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Multidimensional Child Poverty in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

The smaller the household, the lower the risk of multidimensional poverty.

Multidimensional Poverty encompasses the many deprivations faced by poor people in their daily lives. These deprivations include lack of quality Education, poor health, the threat of violence, poor living standards, disempowerment, living in environmentally hazardous areas, and many more. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), published by the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, tracks deprivation across three dimensions (health, education and living standards) and 10 indicators. If a child is deprived in these three dimensions, such child is considered as multi-dimensionally poor.

It has been discovered that households with a higher number of members and children are at great risk of showing higher multidimensional deprivation rates compared to households with smaller members. Also, Multidimensional poverty is likely to affect children living with non-educated household heads in comparison with children who live with household heads who attained secondary or Higher Education levels. Stunted and underweight children aged 0-4 years, also presented higher multidimensional deprivation rates than children who are not stunted and underweight.

Reports confirm multidimensional child poverty.

More than 54 percent of children in Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor; 47.4 percent of children are faced with monetary poverty; while 24.6 percent of children are challenged with Extreme Poverty in the country. This development was confirmed by three different reports — The Situation Analysis of Children in Nigeria, Multidimensional Child Poverty Analysis in Nigeria, and Monetary Child Poverty in Nigeria. They were prepared by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with UNICEF and launched by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

The Multidimensional Child Poverty Analysis reveals that approximately 54 percent multi-dimensionally poor Nigerian children are faced by at least three deprivations across seven dimensions of child rights as defined by the United Nations. They include, right to education, good Nutrition, good healthcare, adequate housing, Sanitation, water and information devices. UNICEF also stated that the new report recorded 65.7 percent of rural children in Nigeria as multi-dimensionally poor, in comparison with 28.4 percent of urban children. At the regional level, children multidimensional poverty rates is presented to be higher in Sokoto (81.5 percent), Kebbi, and Zamfara states, as opposed to children living in Edo and Lagos (14.5 percent).

The analysis presents the percent of multi-dimensionally poor children.

A deprivation rate of 33 percent among children aged 0-4 years old is presented by the nutrition dimension, while 45.4 percent of children aged 5-11 years and 61.7 percent aged 12-17 years experience deprivation in the educational dimension. Likewise, deprivation in water dimension ranged from 37.6-40.6 percent across all age groups. The analysis presents sanitation as a dimension with one of the highest deprivations rates, with three out of four children aged 12-17 years experiencing deprivation. The information dimension measures children’s accessibility to information devices like radio, television, and mobile phone. In this category, the deprivation rates ranged from 10.8-12.8 percent across all age groups. As indicated by the disaggregation of multidimensional poverty rates by age group, 60 percent of children aged 0-4 years, 50 percent of children aged 5-11 years and 52.6 percent children aged 12-17 years are considered to be multi-dimensionally poor.

According to the monetary poverty report, 47.4 percent of children experience monetary poverty by living in households with a spending budget of less than N376.5 a day; which is the national poverty line. The Situation Analysis shows that the child poverty rate is prevalent among children aged 16-17 years and minimal among children aged 0-5 years. It also reveals that the vulnerability of children makes them easily affected by poverty, and this could have a long-term impact on their well-being, even into adulthood.

Nigeria requires N1 trillion for the alleviation of children poverty.

The analysis of the reports indicates the need for an improvement in social protection measures towards ensuring the protection of children from risks, alongside an expansion of access to social services. Based on either the monetary or non-monetary aspect, the data has proven that children are more likely to live in poverty than other groups. Therefore, special attention should be paid to planning and programming for children, in accordance with the policy recommendations and calls to action embedded in the reports. Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, affirmed that the data provided gives a clear direction towards the realization of children’s rights in Nigeria. For adequate results, the reports stated, Nigeria requires approximately N1 trillion to alleviate children from poverty.


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