About Young Lives Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12000 children in 4 countries -Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh) Peru and Vietnam -over 15 years.
In India (Andhra Pradesh) we are following the lives of 3,000 children and young people and their families living in 20 communities in six districts spread across the stateâ€™s three regions - Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana regions, together with the state capital, Hyderabad. We cover equal number of boys and girls.
We follow 2 groups of children in India
o 2,000 children who were born in 2001-02; and o 1,000 children who were born in 1994-95
We have a pro- poor sample.
We have completed 3 rounds of our qualitative and quantitative surveys. We follow the same children from infancy. Our study provides a rich resource to understand how children growing up experience poverty and inequalities. During the first round of survey our younger children were around 1 year olds and older children were around 8 year old and during our last round of survey, which will be conducted in 2016, they will be 15 and 22 respectively.
The potential of our study lies in its focus on tracking the same childrenâ€™s over 15 years throughout childhood and into early adulthood.
Young Lives seeks to: â€˘ Improve understanding of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty
Inform the development and implementation of future policy and practice to reduce childhood poverty Â
There are three main components in our study: • Quantitative • Qualitative • Policy
The aim of our study is to gain deeper understanding of the intergenerational transmission of poverty, how families on the margins move in and out of poverty, and the policies that can make real difference to childrenâ€™s lives.
Young Lives is the first ever comparative, longitudinal, mixed-methods study of children in developing countries. Young Lives research provides very valuable information since
it runs parallel to the time-frame set up by the UN
for the Millennium Development Goals.
The study places children at the center of the research, giving their voices and experiences due recognition.
We believe that children are social actors and are capable of providing us with essential information about the way in which poverty affects their lives and well-being.
Changing Households Â
o Children contexts as well as their individual experiences reinforce the intergenerational transmission of poverty. India is home to 1.2 billion people, of whom 30 per cent are children. o Despite economic growth in Andhra Pradesh and reduction of absolute poverty within our sample, inequalities persist amongst children, based on gender, class and caste, and between urban and rural areas.
o Our study shows that number of BPL families in rural areas reduced from 25.1% in 2006-07 to 17 % in 2009-10. Incidence of poverty is highest among ST families, followed by SC, BC and OC over the years. o Only 35% of Young Lives children had access to sanitation facilities in
2009. In rural households, only 10.4% households had access to sanitation in 2002, which marginally increased to 16.5 percent in 2009.
Poor households and the children are extremely vulnerable to shocks such as, death of a family member, drought or food price rise, which can push them further into poverty.
o In 2002, 28% of the households were affected by drought and in 2009, the rise in food prices impacted 77.4% of the households adversely. Â
While 90% of the households in the study had accessed food under PDS, 40% rural families reported irregular supply of PDS and 31% of families commented on the poor quality of the food distributed. Â
Our qualitative study captures the voices from boys living in Patna, a tribal village. According to them, the price rise caused a scarcity of food grains, thereby increasing dependency on the PDS to meet the food requirements of all members of the household. Childrenâ€™s experiences of the scheme revealed that, overall, the PDS was very useful in times of crisis. However, children commented that the poor quality of food grains sold through the PDS has a detrimental effect on the health of consumers, particularly children, sometimes giving them stomach ache that last for days.
Changing Lives Households
environment influences many areas of childrenâ€™s lives by impacting domains like education, health, etc. Â
Nutrition Poor child nutrition especially in early years have long term impact on cognitive, educational and psychosocial outcomes.
o Our findings show that malnutrition remains an area of concern for younger children. The Young Lives study shows stunting (a sign of chronic malnutrition) continues to be worryingly high in rural areas, particularly for children from Scheduled Tribes since 42% of Scheduled Tribes children in the Young Lives sample were found to be stunted at age 8 in 2009. o The prevalence of stunting for rural children (34%) was twice that for urban children (16.5%) in 2009. This has changed little since 2002 when 21% of the urban sample children were stunted, compared with 37% of children in rural areas.
Education Education is looked as a significant factor for changing lives both by children and their families. Â
o There have been great increases in primary enrolment - across social groups and rural/urban. But there are continued issues of marginalisation, quality and outcome. Around 99% of the younger children were enrolled in school in 2009. o Of the Young Lives children enrolled in government schools, over nine in ten children report accessing the Mid -Day Meal Scheme.
