In 2012, PEP was commissioned by UNICEF-Uganda to conduct a situational analysis on the extent of child poverty in Uganda, in the context of UNICEF global program to study child poverty and disparities in developing countries.
This initiative has led to the development of a methodology that can be used to update the child situational analysis on a regular basis, as new nationally representative data become available. It consists of both in-depth analytical research - based on primary and secondary data analysis - and participatory research to highlight the voices of children, and provides updates on the current scenario of child poverty and deprivation in Uganda, drawing on secondary analysis of relevant national surveys and the Government's policy and programme documents.
Demand for this situation analysis comes several quarters. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) has a strong interest in using the results to make the case for an appropriate level of funding for child issues in Uganda. An additional justification for this report is the requirement to provide selected baseline information on the situation of children and youth for development partner programming, for policy advocacy with national and local stakeholders.
Against this background, the objectives of this situation analysis are: (i) to develop a set of comprehensive indicators to measure child poverty and disparities in Uganda using the Bristol deprivation approach; (ii) investigate the key determinants of child wellbeing in Uganda; (iii) analyze the policy frameworks associated with the major child indicators to identify gaps and opportunities for policy advocacy; and (iv) draw policy recommendations for addressing child poverty in Uganda.
This analysis conceptualizes child poverty as distinct from general household poverty. Such a view supports consideration of child welfare interventions together with broader macroeconomic and social sector development policies. This is important because economic development policies may lead to different outcomes for women and men, adults and children. For instance, in the absence of alternative childcare services and measures to reduce the domestic reproductive responsibilities, broader development policies aimed to increase women’s labour market opportunities may have a negative impact on childcare for younger children and may impose additional household labour demands on older children.
The conceptualization of poverty in terms of children is even more important for Uganda given that about 57% of the total population is composed of children (defined as under the age of 18), suggesting that development policy should be focused on children more so than adults. Focusing on child poverty also has important implications for the intergenerational transmission of poverty because child poverty has significant long-term consequences. Children born in poor households are more likely to become impoverished adults and, in turn, to have poor children. The report also conceptualizes child poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon. Addressing one aspect of childhood poverty without addressing other aspects is likely to be much less effective at lifting children out of poverty.
Results from the UNICEF-commissioned study mainly show that over half of Uganda's young children (55%) live in multidimensional poverty, deprived in at least two crucial dimensions of their rights, and that nearly a quarter live in extreme poverty with severe deprivations in at least two dimensions.
The results were published in June 2014, through the following report:
Situation Analysis of Child Poverty and Deprivation in Uganda
By Yele Maweki Batana, John Cockburn, Ibrahim Kasirye, Luca Tiberti and Gemma Ahaibwe
A short video clip was also produced by UNICEF-Uganda to publicize the report's conclusions.