COVID 19 Resources
New analysis reveals the number of children living in multidimensional poverty – without access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation, or water – has increased by 15 per cent since the start of the pandemic
NEW YORK/LONDON /KATHMANDU, 23 September 2020 – The number of children living in multidimensional poverty has soared to approximately 1.2 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new UNICEF and Save the Children analysis published today. This is a 15 per cent increase in the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries, or an additional 150 million children since the pandemic hit earlier this year.
The multidimensional poverty analysis uses data on access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries. It highlights that around 45 per cent of children were severely deprived of at least one of these critical needs in the countries analyzed before the pandemic.
Although the analysis paints a dire picture already, UNICEF warns the situation will likely worsen in the months to come. Save the Children and UNICEF are committed to continue to monitor this evolving situation and work with governments and civil society to confront it.
“COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end.”
The report notes that child poverty is much more than a monetary value. Although measures of monetary poverty such as household income are important, they provide only a partial view of the plight of children living in poverty. To understand the full extent of child poverty, all potential deprivations must be analysed directly. This also points to the need to implement multi-sectoral policies addressing health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and housing deprivations to end multidimensional poverty.
Social protection, inclusive fiscal policies, investments in social services, and employment and labor market interventions to support families are critical to lifting children out of poverty and preventing further devastation. This includes expanding access to quality health care and providing the tools and technology needed for children to continue their education remotely; and investing in family-friendly policies such as paid leave and child care.
“This pandemic has already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss”, said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children. “Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow.”
There are not only more children experiencing poverty than before, the poorest children are getting poorer as well, the report notes. Some children may suffer one or more deprivations and others experience none at all, therefore the average number of deprivations suffered per child can be used to assess how poor children are. Before the pandemic, the average number of severe deprivations per child was around 0.7. It is now estimated to have increased by 15 per cent to around 0.85.
“We must act now to prevent additional children from being deprived in basic life needs like school, medicine, food, water and shelter,” said Fore. “Governments must prioritize the most marginalized children and their families through rapid expansion of social protection systems including cash transfers and child benefits, remote learning opportunities, healthcare services and school feeding. Making these critical investments now can help countries to prepare for future shocks.”
In Nepal specifically, COVID-19 has seriously impacted child poverty where children have been bearing the burden of poverty disproportionately. The number of children living in poverty rose from an estimated 1.3 million before the pandemic to about 7 million in August. Many of these children are suffering from multiple deprivations that include a lack of access to nutritious food and to an education.
Notes to editors:
To reach the number of deprivations children are experiencing before the pandemic and today, UNICEF and Save the Children looked at how many children were deprived of each indicator of multidimensional poverty and compared it with the child population in the countries analyzed.
About Save the Children
Save the Children believes in a world in which all children survive, have the chance to learn, and are protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Through our work in around 117 countries, we reach the most deprived and marginalised children, helping them survive, learn and be protected.
For more information on Covid-19, visit: www.savethechildren.net/coronavirusresponse
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about COVID-19 and guidance on how to protect children and families, visit: www.unicef.org/coronavirus
For further information, please contact:
Georgina Thompson, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 238 1559, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Dos Santos, Save the Children, Tel: +44 7787 191957, Natasha.email@example.com
Rik Goverde, Save the Children, Tel: +7732 602 301, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Ministers with Children’ campaign brings children’s voices in the forefront of COVID-19 discussion
Kathmandu (26th May 2020): Minister of Women, Children, and Senior Citizen, Parbat Gurung interacted with children during Save the Children and Community Information Network’s (CIN) ‘Ministers with Children’ - a campaign designed to elevate the voices of children in COVID-19 discussions, with the aim to make elected representatives and policy-makers more accountable towards the need and challenges of children in Nepal.
