Protecting children from poverty

Despite the remarkable progress made to reduce poverty in recent years, more than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty. Children are disproportionately affected. Combating child poverty is therefore one of UNICEF’s key objectives.

Kaputte Schuhe, Afghanistan 2020

An estimated 356 million children live in extreme poverty. Children growing up in poverty often lack the food, sanitary facilities, shelter, medical care and education they need to survive and thrive. Around a billion children globally live in multidimensional poverty, meaning they lack such basic necessities as food and clean water. Around 150 million more children have been plunged into multidimensional poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Protect children from extreme poverty

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    Poverty is a vicious cycle

    The causes and consequences of poverty are often the same. For example, extremely poor families usually lack the time and energy to attend school. This creates a vicious cycle: poverty prevents education, but education prevents poverty. In addition, many children are not registered after they are born. These children are “invisible” to the government and authorities, which means that they have only limited access to health and education services. At the same time, they are at greater risk of exploitation, abuse and violence. As such, poverty and the failure to register births are the main reasons for both child trafficking and child labor.

    Burundi 2021

    Combating child poverty is one of UNICEF’s key objectives. The Children’s Fund therefore does everything it can to improve basic services in the areas of health, nutrition, water and education. If they do not receive support, children born into poverty usually remain in poverty throughout their lives. Education, especially for girls, is the best route out of poverty: experience shows that countries can significantly strengthen their economies if they focus on equality in education.

    UNICEF helps with targeted projects:

    • Ensuring that both girls and boys can attend school
    • Establishing basic health centers and birthing centers to reduce child mortality over the long term
    • Promoting birth registration
    • Strengthening the legal basis for the fight against child trafficking and child labor