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UNICEF Global Study of Child Poverty & Disparities Measuring Child Poverty for Policy Purposes Professor David Gordon & Shailen Nandy School for Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "UNICEF Global Study of Child Poverty & Disparities Measuring Child Poverty for Policy Purposes Professor David Gordon & Shailen Nandy School for Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNICEF Global Study of Child Poverty & Disparities Measuring Child Poverty for Policy Purposes Professor David Gordon & Shailen Nandy School for Policy Studies University of Bristol United Kingdom West and Central Africa Regional Social Policy Workshop Golf Hotel, Abidjan, Cote dIvoire, 12 th – 14 th February 2008

2 The Origins of Poverty Eradication Policy

3 The idea that poverty can be ended is over 200 years old The French enlightenment philosopher Marie Jean Antonine Nicolas de Caritat, Maquis de Condorcet argued in Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (published posthumously in 1794 by the government of the new French Republic) that poverty was not a result of natural laws or divine will but was caused by the present imperfections of the social arts He argued that poverty could be ended by the universal provision of pensions, grants to the young, sickness benefits and state education

4 In 1816, Robert Owen established for his workforce and their families the first free infants school (the World's first infant and junior school), the first crèche, the first co-operative shop (the World's first), a sick fund with free health care at the point of use, gardens and parks and leisure activities (free concerts, etc.), decent housing (by the standards of the day), free adult education, etc. At the end of the 18th Century, New Lanark mills was the largest single industrial enterprise in Scotland. The workforce was predominantly made up of children – over 1,200 people were employed and over 800 were children, 450 had not reached their teenage years. Nor will there be any distinction made between the children of those parents who are deemed the worst, and of those who may be esteemed the best members of society: indeed I would prefer to receive the offspring of the worst, if they shall be sent at an early age; because they really require more of our care and pity and by well- training these, society will be more essentially benefited than if the like attention were paid to those whose parents are educating them in comparatively good habits". (Address to the Inhabitants of New Lanark, 1816) The First Eradication of Absolute Child Poverty New Lanark, Scotland, 1816 ?

5 Defining Child Poverty for Policy Purposes

6 Absolute and Overall Poverty After the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, 117 countries adopted a declaration and programme of action which included commitments to eradicate absolute and reduce overall poverty. Absolute poverty was defined as "a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services." (UN, 1995)

7 Fundamentally, poverty is a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow ones food or a job to earn ones living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living on marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation (UN 1998) Official Definition of Poverty of the World Bank, IMF, UNDP and all other UN Organisations

8 Children living in poverty are deprived of nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, access to basic health-care services, shelter, education, participation and protection, and that while a severe lack of goods and services hurts every human being, it is most threatening and harmful to children, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, to reach their full potential and to participate as full members of the society UN General Assembly Definition of Child Poverty, 10 th January 2007

9 Measuring Absolute Child Poverty

10 Deprivation can be conceptualised as a continuum which ranges from no deprivation through mild, moderate and severe deprivation to extreme deprivation. Continuum of deprivation In order to measure absolute poverty amongst children, it is necessary to define the threshold measures of severe deprivation of basic human need for: 1. food 2. safe drinking water 3. sanitation facilities 4. health 5.shelter 7.information 8.access to service

11 Operational Definitions of Severe Deprivation of Basic Human Need for Children 1)Severe Food Deprivation– severely malnourished children whose highest and weights were more than 3 Standard Deviations below the median of the international reference population e.g. severe anthropometric failure. 2)Severe Water Deprivation - children who only had access to surface water (e.g. rivers) for drinking or who lived in households where the nearest source of water was more than 30 minutes round trip away (e.g. indicators of severe deprivation of water quality or quantity). 3)Severe Deprivation of Sanitation Facilities – children who had no access to a toilet of any kind in the vicinity of their dwelling, e.g. no private or communal toilets or latrines. 4)Severe Health Deprivation – children who had not been immunised against any diseases or young children who had a recent illness and had not received any medical advice or treatment. 5)Severe Shelter Deprivation – children in dwellings with five or more people per room (severe overcrowding) or with no flooring material (e.g. a mud floor). 6)Severe Education Deprivation – children aged between 7 and 18 who had never been to school and were not currently attending school (e.g. no professional education of any kind). 7)Severe Information Deprivation – children aged between 3 and 18 with no access to newspapers, radio or television or computers or phones at home. 8)Severe Deprivation of Access to Basic Services – children living 20 kilometres or more from any type of school or 50 kilometres or more from any medical facility with doctors. Unfortunately, this kind of information was only available for a few countries so it has not been possible to construct accurate regional estimates of severe deprivation of access to basic services.

12 Peer validated, evidence based criteria for deprivation thresholds

13 Percent of the worlds children severely deprived of basic human needs


15 Initial findings for Sierra Leone and Cameroon MICS 3 data


17 Regional differences in absolute child poverty Cameroon & Sierra Leone (MICS 2005)


19 Policy Relevant Analyses







26 Childrens perceptions of poverty in UK (2007) Nearly half of children (44%) think that not being able to afford to go on a school trip is a sign of poverty 2 out of 5 children (40%) think that not having all the correct school uniform makes you poor Nearly a third of children (28%) think not being able to give a present to a friend at a birthday party is a sign of poverty A quarter of children say that going to school without breakfast makes you poor (23%) or not having a safe place to play nearby (24%). A fifth of children said that not having a mobile phone (19%) can indicate poverty. A similar proportion pointed to a lack of books to read at home (20%) 1 in 6 children (18%) said they thought you would be poor if you were not able to use a computer to do school work on when necessary or felt that not going on a trip away from home each year is a sign of being poor (16%) Around 1 in 10 children (9%) thought being poor meant not going to the cinema occasionally or taking part in an after school club (9%)

27 Policy Implications of Global Child Poverty Analyses: Some Tentative Conclusions

28 Shelter] Sanitation] Physical Capital Items Water] Information Food] Health ] Human Capital Items Education] The severe deprivations of basic human need which affect the greatest number of children are physical capital problems - deprivation of shelter, water and sanitation. Whilst fewer children suffer from deprivations of human capital – health, education and nutrition, most of the worlds anti-poverty policies are aimed at improving that human capital, particularly in urban areas

29 1)Security/Welfare states – this group comprises the richer welfare states which make provisions which guarantee their populations some measure of socio-economic security. 2)Informal Security states – this group of countries have institutional arrangements where the population has to rely heavily upon community and family relationships to meet their security needs (Wood and Gough, 2006, p1699) 3)Insecurity regimes – these are states and geographic areas which may have no functioning state and where gross levels of socio-economic and even personal insecurity persist. In these Hobbsean circumstances, life may be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. The Global Welfare Regimes of Wood & Gough

30 Percent of non-agricultural workforce at the time of the introduction of the second social insurance law

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