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International Children’s Peace Prize WinnersThe International Children’s Peace Prize, which was launched in 2005 by KidsRights, recognizes young people who are actively fighting for children’s rights. The mission behind the award is to provide children with a platform where they can express their ideas, stories and personal involvement so that more children can gain access to the basic human rights they deserve.

Each year, the winner of this prestigious award receives a study and care grant and a platform to promote their ideas to help other children around the world. Also, KidsRights invests £100,000 in a project fund in the winner’s area of work in their home country.

Here are three children who have won the International Children’s Peace Prize.

3 International Children’s Peace Prize Winners

  1. Nkosi Johnson was the first winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize, receiving the honor posthumously. The statuette that the organization gives out each year is named in his memory. Johnson was born HIV positive and died at the age of 12. However, in his short life, he actively fought for his and other children’s right to attend school and be treated equally. He opened a home for poor mothers and children with HIV/AIDS and encouraged the South African government to provide HIV/AIDS mothers with treatment options.
  2. At age 5, Om Prakash Gurjar and his family were forced to work on a farm to pay off the money his father owed to his landlord. Gurjar only received two meals a day and was beaten on a daily basis. He was not able to pursue his education further because he was working many hours a day to help his family. However, when he turned 8 years old, he was rescued by Kailash Satyarthi who was part of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan. This organization educated Gurjar about children’s rights and he received an opportunity to continue his education. At this point, he started advocating for the rights of other children and through many activities raised awareness for children’s rights and the importance of education. By the time he turned 12 years old, he was elected Chair of the Child Parliament of his school. When his school started demanding fees from parents, he sued and won a court case which required the school to refund his parents in his full. Gurjar won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2006.
  3. Kesz Valdez became the first Southeast Asian to receive the International Children’s Peace Prize. At a young age, he was surrounded by poverty. When Valdez was just 2 years old, his abusive father forced him to collect garbage to earn money. At the age of 4 years old, he ran away from home and ended up begging on the streets. The turning point in his life came when he fell into a burning pile of garbage at a dump site and a social worker took him to the hospital. From that point on, the social worker took care of Valdez and took him under his wing. He got the opportunity to go to school for the first time and made the most of it.But he never forgot his roots. Once he was in a position to do so, he began distributing gifts to children living on the streets. This is how ‘Gifts of Hope’ started which signified Valdez’s first step in advocating for children’s rights. Gifts of Hope started with only seven boxes during its first year and now about 1,000 boxes are distributed every year.

Each year, the International Children’s Peace Prize recognizes children that have done extraordinary things to change their own destinies as well as help other young people around the world. 

Komalpreet Kaur
Photo: Unsplash

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Reduces PovertyChildren account for nearly half of the world’s poor and arguably suffer the most because of it. Limited access to education, drinking water, food and opportunity are all symptoms of poverty that make it difficult for impoverished children to thrive. Unfortunately, only one-third of the world’s poorest children are covered by social protection from their governments. Therefore, it is essential for nongovernmental organizations and charities to help provide aid, investment and infrastructure that can help lift these children out of poverty. Several organizations have already helped uplift over one billion people out of poverty, many of these being children, in the last 20 years; one of these organizations is the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

What Is the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation?

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation is one of the largest charitable organizations in the world and incorporates a multi-faceted investment strategy to improve the environments in which impoverished children live. The Foundation diversifies its $4.7 billion worth of assets into investments to help improve climate, education, access to food and child survival in developing countries. CIFF was founded in 2002 by Jamie Cooper-Hohn and hedge fund manager Sir Chris Hohn and has grown from its headquarters in London to include offices in New Delhi India and Nairobi Kenya.

How Does CIFF Reduce Poverty?

As the fund has expanded its operations, it has provided lifesaving and poverty-reducing initiatives for poor children in developing countries. In 2013, CIFF pledged to donate $787 million over seven years to tackle global malnutrition. This was part of a total pledge of $4.1 billion toward reducing malnutrition announced at the Nutrition for Growth summit in London. A study by the Lancet medical journal found that malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million under-five child deaths yearly or 45 percent of all under-five deaths. Reducing malnutrition saves lives, improves health and accelerates development in countries by providing a future for millions of children.

The fund has coupled this tremendous effort, with more targeted approaches toward various crises that have devastated impoverished children in affected countries. In 2014, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation gave $120 million to international health programs, increasing the number of children receiving antiretroviral therapy, funding deworming initiatives and combating the Ebola crisis in West Africa. These programs have helped save millions of lives.

