Tag Archives: Save the Children

Conflict kills 300 children every day

More than half a million babies may have died as a result of conflict over the past five years, according to a new report by Save the Children. That’s an average of more than 100,000 deaths annually – or 300 babies every day.

Save the Children - war zone photo

At least 550,000 deaths of children under the age of one could be attributed to the effects of conflict in the 10 worst-affected conflict zones between 2013 and 2017, the most recent year for which data was available, the charity found.

Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries where children were hardest hit by conflict.

The death toll does not include children killed directly by fighting. Instead, it estimates the number of infants and young children who may have died from the knock-on effects of nearby conflict, such as starvation, outbreaks of disease, damage to hospitals, or delays to aid deliveries.

Child deaths rose to 870,000 when all children under the age of five were included. The estimates are likely conservative. By comparison, the charity estimates that almost 175,000 fighters or soldiers were killed in the conflicts over the same five-year period.

The horrific impact on children is partly the result of protracted modern conflicts, often fought among civilian populations. But there is also a crisis in accountability – with persistent, widespread and sometimes deliberate violations of children’s rights across the globe.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to urgently implement a new strategy for protecting civilians – with children front and centre – covering diplomacy, defence and aid.

Britain’s cross-government ‘Protection of Civilians Strategy’ was last updated in 2010 and has no specific provisions for children or other vulnerable groups.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to:

  • Track civilian harm and comprehensively record civilian casualties in conflicts the UK is engaged in, as recommended by the Chilcot Inquiry;
  • Acknowledge the harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, avoid its use and take measures to reduce their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure;
  • Consistently call out violations against children in conflict, including by allies;
  • Raise the urgency of protecting civilians wherever Britain has a seat at the table – including at the UN Security Council, NATO and the G7.

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said: “The UK should be using its global influence to protect children living in war zones. From Yemen to Syria and South Sudan, children are bearing the horror of armed conflict.

“Some are treated as collateral damage in urban bombing. Others are deliberately targeted for killing, abduction and recruitment by armed groups. Millions go hungry because humanitarian aid is obstructed.

“Britain should send a clear message to the world: the war on children must end, and those who commit crimes against children will be held to account.”

Childcare problems cost mums £3.4 million each day

The childcare system is costing mothers in England £3.4 million a day because it prevents them from working, according to new analysis from Save the Children. That’s £1.2 billion every year.

Save the Children logo

The charity estimates there are around 89,000 mothers of children under five who would like to get back into work but say that childcare is the main barrier to doing so.

Steven McIntosh, Director of UK Poverty Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children said: “Mothers describe a childcare system that feels stacked against them. They tell us it’s nightmare to navigate with barriers to work at every turn. The result is an astounding loss in earnings, hitting families already battling to make ends meet. The financial pressure and stress that creates at home is never good for parents or their children. It’s time to make childcare work for families.”

Research shows childcare issues are the number one barrier to work for parents with young children. Despite recent reforms, Save the Children says that parents are still facing sky-high childcare bills and struggling with a complicated system – with almost half of parents saying they have no idea or are confused about what support they should get. The charity says that they are left unable to access the childcare they need to work, which can tip families into hardship.

Bianca, 36, is a Mum from East London with two boys aged three and seven. After working full time for ten years, childcare issues forced her to give up her job as an education team leader in a college.

Bianca said: “ I absolutely loved my job and I could see myself progressing. It was the cost of childcare that made me give it up, because if I’d had to pay for my younger son to be in nursery full-time that would have been a massive chunk of my salary. We made sure we lived within our means but of course you lose out on some things.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot to give to the economy, but childcare is such a massive barrier. The only way you can jump over that barrier is if you’re willing to shell out a lot of money and have little left for three or four years. We did make that choice to have children, but we shouldn’t be penalised for it, and that’s how it feels at the moment.”

Research shows that the average take home pay for a mum working full time is just over £20,000 and almost £45,000 for a couple both working full time. Even taking into account free childcare hours and government subsidies, the cost of childcare for two children can still be more than £8,000 a year. That is 39% of the mother’s take home pay – twice as much as she pays in tax. Parents say that childcare bills are still too high, with many claiming it costs more than their mortgage or rent, or that it doesn’t make financial sense to go back to work.

To address the problems of cost, complexity and accessibility in the childcare system which are preventing parents from working, Save the Children is calling on new government ministers responsible for childcare to urgently set out the next steps to delivering a childcare system in England that is high quality, affordable, easy to use and fits around families’ lives.