Around 600 million children live in extreme poverty globally. These children are much more likely to become malnourished, get sick and to work in dangerous or exploitative conditions. They are also less likely to complete school. We’re working to lift families out of poverty so they can better support their children, even in times of crisis.
When families don’t have the means to invest in their children – such as buy food or clothes, or can’t afford to take their children to see a doctor when they get sick or to keep them in school – we help provide much needed cash, goods and services. In Lebanon in 2015, we led an initiative working with other international NGOs to provide cash assistance to 18,000 refugee households. We also work with governments to ensure they provide support to poor households via interventions such as maternity leave, education grants, child allowances, sick pay, and pensions.
When families live in poverty or are hit by unexpected shocks – such as drought, earthquakes, increased food prices, death of livestock, or conflict – it is often children that suffer most. Families are forced to pull them out of school to work, they can no longer afford nutritious food and if a child gets sick they cannot afford to pay for healthcare. So we will work with poor households to improve their economic resilience and livelihoods through strategies including:
- building their assets (cash to invest in businesses etc.)
- improving their skills (financial skills etc.)
- supporting risk management, and
- strengthening systems such as markets, social norms or policies that can weaken livelihoods.
This all helps ensure stable and increased incomes, even in times of crisis, to support children. In Bangladesh we improved livelihood opportunities for 191,000 households, increasing their incomes and reducing the impacts of malnutrition on their children.
Adolescence and youth is a stage in life when a lot of key decisions are made around the future such as: education, marriage, family and work. The decisions made at this time will impact on their children and so it presents a unique opportunity to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and to stop it being passed down. Young people who are unable to find decent work are more likely to fall into poverty, get pregnant or married early and end up working in exploitative and harmful conditions. They are also less likely to be able to provide for their children when the time comes. We support adolescents and young people to find decent work so they can build futures for themselves and their children free from poverty. In 2015 we helped 16,000 young people go on to further education, find employment or own their own business in Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Kenya and Peru.
For more information on our work to end child poverty, please read our Child Poverty Strategic Plan 2016-2018.