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Child Poverty in the Maldives By Fuwad Thowfeek Executive Director, Statistics MPND, Maldives.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Poverty in the Maldives By Fuwad Thowfeek Executive Director, Statistics MPND, Maldives."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Poverty in the Maldives By Fuwad Thowfeek Executive Director, Statistics MPND, Maldives

2 1200 Islands 200 Inhabited Islands 298,968 Inhabitants 31,677 children <5 (11%) 131,578 children < 18 (44%) The Maldives

3 Data on Vulnerability & Poverty Existing Data Micronutrient Study (2007 – data released May 2008) Population and Housing Census (2006) Study on Violence Against Women (2006) Rapid Assessment on Substance Abuse (2006) Household Income Expenditure Survey (2005) Tsunami Impact Assessment Study (2005) Vulnerability and Poverty Assessment (2004) MICS II (2001) Upcoming Data Study on Violence Against Children (2008) National Economic Survey (2008) Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) (2008/09) Vulnerability and Poverty Assessment IV (2009)

4 Poverty profile in Maldives : Average per capita income has doubled in Male; increased by 50% in the atolls – average per capita income in 2006: $2674 Disparity has increased between Male and Atolls; decreased within Male and within Atolls As a result of these two effects, overall income inequality has remained the same over the last 7 years – Gini coefficient = 0.41 This is on par with many countries like the US and Singapore, but higher (more unequal) than Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

5 Population below the poverty line (15 Mrf/day)

6 Income Poverty Dynamics

7 Poverty profile in Maldives (2) 31% of households are female headed Poorest households work in agriculture, fishing, local manufacturing sectors Less than 1% of the population lives on less than $1/day But unemployment is a substantial and growing problem – particularly youth unemployment (25%) and female participation in the labour market (only 43% of women are participating in the labour force)

8 Vulnerabilities highlighted by existing data Child Protection Issues 40% divorce rate leads to children living in single headed households, or without primary caregivers Vulnerability to sexual and physical exploitation and abuse: 12% of women today reported being sexually abused before the age of 15 (2006 VAW study) Discrimination against children born out of wedlock or with disabilities; Children exposed to or suffering from substance abuse; children as young as 9 years old are using heroin Children lacking proper shelter or living in very cramped living conditions makes them more vulnerable. 15% of people in Male live with more than 5 people per room Children in detention are often held with adults; limited mechanisms for rehabilitation of juvenile offenders

9 Vulnerabilities highlighted by existing data Other Social Issues Despite recent economic gains, 32% of children <5 remain underweight 13% of children <5 are acutely malnourished (wasted) Climate change is a significant issue affecting the entire country; islands in Maldives are 1m above sea level on average. Although Maldives has achieved 100% primary school enrolment rates, girls are less likely to attend higher secondary school due to required travel to other islands Children with disabilities or special education needs often left out of traditional education system General reduced quality of services in Atolls – 40% of islands do not have a resident doctor or nurse

10 Upcoming Policies for Children Juvenile Justice Act – drafted, and will be submitted to Parliament in 2008 – should enable greater rehabilitation mechanisms for children in contact with the law Childrens Act – incorporates the CRC into domestic law and gives the state the ability to have authority for children needing special protection – submitted to Parliament in 2008 Education Act – identifies accountability for children with special needs – to be passed by Parliament in 2009 Micronutrient Policy – to be finalized after MN survey results – th NDP – incorporates indicators for the first time, including specific targets for children

11 Challenges Many policies remain unfunded and therefore not implemented Challenge to move data out of Ministry of Planning and into Line Ministries for policy decision making and to MoF for financial allocations Few studies conducted that focus on how poverty specifically impacts children Last cross-sectoral household study undertaken in 2004, and DHS data will only be available in 2009 Few studies on child protection issues – Violence Against Children study will be the first quantitative study of this nature – data only available in 2009 Increasing Islamic fundamentalism undermines Government efforts/laws in place to protect children (e.g. early marriage and reduced female participation) 2008 is election year – many changes in Government and possibly in policy Opportunities & Challenges for child poverty study

12 Opportunities 2008 is election year – many changes in Government and possibly in policy Advocacy from study results can help accelerate passage of existing policies in the pipeline (Childrens Act, JJ Act, etc) Increased emphasis and opportunity for evidence-based policy and planning in the National Planning process means opportunity to influence Mid Term Review of 7 th NDP – Sept 2008 Updated Situation Analysis of Children and Women will be conducted by UNICEF in 2009 – more focused on social policy and poverty issues – will contribute to next UNDAF in 2011 National budgeting process – takes place annually mid year Opportunities & Challenges for child poverty study

13 Next Steps Consultants recruited by June 30 th Report completed by August 30 th Communication and dissemination strategy to line ministries, MoF, media Continue to use MaldivInfo to demonstrate poverty disparities and inform politicians of its implications – specifically for children

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