Poverty Affects One in Four Children in MENA Region- UNICEF

Poverty continues to affect millions of children in North Africa and the Middle East where one in four children lives without quality health care or decent housing, the UNICEF said in a new report.

Poverty continues to affect at least 29 million children who are deprived of the minimum requirements in two or more of the most basic life necessities including basic education, decent housing, nutritious food, quality health care, safe water, sanitation and access to information, said the UNICEF report, which covered 11 countries in the MENA region.

“Child poverty is about so much more than family income – it’s about access to quality education, healthcare, a home and safe water. When children are deprived of the basics, they are at risk of getting trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for MENA, at a regional conference on child poverty held in Rabat, Morocco.

He warned of the impact of poverty on children’s social mobility saying that future families could become impoverished for at least three generations.

“When children are deprived of the basics, they are at risk of getting trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty,” he insisted.

The report also stressed the need for addressing the challenges standing in the way of measuring the impact of poverty on children and urged governments in the region to alleviate poverty.

“Countries in the region don’t consistently collect data on poverty while widespread and ongoing violence and displacement make it extremely difficult to get data from conflict-affected countries. Absence of a full understanding of children’s reality, including the most marginalized or invisible, risks that existing policies and actions fall short from addressing child poverty effectively,” said the report.

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