This brief from the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty is intended as a tool for governments and their partners. It shows why reducing poverty during the second decade of a child’s life is necessary to promote children’s rights and is a sound investment for the future. It identifies actions that governments and others can take, and the data and evidence gaps that need to be addressed in order to tackle adolescent poverty and its consequences.
Why focus on poverty during adolescence?
Tackling poverty during children’s early years is essential, but adolescence offers another crucial window of opportunity to mitigate the impact of poverty on children’s development, to build on investments in the early years, and to promote gender equality and social mobility for all young people so that the whole of society benefits.
- Effective policies and services during adolescence have the potential to generate what the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-Being calls a ‘triple dividend’ – improving adolescents’ lives now, into adulthood, and for the next generation of children.
- High-quality, multi-dimensional and disaggregated data from adolescents underpins good policy and programming, contributes to strategies to tackle gender and other inequalities, and supports the monitoring of progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Adolescence is a time when gender and other inequalities can deepen. Supporting adolescents living in poverty requires coherent, cross-sectoral policies, investments in adolescent-responsive services, effective platforms for adolescent engagement, and attention to the rights and needs of girls and boys.
- The brief highlights how effective interventions can support disadvantaged adolescents’ health and well-being, education and learning, protection from harm, economic opportunities, participation and engagement, and social protection. Scaling-up and financing programmes, and achieving sustainable benefits for disadvantaged adolescents are key challenges. Building wider economic and social opportunities for young people is an important complement to targeted interventions.