Child Poverty Global Theme

Child Poverty is one of five Global Themes prioritized by Save the Children to deliver its new strategy. The other areas are Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education and Health and Nutrition.

For too many children, poverty has devastating and lifelong impacts, limiting opportunities and preventing them from achieving their potential. When children grow up in extreme poverty, they are more likely to become malnourished, get sick and to work in dangerous or exploitative conditions. They are also less likely to complete school. Save the Children’s Child Poverty Global Theme will build on our long-standing work in addressing hunger, nutrition and livelihoods, and on our innovative initiatives on child sensitive social protection and youth skills for employment, with programmes aimed at rebuilding families’ productive capacity and improving their economic resilience. 

From the UK DRTV advert. (The child in the photo is not connected to the text) Photo: Save the Children


By helping to improve parents' and other caregivers' economic well-being, we are able to empower them to make real and lasting investments in their children’s lives. The Child Poverty Global Theme addresses families and children affected by and suffering from deprivations relating to extreme, absolute and relative poverty. Poverty exists in societies at all income levels, including middle and high income countries with significant forms of inequalities. Save the Children's efforts are focused on the most deprived girls and boys of all ages and may include children who lack adequate family care, who have recently migrated or have been displaced.  

Child poverty is often missing from overall national strategies for poverty reduction, although it is children who suffer most from poverty’s effects. We want the world to put children and young people at the heart of its action to reduce poverty; to strengthen the low and insecure incomes that prevent children from surviving, learning and being protected; and thereby stop the transmission of poverty to future generations.

The new Child Poverty Global Theme works to reduce the numbers of girls and boys in extreme poverty and seeks to increase young people’s hopes and skills for better lives and thus contribute to Save the Children's breakthrough ambitions for children in 2030:

  1. No child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday
  2. All children learn from a quality basic education
  3. Violence against children is no longer tolerated

Our priority areas

We have chosen to focus on four sub-thematic areas which are central to reducing the survival, nutritional, learning and protection deprivations suffered by children in poverty in both development and humanitarian contexts:

The Child Poverty Global Theme is working with the other Global Themes to identify areas where we can work together to achieve joint results and synergetic impact for breakthroughs for children. Child poverty is multi-dimensional in nature: in most countries, child deprivations (mortality, education enrolment/completion) and protection issues such as child marriage, low birth registration, and child labour are strongly correlated with very low and insecure incomes. For example, the Child Poverty Global Theme is looking at how we can support efforts for children in harmful work and provide cash transfers to support child nutrition and learning. We will work to ensure that government policies are developed to address the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and that children and their needs are put at the centre.

A woman and her family are from a small community in the Shinile woreda of Sitti Zone in eastern Ethiopia. They lost dozens of livestock to the drought, and as a result decided to leave their pastoral land in search of humanitarian assistance. Photo: Stuart Sia/Save the Children

Our vision is to eradicate extreme, absolute and relative child poverty in every country around the world. Building on Sustainable Development Goal # 1, we will advocate with governments to set explicit child poverty reduction targets, adopt action plans, measure and report on their progress; this way governments will be held accountable for their efforts in reducing child poverty and its associated deprivations. In order to achieve this, we will support and help to build effective civil society platforms and fill the policy gap by showing that children suffer most from poverty, and also have the highest poverty rates of any group. Together with UNICEF, we are co-leaders of a Global Coalition to End Child Poverty, made up of a number of like-minded organisations, committed to eradicating all forms of  child poverty.

Save the Children works with partners to address Child Poverty and its underlying causes, including the immediate and structural causes of income poverty and childhood deprivations. These include various forms of inequality and discrimination - including those based on gender, disability and ethnicity - that keep children in poverty. We will prioritize gender-sensitive and transformative approaches and seek  to understand better how child poverty interventions can be designed in different contexts to achieve better outcomes for girls and to empower women.

Published 2016-04-04