A Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis
The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa which has come to exemplify one of the few economic success stories in Africa to date. In carrying on this story, it will be necessary for Botswana to address the growing concerns of lingering socioeconomic challenges, which include persistent poverty among its population . The story of poverty in Botswana is complex and multidimensional, with various sub-groups of the population left behind in its path of growth over the last decades despite state policies to ensure equal access to goods and services needed to maintain livelihood. In the process of evaluating policy to address persistent roadblocks in reaching those in need, analysing the situation of children can provide crucial indicators to help better understand the nature of poverty in Botswana – who the poor are, why their poverty persists, and how poverty is intergenerationally transmitted. Botswana’s State Party acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995, and numerous other landmark developments supporting the well-being of children have been enacted since then .
These developments demonstrate Botswana’s commitment to ensuring the well-being and equality of all children, particularly those who are in the most vulnerable situations, and affirm that the country recognises these as necessary conditions for the continued success of its growth and development. The children of Botswana carry the heavy duty of being the future individuals who will sustain the social, economic and political successes of the country. Children born in 2014 will be entering Botswana’s labour force as early as 2030. Ensuring that these children are able to contribute to Botswana’s growth path, as well as its ambitions for poverty reduction to graduate from its uppermiddle income status, means making important investments today in human capital development. The development of high quality human capital relies on creating the best possible circumstances for children to develop into healthy, productive, and balanced adults. While a wide array of research has confirmed that investments in children are of high value and high returns which are experienced all across society, these investments are especially crucial to be made as early as possible in a child’s life cycle.
Any circumstances which inhibit a child’s ability to fully realise its capabilities and functionings are especially dire in the child’s earliest stages of its life, as many such deficiencies can often not be regained or reversed as the child grows older . The results of the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis of children in Botswana provides both broad and specific insights into the situation of children in Botswana – it reveals not only which dimensions of well-being children are deprived in, but also how these deprivations might be interrelated (overlap), and how to identify the deprived children. Furthermore, the analysis crucially reveals how overall poverty reduction in Botswana will not solely rely on the reduction of monetary poverty – especially in the case of children – as children living in households that are monetarily poor may not be the same children who are affected by the analysed deprivations.
Policies addressing the needs of children therefore require a distinct sensitivity to understanding how ‘poverty’ manifests itself among the children in Botswana, and how ‘deprivation’ of access to necessary goods and services add a critical level of complexity to Botswana’s story of poverty. Understanding the ways in which progress on children in Botswana has been positive, and where there remains room for improvement, can help determine what kind of policy interventions for children’s well-being will bear the most fruit.
Child poverty in all its dimensions is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as such, child poverty estimates from MODA can be used as the national measure to track child poverty over time. The SDG Goal 1.2 explicitly addresses child poverty and countries will be required to define multidimensional child poverty and track its evolution over the next 15 years. This report has constructed child poverty indicators for Botswana based on local conditions and norms which can serve as the SDG baseline for child multidimensional poverty for the country. These indicators could be incorporated into routine reporting from national surveys such as Botswana Core Welfare Indicator Survey as part of Botswana’s reporting on Goal 1.2 of the SDGs. Based on the key findings, the report makes the following recommendations:
- The overall child poverty, both in terms of monetary poverty and multiple deprivations, shall be measured and reported in national poverty reports and SDG monitoring reports;
- The overall child poverty, both in terms of monetary poverty and multiple deprivations, shall be measured, addressed and monitored in key national development plans such as NDP 11 and Vision 2036;
- Individual child deprivations shall be measured, addressed and monitored in relevant sector plans in coordination with other sectors given their overlapping nature;
- Child poverty measures shall be integrated in the targeting of social protection programmes to better address child poverty and the overall poverty in general, given the nature of intergenerational transmission of poverty;
- Specific targeting mechanisms may vary according to locations (rural areas, urban villages and cities) depending on the implications in terms of inclusion and exclusion errors in these locations;
- Social protection programmes that provide in-kind or cash support shall be combined with other elements such as care and counselling to achieve better results for addressing child poverty;
- A geographic targeting focusing on the worst districts namely Northwest, Ghanzi and Central shall be used in addressing child poverty;
- Comprehensive Early Childhood Development shall be promoted nationwide to address child poverty and break the vicious cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty;