras also partnered with UNDP in 2019 to tackle child malnutrition specifically. Although there are fears for the future, many international organizations are working with Honduras to abate the number of pneumonia cases and reduce child death in Honduras.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Italy 
In 2020, about 5.6 million people in Italy were living in absolute poverty, meaning they greatly struggled to obtain basic needs, including water, food and shelter. More than 20% of those people were children. Though Italy is not on the list of poor countries in the EU, its population of children in poverty has steadily grown over the last few years. Child poverty in Italy has become a worsening crisis. Here are three facts about child poverty in Italy.

The Link Between Child Labor and Child Poverty in Italy

In 2015, approximately 340,000 children had to work to financially support their families. The Italian government does not have a standardized system for measuring child labor, which is why no consistent data has been released in the last few years. Researchers are concerned that child labor has sharply risen amid this gap in data, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the children who had to work lived in Southern Italy, where there is significant segregation among social classes. Working kids typically come from impoverished multi-child households. An only child runs a 7% risk of living in poverty, whereas a child with siblings faces a 30% chance of poverty. These kids tend to work after school or miss school to work. In many areas of Italy, child labor is often culturally acceptable in workplaces like restaurants because customers think they are family businesses.

In the process of trying to make more money, some child workers fall into the hands of criminal organizations, such as the Mafia, according to Humanium. These organizations often pay kids higher than average wages in exchange for requiring them to sell drugs on the streets of low-income areas with high rates of violence. Criminal organizations often force young girls to make money through sex work.

How the EU and Italian Government are Eliminating Child Poverty in Italy

In 2021, the EU implemented the European Child Guarantee, under which member states create their own Child Guarantee National Action Plan (NAP) aimed at improving the lives of children and decreasing child poverty. The Italian government collaborated with local organizations and submitted its NAP to the EU in April 2021.

In its NAP, the Italian government focuses on early childhood education and childcare. Italy plans to provide more support to caregivers and further integrate children that are national citizens with immigrant children, especially those coming from Ukraine. The government is planning to ensure that all children have access to healthy meals at school and that more full-time schools are available for working parents. To help fight child poverty in Italy, the government has said that it will implement special support measures for children from underserved communities.

The Tree of Life Foundation is Helping Kids

The Tree of Life Foundation — or the L’Albero della Vita in Italian — focuses on providing children with proper nutrition, comprehensive health care and social and sports activities. The organization started in 1997 as a volunteer program, and about a decade later, the Tree of Life became an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Italy. Since becoming an NGO, the program has expanded to other countries across the world.

In its latest response to growing child poverty in Italy, the Tree of Life Foundation gave baskets of staples to families that included groceries, children’s clothing and educational materials. It also provided families with an education program to learn how to best manage their household budget. The Tree of Life offers individual counseling, parent-support programs, workshops for children and employment-guidance meetings. The organization has created a network where impoverished families can support and learn from one another, and it prioritizes supporting mothers and pregnant people.

Looking Ahead

Though poverty is worsening in Italy, and child poverty is no exception, community members work to protect kids. Local communities help children in need by volunteering, assisting families and mothers, donating meals and speaking up when they see signs of child abuse, homelessness or child labor. Multiple NGOs in Italy are fighting child poverty and asking the government to do more simultaneously. Hopefully, the country’s NAP will make important systemic changes that help alleviate child poverty in Italy.

– Delaney Murray
Photo: Flickr

Addressing Child Poverty in Afghanistan
According to UNICEF, more than 50% of Afghanistan’s people (24.4 million) require humanitarian aid, including 12.9 million Afghan children. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Taliban takeover following the U.S. withdrawal from the country have only aggravated child poverty in Afghanistan.

An Overview of Child Poverty in Afghanistan

In August 2021, UNICEF Afghanistan representative, Hervé Ludovic De Lys, described the situation of child poverty in Afghanistan as “A child protection crisis in a country already one of the worst places on earth to be a child.” Child poverty in Afghanistan has been prevalent for decades, as a result of conflicts, violence and instability.

Child poverty can have lifelong consequences for children, including a loss of opportunities. Considering that more than 50% of Afghanistan’s population is younger than 18, it is imperative to measure child poverty. In particular, measuring multidimensional poverty is important because it takes into account monetary poverty along with the “other aspects of well-being and the fulfillment of human rights and child rights.”

Based on data from 2016-2017,  the Afghanistan Multidimensional Poverty Index (A-MPI) indicated that more than 56% of Afghan children between the ages of 0 and 17 endured multidimensional poverty. Additionally, according to Al Jazeera, by November 2021, 3 million Afghan children under the age of 5 faced the risk of starvation.

Economic Impacts After US Withdrawal

According to statistics from World Bank in 2020, Afghanistan stood as the sixth most impoverished country in the world based on its gross national income per capita of $500. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the power transition to the Taliban, the Afghanistan economy began to collapse drastically in August 2021.