Roundworms, hookworms and whipworms are common in tropical areas and specifically affect children in low-income areas who lack adequate access to sanitation. Worms contribute to the malnutrition of children in developing nations that kill millions each year. The $50 million donation to national deworming programs by CIFF will help establish the necessary healthcare and sanitation infrastructure that can help protect these vulnerable children. Furthermore, CIFF’s $50 million contribution to increasing access to antiretroviral therapy will help save the lives of the over 120,000 impoverished children who die from AIDS each year while its $20 million towards the Ebola outbreak in West Africa helped end the crisis.

CIFF continues to expand access to life-saving healthcare for poor children in developing nations. Recently, it has bolstered these efforts by supporting initiatives to protect children in developing nations from exploitation that bars them from access to an education that could lift them out of poverty. An estimated 25 percent of people trapped in slavery are children. CIFF has already pledged $18.3 million to protect children worldwide. This funding is going toward strengthing law enforcement systems, ensuring swift prosecutions of offenders, stopping the demand for products of child labor and campaigning to instill change.

These programs funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation reduce poverty by freeing impoverished children from the bounds that keep them from rising out of poverty. Good health, human rights and access to education are now within reach for millions of children because of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

– Anand Tayal
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in ItalyIn 2017 the number of individuals in Italy living in “absolute poverty” rose to 5.1 million people, or 8.4 percent of Italy’s population. That number is up from the 7.9 percent reported back in 2016. Absolute poverty refers to a condition where a person does not have the minimum amount of income needed to meet the minimum requirements for one or more basic living needs over an extended period of time. With such a great amount of people unable to support themselves on a day to day basis and the overall region experiencing a rise in poverty levels each year, it is time to take another look at the facts about poverty in Italy.

10 Facts About Poverty in Italy

  1. Poverty is a threat in southern Italy. Southern Italy’s economy has grown slowly compared to northern Italy and its economy contracted by 13 percent from 2008 to 2013, almost twice as fast as the North’s at seven percent. Between 2007 and 2014, 70 percent of people in Italy who were in poverty were from southern Italy. The threat of poverty has caused some individuals to join the mafia in order to escaped the harshness of absolute poverty. Today, 47 percent of people still live at risk of poverty in southern Italy.
  2. The average household income in Italy rose in 2015, around €2,500 per month, but this was heavily concentrated in the richest fifth of Italy’s population. Think tank Censis reported that more than 87 percent of working-class Italians say it is difficult to climb the social scale, along with 83 percent of the middle class and 71 percent of the affluent.
  3. Italy’s debt is one of the worst in the E.U., with a national debt of $2.6 trillion, roughly 120 percent of its GDP. The debt was not as bad in the 1990s due to smart budgeting tactics, but after the global recession hit, the debt crisis began. Italy may not be able to sell its new debt to cover its old debt, indicating why these facts about poverty in Italy are so important to understand.
  4. Corruption within Italy has halted economic growth. More than 15 percent of Italy’s economy occurs on the black market and other underground avenues. With a past filled with tax evasion charges among others, Italy has seen its good government standing decrease over the years. Bad government leads to bad decision making which ultimately leads to the downfall of a good economic plan.
  5. Minors also face the brunt of poverty. In 2017, 1.208 million minors were living in absolute poverty. Children growing up in poverty leads to many problems down the road. Many may drop out of school to support their families or find other methods to garner a decent living. Italy’s poverty problem is so deep that not even children can escape it.
  6. With the establishment of new leadership in government, Italy is looking at a hopeful start to fixing its economy. Italy’s GDP rose 1.5 percent last year, the highest since 2010. While growth has been slow, the government is now actively trying to combat poverty.
  7. Recently the Italian government passed a bill that allocates €1.6 billion to help families in need as well as minors in need. The bill focuses on tackling poverty through welfare packages and anything else that can help people get by.
  8. The proposed bill gives families in need up to €400 each month. The estimate is that around 400,000 families will benefit from this new bill. The country’s Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti stated that the bill “fills a long-standing gap in the Italian system of protecting individuals on a low income, and is the sign of a new approach to social policy.”
  9. The grand plan to end poverty in Italy centers around the idea of social development, or establishing the means in which the foundation of Italy is secure and no one is at risk of being in poverty. Social development has been what the U.N. has cited as the most efficient way of reducing poverty.
  10. Italy looks to improve its economy each year at around one percent and continues to be optimistic about its chances of reducing poverty. Job growth is the priority of the current government and many steps are being made to accomplish that goal.

While Italy has one of the worst economies in the E.U., the nation is working to improve its conditions. These 10 facts about poverty in Italy demonstrate both the breadth and depth of the problem as well as the steps the country is taking to resolve its issues.

