This book aims to give a bird’s eye view of the situation of child poverty in Africa. It highlights the paradox of countries that have an abundance of natural resources, especially oil and diamonds, yet whose populations largely suffer from poverty, such as Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. The book points to a symbiotic relationship between poverty and armed conflicts as Africa is slowly extricating itself from the intertwined problems of conflict, poverty, hunger and illiteracy. The book argues that improved governance and increased investments in key social sectors have created an unprecedented sense of optimism. Nevertheless, millions of African children still struggle on the margins. At least 600 million children under the age of 18 are surviving on less than US$1 a day worldwide and 40% of these children live in developing countries.
Poverty and health
In a statement, the Commonwealth Association of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (CAPGAN) calls for maternal, neonatal and child health to be more closely linked to improve child survival from HIV, diarrhoea and malnutrition. Colleges of Health Sciences, Nursing and Medicine should become important backbones of maternal and child health systems, through education and implementation research, and through training and retaining of their staff in HIV, diarrhoea and malnutrition in the widest sense. The statement presents that leadership, collaboration and country-capacity support, development of evidence-based guidelines and systems must be stimulated, to ensure coverage and monitoring of equity and progress in achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.
The drought that has ravaged parts of northeastern Kenya, killing a large number of livestock, has affected the availability of milk, in turn undermining child nutrition, say officials. Most of the rural population in the areas where Save the Children is working is heavily dependent on relief food and many children are eating only one meal a day, of corn porridge. ‘This poor diet means they are missing out on vital nutrients, which can mean they grow up stunted and their brains and bodies can suffer permanent damage,’ the organisation said. Since July, the number of severely malnourished children seeking treatment at its northeastern emergency feeding centres has increased by 25%. ‘The government and donors need to be aware of the changing climate now and in future, and shape their policies accordingly,’ Philippa Crosland-Taylor, head of Oxfam in Kenya, said in August. ‘Emergency aid is urgently needed now, but in the long term we need to rethink policies to focus on mitigating the risks of droughts before they occur, rather than rushing in food aid when it is too late.’
The Chronic Poverty Research Center's latest report examines what chronic poverty is and why it matters, who the chronically poor are, where they live, what causes poverty to be persistent and what should be done. A section of regional perspectives looks at the experience of chronic poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, transitional countries and China. The report argues that the chronically poor need targeted support, social assistance and social protection.
Conflict and war have long been recognized as determinants of infectious disease risk. Re-emergence of epidemic sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s has coincided with extensive civil conflict in affected regions. Sleeping sickness incidence has placed increasing pressure on the health resources of countries already burdened by malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. In areas of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, sleeping sickness occurs in epidemic proportions, and is the first or second greatest cause of mortality in some areas, ahead of HIV/AIDS. In Uganda, there is evidence of increasing spread and establishment of new foci in central districts. Conflict is an important determinant of sleeping sickness outbreaks, and has contributed to disease resurgence. This paper presents a review and characterization of the processes by which conflict has contributed to the occurrence of sleeping sickness in Africa.
Worldwide, more than two million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases. Poor hygiene and unsafe water are responsible for nearly 90 per cent of these deaths and mostly affect children. A study by the World Bank Group, UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimates that extending basic water and sanitation services to unserved households would cost US$28.4 billion per year from 2015 to 2030, or 0.1 per cent of the global product of the 140 countries included in its study. The economic impact of not investing in water and sanitation costs 4.3 per cent of sub-Saharan African GDP. The paper recommends that civil society organizations work to keep governments accountable, invest in water research and development, and promote the inclusion of women, youth and indigenous communities in water resources governance.
This collection of articles includes an article on food security in Kenya. Since 2006, the rains in Kenya’s Central Highlands have become less reliable. The March and April rains regularly arrive late, and the season is much shorter. In 2008, there were only four days of rain. The seasonal rivers that provide water for irrigation, livestock and domestic uses have mostly dried up, leading to water and food shortages. These burgeoning problems are pointing in one direction – poverty, malnutrition and health problems for the nation’s poor. Declining production, and the limited access and affordability of imported food, mean food security has declined, with many impacts. The government should store grain during bumper harvests to provide food in poor seasons; processing this surplus can also add value and avoid wastage.
Since April 2011, the humanitarian community has been gearing up to deploy a new mechanism aimed at combining expertise on food aid and agricultural assistance to boost food security and make food insecure communities hit by a disaster more resilient. The tool, which is deployed by aid workers in emergency responses, is the "cluster approach", first implemented in 2005. A "cluster" consists of groupings of UN agencies, NGOs and other international organisations around a sector or service provided during a humanitarian crisis. The cluster approach currently encompasses 11 clusters or sectors such as logistics, water and sanitation, early recovery and nutrition. Agriculture as a separate cluster will cease to exist under the new scheme. The new cluster is led jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The tool is aimed at implementing a proper `early recovery' approach by introducing recovery and development aspects into relief work as early as possible and strengthening transition.
In South Africa lone mothers of working age are only entitled to social assistance for themselves if they are disabled. A means-tested Child Support Grant is payable on behalf of their children but, though important, it is small in amount and is not intended to contribute to the caregiver's living expenses. In the context of South Africa’s Constitution which declares that ‘everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected’ and that access to social security is to be progressively realised, this project explored the meaning of dignity in lone mothers' lives and the extent to which social security protects or erodes their dignity. The themed reports of the project cover the definition of lone motherhood in South Africa, the impact of poverty and inequality on lone mothers in South Africa and social security and the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa.
Poverty reduction is a central feature of the international development agenda and contemporary poverty reduction strategies increasingly focus on ‘targeting the poor’, yet poverty and inequality remain intractable foes. This paper argues that this problem exists because many current approaches to reducing poverty and inequality fail to consider key institutional, policy and political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles to their reduction. Moreover, when a substantial proportion of a country’s population is poor, it makes little sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of development. For countries that have been successful in increasing the well-being of the majority of their populations over relatively short periods of time, the report shows, progress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies that combine economic development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy. The report is structured around three main issues, which, it argues, are the critical elements of a sustainable and inclusive development strategy: patterns of growth and structural change that generate and sustain jobs that are adequately remunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity or location; comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democratic politics; and protection of civic rights, activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of citizens and the poor have influence in how policies are made.