UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman says “the cycle of intergenerational poverty must end”

Six million children in Africa die each year from malnutrition. Photo: Cozay Group

Six million children in Africa die each year from malnutrition. Photo: Cozay Group

October 17 marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a commemoration that first took place in Paris, France, on October 17, 1987, when more than 100,000 people gathered to honor victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger.

Among victims of these burning issues are children. In Africa, millions suffer as a result of civil war. Tens of thousands lose their lives while those that live through the ordeal are likely to suffer some limitations in life.

“Children who grow up in poverty face many obstacles that can prevent them from reaching their full potential,” Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF said in a statement on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty posted on the organization’s Web site. “Early childhood, in particular, lays the foundation for a lifetime.”

According to Veneman, children are less likely to do well in school as a result of malnutrition, something that can also affect their life-long experiences.

“Undernutrition diminishes the ability of children to learn and earn throughout their lives," Ann Veneman

“Undernutrition diminishes the ability of children to learn and earn throughout their lives," Ann Veneman. Photo: Lawal Alhadi

“Undernutrition diminishes the ability of children to learn and earn throughout their lives. Nutritional deprivation leaves children tired and weak, and lowers their IQs, so they perform poorly in school. As adults they are less productive and earn less than their healthy peers and the cycle of undernutrition and poverty repeats itself, generation after generation,” Veneman said.

According to the Cozay Group Web site, six million children in Africa die each year from malnutrition before their fifth birthday; and only 57% of African children are enrolled in primary education.

“The cycle of intergenerational poverty must end. Investing in children’s health, education and protection is an obvious place to start,” Veneman said.

For more info:
· Click Here to read full statement from UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman
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