– Michael Huang
Photo: Flickr

The Merits of a Focus on Children in Extreme PovertyChildren are the world’s future. This phrase is often uttered, yet across the globe it is rarely enforced. Children in extreme poverty are affected differently than adults. Between inadequate nutrition, exposure to stress and a lack of early stimulation and learning, the disadvantages of growing up in poverty last a lifetime.

Consequences such as stunted development, low levels of skills needed for life and work, limited future productivity as adults and the generational cycle of poverty inhibit change in children living in poverty. These consequences are especially heinous because they debilitate the global human capital needed to grow and sustain economic prosperity.

Report Details Extent of Children in Extreme Poverty

Based on data from 89 countries representing 84 percent of the developing world’s population, UNICEF and The World Bank Group estimated that 385 million children were living in extremely poor households in 2013. Children are more than twice as likely to be living in households in extreme poverty. Roughly 19 percent of children in extreme poverty are estimated to be living on less than $1.90 a day, compared to an estimated 9 percent of adults.

The World Bank Group and UNICEF researchers conducted a comprehensive range of tests to check if changing these assumptions would affect their results. They tested their findings against realistic large and small economies of scale, as well as a range of realistic ratios comparing children’s consumption to adults’. In all cases, children still emerged with higher poverty rates across developing countries.

The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world as the world’s largest funder of education, the largest external financier of the fight against HIV/AIDS and the largest international financier of biodiversity projects, water supply and sanitation projects.

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child. With work in 190 countries and territories, UNICEF translates that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children to the benefit of all children in extreme poverty.

Recommendations for Governments to Help Children in Extreme Poverty

Together, UNICEF and The World Bank Group have established partnerships with governments across the globe to address child poverty and to promote a range of cross-sector investments in the early years of life. Their goal is to end extreme poverty by 2030. This vision is central to the work of the World Bank Group and UNICEF. The two organizations are calling on governments to focus on four main areas to combat extreme poverty:

  • Ensure that the number of children in extreme poverty is routinely measured and addressed at the national level as countries work towards both ending extreme poverty by 2030 and improving the well-being of their poorest citizens.
  • Make deliberate policy decisions that ensure a country’s economic growth benefits all of its citizens, including making sure children are fully considered in poverty reduction plans.
  • Strengthen child-sensitive social protection systems, including cash transfer programs that give direct payments to families to help lift children out of poverty and protect them from its impacts.
  • Prioritize investments in education, health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation and infrastructure that benefit the poorest children and prevent people from falling back into poverty after setbacks like droughts, disease or economic instability.

Addressing these multidimensional aspects of children in extreme poverty is crucial. In the face of a global economic slowdown, ending extreme child poverty by 2030 will not be easy. However, change is possible.

– Richard Zarrilli

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is the sixth-largest economy in the European Union. Playing an important role in the European economy, the Netherlands has a persistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations and a low unemployment rate. However, poverty still exists in the Netherlands. Discussed below are the leading facts on the poverty rate in the Netherlands.

 

10 Facts on the Poverty Rate in the Netherlands

 

  1. The public debt of the Netherlands is 61.8 percent of the GDP in 2016. That makes Netherlands 64th on the public debt list comparing to other countries in the world.
  2. The unemployment rate in the Netherlands in 2016 is about six percent of the population, ranking them 72nd in the world, while the United States ranks 53rd with a rate of 4.7 percent.
  3. The Netherlands’ unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent in 2015 to 6 percent in 2016.
  4. The Dutch government projects the unemployment rate in the nation will decrease to 4.9 percent in 2017.
  5. The poverty rate in the Netherlands is 8.8 percent, which means about 1,400,000 people still live below the poverty line.
  6. The number of children growing up in long-term poverty in the Netherlands is about seven percent, which is about 125,000 people. According to CBS, most of those children live in single-parent families or families that rely on welfare benefits.
  7. Child poverty is considered to be a big problem in the Netherlands. The government believes actions need to be taken to fight against child poverty and children should be given a greater voice and should be directly involved in policy-making. Local authorities are responsible for considering children’s opinions. However, only five percent of the local authorities actually involve children in the process.
  8. Due to the financial crisis in 2008, the Netherlands experienced a protracted recession from 2009 to 2013. The unemployment rate doubled to 7.4 percent during the period and household consumption contracted for four consecutive years.
  9. The wealthiest 10 percent of the population in the Netherlands control about 24.9 percent of the whole country’s wealth. On the other hand, the poorest 10 percent of the population only control 2.3 percent of the country’s wealth.
  10. The inflation rate is 0.3 percent in 2016, which dropped 0.3 percent from 0.6 percent in 2015. The Netherlands is ranked 44th in the world.

