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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Child poverty and inequality

Poverty and inequality levels in South Africa are among the highest in the world. More children than adults live in poverty, they are exposed to higher levels of poverty than their adult counterparts, they experience poverty differently to adults, and the consequences of poverty are more severe for children.At every stage, poverty and inequality harm the life chances of children.

Child Poverty and Inequality is one in a series of topical guides developed for PAN:Children that provides key information on the current state of affairs in South Africa related to poverty and children. It highlights practical guidance, lessons learned and case studies (both national and international) that will be helpful in policy development dialogue and knowledge sharing.

The topical guide is rich with references and these are available in the sub-sections below, which are arranged according to 'type' of document for example Policy Briefs or Country Studies.

Feedback on the topical guide is welcomed and can be submitted to [email protected] .

The PAN secretariat also welcomes any additional documentation which is aligned to the focus of this guide.

Related publications

This policy brief introduces systematic reviews and evidence gap maps as two relatively new types of synthesised evidence in South African context. It explains why these synthesis tools are particularly valuable for the policy-making processes. It offers a brief history of their development, their main characteristics and procedures, as well as the main resources where they are found. In addition, it describes current production levels and usage of these synthesis tools in South Africa, and concludes with a call for greater attention and use of these tools to improve research evidence availability in the policy-making processes. 

After the launch of the National Development Plan Vision 2030 of South Africa in August 2012, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) South Africa commissioned a study that explored available policy options for addressing poverty traps and social exclusion among children in South Africa and the additional national and societal efforts that are needed to break such traps. Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion among Children in South Africa was nominated by UNICEF as one of the 12 best policy research reports done globally for them in 2014 (See Best of UNICEF Research 2014, At this seminar, five policy briefs drawn from the research will launched and shared.

Over the last decade, there has been increasing debate around how to most effectively use research evidence to inform policy processes. A two-year study led by Young Lives set out to identify challenges and opportunities for translating research into policy and practice in the area of child poverty and child protection. On the basis of two case studies – one focusing on orphanhood and vulnerability in Ethiopia and the other on children’s work in Andhra Pradesh, India – the team developed a consultative approach involving a mixed group of stakeholders in each country. The groups identified several barriers to using research to improve policy and practice for children. These included lack of interaction between stakeholder groups, problems with who sets research agendas, lack of resources for supporting research uptake, and researchers’ lack of awareness of policy contexts. Part of strengthening the links between research, policy and practice is supporting the inclusion of children’s perspectives and participation in this process.

Link: Policy brief

This policy brief assesses how child poverty can be included as part of the new monitoring framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide specific recommendations to support member states frame the new indicators to help reduce child poverty in the new SDGs. This brief was put together by likeminded partners concerned at the devastating effects of poverty in childhood on children and societies, and the need to mainstream child poverty and the solutions to it in national, sub-national and global policies and plans.

This policy brief aims to examine foster care placement in South Africa and the challenges with which it is fraught. It will seek to provide a way forward for government to ameliorate the plight of the children who require these services as well as those who are rendering them.

Social protection programmes reduce poverty and vulnerability while strengthening a broad range of developmental impacts. This brief describes the pathways through which social protection – especially cash transfers – contributes to HIV prevention, particularly in addressing the social, economic and structural drivers of HIV in adolescents. This brief is important for policymakers and programme managers who work on HIV prevention or social protection – and the intersection of both.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_1.pdf

Dignity is a foundational value in South Africa’s Constitution and is also experienced as a psycho-social phenomenon. Dimensions of dignity were explored with almost two hundred low income female caregivers and the impact of poverty on dignity was examined.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_2.pdf

The child support grant is social assistance paid for children living with low income caregivers. The experiences of applying for the grant, using the grant, and being a grant recipient were explored with almost two hundred low income female caregivers in South Africa and the impact on dignity was examined.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_3.pdf

This study explored lone mothers’ experiences of social security in South Africa in terms of whether it protects and respects their dignity. Interviews were undertaken with almost two hundred low income lone mothers and the impact on dignity was examined. Interviews were also held with senior policy makers in government, and social attitudes were explored more broadly in relation to dignity, poverty and social security using data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey.

Link: Policy brief

RIATT-ESA is seeking to improve understanding and build the evidence base around the kinds of interventions which are most effective in improving outcomes for children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS in the family. Related to this is how children's health, protection, care and support are interrelated. RIATT-ESA consequently commissioned secondary analyses of existing data sets in the eastern and Southern Africa region (ESA) and systematic reviews in order to better understand how children affected by AIDS in the region are made vulnerable. In particular the research sought to establish if and how being orphaned by HIV and AIDS leads to an increased likelihood of negative outcomes for children in comparison to other orphans or non-orphans. This included investigating factors that can predict vulnerability and tracking the different pathways by which HIV and AIDS impacts child outcomes, hence identifying key risks to children for targeted action.

Link: Policy brief

A longitudinal survey of over 3,000 girls found that cash transfers to poor households allow teenage girls to make safer sexual choices. They reduce reliance on 'sugar daddies' to provide basic needs. However, cash transfers do not reduce all HIV-infection risks, and must be part of combination prevention approaches. Click here to view other research in this series.

This Children Count brief looks at income poverty and adult unemployment from the perspective of children,drawing on nationally representative household surveys conducted by Statistics South Africa.

Policy brief with key messages from UNIEF's recent report, Combating poverty & inequality: Structural change, social policy and politics which attempts to explain how poverty reduction depends crucially on the interconnections among economic development, social policy and politics. Argues that there is a need for new directions in macroeconomic policy and structural change to generate decent employment.

This Children Count brief provides an overview of the situation of children in South Africa, drawing on data from the first wave of the National Income Dynamics Study. NIDS is a national panel survey, and the fieldwork for the first wave was done in 2008. Households and individuals covered in the first wave will be tracked every two years. This will allow researchers to follow the progress of the child panel over time and place, and thereby describe the dynamics of child poverty rather than present a static profile. The data from the first wave serves as a baseline.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI is an international poverty measure developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for the United Nations Development Programme’s flagship Human Development Report. The innovative index reflects the multiple deprivations that a poor person faces with respect to education, health and living standards. This brief summarises the method and key findings for 2011 and shows how the MPI can be used.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of poverty. Covering 109 developing countries, the MPI complements income poverty and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) measures by reflecting the acute deprivations that people face at the same time. It identifies people who contend with multiple deprivations across three dimensions: education, health, and living standards.

Using evidence from UNICEF’s ongoing Global Study on Child Poverty in Disparities, this brief illustrates the importance of looking beyond traditional methods of measuring poverty based on income or consumption levels, and emphasizes the importance of seeking out the multidimensional face of child poverty. This approach further recognizes that the method used in depicting child poverty is crucial to the policy design and implementation of interventions that address children’s needs, especially among the most deprived.

This article investigates inequalities in children’s schooling in South Africa in 2008 using community-based data collected by the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). ­

Link: Publication

This guide examines of modern responses to child labour as embodied in policy and legislation. It covers where and how the lines have been drawn between the types and arrangements of work that have no harmful effect on children and those that do; how countries have expressed their antipathy to child labour and created institutions to combat it; how governments have responded to children not getting a proper education; and how governments have responded to adults exploitation of child labour.

A factsheet providing answers to frequently asked questions surrounding the 2012 Nutrition Barometer. The Nutrition Barometer itself is available on PAN: Children at /node/9110.

The Nutrition Barometer provides a snapshot of national governments’ commitments to addressing children’s nutrition, and the progress they have made. It looks at 36 developing countries with the highest levels of child undernutrition. The Barometer measures governments’ political and legal commitment to tackling malnutrition (eg, whether they have a national nutrition plan), as well as their financial commitment. Countries’ progress in tackling malnutrition is measured by children’s nutritional status – the proportion who are underweight, stunted or suffering from wasting – and children’s chances of survival.

This document features some of the most notable innovations, lessons learned and good practices from UNICEF’s 2009 and 2010 programme reporting, incorporating updated information and results obtained as of late 2011. They are presented here to highlight innovative initiatives of UNICEF and its country-level partners and to share lessons learned and good practices identified in working to reach the most deprived children and families.

Presents recommendations for the better integration of child rights and highlights a conceptual framework for the poverty reduction strategy (PRS) - national development plan (NDP) cycle that has been used to develop tools and guidance for those involved in the PRS/NDP proc¬ess who wish to improve the visibility and realisation of child rights.

