Child Poverty in LibyaAs of 2023, approximately one-third of the Libyan population is living below the poverty line, indicating a significant issue of child poverty within the country. Consequently, Libya has an assigned score of 6.97/10 on the Realization of Children’s Rights Index (RCRI). This rating categorizes the situation of children’s rights in Libya as “difficult.”


The issue of conflict has played a significant role in exacerbating child poverty in Libya. For instance, the Libyan Revolt of 2011 had a detrimental impact on health care standards, depriving parents and children of essential medical care. As a result, they experienced a reduced ability to work, and this pushed families further into poverty. The uprising also resulted in the loss or injury of many parents, further hindering their capacity to fulfill their work responsibilities effectively. The revolt caused the deaths of at least 1,142 civilians and injured over 1,000, leaving behind orphaned children and intensifying child poverty in Libya.

Another contributing factor to child poverty was the disruption of education during the war. Despite the availability of free schooling, more than 61,000 students were unable to complete their academic term in 2011. Moreover, the destruction of 15 school buildings by bombings exacerbated the educational deficit.


The most damaging effect of child poverty is on the health and well-being of affected children. According to a U.N. report, only 14% of children aged between 6 and 23 months receive the minimum diet as of 2019. The same report reveals that 321,200 children are in need of primary and secondary health services in Libya.

The widespread malnutrition of Libyan children is incredibly damaging to the child’s growth, well-being and development. According to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the negative effects of malnutrition in the first 1000 days of a child’s life include reduced brain development, a weakened immune system and visual impairment.

Another impact of living in a post-conflict and impoverished society comes from the desire to obtain funds regardless of the method. In Libya, many children living in poverty collect and sell weapons and ammunition left over from wartime to earn money for their families. Other kids pick up weapons or shrapnel out of sheer curiosity, relishing in new, shiny, foreign objects. Naturally, this is very dangerous. Unfortunately, some children have injured themselves or unfortunately lost their lives as a result.


Concrete measures exist to alleviate child poverty rates in Libya. Since 2018, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been actively addressing malnutrition in Libya. Through monthly provisions of food and support, the WFP assists around 90,000 vulnerable individuals. Additionally, it offers financial contributions to bolster the country’s social programs. Collaborating with the U.N. and the Government of Libya, the WFP strives to implement effective solutions to reduce child poverty rates in the post-conflict era.

There has been notable progress in reducing infant mortality rates, but further advancements require attention to youth development.

Education stands as the key to breaking the cycle of child poverty in Libya. Education not only alleviates poverty at an individual level but also at a societal level. According to the World Bank, education enhances employment opportunities, fostering economic growth and innovation.

By ensuring improved access to education, this long-term solution aims to break the cycle of child poverty in Libya. In enhancing job prospects for children facing poverty, education plays a crucial role in their empowerment.

The Multi-Year Resilience Programme

There is ongoing progress with respect to addressing the challenging goal of tackling child poverty in Libya. One notable organization working towards this is ‘Education Cannot Wait‘, founded in 2016 by international humanitarian aid and development actors. Its mission is to create a safe learning environment for children affected by crisis. Education Cannot Wait has launched initiatives in crisis-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Iraq and Libya.

The Multi-Year Resilience Programme (MYRP), initiated in 2022 with an investment of $11.1 million, is part of these efforts. The MYRP focuses on improving education access by implementing various strategies. The poorest children receive cash transfers, and this helps to alleviate financial constraints on education. Investments go into training teachers to ensure the delivery of high-quality and inclusive education.

As of June 2023, the MYRP has yielded positive results in Libya. There are currently 723 teachers, and 28,000 children have benefited from additional support in schools, including improved sanitation and access to clean water. Furthermore, 2,975 children have received crucial free meals provided by the schools.

While these efforts show promise, the problem of child poverty in Libya requires further attention. There is a need for more commitment and vigilance from all involved parties working to drive change.

– Tom Eccles
Photo: Unsplash

Education Crisis in EthiopiaEthiopia has recently suffered from a two-year-long civil war that has caused thousands of deaths, millions of people becoming homeless, and countless people facing famine. In November 2022, the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) reached a peace agreement to declare an end to hostilities. Nevertheless, the civil war has left deep scars on the country, one of which is the impact on the education system.

Now, Ethiopia is facing an unprecedented education crisis. According to a 2022 UNICEF report, the number of out-of-school children in Ethiopia has soared from 3.1 million to 3.6 million in just six months, making it become one of the biggest education crises in the world.

Destroying Schools

The war has resulted in the severe destruction of schools. The United Nations (U.N.) estimates that the war completely or partially destroyed 9,382 schools across Ethiopia, as of August 2022. The state of educational facilities in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions is even worse, with many schools needing provisions such as furniture to continue operations.

The COVID-19 Outbreak

The global pandemic has produced a significant impact on the education and future prospects of children in Ethiopia. Within the three years since the COVID-19 outbreak, about 2.3 million children could not attend school because the pandemic was causing significant economic losses to the already impoverished country. More than 22,500 teachers in Tigray did not get salaries for up to two years, and this resulted in difficult financial situations for them and their families. Unfortunately, such circumstances make come in the way of how well teachers can focus on educating children and providing them with the support and guidance they need.


The most severe drought in more than 40 years has affected 24.1 million people in Ethiopia, including 12.6 million children, according to Education Cannot Wait (ECW). In the Somalia area, there are 1 million people who have to leave their homes to find food and water due to drought. The harsh living conditions leave parents unable to make plans about how to send their children to school. According to the U.N., 20 million people in the country need food assistance. The drought has brought about challenging economic and social pressures to the whole country, causing hardships and poor living conditions.

Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

Since 2017, ECW has provided $55 million to assist the education crisis in Ethiopia, along with the Ethiopian government, UNHCR, UNICEF and Save the Children Fund. This education fund is helping Ethiopia build schools by offering school facilities and meals. Moreover, the program also provides psychosocial support to children who suffer psychological setbacks under multiple crises, including war, pandemic and drought. Through the construction of gender clubs, environmental clubs and remedial education, the fund has enabled more than 250,000 vulnerable girls and boys in Ethiopia to receive comprehensive educational support in the past three years.

Since the inception of the program, the enrollment rates in some schools have quadrupled. In addition, the U.N. is continuing its efforts and hopes to boost the response to drought through a new $5 million grant that will provide more extensive aid in Ethiopia and support more people to overcome the natural disaster.

Looking Ahead

ECW, in collaboration with the Ethiopian government and other organizations, has made significant strides in addressing the crisis by providing financial assistance, building schools and offering support to vulnerable children. Enrollment rates have seen remarkable improvement, and the U.N.’s commitment to providing additional aid demonstrates a continued effort to overcome the challenges and ensure access to education for Ethiopia’s children.

ECW promises to persist in its support for the education crisis in Ethiopia and plans to renew the multi-year program in 2023. Currently, the program is calling for significant funding from public and private donors to expand its aid model in a way that enables every child in Ethiopia to have access to quality education.

– Mingjun Hou
Photo: Unsplash