Rural Children Face More Deprivation Than Urban Counterparts – Finding Says

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By Ndey Sowe

The Gambia National Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA) findings has revealed that in rural areas, most children are deprived in two or three dimensions while in urban areas children experience one or two at a time.

The N-MODA was on Thursday, 15th June, 2023 validated and launched as the first ever N-MODA findings organised by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The event took place at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. N-MODA is a study that examined and analysed overlapping among children of The Gambia for effective policy interventions by the Government and stakeholders. The findings in the study could serve as one of the sources of data for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to measure SDGs and other indicators of interest. The compilation of the N-MODA was led by the GBoS, and UNICEF provided the financial and technical support. Key partners and stakeholders, who supported the compilation of the N-MODA are NaNA, MoH, MoBSE, DWR, WASH Project, CPA, and Child Fund, The Gambia.

This analysis highlights the severity of child deprivation, and stems from national efforts to define the national dimensions of child well-being. The results of the analysis can therefore be used for monitoring the SDG 1.2. In addition, subnational deprivation levels have also been calculated, enabling the profiling of the most deprived children according to their characteristics.

“While most of the children living in urban areas experience one or two deprivations at a time, in rural areas most children are deprived in two or three dimensions simultaneously. For a threshold k=3, 15.5 percent and 37.3 percent of children respectively from urban and rural areas, experience multiple deprivations,” the findings indicated. It added that children from Banjul and Kanifing tend to be with the least occurrence of multidimensional deprivation (6.8 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively). In contrast, those from Janjanbureh and Kuntaur are the most deprived as they face both child deprivation and multidimensional poverty accounting respectively 43.1 percent and 53.9 percent.

“Nine children out of ten in The Gambia face at least one deprivation (only one out of ten of the population under 18 years of age have zero deprivation). Children tend to accumulate two, three or four deprivations at the same time”, the findings revealed.

Using a multi-dimensional deprivation threshold of k=3, 23.4 percent of children were found to experience three or more deprivations. On average, these children accumulate 3.2 simultaneous deprivations. The findings revealed that the incidence rate of multidimensional deprivation for a threshold of k=3 (23.4 percent), can be reported as the multidimensional poverty rate for children to be monitored under the SDG 1.2.

Statistician General at the Gambia Bureau of Statistics, Nyakassi M.B. Sanyang, said the process of producing this report began since 2019 with a regional training workshop held in Sierra Leone which was attended by three of the GBoS staff, however, he explained that the production of this report was hindered by the emergence of the coronavirus.

UNICEF Gambia Deputy Representative, Mr.Armand Gnahore, revealed that the N-MODA is a policy tool that can be used to identify and quantify child deprivations as well as identify those suffering multiple and overlapping deprivations.

Mr Gnahore said this new approach of in-depth analysis of data from either Multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) and Demographic and Health (DHS) surveys and other national surveys helps to allow a disaggregated description of child poverty and deprivation. The report is a key contributor to the equity agenda related to children.

“The N-MODA provides opportunities to further understand how children experience poverty with primary focus on how they are deprived from the Human Capital Development (HCD) of every country. The analysis also provides a clean view of how children access the five pillars of the HCD particularly education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation and the standard of living. Furthermore, the report helps us all both as policy makers, service providers and duty bearers to reflect over time how our collective investments have supported children attain their basic rights. The attainment of these rights is a springboard to having a productive population that can change the world,” Mr Gnahore indicated.

Alieu Loum, an official from the Office of The President, said as they validate the N-MODA, it is important to note that children are the building blocks of society, and that they can do much better for the country if they are not deprived of health, education and nutrition.

Mr Loum added that the study analysis several types of child deprivation domains such as (parenting having toys at home), access to services, and the geographical location of these children, to inform the government and partners future policy and programming decisions.