This handbook provides Members of Parliament with information on children’s issues and their rights. Its purpose is to equip MPs with the tools to integrate a child-rights perspective into all work that Members engage with.

"Family planning is a human right. Yet today some 222 million women in developing countries are unable to exercise that right because they lack access to contraceptives, information and quality services or because social and economic forces prevent them from taking advantage of services even where they are available. The State of World Population 2012 explains why family planning is a right, examines the challenges in ensuring that all women, men and young people are able to exercise that right and suggests actions that governments and international organizations can take to give everyone the power and the means to decide freely and responsibly how many children to have and when to have them."

This document reports on a survey held in three provinces in more than 300 public schools offering Grade R, more than 300 community-based ECD facilities registered with the DSD, and 90 non-registered community-based ECD facilities. Separate questionnaires were designed for each. Province 1 is a rich province, Province 2 a moderately poor one and Province 3 a large and very poor province, thus the survey reflects the broad spectrum of experiences in ECD.

This report presents the results of the first qualitative assessment of the Child Support Grant undertaken in 2010 in South Africa. The study was commissioned and funded by the Department of Social Development, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and UNICEF South Africa.

The paper begins by documenting the historical context for current cash transfer programmes. It goes on to look at evidence concerning the aggregate impact of these cash transfers on poverty levels. Thereafter, it reviews the literature that has attempted to rigorously evaluate the impact of the cash transfers on specific socio-economic outcomes and on behaviour. Given this evidence, the paper concludes by looking at the feasibility and appropriateness of introducing conditionalities into what is currently an unconditional cash transfer programme.

An Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis of the education component of the Mexican government’s welfare programme, Progresa, which aims to reduce rural poverty. It argues that increasing the grant for secondary school children while eliminating it at the primary age would strengthen Progresa’s impact.

This report presents the findings of a research team’s analysis of a specially designed survey fielded in rural and urban areas of 5 South African provinces, supporting the rigorous impact assessment of how access to the CSG affects key aspects of child and adolescent well-being.  Also refer to the executive summary and the policy brief, South Africa’s Child Support Grant: Overall findings from an integrated qualitative-quantitative evaluation

Link: Young lives

Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, involving 12,000 children in fourcountries over 15 years. It is led by a team in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford in association with research and policy partners in the four study countries: Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Through researching different aspects of children's lives it seeks to improve policies and programmes for children and produces a range of publications to present the Young Lives data and analysis and to document methodology.  

Online data from a report which systematically presents comparative data on laws and public policies in 191 countries covering areas essential to children's healthy development. Changing children's chances examines policy data and their impact in the areas of poverty, discrimination, education, health, child labour, child marriage, and parental care. The report provides a global picture of the policy tools governments can use to make a difference to children's opportunities in life. The website summarizes key original findings from databases on current laws and policies in UN member states.

The 2010 National Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Syphilis Prevalence Survey has been conducted for the past 21 years and is used as an instrument to measure HIV prevalence trends in South Africa since 1990.

Chapter in Saving children 2009: Five years of data: A sixth survey of child healthcare in South Africa which makes a set of recommendations that have arisen from analysis of the overall Child PIP data and of each of the main causes of mortality in young children. The recommendations are targeted at different key functions within the health sector and are thus divided into four sections, namely policy, management and administration, clinical practice and education.

This indicator shows the number and proportion of children who live in households that are connected to a mains electricity supply from their municipality or Eskom.

Children are defined as living in over-crowded dwellings when there is a ratio of more than two people per room (excluding bathrooms but including kitchen and living room). The over-crowding ratio is obtained by dividing the total number of household members by the total number of rooms occupied by the household. Thus, a dwelling with two bedrooms, a kitchen and sitting-room would be defined as over-crowded if there were more than eight people living in it.

This indicator shows the number and proportion of children who have access to a safe and reliable supply of drinking water at their homes – either inside the dwelling or on site. This is used as a proxy for access to adequate water. All other water sources, including public taps, water tankers, dams and rivers, are considered inadequate because of their distance from the dwelling or the possibility that water is of poor quality.

This fact sheet provides a statistical summary of the distribution of social grants to beneficiaries in the 9 provinces of South Africa as at 30 April 2012. Note that social grant refers to: Old Age grant (OAG), War Veteran grant (WVG), Disability grant (DG), Grant in Aid (GIA), Care Dependency grant (CDG), Child Support grant (CSG) and Foster Child grant (FCG).

This indicator shows the number and proportion of children living in households that are income poor. Three poverty lines are used: an 'upper' poverty line, a 'lower' poverty line and an 'ultra-low' poverty line equivalent to US$2-a-day. These values are set in the year 2000 and are increased each year in line with inflation.

Chapter in South African Child Gauge 2010/11, an annual publication to help people understand what needs to be done to improve the lives of all children in South Africa. Part 1 looks at laws and policies that affect children. Part 2 takes a closer look at children’s right to participate in decisions that affect them. Part 3 looks at numbers on children’s access to schools, clinics, social grants and other services.

This is an annual report intended as a snapshot of the child rights climate in South Africa, It includes discussions about children and law reform, children participating in social dialogue and datasets.

This publication features ten innovations and lessons learned from UNICEF initiatives. These case studies are illustrative of UNICEF’s and its partners’ experience in bringing and solidifying upstream work as a core strategy to reach the most marginalized children and families. Despite the diversity of the case studies, a common thread across them is their contribution to addressing barriers and bottlenecks to children’s access to essential services

On 16 July 2014, the Department of Social Development (DSD) presented their budget speech to the National Assembly. PAN:Children in line with its mandate to provide high quality, timely information to inform policy and decision making in relation to children has highlighted the policy priorities from the budget speech for 2014 . In an effort to promote evidence informed policy making, this summary couples the policy imperatives in the budget speech with useful and relevant evidence found on the PAN: Children platform. 

An international treaty created in view of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations. It sets out a series of norms and standards pertaining specifically to challenges of inequality, employment, poverty alleviation and the right to inherent dignity. The South African cabinet has approved South Africa's decision to ratify this document.

An international charter drawing-together a variety of international principles to highlight and protect the rights of young people on the African continent. This document sets out a comprehensive package of rights, canvassing numerous areas including civil and political and socio-economic rights.

Documents South Africa’s social and economic plan for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality and incorporates a number of child-specific developmental goals.

This delivery agreement provides detail to the outputs, targets, indicators and key activities to achieve outcome 4, identifies required inputs and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the various delivery partners. It spells out who will do what, by when and with what resources. The outcomes apply to the whole of government and are long term. While the delivery agreement may contain longer term outputs and targets, it also includes outputs and associated targets that are realisable in the next 4 years.

Documents South Africa’s economic development plan for the medium term. It is contextualised against the prioritisation of South Africa as a developmental state and targets the development of human resources and the reduction of inequality.

Policy framework for post-apartheid restructuring of social welfare services, programmes and social security and emphasises the need for attaining equity and redress through social development.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, was approved by the Constitutional Court (CC) on 4 December 1996 and took effect on 4 February 1997. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. No other law or government action can supersede the provisions of the Constitution.

This is a supplementary document setting out the obligations of states to prevent childre from falling victim to these harmful practices. It stresses the need to protect the rights of children in this regard through a number of mechanisms, in particular, international co-operation.

This is an international treaty created by the African Union. It sets out the rights of the child and the obligations of its signatory states to bring about realisation of these rights. Widely ratified, it is one of the key child rights documents for African states.

An international treaty setting out the rights of the child. This instrument has been ratified by almost all states worldwide and is considered a key child rights document.

Discussion document with an overall objective of eradicating poverty by focusing on the creation of economic opportunities and enabling or empowering communities and individuals to access these opportunities. This document has two parts. The first presents the anti-poverty framework and the second presents strategy. A draft programme of action is attached to the strategy.

New research released by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg finds that social grants are associated with better health outcomes and school attendance for children under eight years. But, a cash transfer is not enough to promote the overall well-being of South Africa's children. To fast track their growth and development, other strategies are needed to complement cash transfers to promote their social, mental, physical and educational development.  The research highlights the important role that the state plays in supporting families in the care of children, but also of parents, caregivers of children, their families and communities. 

