A new report by Save the Children suggests that more than half the world’s children (over 1.2 billion) face the threats of conflict, poverty or discrimination against girls. The report examines the three factors that rob children of their childhoods all over the world. The report ranks 175 countries based on childhood being threatened as a result of poor health, no access to education, child labour and marriage, early pregnancy, extreme violence and malnutrition.
Africa performs poorly
Eight of the bottom 10 ranked countries are located in West and Central Africa. Save the Children’s Simon Wright says that whilst there is progress being made in many parts of world including the lowest ranked countries, it is simply not happening fast enough. The gap between the rich and the poor is also growing wider in many countries whilst child welfare is threatened. Mr Wright adds that over half the world’s children begin their lives being held back because they are girls, poor or because they live in a war-zone.
Urgent action is necessary
Unless urgent action is taken, it is going to be impossible to meet the promises made by every country three years ago at the UN to ensure that every child survives, learns and is protected by 2030. Mr Wright says the fact that countries who have similar levels of incomes deliver such variances in outcomes for children suggests that policy, funding and political will make a vital difference. In 95 countries that were ranked, the situation over the last year has improved, whilst in 40 countries, the situation has deteriorated.
The stats are astonishing
Over a billion children around the world live in countries affected by poverty. Nearly a quarter billion in countries affected by conflict and 575 million girls live in parts of the world where gender bias is a problem. 153 million children live in countries where all three issues are a problem. The poorest girls have a birth rate three times as high as the wealthiest. The United States is ranked 36th on the list despite being the wealthiest most powerful nation on the planet. Russia is ranked 37th and China 40th.
Take the steps
Save the Children is urging governments all over the world to take the steps necessary so that no child dies from a preventable or treatable cause or is subjected to extreme violence. Children should not have to worry about being robbed, they should receive the required nutrition and they should not be forced into marriage, pregnancy or labour. Finally, all children should have access to quality education.