Friday, 5 July 2013

Build strong children to avoid repairing broken men

This blog, written by Wikichild coordinator Melinda George, is an overview of the comments made in the recent Wikichild online discussion on measuring child well-being. This blog is a part of the Wikiprogress Series its well-being and progress networks.

This week, Wikichild concluded an online conversation about the most effective means of measuring child well-being and how these measures should be applied to the Post 2015 agenda. Over 50 participants shared their thoughts on the subject. 

Measuring child well-being has traditionally rested on economic measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP); however, it is now widely accepted that the well-being of the nation is influenced by a broad range of factors

Below, you will find slides from Professor Fiona Stanley's presentation on child well-being at last year's OECD 4th World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy.

According to the participants ...

...WHY should we measure child well-being? 

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." 
Frederick Douglas

"The World Bank, OECD, and most governments all recognise that sustained economic prosperity and security relies on policies that both enhances the health and well-being of future generations and closes the gap in well-being between the rich and poor." 
Dr. Frank Elgar, McGill University

...WHAT should be measured? 

Health          Material security         Safety       
Education        Malnutrition         Interaction with animals
Social and economic rights       Child marriage          Depression       
Relationships           Resilience          Satisfaction    
Aspirations and expectations      Spirituality        
Access to justice      Family income  

...WHO should be measured? 

Vulnerable       Disabled       Indigenous       Very young       Youth       Adolescents 

...HOW should it be measured?
  • Use tools such as the Kidscreen and the Early Development Index (EDI)
  • Integrate indicators related to child health with indicators collected at birth
  • Create a strong international measurement for early childhood development
  • Increase data and its availability, particularly regarding very young children
  • Decrease the amount of time it takes to publish quality data
  • Use both subjective and objective indicators
  • Ask young people about their own well-being in a more systematic and constructive way
  • Use family-based indicators (i.e. rate of wanted pregnancies, family structure, parental responsibilities, parental engagement)

SNEAK PEAK - here are a few quotes from participants: 

“Subjective well-being measured by reports given by children themselves will provide a clear view of what children think about themselves and their surroundings.” - Theodore Joloza

“Children are frequently the adjustment variable intended to compensate the loose of purchase power after the income loss or price rises. Empirical work in Bangladesh provides evidence regarding the reduced child provision of protein after the rise of the food prices.” - Gaelle Ferrant

"Emotional security is one key aspect of children's well-being. And this aspect is all the more important in a school setting, where peer pressure is predominant and especially given the negative repercussions of emotional insecurity on educational performance." - Estelle

“One category that needs to be prioritized are vulnerable children. Vulnerable children certainly view themselves as less happy than the average child in their societies.” - Ousmane

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