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Policy paper

COVID-19 & Urgent Need for Child-Sensitive Social Protection

25 June 2020 — By Yukiko Yamada Morovic & Kathryn Taetzsch

The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively affecting children’s lives in a myriad of ways. Well-intentioned government containment and response efforts such as movement restrictions and school closures have disrupted education for more than 1.5 billion students, leaving some of the most vulnerable children without nutritious school meals and at heightened risk of dropping out when schools reopen. It has overstretched health systems, diverting health resources and capacity to COVID-19 response and limiting children’s access to critical primary health care and nutrition services that protect them against malnutrition and preventable deaths. It has significantly reduced or eliminated many parents’ and caregivers’ income earning opportunities.

World Vision – in order to reach the most vulnerable, highlights that it is critical for all stakeholders to collaborate to deliver child-sensitive social protection. World Vision recommends specific actions for national Governments, donors, UN and NGOs -e.g.:

Ensure child-sensitive social protection measures such as cash-transfer schemes are established or enhanced, and are included and adequately funded in national response and recovery plans. These government social protection systems and mechanisms must reach the most vulnerable children and families, regardless of status.

Provide flexible funding and allow implementing agencies to adapt programming to accommodate needs in rapidly changing local contexts.

Build back better by establishing and extending child-sensitive social protection measures to reduce future poverty and vulnerability, and promote inclusive growth. This includes adequately funding these measures in national response and recovery
plans and ensuring all children are registered at birth, as formal identity is critical for developing an effective social protection system.

Systematically engage with children on issues affecting them and their communities including the establishment of robust and multi-lingual complaints and feedback mechanisms.