The Netherlands is a wealthy country in Europe, but it also faces many problems such as child poverty. The poverty rate in the Netherlands is relativity low compared to many other countries in the world, but there is always room for improvement.

Mike Liu

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Turkey
Despite having one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Turkey needs to address its poverty problems. Recent data shows that child poverty in Turkey is spinning out of control, especially among rural populations. Located where Western Asia meets Southeast Europe, Turkey has a population of over 80 million people, with about 30 percent of the population under the age of 18. Many of these children lack basic necessities, such as education and medical care.

According to a recent report, two out of every three children are affected by child poverty in Turkey. This data is based on the European Union standards of living, which evaluates the material deprivation of the average household. The report explains that when making international comparisons, child poverty in Turkey is extremely severe and persistent. UNICEF builds on this by stating that as poverty continues to grow out of control, more Turkish children are threatened by the poverty threshold.

Rural populations are significantly further behind compared to the urban population in terms of education and wages. In rural areas, many schools lack teachers, which forces schools to accommodate as many as 100 students per classroom. These large classrooms lead to poor educational outcomes. Additionally, thousands of young girls in Turkey are out of school or denied education. This lack of education leads to poor wages and job opportunities, with some families resorting to child labor or child marriage in order to make ends meet.

Children are often times denied proper healthcare. According to UNICEF, immunization rates for childhood diseases are in need of improvement, especially in rural areas. There is also roughly 2,000 children with HIV/AIDS, with UNICEF believing the numbers are likely higher.

Steps are being made to address child poverty in Turkey. The Turkish government has made ongoing efforts to improve medical care for children, educational opportunities for girls and prenatal care for mothers. Additionally, UNICEF has partnered with Procter & Gamble and has helped educate 250,000 mothers about better parenting.

Experts state that it is absolutely crucial that Turkey addresses these impoverished living conditions since child poverty is one of the root causes of poverty in adulthood. One expert named Didem Gürses writes that “in order to break the generational cycle, poverty reduction must begin in childhood.”

Child poverty in Turkey must be addressed if Turkey wishes to end poverty and have a successful future.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr


New Zealand ranks high in health status and social connections. It’s at the top among developed nations for its quality of life. However, poverty in this country is excessive among inhabitants and it is mainly affecting the children. Sadly, child poverty in New Zealand is at its all-time high.

According to UNICEF, child poverty is a harsh reality in New Zealand. About 295,000 children are currently living in poverty. Children who grow up in poverty live in overcrowded homes, do not have adequate clothes for the weather and go hungry for days at a time. This can lead to doing poorly in school, not acquiring jobs, having poor health and turning to a life of crime.

“It’s cut-throat in New Zealand. If you’re struggling you get left behind,” says a New Zealand mother, who was living in a small motel room with her husband and six children. They were living in this room for about two weeks, while the family waited to be placed in a state house. The mother has to deal with two of her children whom are disabled and need to attend special education school. However, the placement of these schools is extremely competitive and hard to secure. Therefore, they are confined to homeschooling with only two picture books. This is the case for many families in New Zealand, who are living below the poverty line.

Child poverty in New Zealand has become a real problem. According to the former head of the University of Auckland pediatrics department Innes Asher, “We have, every year in New Zealand, about 40,000 children… admitted to hospital for diseases that are potentially preventable by solving poverty, housing and great access to healthcare. There’s a lot we could do.”

In 2015, the National-led government budget gave $25 extra to low-income families. However, Asher says this amount is very low, and “certainly does not make up for the $72.50 in tax credits three-child families without parents in paid work are missing out on.”

Children and families have been specifically deprived by the government. Despite this fact, there are organizations out there looking for solutions to alleviate the child poverty in New Zealand, like UNICEF, who is raising money to change children’s life.

Solansh Moya

Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in New Zealand
Child poverty in New Zealand remains a major issue, with over 300,000 children affected. This is an increase of 45,000 from last year and is double the number of impoverished children in 1984.

A recent study conducted by Auckland University found similarly troubling information that 20 percent of the country’s high school students live in poverty. Looking at ethnic groups, one third of Maori students and nearly half of Pacific students struggle with poverty.

To rectify this situation, New Zealand’s government has announced the foundation of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children. As the name might imply, this organization hopes to give the government concrete responsibility for the welfare of these students.

The study’s definition of poverty was obtained by looking at various indicators in students’ lives, such as concerns about and lack of food, technology and stable living situations. If students reported two or more of the indicators, they were defined as experiencing poverty.

