74 per cent of Tanzanian kids hit by poverty - report

12Aug 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
74 per cent of Tanzanian kids hit by poverty - report

Three out of four children in Tanzania experience poverty of different levels, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday.

Titled ‘Child Poverty in Tanzania 2016’, the report shows that at least 74 per cent of the 25.3 million children in the country experience multi-dimensional poverty while 29 per cent of them are affected by monetary poverty.

Multi-dimensional poverty is assessed in the areas of health, water, housing, nutrition, education, sanitation, protection, and access to information. According to the report, a child in Tanzania is defined as living in poverty if he or she suffers deprivation in three or more of these key dimensions.

The findings are based on the National Panel Survey conducted in 2012/13 by NBS in collaboration with UNICEF.
The report breaks down the multi-dimensional poverty percentages to 70 per cent of children less than two years old; 71 per cent of children aged between 2-5 years; 69 per cent of kids aged between 5-13 years; and 58 per cent of children aged between 14-17.

On the other hand, 23 per cent of children less than two years old; 24 per cent of those aged between 2-5 years; and 26 per cent of kids aged between 14-17 are hit by monetary poverty.

The report cited parental education as the most important contributing factor determining multi-dimensional child poverty. For example, it says, if a child’s father has attended school, the child is less likely to be engaged in child labour.
For younger children, a mother’s educational level strongly protects the child against nutritional deprivation.

The report shows that children in rural areas experience higher rates of both monetary and multi-dimensional poverty than those who live in urban areas.

“At least 81 per cent of rural children experience multi-dimensional poverty and 33 per cent are grappling with monetary poverty, whereby in urban areas 40 per cent of children experience multi-dimensional poverty and only 10 per cent experience monetary poverty,” it says.

It also recommends that households below the poverty line, who are eligible for cash transfer, need to be linked to basic services as well as livelihood opportunities.

Child poverty should be given higher priority in the implementation of the global sustainable development goals (SDGs), the report says.

Speaking at the report launch in Dar es Salaam yesterday, finance and planning deputy minister Dr Ashatu Kijaji said the report will help the government set timely programmes to address the issues raised.

According to Dr Kijaji, accurate statistics like those presented in the report are crucial for the government to deliver better services to the public.

But she reminded parents and guardians that they have the number one responsibility of taking care of their own children.
“Parents have to utilise the various opportunities offered by the government to enable them to earn money…there are many areas in agriculture and entrepreneurship for them to exploit,” the deputy minister said.

NBS director general Dr Albina Chuwa said the bureau intends to invest more in new technology for collecting, analysing and disseminating relevant information and data on a more accurate scale.

European Union head of delegation Eric Beaume called on the government to make effective use of the report findings in furthering its plans to speed up national development.

Beaume also urged the government to invest more in children, particularly those who are most disadvantaged, in order to develop a healthy and skilled workforce in the country.He said the EU has disbursed a 23.1 billion/- grant to the government to support more NBS reporting activities.