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Global workshop raises capacity on Public Finance for Children

Training UNICEF experts to support more effective use of public resources for children
28 September 2017

Group photo of participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.

(28 Sept 2017) Nearly 100 UNICEF staff, managers and specialists from 62 countries recently gathered at UNICEF Innocenti in Florence for two one-week workshops on public finance for children. The workshops aimed to enhance staff knowledge on public budgeting and finance management and to build skills to advocate, design, and oversee technical support for publicly financed programmes for children. After the training, participants will be better equipped to help strengthen public finance management systems with the ultimate goal of sustaining and scaling up programme results, particularly for the most vulnerable children and their families.

UNICEF Innocenti, in collaboration with Oxford Policy Management, hosted the back-back five-day workshops from September 18 – 29, 2017. The workshops are part of a broader training mandate to educate programme and management staff to make public resources work more effectively for children.

Participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.

“With many more countries joining the category of ‘middle income status’, and thus becoming more reliant on domestic resources, UNICEF needs to have the capacity to leverage these resources for children,” said Waithira Gikonyo, Senior Learning Advisor for UNICEF and training focal point for the public finance for children workshops. “We also hope the participants will have developed the ability and confidence to advocate for increased and improved public investments in services for children.” She cited the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Agenda, both of which call for increased investments to achieve the global goals, as motivators for why UNICEF staff should be developing the capacity to advocate for greater investments for children.

UNICEF Innocenti’s Chief of Social Policy, Jose Cuesta, presented on his latest research initiative which integrates public finance, multidimensional child poverty, and fiscal incidence analysis as part of a new analytical framework which he terms ‘commitment to equity for children,’ or ‘CEQ4C.’ This new framework aims to integrate measurement, diagnostics and policy analysis of equity in public finance in order to more effectively fund interventions for children.  According to Cuesta, the commitment to equity framework is a natural link to public finance for children because it builds from the best practices of fiscal incidence analysis and provides a child equity lens for public finance.

Jose Cuesta, Chief of Social Policy at the Public Finance for Children workshop held in Sala Brunnelschi, Ospedale degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy.

“Participants are shown that different strands of work that UNICEF does separately can be combined and integrated consistently to address more effectively questions they face every day in regards to right investments for children, multidimensional child poverty, effective interventions, monitoring and evaluation, among others,” said Cuesta.

Cuesta presented findings from preliminary applications of the commitment to equity for children approach from Uganda and Guatemala, and hopes to garner interest from seminar participants to expand research in other countries. “Uganda and Guatemala are the first applications of CEQ4C as proof of concept,” he said. “We need more countries, ideally from each region, to fully develop the framework, refine the engagement process with local counterparts and analyse specific policies in concrete contexts. Any country is welcome to join.”

Naomi Mbaya, Finance Officer for UNICEF’s Nigeria programme, participated in the workshop because it was “relevant in achieving equitable results for the Nigerian child.” “The importance of the course work cannot be overemphasized,” she added, “as this has enhanced skills in evaluating and analysing public expenditures for children.”

Participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.

Carmen van Heese, Emergency Advisor for the UNICEF East Asia region based in Bangkok, Thailand, attended the workshop in order to bridge the gaps in budgeting and finance solutions for emergency responses.  “Responding to the needs of children remains a cornerstone of UNICEF’s work in emergencies, especially in East Asia and the Pacific,” she said. “UNICEF’s approach has evolved more into strengthening systems and engaging with governments on best practices, system building and technical cooperation. In order to do this better, we need to speak the language of public financing, especially for how to budget for humanitarian assistance.”

The public finance management for children workshop is part of a training course that also includes online e-learning training components with UNICEF’s free learning and development platform, AGORA. The hands-on training enables participants to explore case studies and scenarios to tackle budget and public finance management problems specific to the context of their country programs.

For more information on public finance for children (PF4C):

Research Projects

Multidimensional child poverty
Research Project Research Project

Multidimensional child poverty

SDG 1 calls for the eradication of poverty, in all its forms, for every man, woman and child.Children don’t control income, and they depend on the adults in their life to fulfill their needs. Children’s needs also change rapidly: a 3-year-old’s needs are quite different from those of an 8-year-old. This impacts heavily on the way poverty is experienced by children, even among children within the same household.A multidimensional approach to child poverty is an essential complement to standard monetary poverty measurement. Research on multidimensional poverty aims to measure the actual access of children to goods and services that are fundamental for their full development and essential for the fulfillment of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) is a tool developed at UNICEF Innocenti that measures and defines multidimensional child poverty, based on the CRC. It allows us to gain a clearer picture of which dimensions of poverty children are experiencing, providing enhanced analytics to guide programming and policy responses. MODA is a practical and flexible tool that allows rigorous measurement of multidimensional child poverty in different contexts, as well as in-depth monitoring of SDG target 1.2. More than 50 national studies and 3 regional studies using MODA have been produced.MODA can act as a supportive tool in planning interventions and policies that are more effective in targeting and revealing the most deprived children. It can also provide important evidence required to plan delivery of multi-sectoral interventions through the analysis of overlaps. Finally, MODA can be adapted to critical situations such as humanitarian crises and displacement, providing us with extremely valuable information not otherwise readily available. Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) can be applied using various surveys, ranging from local to international levels, such as the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). DHS and MICS provide suitable data on child deprivation in low- and middle-income countries. When evaluating surveys for MODA, it is important to select dimensions and indicators that are relevant in each country setting. Here is a list of common indicators in each dimension for different age groups.  These are taken from previous MODA studies that used MICS or DHS questionnaires. But the list can be adapted for use with other surveys, such as household budget or living conditions studies. See the “MODA HOW-TO Guide” for more information about how to use this approach to multidimensional child poverty analysis.Download the MODA Brochure.