Unsurprisingly, higher rates of poverty correlated with higher rates of depression and smoking. This is due to growing up in families who face the stress of poverty, then having to face those stresses themselves.

The Ministry for Vulnerable Children hopes to combat these issues. Yet despite its positive mission, there has already been some controversy surrounding the ministry’s announcement. Some people believe that the government should be concerned with all children, not just vulnerable children as the ministry’s name implies.

However, the Ministry of Vulnerable Children may still be poised for success. This is because the most recent report on income and poverty in New Zealand shows that there have been no increases in either. In fact, incomes have risen by nearly 12 percent overall since 2011.

This increase in income is sure to help offset the very high cost of housing that much of New Zealand faces. For some families, 60 to 70 percent of income is spent on housing and there is little money left to cover other expenses.

Hopefully, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children can take advantage of rising incomes and improve quality of life for all those affected by child poverty in New Zealand.

Nathaniel Siegel

Photo: Flickr

An Insight Into Reasons for Increasing Child Poverty in Germany
Germany has been a relatively wealthy country for years, performing well above average on the economic and social fronts. However, child poverty in Germany is a surprising new trend sweeping the nation.

Several reasons underlie this trend, but perhaps the most important of them is insufficient unemployment benefits. These benefits are called Hartz IV welfare benefits and are often used to help unemployed people afford basic necessities such as food and shelter.

An increasing dependence on welfare payments has rendered approximately 2 million children in Germany impoverished. Annette Stein, a professional from the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany states, “The longer that a child lives on welfare, the worse the consequences are.”

This can be particularly true for children who have spent a substantial period of their life in penurious conditions, which can take a serious toll on their mental and physical development, their self-esteem and overall health.

According to a report published by the UNICEF, in 2001, 10.2 percent of all German children suffered from poverty. Poverty is determined with respect to half of the median income level, and anything below this level is deemed to be inadequate to support a healthy lifestyle.

UNICEF report also noted that single parent households showed disproportionately greater rates of child poverty. This suggests that measures should be implemented in Germany to connect single parents with potential job opportunities that match their qualifications and skills. This is likely to improve household income and thus decrease child poverty.

Recently, Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister of Germany, declared an increase of two pounds in benefits offered to children. Opponents of this change argue that this increase is unlikely to significantly impact rates of child poverty in Germany.

Poverty among children in Germany is not usually due to an inability to afford necessities, but rather an incapacity to further develop themselves as well-rounded individuals through education and healthy eating.

While the situation appears bleak on the exterior, a lot can be done to change the financial predicament of children in Germany. A reduction in child poverty in Germany can be achieved through subsidies to farms and food industries to lower the price of healthy products, distribution of grants or scholarships to students for school; a thorough re-assessment of the adequate amount of benefit required to allow children to sustain and develop themselves as holistic individuals.

Tanvi Ambulkar

Photo: Flickr

End child povertyThe Scottish government proposed a new bill that takes a great step to end child poverty. The bill in question is designed to halve child poverty in Scotland by 2030. On August 8, 2016, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance launched an eight-week consultation on the plans.

About one in five children in Scotland live in poverty. The bill proposes protecting families’ income by law, aiming for less than 10 percent of children to live in relative poverty, less than 5 percent in absolute poverty and less than 5 percent in persistent poverty or a low income, materially deprived home.

Relative poverty is where a family earns less than 60 percent of the national average, while absolute poverty is where earnings are less than 60 percent of the average wage in 1999. Persistent poverty is where families have been living in poverty for three out of a four-year period.

Targets outlined in the bill include ensuring more people are paid the living wage; families have access to more free or cheaper childcare and free school meals. Additionally, the government is offering better-paid jobs and greater security to parents. The measures are in place to boost family income in Scotland over the next 14 years.

The Child Poverty Action Group (Cpag), which is a group of campaigners against child poverty, welcomed the consultation into how to reduce child poverty in Scotland.

John Dickie, director of Cpag, said the bill is a “great opportunity” to help tackle the problem, but he also warned that political leaders must take responsibility as well. Dickie called for the new laws to include duties for political leaders to annually report progress. Cpag stated that the bill is not a solution to child poverty, but it would help keep child poverty in Scotland a top priority.

Constance stated that to end child poverty isn’t only a job for the government, but also the entire population of Scotland. She proposed that the government would work together with local governments, businesses and people living in poverty to help tackle child poverty in Scotland. Constance is confident that the jobs being created in Scotland will provide a real route out of poverty.

Jacqueline Venuti

Photo: The Daily Record