1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty, with 22,000 children reportedly dying each day because of it. The Putting Children First Conference was a 3-day conference from October 23-25, 2017, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia meant to “engage policymakers, practitioners and researchers in identifying solutions for fighting child poverty and inequality in Africa.”
Africa currently faces extreme poverty. It is estimated that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa where undernourished in 2014 to 2016. Forty-seven percent of the population in Africa is living on less than $1.90 a day, which is the current global poverty line.
Organizations around the world recognize the issue of child poverty. As such, the Putting Children First Conference was held and attended by End Child Poverty, The Impact Initiative, U.K. Aid, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), the Economic and Social Research Council, the Ethiopian Research Development Institute, the United Nations and Ethiopia Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
The objectives of the conference included:
- Identifying, discussing and advocating for solutions to child poverty
- Discussing research on who these impoverished children are, where they live, and why they are poor
- Discussing policy and program changes
- Networking between different researchers and policymakers
- Teaching skills that will help move research into action
The speakers at the event included Demitu Hambisa (Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs), Leila Pakkala (Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa-UNICEF), Agnes Akosua Aidoo (International Board of Trustees-ACPF), and Jane Kabubo-Mariara (Executive Director-PEP) among others.
The conference resulted in a call to action written collaboratively by the people in attendance. The call to action states six steps that should be taken to benefit children who are the most likely to be living in extreme poverty.
The Six Steps to Eradicate Extreme Child Poverty
- Recognize child poverty as a priority issue
- Create programs that specifically target poverty elimination for boys and girls at all stages of childhood
- Measure child poverty from all angles
- Strengthen existing systems to end child poverty
- Strengthen research on child poverty
- Establish an African Child Poverty Center led by African researchers
This conference allowed people to network and take steps towards creating a better world for children living in poverty.
– Téa Franco