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Children and Youth

Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC)

Social Protection and Risk ManagementOrphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) constitute the most vulnerable population group in the Africa Region as they often lack adult protection and support in getting their basic material, health, and educational needs met. This makes them vulnerable to abusive forms of child labor, malnutrition, disease, and death. It is estimated that the most critically vulnerable children may account for 20 percent of all children living in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Why OVC support in Africa?

Many children living in particularly difficult circumstances tend to be excluded from partaking in the benefits generated even by programs specifically targeting the poorest. However, with a view to achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and to ensuring that OVC benefit in an equitable manner from Bank social protection operations, it is crucial that their needs be explicitly addressed by Bank operations, especially by education projects. Given that the various subgroups of OVC comprise as many as 20 percent of African school-aged children, failing to serve OVC may prevent the achievement of six out of eight MDGs, in particular the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

The high long-term costs of non-action or lack of cost-effective action in the form of "irreversible and quantum losses in human development potential" (Dynamic Risk Management and the Poor: Developing a Social Protection Strategy for Africa (SPSfA), p.40) are widely recognized and well-documented. OVC are therefore considered "at the heart of the human development challenge in Africa", and the Strategy proposes that "this group constitute the first-order priority target group for social protection in Africa" (SPSfA, p.40). A similar sense of urgency is expressed in the Bank's Social Protection Sector Strategy: From Safety to Springboard, which emphasizes the need for mainstreaming work on orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa (p.xi).

All resources for the Children and Youth program can be accessed through the Learning Materials section.

Click here for the OVC Toolkit

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