Document(s): PDF icon Study.pdf
Link: Details

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) released its first ever comprehensive study on the impact of conflicts and crisis on children in Africa during its 28th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia. The study concentrates on conflicts and crises across Africa over the last 10 years and the measures by State and non-State actors to protect the rights of children during and in the aftermath of such situations. It addresses psychological impact, education, health, nutrition/food security, separation from parents/caregivers, and sexual and gender-based violence. Child rights underlie its analysis, particularly the best interest of the child; the rights to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child as evidenced through children’s voices.Being the first of its kind at the level of an Organ of the African Union, the study draws urgency towards Member States to address the challenges that children are facing in conflict situations and halt recruiting and using children for military purposes. Taking the new challenges into consideration, the study, particularly, urges for a high level commitment from Member States to establish effective and functioning mechanisms to address the impact of conflict and crises on children and provide for the care and protection of children affected by armed conflict. 

In a rapidly ageing world, sub-Saharan Africa stands out for its youth. Harnessing the potential of the region’s children and adolescents through expanded opportunities for health and education, could unlock a demographic dividend. However, demography also creates risks for Africa – and for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the next 15 years, Africa will account for a fast-rising share of the world’s under-five population, adolescents, and new entrants to the work force. This has far-reaching implications for the age profile of global poverty. On current trends, we estimate that by 2030 one-in-five African children will be living below the $1.90 poverty threshold – and that these children could account for over 40% of world poverty. In Child poverty, inequality and demography we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency. 

What is the evidence regarding positive and negative impacts of social protection programmes on children, and more specifically, the conditions and processes that cause these outcomes? What does the literature suggest as key guiding considerations and approaches to maximise positive impacts. The report finds that impact of social protection on children is under-researched. In addition it summaries key findings and insights from the existing literature.

Document(s): PDF icon UNICEF_SOWC_2016.pdf
SOWC 2016

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030. At the start of a new development agenda, the report concludes with a set of recommendations to help chart the course towards a more equitable world.

Link: Report

Children and adolescents living in relative poverty – regardless of overall material conditions – tend to experience more interpersonal violence, family turmoil, and environmental hazards that increase risk of injury, engage in more health compromising behaviours (e.g., physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking), report lower subjective well-being, and exhibit more social skills deficits and emotional and behavioural problems.

Link: Publication

This paper analyses the interplay between the rights to social protection and to adequate food, as well as the importance of a human rights-based approach to social protection. It explores the right to social protection under human rights treaties and standards arising from the United Nations. It describes the key issues that should be taken into account, in particular the importance of having legally enforceable rights, clear institutional responsibilities, transparency of eligibility criteria, application and termination procedures and recourse mechanisms. The paper recommends that social protection programmes have a clear legal basis that is consistent with human rights.

Link: Publication

It is now accepted that high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring lasting benefits to children from disadvantaged contexts. However, a significant number of families with young children who are disadvantaged find it difficult to take up resources in the ECEC system. As governments all over the world heed arguments that ECEC is a prudent social investment, it is useful to consider the service system from the perspective of the families targeted by these logics.

Outside of the United Kingdom, the question of how families make moral and practical decisions about their use of ECEC has received relatively little attention. This article draws on an Australian study, which explored how families who were disadvantaged imagined strong childrearing environments and then used services to progress this vision. These perspectives complicate and challenge social investment approaches that predominantly focus on the provision of childcare or preschool subsidies and places as a way of redressing social disadvantage. Many participants wanted to establish family stability and adequate material and social resources before participating in early years education. Investment in community development is an important mechanism for addressing service exclusion.

Link: Publication

This report aims to stimulate discussion and action by decision-makers and serve to inform the strategic thinking, programming and practice. It confirms well-known hindrances, identifies opportunities, and highlights how meaningful youth participation needs to address power. It calls on the broad range of actors working on child and youth development issues to take action and improve their own effectiveness and the enabling environment. While several findings identify new challenges and opportunities, others add more nuance and context to current discussions on child and youth development. The recurrence of some issues suggests that current actions are either inadequate or absent.

Link: Publication

This paper synthesises evidence about effective interventions and strategies to improve early child development, and calls for it to be included in a new global strategy on women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health.The millennium development goal on child health has led to great improvements in child survival worldwide. Child mortality has fallen by almost 50%, resulting in an estimated 17 000 fewer children dying every day in 2013 than in 1990.Nevertheless, many children who survive do not thrive, with over 200 million children under 5 years of age at risk of not attaining their developmental potential. Physical and mental health, educational and occupational attainment, family wellbeing, and the capacity for mutually rewarding social relationships all have their roots in early childhood. We now have a good understanding of the serious implications of young children going off course, including the longer term economic and societal ramifications. 

Link: Publication

This report outlines the research that supports each of the policy areas in the Alliance for Early Success’ recently revised Birth through Eight State Policy Framework. Research at a Glance provides an overview of the evidence base for the policy choices in the Framework, summarizing the factors that contribute to, and sustain, the healthy growth and development of young children. The revised Framework emphasizes policy options in the areas of health, family support, and learning, and policy options that bridge these three areas. - See more at: 

This technical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that rising global temperature is causing major physical, chemical, and ecological changes across the planet. There is wide consensus among scientific organizations and climatologists that these broad effects, known as climate change, are the result of contemporary human activity. Climate change poses threats to human health, safety, and security. Children are uniquely vulnerable to these threats. The effects of climate change on child health include physical and psychological sequelae of weather disasters, increased heat stress, decreased air quality, altered disease patterns of some climate-sensitive infections, and food, water, and nutrient insecurity in vulnerable regions. Prompt implementation of mitigation and adaptation strategies will protect children against worsening of the problem and its associated health effects. This technical report reviews the nature of climate change and its associated child health effects and supports the recommendations in the accompanying policy statement on climate change and children’s health.

Link: Publication

This helpdesk query from GSDRC answers the following question:- What evidence is there on the development outcomes of the political and social inclusion of young people? Review the evidence in lower and middle income countries for including young people (10-25 years) in political processes, formal institutions and governance structures (political inclusion) and informal institutions such as household and community structures (social inclusion). What development outcomes (positive and negative / costs and benefits) are associated with these forms of inclusion, both for the youth cohort as well as wider society?

Link: Publication

Child poverty is defined as non-fulfilment of children’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation, anchored in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. DHS and MICS household survey data is used, taking the child as unit of analysis and applying a life-cycle approach when selecting dimensions and indicators to capture the different deprivations children experience at different stages of their life. The paper goes beyond mere deprivation rates and identifies the depth of child poverty by analysing the extent to which the different deprivations are experienced simultaneously. The analysis is done across thirty countries in sub-Saharan Africa that together represent 78% of the region’s total population. The findings show that 67% of all the children in the thirty countries suffer from two to five deprivations crucial to their survival and development, corresponding to 247 million out of a total of 368 million children below the age of 18 living in these thirty countries.

Link: Publication

The report outlines the procedures that were followed in the rebasing of national poverty lines that were first developed using the 2000 Income and Expenditure Survey (IES 2001) to IES 2010/11. The rebasing exercise updates the existing set of national poverty lines, benefiting from improvements in survey methodology while also taking into account changes in living conditions and the introduction of new commodities and services which become essential in a rapidly changing South African society. The report also presents “pilot” provincial poverty lines.

Link: Publication

“Towards anAfrican Position on Children and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” (ACPF, April 2013) is a position paper which aims to draw attention to the central importance of children and their security in the current and future development agenda in Africa. It proposes a framework for action and identifies key priorities for ensuring that the well being and rights of Africa’s children are protected, promoted and fulfilled in the post-2015 development agenda. 

Link: Publication

World leaders are setting out a roadmap for human progress over the next 15 years. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals, these new global targets will drive investment and action in virtually every country on earth, touching millions of lives. That is why it is vital that every child is included – and that children everywhere are at the heart of the new global agenda. This ‘Agenda for Every Child’ sets out seven priorities that must be addressed in the new development goals.

Link: Publication

As the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to an end in 2015, a new framework for global development will be put in place. The ‘Post-2015 Development Agenda’ will culminate in the formulation of a new set of goals and targets – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – that will build on the progress of the MDGs and also address the shortcomings. Additional resources: Post-2015 Issue Briefs .