After the Taliban took over the Afghanistan government in 2021, countries, including the United States, cut off foreign aid to the nation. Because the economy of Afghanistan primarily revolved around foreign aid (75%), the country could not manage to maintain economic stability without any financial support.

Effects of Child Labor

A survey published in February 2022 by Save the Children analyzed “1,400 households across seven provinces of Afghanistan.” The survey shows that 82% of Afghans endured losses of income after the Taliban came into power. As a result of these financial difficulties, 18% of households had to push their children into child labor — an estimated 1 million children are now in child labor in Afghanistan.

Afghan child laborers work “in the home-based carpet industry; as bonded labor in brick kilns; in the metal industry as tinsmiths and welders; in mines; in agriculture and on the streets as vendors, shoe shiners and beggars.” Poor working conditions jeopardize both the health and safety of these children. The consequences of child labor have lifelong impacts that affect children mentally and physically, restricting their fundamental rights and threatening their futures.

Education

Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, highlighted the risk of the absence of child education in September 2020: “Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labor or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come.”

A 2018 UNICEF report indicates that an estimated 3.7 million Afghan children are out of school. However, since the Taliban takeover, in particular, tens of thousands of Afghan girls have lost their educational opportunities. Despite the Taliban’s promise at the beginning of its rule of allowing education for women and girls, on March 22, 2022, Afghan girls older than 12 had to return home — the Taliban shut down these girls’ schools until further notice.

Humanitarian Aid to Reduce Child Poverty in Afghanistan

In December 2021, UNICEF launched its largest single-country appeal of $2 billion for aid to Afghanistan. The aid  aims to supply “water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services” to about 12.9 million Afghan children in desperate need of help.

UNICEF has provided assistance to Afghanistan for more than 70 years and recently scaled up its programs for women and children. UNICEF has also scaled up its child protection response by “providing child-friendly spaces and psychosocial support to children and their caregivers or parents.”

Considering the humanitarian crisis since the Taliban takeover, many countries reinstituted aid to Afghanistan. In March 2022, the United States government announced $204 million of further humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, “bringing the total amount [to] more than $720 million since August 2021.” This funding will support scaled-up humanitarian initiatives of organizations such as UNICEF.

Although the issue of child poverty in Afghanistan is longstanding, with adequate foreign humanitarian aid and the help of international communities, the prospect of reducing child poverty in Afghanistan is optimistic.

– Youngwook Chun
Photo: Unsplash

Organizations Working to End Child Labor
Around 160 million children around the world ages 5 to 17 are involved in child labor and more than 79 million of them are working in dangerous conditions that put their lives at major risk. Over the last four years, there has been an increase of 8.4 million children now engrossed in the act of child labor and that number is predicted to rise significantly even just for the year 2022. Despite this issue ascending, there is a multitude of organizations working to end child labor worldwide.

Child Labor and its Impact

Child labor is when someone exploits children into work that is dangerous and hazardous almost 50% of the time. This prevents them from having a normal childhood and leaves them unable to attend school. This issue is present in countries all over the world and sub-Saharan Africa has the most child laborers in the world with over 86.6 million, according to World Vision.

Poverty and poor schools are the two biggest causes of child labor in low-income countries. However, the problem is still prevalent in middle and high-income countries. “About 93.4 million children, 58.4% of child laborers, live in middle-income countries and 1.6 million child laborers live in high-income countries,” World Vision reported on its website.

Slavery, child trafficking, forced recruitment into armed conflict, prostitution and pornography, drug production and debt bondage are the worst forms of child labor, according to World Vision. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 22,000 children die each year at work due to unsafe environments. The most common form of child labor is agriculture work with more than 70% of laborers working in that field, World Vision reported.

One in three children in child labor is unable to receive an education due to how demanding their work schedule is, which is only going to continue the poverty and child labor cycle. According to UNICEF, there are 9 million additional children globally at risk of ending up in child labor by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic.” Luckily there are organizations working to end child labor, so hopefully, that number will not be as extreme.

The Global March Against Child Labour

The Global March Against Child Labour (Global March) is a global organization made-up of trade unions, teacher associations and civic organizations, with the purpose of ending child exploitation and trafficking, while focusing on providing quality education to all children. Global March began in 1998 when thousands of people, including world leaders came together to march against child labor in 103 countries to bring awareness to the problem.

The organization takes part in local, national, regional and global efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of children. Its goal is to change the system that compels children to have to work in the first place. Some of the issues it is addressing in order to improve children’s future: “the elimination of child labor, education for all and poverty alleviation.”

The organization has multiple programs in place as well as events aiding the end of child labor. It also has a current campaign called “Will you dance with us?,” which aims to show world leaders the importance of education and how many children in Africa (87 million) are working instead of going to school.

