The world must not abandon children who face violence, hunger

Sharing is caring!

If you are reading this, it is fair to presume you had the privilege of attending school as a child. A privilege that 244 million children do not have today.

On November 20, we celebrate World Children’s Day with the theme of equality and inclusion for every child. The reality, though, is this is not a time to celebrate as we are seeing the first reversal in development indicators for decades. In 2021, nine out of 10 countries saw a decline in their indicators. When declines happen, it is always the children that are affected first, affected hardest and for the longest.

While the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the global economic crisis have pressed on the accelerator for this decline, it would be naïve to believe that these are the only causes or that these trends can be reversed in a couple of years. Climate change has caused an alarming increase in deaths while failing governance, rising conflict and increasing population displacements have been laying the road for a grim future for today’s children.

The effects on children are immediate, and when one domino falls, a rapid cascade follows. Progress to end child labour has stalled, reversing the previous downward trend that saw 94 million children leave the labour force from 2000 to 2016.

By the end of this year, an estimated 8.9 million more children will be forced to work, joining more than 160 million others.

School attendance was increasing until recently, but this trend is also now reversed with at least 10 million additional children missing out on school in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. In Afghanistan alone, an additional 1.2 million girls have been denied access to secondary education.

Nearly 28 percent of working five- to 11-year-olds and 35 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds in the workforce are out of school. Children not in school are 3.4 times more likely to be married than their peers.

A staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, and 50 million girls, boys and their families in 45 countries were on the brink of starvation in 2021, 1.5 times more than in 2019.

While we strive to build sustainability, the current context means that in many countries we are just trying to sustain the gains of the past decade. For nations such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, even this is not possible. In these and many other countries, children are simply trying to survive, and the odds are now firmly stacked against them.

All these statistics can be overwhelming, and yet there’s a name behind every statistic.

Source: Al Jazeera

Related Articles

Back to top button
Open chat
Hello. Do you want to keep receiving our stories via WhatsApp? Send us a message!