TACOMA, Washington — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused concern about people who had previously escaped poverty falling back into extreme poverty. A report from the United Nations indicates that more than 70 million people could return to living in extreme poverty. One finding showed that children would face the most considerable burden due to the pandemic. It cited poor shelter accessibility, lack of access to healthcare and food insecurity. However, the good news is that organizations are being proactive and are alleviating child poverty during COVID-19 to minimize the pandemic’s effects.
UNICEF’s Child Poverty Reduction Efforts
UNICEF works worldwide to protect children’s rights. Through UNICEF’s humanitarian efforts and an extensive network of partners, the organization strives to improve children’s lives by ensuring the availability of everything from healthcare to education. It is not surprising that UNICEF was one of the first organizations to work toward alleviating child poverty during COVID-19.
Worried about eliminating advancements made under the Sustainable Development Goals, UNICEF developed a six-part guide to help prevent a massive slide of children back into extreme poverty.
- Education was a primary directive in UNICEF’s proactive pandemic strategy. The plan focused on safely reopening schools while also providing increased access to the internet for distance learning.
- UNICEF also concentrated on shoring up governments’ logistics and data collection to protect food security. It also campaigns for vaccine distribution and health services to fight COVID-19.
- Though domestic violence affects all children, not just those living in poverty, UNICEF worked to provide social services to stave off abuse, protect young girls and provide parents with resources during the pandemic.
- Vulnerable populations of children have poor access to clean water and sanitary supplies to fight COVID-19. UNICEF developed plans for governments to provide universal access to clean water and invest in hygiene access to protect children in future pandemics. The organizaion also addresses educating children about sustainable development and the environment for a more informed populace to fight future problems.
- UNICEF stepped in to urge governments to guarantee any monetary aid to combat the pandemic include direct support to keep children from slipping into poverty. This plan included encouraging wealthy nations to include foreign aid in any stimulus packages.
- The final point in UNICEF’s plan for alleviating child poverty during COVID-19 was shielding children in conflict zones and proactively preparing for natural disasters. This point called for countries to adhere to a global ceasefire issued by the U.N. and protect child refugees and migrants.
UNICEF’s initiative is the most thorough information provided for governments and organizations to address child poverty and protecting children through the duration of the pandemic and beyond.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The OECD’s programs to help developing nations reach new heights and reduce poverty are understated. Since 1961, OECD membership has expanded from 18 countries to 37. The number of developing nations that the OECD has supported is in the hundreds. The OECD has worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep progress going. This includes holding forums to discuss strategies on everything from rethinking global health systems to pension programs and women’s empowerment.
Alleviating child poverty during COVID-19 is a crucial policy program for the OECD. The organization addresses similar concerns as UNICEF for developing countries, such as food security and access to digital education while protecting children’s well-being. However, the OECD utilized creative strategies to address previously unforeseen problems in some wealthy nations, which have caused a rise in child poverty.
OECD advocates support for remote work options, childcare needs and mortgage and rent freezes. Exploring solutions to these predicaments is necessary for children’s security. Some solutions the OECD members have developed include universal basic income directed at families with children at risk of extreme poverty, financial support to encourage at-home work for single parents and the creation of information services that families can access for finding services for children.
The ChildFund Alliance
The ChildFund Alliance operates through 11 international organizations centered on children’s welfare. The group has helped millions of children and families escape poverty and each organization can address these issues locally while having an international presence. The primary concerns of the ChildFund on COVID-19’s impact on children are food security and potential violence caused by it. With these issues as prime directives, the ChildFund has created an advocacy plan for alleviating child poverty during COVID-19.
ChildFund has provided direct cash payments to families in the communities it supports. These communities have lost income to combat child hunger due to the pandemic. While maintaining social distancing and COVID-19 hygiene measures, ChildFund has delivered food and necessities to children in need. To prevent violence against vulnerable children, ChildFund has built shelters for children without homes and created neighborhood programs to identify children experiencing abuse. ChildFund has also provided remote mental health services for children.
Despite the pandemic’s negative effects, there is hope when organizations and people proactively work toward eliminating poverty. Alleviating child poverty during COVID-19 is a challenging task and these organizations are tackling it.
– Zachary Kunze