The Minister in an hour-long live radio broadcast from the Community Information Network (CIN), broadcast from 300 + community FM stations, interacted and answered questions posed by children on COVID-19 and its effect in their lives. A 15 years old girl from Nepalgunj requested the minister to address the issue of lack of child-friendly spaces in the quarantine centers. “Children who tested positive for COVID-19 have to stay apart from their parents. These centers are not child-friendly, and they have to undergo fear and anxiety.” Minister Gurung assured that the development of child-friendly spaces is one of the priorities of the government, and sincere efforts are being made to ensure that mental health and well-being of children living in quarantine centers is not compromised.
“Children are facing unprecedented challenges, which has increased anxiety and fear inside them. The government would like to reassure that children’s issues are kept in the center-stage of COVID-19 discussion, and we will be focusing our efforts in ensuring their well-being,” shared, Minister Gurung. He also committed that the holistic well-being and protection of children will be ensured in the “national strategy”, and the children’s act will also be amended to embed critical issues raised by children in behest of emergencies. “In order to make policies more meaningful for children, it is important to listen to children and make sure that we act on their recommendations,” he concluded.
Save the Children had previously conducted state level ‘Minister with Children’ campaign in Karnali State and State number 2. Violence against children, mental health, poverty and price hike, child marriage, digital divide and education gap, communal harmony and rumor management, lack of child friendly spaces in quarantine centers were the foremost issues raised by the children in the campaign. The Minister for Social Development, Karnali State, Dal Rawal had committed to disinfect schools which were used as quarantine centers and to ensure a safe transition back to schools. Similarly, Nawal Kishore Shah, the Minister for Social Development, State number 2 committed to introduce child-friendly distance learning tools through popular media to address the education gap witnessed due to COVID-19 crisis. Children participated in the campaign through phone calls, social media, and through the Interactive Voice Receiver (IVR) – where children recorded their concerns and questions for the Federal and State Governments.
Speaking about the campaign, Bandana Risal, the Interim Country Director of Save the Children in Nepal expressed that the ‘Ministers with Children” national campaign resonates to Protect a Generation, Save the Children’s global response strategy to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the COVID-19 crisis. “Through this campaign, we would like to call upon policymakers, elected representatives, child-rights organizations to work towards, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on child survival, helping children learn, stay safe, and return to school, supporting family survival and food security through safety nets, and keeping children, families, and communities safe,” expressed Risal.
As part of the campaign, Save the Children will collaborate with concerned line ministries, and submit insights and evidence garnered through the ‘Ministers with Children’ campaign to advocate for child-centered policies and plans to protect the rights of children during emergencies.
For more information, please contact: Ayush Shrestha Joshi Communications Manager Save the Children in Nepal email@example.com +977 9851090730
Save the Children hands over 1743 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential health commodities
to the Government of Nepal
KATHMANDU (May 3rd 2020): Save the Children in Nepal handed over 1743 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential health commodities to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to support the government of Nepal to curb the spread of COVID-19. The commodities were handed over in the presence of Honorable Minister of Health and Population, Mr. Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal. Speaking at the event, Minister Dhakal stated, “the assistance provided by Save the Children will help the government strengthen health services, and support health practitioners to contain the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, I am confident that this support will better health service delivery and support in containing the spread of COVID-19” The PPE sets are aligned with the WHO and the Nepal government’s standards.
“Our priority is to support the government in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring that we reach the most marginalized populations, especially vulnerable children. Save the Children is committed to work towards strengthening the health system in Nepal, and better equip health workers with life-saving equipment and support,” stated, Bandana Risal, Interim Country Director of Save the Children Nepal.
Save the Children through its regular and Global Fund funded project has been aiding the federal, provincial and local government with critically required COVID-19 medical and non-medical supplies. Save the Children is also in the process of procuring an additional 2000 PPE kits. Additional to this, Save the Children has been collaborating with government line-ministries in both the federal and local level to provide medical and non-medical supplies, which includes establishment of quarantine centers, support with health and hygiene kits, orientation for health practitioners on swab testing, aiding health services by providing IR thermometers, N95 masks, cardiac monitors, electric suction machine, and ECG machine. Along with this, Save the children in collaboration with the National Health Education Information Communications Center (NHEICC) has been developing and disseminating general and child-friendly COVID-19 messaging through national and local radio stations.