Link: Publication

Twenty years after the end of apartheid South Africa is a different place. It has a well institutionalized democracy. Significant gains have been made in social equity and in reducing extreme poverty. Yet poverty, unemployment and inequality remain South Africa’s most pressing problems. Social change and enhanced access to rights have not translated into comparable economic shifts – unemployment has risen and inequality remains extreme.The paper starts with a brief review of the literature to explore the main trajectories through which inequality impacts on economic development and growth. This includes consideration of the crucial roles of public policy and institutions, as well as the roles of asset inequality, income inequality, and inequality in access to opportunities.The paper then attempts to grapple with the multi-dimensional nature of inequality in South Africa and how social and economic inequality impact on the scope for economic development.


Link: Publication

Report explores whether fiscal policy reduces poverty and inequality. It offers an analysis which is based upon the innovative use of fiscal and household survey data to provide evidence on two main questions; how do taxes and spending in South Africa redistribute income between the rich and the poor, and what is the impact of taxes and spending on poverty and inequality? Against the backdrop of a high fiscal deficit and rising debt burden, it is essential that the government uses its existing resources effectively in the fight against poverty and inequality, according to the report.

Link: Publication

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an index of acute multidimensional poverty that covers over 100 developing countries. It assesses the nature and intensity of poverty at the individual level, by directly measuring the overlapping deprivations poor people experience simultaneously. It provides a vivid picture of how and where people are poor, within and across countries, regions and the world, enabling policymakers to better target their resources at those most in need through policy interventions that tackle the many different aspects of poverty together. This brief explains how the Global MPI is constructed and how it can be used, and summarises a number of analyses of the Global MPI figures released in June 2014. For more resources: Constructing a multidimensional poverty measure ; Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index: available as an OPHI working paper or in World Development .

Link: Publication

Voice and Agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity is a major new report by the World Bank that shines a spotlight on the value of voice and agency, the patterns of constraints that limit their realization, and the associated costs, not only to individual women but to their families, communities, and societies. It highlights promising policies and interventions, and it identifies priority areas where further research and more and better data and evidence are needed. Underlining that agency has both  intrinsic and instrumental, concrete value,  this report puts advancing women’s voice  and agency squarely on the international development agenda.

The Gender Action Plan (GAP) 2014-2017 presented in this document specifies how UNICEF will promote gender equality across all of the organization’s work at the global, regional and country levels, in alignment with the UNICEF Strategic Plan 2014-2017. The GAP elaborates the gender dimensions of the programmatic results across the seven outcome areas of the Strategic Plan along with the relevant indicators for measuring success. It also specifies the steps UNICEF is undertaking with regard to institutional effectiveness in implementing the programmatic work on gender, through commitment of resources and strengthening of staffing, capacity and systems.

Link: Publication

The MDG report is based on comprehensive official statistics and provides the most up-to-date summary of all Goals and their targets at global and regional levels, with additional national statistics available online. Results show that concentrated efforts to achieve MDG targets by national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are working to lift people out of extreme poverty and improve their futures.

Link: Publication

The 2013 report includes the domesticated indicators which are applicable to the South African context. The key feature and contributor in the 2013 MDG report has been the availability of data emerging out of the Population Census of 2011.

Link: Publication

The Roadmap specifically calls on governments to “assess the impact of relevant policies on the worst forms of child labour, taking into account gender and age, put in place preventive and time-bound measures and make adequate financial resources available to fight the worst forms of child labour, including through international cooperation”. It also calls on social partners to take “immediate and effective measures within their own competence to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency, including through policies and programmes that address child labour”.

Link: Publication

The IPEC project “Tackling child labour through education” (TACKLE) was jointly launched by the European Commission (EC) and the ILO with the support of the Secretariat of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) in 2008 to fight child labour in 12 ACP countries (Angola, Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan and Zambia). The objective of the TACKLE project was to contribute to the withdrawal of children engaged in child labour and to prevent further entry of children into employment by offering them alternative education and training opportunities and thereby contributing towards poverty reduction. It is hoped that this collection of good practices serves as an inspiration for their replication and contributes to the work of practitioners and policy-makers on child labour worldwide.

Link: Publication

The ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) Implementation Report 2014 provides a summary of the work of the Programme during the biennium 2012-2013. It also provides an overview of significant developments during the biennium including the Global Conference on child labour and new global estimates on child labour.

Link: Publication

This new report is the first in a series to be published annually by the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour. It brings together research on child labour and social protection, identifying policies that are designed to achieve multiple social goals. It discusses the role of poverty and economic shocks in rendering households vulnerable to child labour and considers the impact on child labour of cash transfers, public employment programmes, social insurance and other social protection initiatives as they have been implemented around the world. The report distils a broad range of research in economic and social policy and should be of interest to those looking for ways to combat poverty in the present and reduce its burden on the next generation.

Link: Publication

New report on domestic work within the framework of the two ILO fundamental conventions on child labour. It provides detailed information on current data regarding the estimated number of child domestic workers worldwide. It also explores the ambiguity of the working relationship, the discrimination and isolation associated with the practice, the hazards and risks of this type of work, as well as the vulnerability to violence and to abuse to which child domestic workers are too often exposed. It also explores policy responses to child labour and underlines the key role of the social partners and civil society organizations in the fight against child labour in domestic work. The report concludes by making a call for specific action towards ending child labour and protecting young workers in domestic work.

Link: Publication

This fact sheet is an update to the global estimates on child domestic work 2008.

Link: Publication

This is the fourth issue of the ILO’s report series: Global Estimates on child labour. The present Report provides new global and regional estimates on child labour for the year 2012 and compares them with the previous estimates for 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Link: Publication

This publication is a companion volume of the "Children in Hazardous Work: What we know, what we need to do" report, outlines the problem of hazardous work and highlights possible solutions. Although it is too early to say, in most cases, that the activities included here are proven "good practices" ready for emulation, nonetheless items in this selection have already demonstrated some unique or notable elements.

Link: Publication

Fact Sheet: Generation 2030 Africa Report -  On current trends, almost 2 billion babies will be born in Africa in the next 35 years due to high fertility rates and increasing number of women of reproductive age. Over the same period Africa’sunder-18 population will increase by two thirds, reaching almost 1billion by mid-century.


Link: Publication

This paper presents an overview of the impact that demographic changes will have on  development over the first half of the 21st century by taking a close look at three demographic  trends: fertility, mortality, and immigration; and examining how these will touch policy issues  including poverty, public finance and infrastructure, and climate change. 

Link: Publication

A new report from UNICEF, Generation 2030 | Africa, shows how Africa, already the world’s second most populous continent with over 1 billion inhabitants, is experiencing a demographic shift unprecedented in its scale and swiftness. In the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion. By 2050, Africa will be home to two in five of the world’s children. This unprecedented projected increase gives policymakers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a child-focused investment strategy that enables the continent, and the world, to reap the benefits of Africa’s demographic transition.

Link: Publication

UNICEF hosted a Global Partners Forum (GPF) on Protection, Care, and Support for all children at the AIDS Conference in Melbourne on 20th July, 2014.  The forum addressed the social and economic factors that continue to hinder progress towards achieving an AIDS-free generations.  Specifically, the call to action aims to: propose innovative solutions to challenging problems, leverage existing evidence and experience on protection, care and support services, and mobilize action on a community and national level. The Call to Action framework was endorsed by USAID, PEPFAR, The World Bank, UNAIDS, and the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS.

Link: Publication

Effective and scalable HIV prevention for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa is needed. Cash transfers can reduce HIV incidence through reducing risk behaviours. However, questions remain about their effectiveness within national poverty-alleviation programmes, and their effects on different behaviours in boys and girls. 

Link: Publication

The Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive (Global Plan) is a road map that provides the foundation for country-led movements to ensure that children are born without ( and remain free of) HIV and their mothers are supported to remain healthy. This issue brief is intended to inform and support partners in ensuring that the implementation of the Global Plan in their respective countries considers the best interests and rights of women. These partners include the relevant government ministries, health-care providers, policy-makers, development partners, donors and all NGOs that are involved in perinatal care. This brief is also intended for women living with HIV. It was prepared in consultation with women living with HIV, because they are central actors in the HIV response and should be engaged in a meaningful way in the implementation of the Global Plan.