GoodWeave

GoodWeave, an organization that began in 1994, “is the leading global institution with a mission to stop child labor in global supply chains through a market-based holistic and authentic system.” Since 1994, the organization has rescued over 6,700 children from child labor and provided educational opportunities to over 26,000 children. It reached more than 75,000 workers in supply chains in 2018. In partnership with more than 350 organizations worldwide, GoodWeave aims to heal and educate exploited children and address the root causes of child labor.

There is “The GoodWeave Label,” which is a label on products that means no child labor went into the creation of that product. The purchase of products with this label shows support for programs trying to educate children and ensure adequate work for adults. “GoodWeave makes regular, unannounced inspections of all production facilities that cover tier-one factories and all outsourced production, including homes, to verify compliance with this Standard,” the organization said on its website.

Love146

Rob Morris founded Love146, a global organization, in 2002 with the mission of ending child trafficking and exploitation. The values Love146 operates under are “defiant hope, steady perseverance, deliberate collaboration, relentless advocacy, intentional thoughtfulness and unfiltered joy.” Services provided to positively outcome children include preventative education and supportive programming for financial independence, skills and resources.

There is a current project in the Philippines to provide holistic care to children in Love146’s care. The staff there created innovative ways to provide “education, recreation, health care and other services could be provided to children on-site,” according to its annual report.

Love146 reached more than 3,500 children through survivor care. It also reached more than 16,000 professionals, community members and caregivers to support Love146’s vision. Prevention and community education reached more than 63,000 children, thanks to Love146. “The trafficking and exploitation of children are one of the most severe human rights abuses imaginable,” Morris said on the organization’s website.

There are millions of children forced into labor each year and that number could only go up. By the end of this year, UNICEF predicts that 9 million children could go into child labor. This means they are most likely going to lose access to their education and have a poverty-based future, continuing the cycle between poverty and child labor. Child exploitation is an ongoing issue around the world, but these are just a few of the many organizations working to end child labor permanently around the world.

– Dylan Olive
Photo: Unsplash

Child Poverty in Ukraine
The impact of war is increasing child poverty in Ukraine at an unprecedented pace and redefining what it means to be a Ukrainian child in need. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine forces nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children to flee their homes, refugee crisis milestones not seen since WWII are being reached. UNICEF estimates that the war has resulted in 4.3 million displaced Ukrainian children, with nearly 2 million of those children now refugees.

Poland Responds as Child Poverty in Ukraine Reaches Its Borders

Response by European countries has been swift and impactful. Many have opened their borders to those fleeing Ukraine, including Romania, Germany, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic and more. The largest influx of refugees by far has been in Poland, with nearly around 3 million Ukrainian nationals crossing its border, 1.1 million of whom are children.

Poland’s response has been remarkable. In addition to opening its borders to millions of Ukrainian refugees, the neighboring country has enacted new governmental protections as a way to support those fleeing Russian aggression and curb further social and economic trauma. In March 2022, the Polish parliament passed an act offering legislative and financial support for Ukrainian nationals entering Poland.

Social and Financial Benefits

  • A Home Away From Home – As a result of the new law, all Ukrainian nationals who enter Poland due to the Ukrainian invasion, have a right of residency to remain in Poland for 18 months. There is also an option to extend residency benefits an additional 18 months, should it be necessary.
  • Financial and Social Benefits – Families receive monthly stipends per child as well as financial assistance to pay for school supplies and nursery school. Ukrainians receive cash allowances for subsistence and businesses that assist in supporting displaced Ukrainians will also receive financial assistance for 60 days. Additionally, all Ukrainian refugees have access to the Polish health care system.
  • Education for All Children – Under the new act, Ukrainian children receive the same educational opportunities as Polish nationals. Language accommodations for children who do not speak Polish are provided, while college-age Ukrainian nationals are able to continue their higher education at Polish universities.
  • Work Opportunities – Ukrainian refugees can legally work in Poland, without having to apply for work permits, thus enabling them to provide financial support for their families by having access to the Polish labor market.
  • Open Hearts and Homes – In addition to the new law that parliament passed, many Polish families are hosting Ukrainian refugees in their own homes. By providing food and shelter, Polish citizens are trying to right many wrongs they fear could threaten their own families in the future.

Looking Ahead

As the war in Ukraine continues, measures like these will help Ukrainian children counter the long-term effects of war. More work is necessary, however, as the U.N. fears that the Russian invasion will undo 18 years of economic growth, with most Ukrainian families now at risk for extreme poverty and vulnerability within the next year. While Poland has offered generous subsistence, concerns about the sustainability of such efforts are many.

With many European countries opening their borders to refugees and taking on similar measures, progress in alleviating child poverty in Ukraine is transforming into a global response.

– Michelle Collingridge
Photo: Flickr