Child Poverty: African and International Perspectives

  • Child Poverty
Pages: 329
Year of Publication: 2009
Country: Africa

There are no poor children, but a lot of poor people. And therefore there are many poor parents, and families, and the children of those families live in poverty. Poverty is usually presented and discussed as a problem of income. This is confirmed, for example, by the Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme poverty by reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. In 2000 all United Nations solemnly pledged to achieve this goal by 2015.

Children are not poor in this traditional sense of the word, but around 1 billion children live in poverty. This fact should trigger a massive investment of financial and human resources equal to global actions to address the current economic and financial crisis.

Because, as stated in A World Fit for Children:

Chronic poverty remains the single biggest obstacle to meeting the needs, protecting and promoting the rights of children... ...[Children] are hardest hit by poverty because it strikes at the very roots of their development, their growing bodies and minds. Eradication of poverty and reduction of disparities must therefore be a key objective of development eff orts”.  The same emphasis is made in the words of the United Nations Member States in 2002:

We reaffirm our vow to break the cycle of poverty within one single generation, united in the conviction that investment in children and the realization of their rights are among the most effective ways to eradicate child poverty (WFFC par. 7(2))

With all these beautiful words of commitment and determination, the burning question is: do we know how to reduce the number of children living in poverty? And, if so, what kind of progress, if any, are we making?

For a starter: the fi rst part of this question assumes that we know what we mean by “children living in poverty”. But who are these children, and how do they figure in existing poverty reduction policies? Studies have found that information about the specific needs and problems of children is oft en lacking in debates on poverty.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: Jaap E. Doek, A.K. Shiva Kumar, David Mugawe and Shimelis Tsegaye
Located in: Publications

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