Reflections from 'Putting Children First'


Putting children first: identifying solutions and taking action to tackle poverty and inequality in Africa

This a three-day international conference aimed to engage policy makers, practitioners and researchers in identifying solutions for fighting child poverty and inequality in Africa, and in inspiring action towards change. The conference offered a platform for bridging divides across sectors, disciplines and policy, practice and research. Take the opportunity to hear from some of the organisers and presenters of the conference.

From Surviving to Thriving

A blog by Paul Dornan

Paul Dornan of Young Lives shares his reflections on the Putting Children First conference, observing that the debate on child poverty is shifting from an emphasis on survival to thriving, and that child-sensitive social protection has become an important way of thinking about how to maximise impacts and minimise harms in work to eradicate child poverty. In addition he notes the conference key questions raised on the role given to shame and stigma in the discussion of how children experience poverty. Finally he concludes with a question about youth transtions and the importance of job creation; where do jobs come from for a newly educated population? 

Read the full blog HERE

Job creation, not just education, is a central element in social mobility
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Paul Dornan, Senior Policy Officer, is responsible for leading policy activity within Young Lives. His role is to work with researchers and policy staff across the study and to engage with policy communities to develop the Young Lives evidence base and arguments in order to ensure these are relevant and effectively communicated to influence policy debates.




Why are some children able to ‘beat the odds’ stacked against them early in life?

A blog by Gina Grivello

Presenting at the conference Gina Crivello of Young Lives asked how is it that some children, despite growing up in the face of adversity, are able to fare well, and even thrive later in life? What helps children ‘overcome the odds’ despite the odds being stacked against them early in life? Taking us through some of the recent findings from Young Lives which has followed the lives of 12,000 children since 2001, Gina outlines the following key factors that can enable children in poverty to shift the trajectories of their lives.

  • Social connections and relationships allow children to get ahead
  • Extra-household support can mitigate family shocks
  • The currency of collective belief in the individual

Read the full blog HERE

Rather than one single factor, a combination of timely, mutually reinforcing factors were needed for children to ‘overcome the odds’ in the face of poverty and adversity

Gina Crivello is a Senior Research Officer, with Young Lives, her current research explores the dynamics of gender inequality in the second decade of life and in transitions to adulthood. Gina leads on the qualitative research within Young Lives, including a longitudinal component tracking 200 children in four countries across a seven-year period.



Fighting Child Poverty Multidimensionally: A Headline and a Toolkit

A Blog By Christian Oldiges

In this blog by Christian Oldiges of OPHI reflects on one of the many discussion points of the "Putting Children First" conference, that of the basic but important principle that child poverty is multidimensional in nature. Christian emphasises the need for public policies to directly tackle multidimensional child poverty, and draws on real world examples of how governments can easily apply the Alkire-Foster (AF) method to identify multidimensionally poor children and compute Child Multidimensional Poverty Indices (C-MPIs) to guide policy making.

While children make up for less than a third of the world’s population, half of the multidimensionally poor people are children
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Christian Oldiges is a Research Officer at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, and is involved in designing Child Multidimensional Poverty Indices in several South Asian and sub-Saharan African countries.