Link: Publication

Social protection policies play a critical role in realizing the human right to social security for all, reducing poverty and inequality, and promoting inclusive growth by boosting human capital and productivity, and by supporting domestic demand and structural transformation of national economies.The report follows a life-cycle approach, starting with social protection for children, followed by schemes for women and men in working age, and closing with pensions and other support for older persons. It also assesses progress towards universal coverage in health. The report further analyses trends and recent policies, such as the negative impacts of fiscal consolidation and adjustment measures, and urgently calls to expand social protection for crisis recovery, inclusive development and social justice.

The annual report highlights the main accomplishments and results UNICEF achieved in South Africa during 2013, with special features such as infographics and human interest stories. UNICEF’s work is aligned with the South African Government’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework for 2009–2014, including its 12 priority outcomes and the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan. Within this context, UNICEF focuses on reducing inequities, addressing child poverty and promoting children’s rights.


Poverty, inequality and exclusion are hallmarks of a highly iniquitous society. In order for the rights of all children to be realised, it is essential that this gap- and the resultant chasms in service delivery and overall quality of life- be removed. The child population is one of the segments of the population more prone to becoming trapped in poverty and therefore the most logical site for successful poverty-ending intervention.  The publication seeks to explore the kind of intervention that would be necessary to bring this about through literature reviews and policy simulations. This research report investigates the extent to which groups of children are caught up in the intersection of poverty and exclusion, what the characteristics of these children are and to what extent they are or are not reached by policies and the additional efforts necessary to break free from the surrounding traps.

The South African Human Rights Commission has released the report of its investigation into the textbook saga that made headlines two years ago. Poor budget management, heavy reliance on private service providers, as well as inadequate procurement management services, are just some of the issues that led to the delays or non-delivery of textbooks in Limpopo and other provinces in 2012. The commission found that most of the departments did not have an accurate record of the number of schools in their province, the medium of instruction or the number of learners in each school.

NACSA consultant Dee Blackie, who conducted the research largely based on in-depth interviews and participant observations among young mothers and community members in Tembisa, Soweto and Alexandra. They found that the new Child Protection Act and “cultural barriers” were the major drivers of plummeting adoption rates in South Africa.Adoptions dropped from 2 840 in 2004 to 1 699 last year. According to the research, there were only 297 unmatched parents for 428 unmatched children available for adoption.

The Mediterranean journal of social sciences published an article entitled, The determinants of child poverty in a South Africa township: a case of Boipatong. The study  investigates the possible determinants of child poverty in the Boipatong Township. 

 The paper discusses the effects of the household’s total income, employment status, age of the household head, the number of people in the household and gender of head of household on child poverty.The results of the study indicate that the employment status of the head of the household; number of people living in the household and total income of the household are significant determinants of child poverty status in Boipatong. This may imply that policies that are aimed at dealing with poverty and child poverty in particular should consider ways of creating formal employment for people in the townships. 


Poverty Trends in South Africa report released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) showed a strong link between increased level of education and decreased levels of poverty. However, the report also reveals that most children in South Africa are still living below the poverty line and have seen the least improvement of all the age groups.

A review of South Africa's laws aimed at realising children's rights to assess whether these laws have been designed and are being implemented in compliance with international and constitutional law.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights published its sixth annual Human Rights Report Card indicating where, in their opinion, South Africa has been making progress with regard to human rights and where it has been regressing.

Link: Publication

The Millennium Development Goals prompted renewed international efforts to reduce under-five mortality and measure national progress. However, scant evidence exists about the distribution of child mortality at low sub-national levels, which in diverse and decentralized countries like India are required to inform policy-making. This study estimates changes in child mortality across a range of markers of inequalities in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, two of India’s largest, poorest, and most disadvantaged states. Although child mortality rates continue to decline at the national level, our evidence shows that considerable disparities persist.

Link: Publication
ODI Report

This report by Plan and ODI examines the continuing and deepening impact of the economic crisis on girls and young women worldwide. Long standing economic trends, entrenched gender inequality and austerity budgets have all left girls and their families bearing the brunt of fewer resources and reduced access to services.

This report highlights the main achievements and developments of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour in 2012. As 2012 marked the twentieth anniversary of IPEC, the report also reflects on IPEC’s evolution, achievements and impact and considers the role the Programme should adopt to continue and intensify the fight against child labour in the coming years.

Link: Report
Progress against child labour

This is the fourth issue of the ILO’s report series: Global Estimates on Child Labour. The present Report provides new global and regional estimates on child labour for the year 2012 and compares them with the previous estimates for 2000, 2004 and 2008

Its focus is on the presentation of the new round of child labour estimates for 2012, to identify the trends from 2000 to 2012, and to set out some pointers on the way forward the international target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

Essential services for young children are foregrounded in this year’s issue of the South African Child Gauge. This annual review of South Africa’s children, now in its eighth year, was published in collaboration with UNICEF South Africa and Ilifa Labantwana.

The 2013 issue highlights the importance of investing early to ensure the optimum development of young children, and defines an essential package of care and support services for young children and their families. In particular, essays explore key service areas including nutrition, maternal and child health, caregiver support, parenting programmes, early learning opportunities and early schooling. The book is accompanied by a policy brief and pull-out poster. 

The policy brief,Stepping up to the challenge:Prioritising essential services for young children, draws on the latest research findings, presented in the 2013 South African Child Gauge, and identifies critical next steps to enhance the delivery of essential services for young children. 

This study uses a systematic review methodology to analyse and assess recent evidence on the underlying mechanisms that underpin the intergenerational transmission of poverty and well-being. The research reveals a substantial degree of persistence of poverty across generations. That is, the families and the context in which children are born largely determine the opportunities that they will face throughout their lifetime. Intergenerational poverty manifests itself in the form of lower health and education attainment, and an increased likelihood of being poor (low future income).

This article examines the association between minimum age of employment and secondary school enrolment.

Article can be found in 'International Journal of Educational Research. 2013; 60: 38–45'

This report highlights global governments’ failure to support family-friendly policies and calls for new measures to enable the world’s children to thrive, not merely survive.

This new report, launched by the World Policy Analysis Centre, contains never-before-available comparative data on laws and public policies in 191 countries covering poverty, discrimination, education, health, child labour, child marriage and parental care. Changing Children’s Chances reveals how millions of children across the world face conditions that limit their opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential.

Children with disabilities

Each year, UNICEF’s flagship publication, The State of the World's Children, closely examines a key issue affecting children. 2013 focuses the attention on children with disabilities. Their many vulnerabilities are explored and highlighted and the report advocates for equity for these children through inclusion. Extensive recommendations are given.

This CAI paper explores the dangers of child labour in the context of extractive industries and provides an overview of the international legal framework. Child labour remains too much a part of multinational business supply chains, and this paper argues for entrenching legally binding prohibitions regarding businesses and their duty of due diligence regarding child labour.

Improving children's life chances is central to what the MDGs were seeking to achieve. There is some consensus that the MDGs have achieved progress but with the target date of 2015 fast approaching there are questions about how equitably gains in education, health and living conditions have been distributed. A focus on children is essential, CONTINUE

Link: Publication

Understanding how poverty and inequalities affect children is central to understanding the impact of the MDGs and development of the post-2015 agenda. This paper draws together research from across the Young Lives longitudinal study of child poverty to answer questions about how inequality shapes children’s development.

Our conclusions are wide-ranging – spanning education, health and nutrition, and psychosocial development. Overall, the evidence is clear – that children from the poorest households are most vulnerable and quickly fall behind their peers, in terms of equality of opportunity as well as outcomes. MORE

Link: Publication

The Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) was founded in 2000 to challenge, through research, the apparent omission of almost a billion people from the 2015 poverty target of the Millennium Development Goals. The first decade of the 21st century has illustrated the power of economic growth and human development to bring large numbers out of poverty. But a large number of people remain abjectly poor, among them almost half a billion people who are poor over long periods of time, their entire lives, and who may pass poverty to their children.

The essential argument advanced in this report is that if these people are to escape poverty beyond 2015, they require additional policies and political commitment, underpinned by greater understanding and analysis, compared to what is currently practiced at global and national levels. MORE

Within the framework of the two International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental conventions on child labour and the recently adopted instruments on decent work for domestic workers, this new report sets the scene for a better understanding of child labour in domestic work. It outlines why involvement of children in domestic work should be a global concern and presents the basic concepts in this area as well as the required responses. It looks into child domestic work as a social development priority, a human rights concern and a gender equality challenge.

