The Global Equity Approach for Children

In the world today, we’re threatened with an undeniable truth: The future of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and therefore the future of their societies will be imperiled for no other reason than the country, the community, the gender or the circumstances into which they are born.

Millions of children are still denied access to education simply because their parents are poor or from a stigmatized group, because they were born female, or because they are growing up in countries affected by conflict or prolonged crises. And even though poverty is falling globally, nearly half of the world’s extreme poor are children, and many more experience multiple dimensions of poverty in their lives.

Without quality education, disadvantaged children are far more likely to be trapped as adults in low-skilled, poorly paid and insecure employment, preventing them from breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. But a greater focus on early childhood development, on increasing education access and quality, and on providing education in emergencies will yield cascading benefits for both this generation and the next.

If given a fair chance at health, education, and protection from harm we have an opportunity to replace the spiteful group of children with good and moral ones; when we provide education, shelter, and protection for children caught in conflicts, we help mend their hearts and their minds, in future, they will have the ability and the desire to help reshape and rebuild their communities – countries.     

In a recent report, UNICEF refers to the term ‘equity’ as “all children having the same opportunities to survive, develop and attain their full potential. Fundamentally, it is about fairness and opportunity – a fair chance for every child”. Inequity occurs when certain children are unfairly deprived of the basic rights and opportunities available to others. It is frequently rooted in complex cultural, political and systemic factors that shape societies and the socio-economic status of individuals.

UNICEF’s ‘equity approach’ to development begins with learning more about who is being left behind and why, identifying the children at greatest risk and analyzing the structural determinants of inequity – poverty, geography and discrimination, for example – and the complex interplay among them.

Ref: UNICEF; The State of the World’s Children 2016 – A fair chance for every child