180 million children likely to live in extreme poverty – study

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About 180 million children in 37 countries are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school or be killed by violent death than children living in those countries 20 years ago, research by UNICEF for World Children’s Day reveals.

Director of Data, Research and Policy, Laurence Chandy said: “While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this through no fault of their own or those of their families is a travesty”.

According to the study, 1 in 12 children worldwide live in countries where their prospects, today, are worse than those of their parents.

Mr. Chandy added that in commemorating World Children’s Day, which also marks adoption of the convention on the rights of the child, UNICEF is giving the children of the world a platform to participate in activities that will help save other children’s lives, fight for their rights as well as fulfill their potential.

“It is the hope of every parent, everywhere, to provide greater opportunities for their children than they themselves enjoyed when they were young. However, this year we have to take stock of how many children are instead seeing opportunities narrow and their prospects diminish,” he said.

World Children’s Day is a global initiative by UNICEF in over 130 countries, and this year’s theme was ‘Africa Dialogues’ which focused on areas of sanitation, food, education, and equality.

Communications specialist for UNICEF West and Central Africa, Anne-Isabelle Balde, explained in an interview that the point of the theme is to have children raise their voices on issues affecting them.

“I think it is very important to listen to children, and listen to what they have to say; it’s about children taking up roles in various areas so they can make their voices heard,” she said.

Also speaking at the event, Emmanuel Addae, co-founder of People’s Initiative Foundation which partnered UNICEF to organise the ‘Africa Dialogues’ explained that this move is to bridge the gap between children in as many African countries as possible, and to help change policies regarding the African child.

“We want to address as many as possible of the issues raised by the children, and this partnership with UNICEF is going to help in amending some policies regarding the African child.

“It will give them the Africa they (children) want to see through the recommendations they make at this dialogue,” he said.

This year’s World Children’s Day brought together 10 children from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Togo, Nigeria, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to speak on issues affecting the African child and what they want Africa’s future to be.

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