 It provides detailed information on current data regarding the estimated number of child domestic workers worldwide. It also explores the ambiguity of the working relationship, the discrimination and isolation associated with the practice, the hazards and risks of this type of work, as well as the vulnerability to violence and to abuse to which child domestic workers are too often exposed. It also explores policy responses to child labour and underlines the key role of the social partners and civil society organizations in the fight against child labour in domestic work. The report concludes by making a call for specific action towards ending child labour and protecting young workers in domestic work.

This new report is the first in a series to be published annually by the International Labour Organisation's (ILO’s) International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour.

"Independent institutions bring an explicit children’s focus to traditional adult-oriented governance systems. Acting as direct mechanisms for accountability, they fill gaps in checks and balances and make sure that the impact of policy and practice on children’s rights is understood and recognized. At a time of global economic uncertainty, a period in which inequities between rich and poor are widening, and a period of reflection on progress towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals and in defining what sustainable and equitable goals should come after, these institutions are key players in promoting systems that are effective in delivering results for children."


In this report, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing analyses the ruling paradigm of housing policies that focus on housing finance as the main means of promoting homeownership. The report assesses the impact of prevalent housing finance policies on the right to adequate housing of those living in poverty. The Special Rapporteur concludes that the full realization of the right to adequate housing, without discrimination, cannot be promoted solely by financial mechanisms and requires broader and more holistic housing policies and State interventions. She calls for a paradigm shift from housing policies based on the financialization of housing to a human rights-based approach to housing policies.

This report presents the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) undertaken from August 2011 to July 2012, illustrating the implementation of the six thematic priorities of the Office as defined in its management plans for 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. The six areas are: Strengthening of human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law; Countering discrimination, in particular racial discrimination, discrimination on the grounds of sex or religion and discrimination against others who are marginalized; Pursuing economic, social and cultural rights and combating inequalities and poverty, including in the context of the economic, food and climate crises; Human rights in the context of migration; Combating impunity and strengthening accountability, the rule of law and democratic society and Protecting human rights in situations of armed conflict, violence and insecurity. The report shows that while determined to undertake these challenges, the Office of the High Commissioner needs adequate political and financial support if it is to fulfil its mandate in a timely and meaningful manner,with a view to contributing effectively to the protection of human rights everywhere.

This article focuses on how to place children's rights on the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS)agenda. ODI and UNICEF have been working to address these concerns. This article highlights how this has been done to date. The discussion includes: alignment between poverty and rights discourses, analysis of the PRS process, visibility of child rights within PRS planning process and NDP documents, translation of commitments into programmes and tools for child rights integration.

This report analyses the improvements to children’s lives during the past two decades in five sectors: health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and child protection. It is a clear demonstration that, when the right steps and approaches are taken, ‘development works’. Building on this evidence, this report makes a powerful case for greater investment in ‘child sensitive’ development. It sets out the drivers of change and the key steps to achieving progress.

This Global Study focuses on poverty because the persistence of the poverty problem is closely related to weak progress toward the MDGs and gender equality, as well as to the daily deprivations millions of children suffer. The evidence and insights gathered are expected to result in a comprehensive strategy for making countries’ development, social protection and sector strategies more responsive to the poverty and disparities to which children are exposed in the particular country context – fulfilling the rights of all children.

Chapter in Child Poverty and Inequality: New perspectives which identifies the drivers of poverty and makes policy recomendations to more effectively tackle chronic poverty and promote progressive social change.

Report on a study on the modalities of rural communities’ access to healthcare in the Sekhukhune District of South Africa, Limpopo Province in South Africa. Focuses on unravelling the challenges that persons living with HIV/AIDS face in accessing healthcare and profiles the work undertaken by community home-based care givers and community development workers with a view to generating solutions to mitigate the spatial, institutional, financial, technological and other challenges that they face in effectively discharging their roles as care and information givers.

Lancet journal article which makes recommendations to reduce child mortality in South Africa, referring to the continuing impact of poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Suggests that the costs of the proposed interventions are affordable and that the key gap is leadership and effective implementation at every level of the health system, including national and local accountability for service provision.

The essay in Child Gauge 2009/10 examines the following questions: What are the levels and trends in child mortality in South Africa? What are the leading causes of child mortality in South Africa? What are the risk factors and determinants of the dominant childhood disease pattern? How does inequity impact on child health? How is South Africa performing in comparison with selected other African countries? What are the recommendations and conclusions?

This research set out to determine the extent to which early childhood development (ECD) service providers are able to access state funding for ECD. It explored: government ECD funding sources; prescribed procedures, systems and requirements for funding; actual procedures for accessing state funding; support from local government for ECD services within selected municipalities; and factors that enable and inhibit access to state funding for ECD service providers.

In 2008 the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (C A S E) was commissioned by the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) to conduct research to identify what barriers remain to accessing the CSG. This study identifies what the barriers to accessing the CSG are in rural, vulnerable communities so that work can be done to ensure that these barriers are addressed.

This paper discusses the nature and effects of social grants programmes in South Africa against the backdrop of international trends in the reform of social assistance systems. It shows that South Africa has a well-developed social assistance system that significantly reduces extreme poverty, in part because the grants are very well targeted. The review of existing literature and new evidence presented in this paper suggest that the grants influence the behaviour of recipients and potential recipients in various ways, not all of which are necessarily benign. The paper also highlights the scope for further research on the potential of workfare programmes, conditional cash transfer programmes and other innovative social assistance schemes in the South African context.

The political freedoms ushered in by the post 1994 transition were seen at that time as the basis for redressing long-standing economic deprivations suffered by the majority of the population. The reduction of poverty, in all its dimensions, was the goal. This volume assembles 12 essays by researchers who ask how well South Africa has addressed these problems.

This report presents a detailed analysis of changes in both poverty and inequality since the fall of Apartheid, and the potential drivers of such developments. Use is made of national survey data from 1993, 2000 and 2008. These data show that South Africa’s high aggregate level of income inequality increased between 1993 and 2008. The same is true of inequality within each of South Africa’s four major racial groups.

The Social Profile of South Africa 2002-2010 is an annual report first produced by Statistics South Africa in 2009 to analyse and explore changes in the situation of children, the youth, the elderly, women and disabled persons over time. The report uses General Household Survey (GHS) data from 2002 to 2010. The focal areas of this study are based on the current social agenda of the government and strategic priorities related to vulnerable groups.

This qualitative study assessed the impact of the global economic crisis on children and poor families in South Africa. The study also examined the coping strategies utilized by affected individuals and households as well as the adequacy of existing social protection programmes in dealing with the effects of the shock.

Argues that policy decisions which reduce poverty and unemployment will enable South Africans to meet the obligations to children contained in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights as well as in international conventions like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which have been ratified by South Africa.

This report reflects an analysis of key indicators to assess the fulfillment of children’s rights in South Africa. Most of the data is derived from Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey (GHS), a household survey representative for the entire population of the country. It has been executed annually by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) since 2002. It covers six broad areas, namely: education, health, social development, housing, household access to services and facilities, food security and agriculture.

This report is a first attempt to generate data of this nature, to map child deprivation at municipal level, in order to inform local level policy and intervention in South Africa. Making use of information available from the 2001 Census about different aspects of deprivation, such as income, employment, education, health and living environment, the authors have combined these domains to form an overall index of multiple deprivations. The model which emerges is of a series of uni-dimensional domains of deprivation which can be combined, with appropriate weighting, into a single child-focused measure of multiple deprivations.

This volume is a compilation of recent thinking on the issue of child poverty and inequalities. It draws on over two years of UNICEF’s collaboration with innovative and leading thinkers on these matters. Papers in this volume discuss child poverty measurement, trends in global poverty and inequality, outcomes for children, and policies to address them.

This is an annual report mapping the world's progress in reaching eight targets known as the Millennium Development Goals. These are to: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability, and, Develop a Global Partnership for Development

This document seeks to explore customary law practices which protect children and those which are potentially harmful to them.It examines the legal framework surrounding the issue and the governance structures, parenting practices and customs which exist within traditional communities. It endeavours to provide a way forward for these communities to foster a climate conducive to the protection of their children.

This is a report published annually. Each year, it has a different theme. 2012's report canvasses the situation of children living in urban areas. Within the report such children's rights and the challenges associated with their realisation are discussed. The document is also a source of statistics on this matter and includes the perspectives of various differently-situated writers.

