Rising inequality and growing child poverty are some of the most devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pre-existing structural disparities around the world are exacerbated and more children are pushed into multi-dimensional poverty, there is an urgent need to address policies implemented to alleviate and counteract these effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to look at the knowledge gaps and future research agendas.
The Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP) in cooperation with Tatiana Chubarova, Enrique Delamonica, Gabriele Koehler and Keetie Roelen, editors of recent publications from the CROP series on International Studies in Poverty Research, organised a webinar series on the issues of child poverty, inequality, inclusion and social protection. The two webinar sessions focused on distinct aspects of child poverty, inequality and social protection exploring policies dealing before and after COVID-19 and discussed the possible future research agendas in a post-COVID world.
Webinar 1: Child Poverty, Inequality, Social Protection, and Inclusion: Policy Options and Constraints before and after COVID
The first of the two webinars, “Child Poverty, Inequality, Social Protection, and Inclusion: Policy Options and Constraints before and after COVID”, focused on the urgent need for policies to address the rising issue of inequality and child poverty. In the panel was Jan Vandemoortele from the United Nations University, Maja Gerovska Mitev from Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Laura Alfers director of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing and Gabriele Köhler from the UN Research Institute for Social Development, moderated by GRIP’s Research Coordinator Elina Troscenko.
The Covid-19 pandemic has called attention to the existing structural inequalities and exposed lack of social protection and health care, especially so for informal workers and vulnerable households, resulting in a growing number of children living in poverty. The discussion also displayed an increase of economic protection as a positive outcome of the pandemic. However, the challenge is to put the economic protection in system. The panel discussion highlighted the need for a more formal universal social protection and the importance of decent work programs to protect children from poverty.
Webinar 2: Knowledge, Evidence, and Narratives on Child Poverty and Covid-19: Post-pandemic Research Agenda
The second of the two webinars, “Knowledge, Evidence and Narratives on Child Poverty and Covid-19: Post-pandemic Research Agenda focused on what we already know about the impact of Covid-19 on child poverty, what we do not know and what the post-Covid research on inclusion and child poverty should look like. The session was moderated by Keetie Roelen from the Institute of Development Studies with an international panel including Annie Namala from the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion, Fadia Kiwan manager of the Arab Women Organization, Yisak Tafere from The Research on Improving Systems of Education Programme and Katja Hujo Senior Research Coordinator at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.
The influence of the Covid-19 pandemic with increasing rates of very poor people and the need for research on vulnerable communities and children were underlined by all panellists. Evidence such as rise of inequalities, malnutrition, increase in child marriage and long-term impacts on young people such as the devastating prediction that over 10 million children will permanently leave school, show the urgency of research, knowledge, and action. The panel discussed the importance of partnerships between South and North, and the need for links between researchers and civil societies to bring evidence to the right audience and create international solidarity.