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SANITATION DEPRIVIATION: 7 out of 10 children in Botswana are deprived of sanitation

Report highlights children’s lack of access to toilets

A study on child poverty in Botswana has pointed out that sanitation remains the most common deprivation for children in the country regardless of age.

At least seven out of 10 children in Botswana are deprived of sanitation, which is said to be influenced by what is happening in rural areas where a large population operates without a single toilet.

According to the report from Statistics Botswana and UNICEF, in 2015/16, about 30 percent of children in rural areas resided in households without any toilet facility.

Nonetheless, it is reported that children in both cities/towns and urban areas also have high rates of sanitation deprivation of approximately 40 percent and 70 percent respectively.

In cities and towns, the most common problem is said to be the sharing of toilet facilities while the proportion of children in urban areas aged 5-12 years who share toilet facilities has increased from 8 percent in 2009/2010 to almost 22 percent in 2015/2016.

It is further stated that the most vulnerable children are those that reside in rural areas as well as those residing in households with at least one HIV-positive member.

“The high association of HIV with deprivation is explained by the higher prevalence of HIV-positive members in rural areas. Whereas nationally, 27 percent of children reside in a household with an HIV-positive member, in rural areas, the rate is 50 percent,” says the study.

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The report states that child poverty remains a matter of global concern even in middle-income countries, citing the 2019 global estimates by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) which found that half of those who are multidimensionally poor are children.

It is estimated that globally, children account for 663 million of the 1.3 billion people who are considered multidimensionally poor with younger children under the age of 10 accounting for 23 percent of the figure.

While most of the poor children are concentrated in the poorest African countries, the study says there is evidence to suggest that child poverty is also a challenge in middle-income African countries, especially in countries characterized by high rates of female unemployment.

Botswana is not spared as previous estimates have shown that Batswana children are deprived in several respects.

The first National Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA) conducted in 2014/2015 revealed that children experience more poverty compared to the general population.

It has also been found that children who are facing monetary poverty are most likely to be affected by multidimensional deprivation as well, especially in the dimensions of nutrition, housing, and access to water.

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