Summarises some of the main findings from a research project undertaken by the Social Policy Research Group in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University.

Highlights policy innovations including expanded social protection programmes in Africa that are facilitating progress toward at­tainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

The KidsRights Index is the annual global index which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. The KidsRights Index is an initiative of the KidsRights Foundation, in cooperation with Erasmus University Rotterdam: Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies. It comprises a ranking for all UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and for which sufficient data is available, a total of 165 countries. The KidsRights Index exists of 5 domains:1. Right to Life, 2. Right to Health 3. Right to Education 4. Right to Protection, and, 5. Enabling Environment for Child Rights. Also available at the above link are a report, infographic and news coverage.

For a brief overview of this report please go to Association for Women's Right in Development here

The South African Child Gauge is published annually by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape, to monitor government and civil society’s progress towards realising children’s rights. This issue focuses on children and inequality.It was launched on the 17th October 2012.This document is divided into three parts:

PART ONE: Children and law reform Part one discusses recent legislative developments affecting children. This issue comments on litigation and law reform in relation to the Children’s Act; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act; the Social Assistance Act regulations; the National Health Act; and the Traditional Courts Bill. See pages 14 – 19.

PART TWO: Children and inequality: Closing the gap Part two presents 10 essays – the first four essays set the scene by defining children’s equality rights and explaining the nature and extend of inequality, the spatial dimensions of child deprivation in South Africa, and the impact of place, care and migration on children’s lives. The following five essays outline the potential of particular policies and programmes to reduce inequalities amongst South Africa’s children, including social grants, early childhood development services, access to health care, HIV treatment and prevention services, and access to quality education. The final essay reflects on emerging opportunities and challenges, and critical considerations for policy. See pages 22 – 77.

PART THREE: Children Count – the numbers Part three updates a set of key indicators on children’s socio-economic rights and provides commentary on the extent to which these rights have been realised. The indicators are a special subset selected from the website See pages 80 – 105.

This is one of the most definative and widely utilised South African child rights documents, providing a concise and focused synopsis of the situation of children throughout the country.

Documents large geographical disparities in child well-being outcomes in Bangladesh and makes a case for “effective geographic targeting of interventions in favour of the least performing districts” as key to accelerating progress towards equity.

This country briefing presents the results of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and explains key findings graphically. Further information as well as international comparisons are available here.

The third South Africa Economic Update, with a focus on inequality of opportunity. Section 1 provides an economic update and assesses the challenges and near-term prospects facing the South African economy. Section 2 focuses on inequality of opportunity in South Africa. For the first time, using innovative techniques, this section presents an analysis of the interlinked inequality of opportunities for children and for access to employment.

To achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) in addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government requires data sources that provide empirical evidence which informs society on how far we have come in addressing these challenges and how far we still need to go. In 2006, the Presidency commissioned the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town to undertake a panel study, the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). South Africa has joined developed countries such as the UK and the US and developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia in having a national panel survey. South Africa is a society that is undergoing rapid economic, political and social change, and the government identified the need for a panel study in order to better understand social change, mobility, poverty and household dynamics.This seminar explored the lives of children and youth in South Africa

In commemoration of Universal Children’s Day on 20 November 2015, the HSRC convened this forum to reflect on the South Africa’s progress in the realization of the MDG’s over the past 15 years and importantly to assess the opportunities and challenges that the SDG agenda provides in the fulfillment of the rights of children and making this a world fit for children. A panel of researchers led a discussion on South Africa’s progress in realization of the MDGs and to help us consider what South Africa must do and how to intensify efforts to strengthen the links between SDGs and children’s rights. Presentations can be downloaded above.

Some of the world’s authorities on child poverty, development and wellbeing will gather in Cape Town this week, 2-4 September, for a conference that will reveal new directions and approaches to research that can improve social policy and services for children.

This is the first time the biennial conference of the International Society for Child Indicators will be held in Africa, and it provides an important opportunity to shift the focus of discussions to the global south.

The conference will include papers, panel sessions and discussions on a range of issues affecting children, including the following:

  • Youth transitions to adulthood
  • Early childhood development
  • Child-focused indicators of social change
  • Measurement of child poverty and inequality
  • Child protection and violence against children

Over 200 researchers, policy-makers and practitioners will attend from more than 40 countries. These experts are concerned with the measurement of children’s deprivation and development – and the translation of evidence into policy and practice. They are brought together by a common vision of a world in which children have equal opportunities and the potential to thrive and develop. The conference is about providing evidence that points the way forward to address inequality and improve children’s life chances, whether children grow up in Germany, Chile, South Africa or Indonesia.

Previously held in Chicago, Sydney, York and Seoul, this year’s conference will be hosted by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, in partnership with UNICEF, the African Child Policy Forum, and the Poverty & Inequality Initiative of UCT.

Venue: Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, University of Cape Town. Dates: 2-4 September 2015.

For more information, profiles of the keynote speakers and a detailed programme go to or Facebook at ISCI 2015.

THere will be brief outlines of a few key sessions available for distribution on Monday 31 August.

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to receive these.

A notice from the Department of Social Development, the Child rights sector Indaba has been postponed until further notice. The department remains committed to engage with the sector. Kindly accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience  that this may have caused.

This Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) Research Seminar was hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council, the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI), the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) Rhodes University and the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development.

SAIMD 2011 is a ward-level measure of multiple deprivation. It comprises a weighted aggregate of four domains or dimensions of deprivation: material deprivation, employment deprivation, education deprivation and living environment deprivation, and was developed to facilitate sub-municipal analysis of multiple deprivation and its component domains (Noble et al., 2013). The SAIMD 2011 is the latest in a series of indices of multiple deprivation for South and southern Africa that have been developed using census data to profile multiple deprivation at sub- municipal level. The original South African study for 2001 was at ward level (e.g. Noble et al., 2006 and 2010) and was undertaken in collaboration with HSRC. It was followed by a series of further refinements to develop a sub-ward or ‘datazone’ level index for 2001 (e.g.  Noble and Wright, 2013), a series of child focused indices (e.g. Barnes et al., 2009), as well as updates to 2007 at municipal and datazone levels. 

Full reports and additional documentation will be circulated when they are made available.


The purpose of this colloquium is to share resullts from a DFID/ESRC- funded project . Currently in South Africa lone mothers of working age are only entitled to social assistance for themselves if they are disabled. A means-tested Child Support Grant is payable on behalf of their children but, though important, it is small in amount and is not intended to contribute to the caregiver's living expenses. In the context of South Africa’s Constitution which declares that ‘everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected’ and that access to social security is to be progressively realised, this project explores the meaning of dignity in lone mothers' lives and the extent to which social security protects or erodes their dignity. Below are themed reports of the project:

Themed Working Paper 1: Defining Lone Motherhood in South Africa

Themed Working Paper 2 :The impact of poverty and inequality on the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa

Themed Working Paper 3: Social security and the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa

On the 16 May 2014 PAN: Children invited Mastoera Sadan from the Presidency to discuss the development of child related policy through a 20-year lens, elaborating on how far we have come and commenting on the future of child policy in South Africa. Ms. Sadan was involved in the development of the Twenty Year Review. The Review reflects on how South Africa has progressed since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the challenges it still faces and how these can best be addressed. It provides an evaluation of the policies instituted by government since the advent of democracy. While highlighting achievements, it also addresses shortcomings and looks at initiatives and operational plans for the future.


