Friday, June 18, 2010

Child Poverty and Disparities in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, home to about 63 million children--which amounts to 44% of the total population--is one of the countries participating in the Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities.

The study, which can be found here, has revealed that around 26.5 million of these children live below the national poverty line, and that 33 million are living below the international poverty line. Using the deprivations approach, the study shows that around 34 million children are deprived of any one of the six deprivation indicators. Deprivation in the realm of sanitation is the one that affects most children (64% of children aged 3-17 years). Other deprivations affecting a high percentage of Bangladeshi children are information (59%), shelter (41%) and food (35%).

Children from particular ethnic groups are more likely to experience at least one deprivation: 93% of Santal, 81% of Tripuras and 68% of Marmas children. In contrast, the proportion for Bengali children is about 58%.

The study also shows that: 1) The higher the education level of the mother, the lower is the chance for the household or the child to be affected by deprivation, and the mother’s education has a mitigating impact on the severity of the child’s deprivations; 2) In the female-headed households with deprivations, the severity of deprivation is higher; 3) Households are relatively more prone to being affected by deprivation the larger they get.

Key Recommendations:
• Raising the issue of child poverty and strengthening the profile of children at the national policy table;

• Monitoring the implementation of laws and regulations and programme results, and increased budgetary allocation are necessary for realizing the existing relevant policy commitments;

• A capacity building initiative to strengthen the capacity of the key actors (e.g., officials of relevant line Ministries, research institutions and NGOs, etc.);

• Interventions towards enhancing female education and adult literacy programme for women, and behavior-change communication in general;

• Reviewing social sector policies, particularly social protection policies, to include the excluded and vulnerable children and expand the cash and food transfer programme for their families.

Focal Point: Siping Wang