The latest survey results show that one in every five families had to reduce the quantity of meals their children ate, or had to change the variety of food intake. Children in only one-third of households had access to distance learning. Most children belonging to low-income households or under-served communities did not have access to distant learning for the past year. 

The lack of work has also reduced child labour. While 31% of households said their children worked before lockdown, this dropped to 8% during the closures. Last year’s surveys showed, however, that in 20% of households children were back to working to augment family income after the lockdown ended.

‘This implies that while the lockdown contributed to a significant reduction in child labour, children are most likely to start work to help their families cope with the economic struggles,’ Sharecast says.   

Using the results of the tracking survey, UNICEF Nepal is implementing an emergency cash transfer scheme in response to the emerging needs of more than 10,000 children. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more children in need.

The surveys show that the health, education and nutrition of children in families depending on daily wages and those who have lost incomes and jobs are being most adversely affected. UNICEF Nepal has welcomed the government’s decision to expand its Child Grant Program to 33% of vulnerable households. 

The survey shows that the lockdown has been a serious setback for a vast segment of society, and there has been little or no government response. It shows the need for universal state assistance to citizens for jobs and income.


Read Also: ‘Jabs for jobs’, Shristi Karki

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