Support Children Impacted by the Coronavirus
No country is immuned against COVID-19. Based on numbers of persons infected and the toll deaths, the lack of treatment, and vaccine, we have reason to predict that the worst is yet to come. As the number of cases in fragile contexts are rising, we are starting to see the impact this will have on the most vulnerable children in all communities across the world.
As it is well known, many children around the world, including those displaced by conflict, live in vulnerable conditions, including in camps, informal settlements and on the streets. For some, they will be taking care of younger children of relatives or will be relied upon to work, to bolster family incomes. Many will not be in a position to isolate or distance themselves from others or comply with basic hygiene measures, including simply washing their hands. In many countries where there is no universal health care, the poorest are also unable to pay for testing or medical assessments, let alone treatment.
Millions of children living in vulnerable communities in countries all around the world will suffer from the far reaching economic and social impacts of the measures needed to contain the pandemic. To avoid lasting damage to their future, we must act now - rapidly scaling up support for children whose families income is insecure and provide the social protection they urgently need. Orpe Human Rights Advocates team and partners are at hard working and create mechanisms and strategies deemed to alleviate suffering of children living in vulnerable communities.
COVID-19 has increased the risk of abuse on children, with the security measures of quarantine. Some homes are not always a safe haven, particularly in times of financial stress. For children living with domestic abuse and gender-based violence, or those that suffer abuse directly, staying home can be a risk in itself. Girls are especially vulnerable and we know that when normal support services are not available, they are at greater risk of unwanted pregnancy and early or forced marriage. Those of us who worked on the Ebola Crisis in West and Central Africa saw first-hand how quarantine can increase the risk of exploitation and abuse among poor children – and how many children, particularly adolescent girls, will struggle to return to school when the crisis ends.
The poorest households – including those suddenly impoverished by this crisis – will need support to survive this shock, and ensure their most vulnerable family members – children, those with disabilities and the elderly – are protected. They desperately need cash, and they need it now.
This is why governments urgently need to scale up income support now. Many countries have already taken actions to cope with this enormous challenge. This is a global crisis and requiring unprecedented national and international response efforts to both stop the spread of the virus – and its secondary devastation – everywhere. There is a need for a massive and rapid scale up, expanding existing schemes wherever practical and adding new ones. Of course, checks and balances are needed – to protect the most vulnerable, manage risks, and ensure markets are functioning.
In fragile and conflict-affected states, or countries with less developed systems, there is a major role for charities, the UN and donors to support efforts to ensure the marginalised and deprived are protected.
The lessons from this crisis will be many and far reaching. Governments are rapidly learning the value of having inclusive social protection systems in place, which have some ability to flex in times of crisis. Strong systems that are shock-responsive will ensure that when another crisis hits – be it another virus, an economic recession, or a climate-related catastrophe – countries can respond efficiently and effectively to safeguard the most vulnerable in society, including children.
Orpe Human Rights Advocates, in collaboration with UNICEF, has vocation of raising awareness about children living in poverty across the world. Based on the state of each nations, some governments are not able to take care of their own people and children. Social protection is normally what should be the goal of each responsible government basing its governing actions on the principle of duty of care. A government governing under the principle of the duty of care do the best it can to support vulnerable children. It creates mechanisms and strategies that contribute a world where all children can grow up free of poverty and deprivation.