A series of articles captioning presentations made at the Carnegie III Conference, Capetown. Speakers include Sibongile Zenzile, Raymond Auerbach, Dunstan Mlambo, David Sanders, John Perlman, Crick Lund, Zetu Matebeni, Rick de Satge and Ingrid Woolard. The Carnegie Conference, in brief, has the following purpose: "To focus attention on understanding the lived experiences of inequality and the causes and dimensions of persistent inequality, and will consider policies and actions that are aimed at significantly reducing inequality and poverty in both the short- and long-term. This is a challenge that involves all South Africans, organised in many different ways. Taking seriously the President’s call for a ‘national dialogue’ about the future, and acknowledging the mandate of tertiary institutions to engage in socially responsive research, the purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for sharing and debate amongst academic researchers, government and practitioners. The conference will seek to move towards new ways of considering poverty and inequality, focusing less on describing the problems, and more on practical strategies to overcome them. This requires shifts in thinking, which the conference hopes to stimulate by combining a focus on academic and applied research with a set of demonstrations from the NGO, Business and Trade Union world." For Further Information, please see the Carnegie III online platform:

A series of articles captioning presentations made at the Carnegie III Conference, Capetown. Speakers include Mary Metcalfe, Bovain Mcnab, Dorrit Posel, Michele Hay, David Neves, Ruth Hall, Edwin Arrison, Linda Stewart and Lebogang Ramafoko. The Carnegie Conference, in brief, has the following purpose:"To focus attention on understanding the lived experiences of inequality and the causes and dimensions of persistent inequality, and will consider policies and actions that are aimed at significantly reducing inequality and poverty in both the short- and long-term. This is a challenge that involves all South Africans, organised in many different ways. Taking seriously the President’s call for a ‘national dialogue’ about the future, and acknowledging the mandate of tertiary institutions to engage in socially responsive research, the purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for sharing and debate amongst academic researchers, government and practitioners. We look forward to welcoming participants from universities and NGOs; from Government at national, provincial and local levels; from trade unions, faith-based organisations and the business sector. The conference will seek to move towards new ways of considering poverty and inequality, focusing less on describing the problems, and more on practical strategies to overcome them. This requires shifts in thinking, which the conference hopes to stimulate by combining a focus on academic and applied research with a set of demonstrations from the NGO, Business and Trade Union world." For Further Information, please see the Carnegie III online platform:

A series of articles highlighting the opening of the Carnegie III Conference, Cape Town. It includes details of the opening address presented by Dr Mamphela Ramphele and presentations by Trevor Manuel, Max Price, Kate O'Regan, Frederick Fourie, Paul Cichello, Kuben Naidoo, Andrew Charman, Natasha Mayet, Neil Coleman, Ben Cousins and Francis Wilson. The Carnegie Conference, in brief, has the following purpose:"To focus attention on understanding the lived experiences of inequality and the causes and dimensions of persistent inequality, and will consider policies and actions that are aimed at significantly reducing inequality and poverty in both the short- and long-term. This is a challenge that involves all South Africans, organised in many different ways.Taking seriously the President’s call for a ‘national dialogue’ about the future, and acknowledging the mandate of tertiary institutions to engage in socially responsive research, the purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for sharing and debate amongst academic researchers, government and practitioners. We look forward to welcoming participants from universities and NGOs; from Government at national, provincial and local levels; from trade unions, faith-based organisations and the business sector.The conference will seek to move towards new ways of considering poverty and inequality, focusing less on describing the problems, and more on practical strategies to overcome them. This requires shifts in thinking, which the conference hopes to stimulate by combining a focus on academic and applied research with a set of demonstrations from the NGO, Business and Trade Union world." ( Further Information, please see the Carnegie III online platform:


In November 2010, CDE hosted a Round Table to examine some of the key issues surrounding this proposal. These included: Would a wage subsidy raise employment levels. If so, by how much, and at what cost? Would this be an appropriate response to the unemployment crisis? And would it be sustainable? The issues involved are complex, and sometimes quite technical. The workshop sought to address them as systematically as possible by addressing, first, the central importance of employment growth in shaping South Africa’s long-term developmental prospects. Next, it dealt with the international experience of wage subsidies. It then analysed the effect of South Africa’s existing labour market policies on employment levels. Finally, it examined the results of a number of attempts to model the impact of wage subsidies on the South African labour market and to estimate the costs and benefits of such a policy. While some issues of policy design were discussed, the main focus of the Round Table was the feasibility, desirability and possible impact of the proposed wage subsidy. This report summarises the presentations and discussions, followed by concluding comments.

Workshop presentation on the experiences of women and girls resident in rural areas of western, southern and eastern Africa with poor accessibility (to services and markets) and inadequate transport (in terms of regularity, reliability and cost). Transport on unpaved roads can be twice as expensive as on paved roads. Women and girls are particularly constrained by lower incomes, time poverty (as a result of having to do household tasks), and the tendency of men to associate female mobility with promiscuity.

This workshop brought together researchers and government officials working on issues related to child poverty to discuss these issues, the evidence we have to date, and what this evidence is saying. The workshop stressed the significant challenge facing the country around child poverty and how this is related to inequality. It raised issues relating to the measurement of child poverty, content issues, institutional issues in addressing it effectively, and the need for further research.

This workshop report compiled by The Centre for Development and Enterprise is the result of a workshop attended by international and local experts on private schools in low-income communities. Building on experience in other developing countries, the report contains many practical suggestions on how to support low fee private schools in poorer communities.

Link: Details

The theme selected by the African Committee for the celebration of the DAC in 2017 is “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment, and equal opportunity”. DAC was instituted in 1991 by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then OAU instituted in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa. In selecting the theme for the 2017 DAC celebration, the Committee is reconfirming the importance of linking the 2030 Agenda with child rights. It is emphasizing that with a view to increase accountability, strengthen coherence and alignment among various stakeholders, prevent inequitable outcomes, and invest in all children, and to stress that the child rights commitments of States need to be made central to the implementation of SDGs. In addition, the Committee, as a treaty body, is seeking to draw attention to the fact that, the so called “priority SDG targets and indicators for children” should be brought closer to the African Charter reporting cycle.

Link: Publication

This document reports the findings of a Workshop organised by UNICEF UK in London, UK, about social accountability for Children. Read Background documents HERE  

Link: Econ3x3

Econ3x3 is an independent forum for critical public debate on unemployment and employment, income distri­bution and inclu­sive growth in South Africa. It publishes accessible research- based contribu­tions and expert commentaries. The forum encourages debate on an inte­grated and consistent policy response to unemployment, inequality and poverty and a stronger engagement between research and policy making. Econ3x3 invites contributions from economists and other social science researchers, policymakers and relevant experts.

This issue paper was prepared to stimulate debate and to elicit responses which will serve as basis for the SALRC‘s deliberations in an investigation into the rights of a child to know his or her own biological origins.

The SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC) is asking for comment on its Issue Paper on whether a child should have a legal right to know his or her biological origins and how such a right could be enforced and whether the law should be amended in light of prevailing and anticipated circumstances and contemporary mores and thinking.

Find here: Issue Paper 32: The Right to Know One‘s Own Biological Origins

Comments can be emailed to Veruksha Bhana at [email protected]  by no later than Thursday, 31 August 2017.

Enquiries can be directed to Veruksha Bhana on tel (012) 622 6332

Document(s): PDF icon NPAC.pdf

The National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC) 2012 -2017 has been developed to embrace the new legislation and legal instruments for children, which have been adopted at local, regional as well as international levels. The NPAC focuses on 'The Child' as the central point of departure. There are five sub-themes of the NPAC: these were child survival, child development, protection and care for children, standard of living of children in South Africa, and child participation. Existing governmental goals that were contributing towards the achievement of mandates focusing on children had been used as benchmarks to inform Government programmes.

Consolidation of the State of the Nation and State of the Province addresses prepared by André Viviers, Senior Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF South Africa.

A 74-page literature review of what works in supporting children and young people to overcome persistent poverty. The  review was initially commissioned to explore the questions:

  • What works in supporting children and young people to break the intergenerational poverty cycle?
  • What factors and interventions might work to help poor children achieve a positive outcome in adulthood?
  • What factors enable some children born into poverty to ‘buck the trend’ in terms of their predicted life trajectories?
  • What strategies and practices can support the development of resilience among poor children and young people?

This Topic Guide aims to answer the question ‘What is the interaction between social development issues and human development outcomes?’ An individual’s right to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living cannot be realised without addressing social development issues. This is because these issues determine individuals’ access to resources – who gets what, where, and how. This in turn affects whether human development is inclusive and equitable or perpetuates inequalities and exclusion.

This guide provides an overview of available evidence on how social development influences human development outcomes. It focuses on five social development issues (human rights, accountability, gender inequality, age and social exclusion) and their influence on four human development sectors: 1) health; 2) sexual and reproductive health (SRH); 3) education; and 4) water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

One in a series of topical guides developed for PAN:Children that provides key information on the current state of affairs in South Africa related to the topic and highlight practical guidance, lessons learned and case studies (both national and international) that will be helpful in policy development dialogue and knowledge sharing.