This report examines how donors approach poverty among children and young people in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. Poverty affecting children and young people increased substantially during the transition period in the two countries and aid could contribute significantly to tackling childhood poverty and deprivation. The report finds that few donors explicitly aim to reduce poverty among children and young people, though many are supporting actions that should contribute to doing so. Factors that appear to be preventing more concerted action are the current emphases of the countries' national poverty reduction strategies, and a perception that donor support should be focused on 'upstream' areas of policy and implementation, rather than specific social groups. The paper recommends that donors, working with governments and other actors, take a more strategic approach to childhood poverty that recognises how childhood deprivation can lead to future poverty, and tackles it holistically. This involves investment in quality social services, ensuring livelihood security among poor families through economic development and social protection measures. It also means ensuring that support to specific groups of children (such as street children) is linked to wider action to tackle the causes of their deprivation. The report recommends greater attention to action in early childhood and youth as critical, yet often overlooked, stages of development. The study also examines the implications for government poverty reduction capacity of the ways that aid is delivered to Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, drawing out the potential implications for children. Though there has been some progress towards greater harmonisation and alignment of aid with government priorities and procedures, more is needed, as are greater efforts to reduce external debt, and to ensure debt reduction strategies do not undermine poverty reduction and child wellbeing.
Marcus, R., Marshall, J. (2004) CHIP Report 13: Tackling childhood poverty in Central and East Asia: Donor approaches in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP), London, UK, ISBN: 1-904922-08-2, vii + 84 pp.