Every Last Child- One child left behind is one too many

Monday 25 April 2016

APRIL 26, 2016 

Today, Save the Children launches a three year global campaign- Every Last Child, committing to galvanize action on ensuring that every child has an equal opportunity to survive and thrive and achieve their full potential regardless of who they are and where they live.

Bangladesh is widely recognized as a Millennium Development Goal success story with poverty rates declining, gender parity, and more children starting their primary school education and surviving their fifth birthday than ever before. However, where a child is born and lives in Bangladesh is a strong determinant of the child’s opportunities in life.There are still many excluded children suffering from chronic poverty and lacking opportunities to grow, left behind simply due to where they live or where they were born. Even as Bangladesh’s economy goes from strength to strength, growth and development does not reach all children in the same way.

 Every Last Child aims to explicitly address this location driven exclusion of children who need it most, but have been disproportionately left behind simply because of where they live or where they were born in Bangladesh.

Fourteen year old Fatema lives with her parents and eight siblings in Bauniabadh, an urban slum area in Mirpur, Dhaka. Her father and only brother sell fish, whilst her mother works as a hotel assistant. Fatema is currently studying in the ninth grade and dreams of being a banker but finds herself balancing her time helping her mother with the household work, as well as working as a seamstress to generate a small income to support her family. 

Despite this, Fatema claims that she is one of the lucky ones. “I know many girls my age who want to go to school but they are unable to go because they are either not being sent to school by their parents, or are already married,” Fatema notes. Fatema acknowledges that it is uncommon for girls like herself who are living in urban slums to be able to continue her education, with many having never been enrolled or dropping out due to structural and financial barriers. Similarly, poor health indicators such as survival rates during early childhood tend to correlate with geographic locality as those living in urban slums and hard-to-reach areas have limited access to and utilization of health care. Violence against children remains an area of persistent concern.

“It is crucial that we address the root causes and consequences that children left behind like Fatema are facing, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas and urban slum areas. They are consistently overlooked, despite being the most at risk,” says William Lynch, Save the Children Bangladesh’s Interim Country Director.

As Bangladesh progresses in the backdrop of the 7th five-year plan and the SDGs, children need to be at the forefront of development to ensure that every last child has an opportunity to fulfil their potential.

“We are calling upon decision makers at the household, local and national level for fair financing and investment in children in Bangladesh. This means targeting excluded groups to achieve universal access to primary school education and improved maternal and child health outcomes in excluded areas, investing adequate and efficient resources into public expenditure in social services, as well as eliminating violence against children inherent in social norms." adds William Lynch.

Every Last Child a Spotlight on Bangladesh