16 May 2017 Poverty continues to impact the lives of Middle Eastern and Northern African children, according to new analysis from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which highlights that millions of the region’s young people live without quality health care or decent housing.
Based on research among children in 11 countries, UNICEF says that the lives of at least 29 million children – or one in four in the region – are deprived of two or more of the most basic life necessities including basic education, nutritious food, quality safe water, sanitation and access to information.
The outcome of the UNICEF research has been presented ahead of the first-ever conference on child poverty in the region, which is currently taking place in Rabat, Morocco.
While at the conference in Rabat, the UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Geert Cappelaere, explained that child poverty is about much more than family income – it is about access to quality education, healthcare, a home and safe water.
He also warns that future families could become impoverished for at least three generation. “When children are deprived of the basics, they are at risk of getting trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.”
Looking back, UNICEF notes that important progress has been made in most countries to reduce poverty, but at the same time the number of children living in poverty continues to be high, particularly in conflict-affected countries, which are seeing a rapid regression of gains made in past decades.
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