“I like my school now…I mix with others well. The food is nice and the school is good.”- Deepak, 8, from Scheduled Tribe Community in rural Andhra Pradesh
o Private school enrolment of the children aged 8 in 2009 was nearly double (44%) that of the children at the same age in 2002 (23%). Comparing the children at age 8 in 2002 with the children at age 8 in 2009 shows that private school enrolment has gone up for every group â€“ boys, girls, rural or urban children, as well as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. However, inequalities are very wide, with 70% of more advantaged Other Castes children enrolled in private schools.
o In 2002 boys were 4 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in private schools than girls but this had increased to 13 percentage points by 2009.
‘Shanmuka Priya is a girl; we won’t give her higher education. But we will let Prashant study as much as we can. We want our only son to get a good education. We have up to 10 th grade in the village school for Shanmuka Priya. We will see what happens after that.” - 8 year old Shanmuka Priya’s mother
o Young Lives data shows that parents perceive private schools as providing better quality education and are opting for ‘low fee’ charging private schools that are mushrooming across both rural and urban locations.
“Nobody bothers in the government school ... they are not at all bothered whether a child has done homework or not. They do not motivate the child to study well in the government schools, whereas the private school teachers are scrupulously particular about all these things. In private schools, they give us progress report and conduct tests regularly.”- 10 year old Supraja’s mother.
o For, older children from our study, enrolment has fallen from 98% in 2002 (age 8), to 90% in 2007 (age 12), and further declined to 77% in 2009 (age 15). 10% of children have repeated a grade, while 13% left school between the ages of 12 and 15. The drop-out rate for children from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes groups is almost double the rate of drop-out for the Other Caste groups.
Combining School and Work Most children do some kind of work, paid or unpaid within their household, but the burden falls disproportionately on girls. Young Lives data shows girls spend more than double the time on household chores at age 15 in rural areas and one hour less than boys in school. Girls show a higher rate of leaving school by 15 years (15%) as compared to boys (10%)
Young Lives longitudinal findings reveal that work for pay amongst rural children increased from 27 percent at age 12 (2006) to 33 percent at age 15 (2009). The incidence of work for pay amongst SC and ST children was much higher at 40 % and 42 % respectively.
“They said I needed to do both -go to school and work. They told me I had to study and to help with the farming … I asked them how it would be possible. They said I needed to do both…I know they are struggling in the house. How can I refuse?” says Ranadeep, 16. Ranadeep thinks that he did not pass the Grade 10 exam because he had to balance school and work. He said: “Ah, ten students failed. Yes, only those who worked in the fields.”
“If we don’t work there is no food; if we work hard then we have something to eat”, says 16 year old Ravi’s mother. Ravi, 16, works in the fields and comes from Scheduled Caste family. At 10, he had to leave school in order to repay a family debt. Ravi says, “Even if we have difficulties, we don’t share them. We prefer to share only our happiness”.
Social protection schemes Social protection schemes, such as NREGS, have acted as a buffer for poor families, but do not fulfill all their needs.
o 70% of the Young Lives families accessed NREGS in 2009, but only 13% accessed the full 100 daysâ€™ employment. Â
“Our position has never improved; we wanted to save but couldn’t. We work in the NREGS and repay our debts. The money we earn is used to repay debts so we have never saved. In these ten years [since marriage] we have tried very hard to do better but haven’t been able to. We’ve faced lot of hardships in these ten years, so we haven’t been able to improve.” - Mother of 8 year old Chandni. o 83 per cent of the households (88% of the rural and 67% of the urban) have Rajiv Arogyasri cards but less than 4% families utilised the same.
Aspirations and Hopes Young Lives children and their caregivers have a lot of aspirations and families takes lots of pain and hopes the lives of their children will be better than ones they live.
“Why should our children suffer like us? We want them to have a better life… I hope our dreams come true,” says 8 year old Shanmuka Priya’s father.
“If I become a lawyer, I can help women when they face problems. It will change our society for the better”, says
We need to end child poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty.
Design & Layout/Photoediting: Avi Kabir Animation/Sound: Avi Kabir Photographs:Young Lives/Sarika Gulati/ Farhatullah Beig
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In India Young Lives is a collaboration between Save the Children, CESS (Hyderabad), SPMVV (Tirupati) and University of Oxford (UK) The findings presented here comes from Young Lives quantitative data. The quotes come from qualitative in-depth interviews with a small number of the Young Lives children about their daily lives and experiences. To preserve the study sample childrenâ€™s confidentiality, their names have been changed and we have used photos of children living in similar circumstances in similar communities. For further information, please visit our website: http://www.younglives-india.org Follow us on Twitter: @YoungLivesIndia Funded by DFID