29 Aug 2012

Vanuatu child poverty reports show breakdown of traditional support

4:23 am on 29 August 2012

United Nations reports analysing the level of child poverty in Vanuatu show the family support networks that used to spare people from deprivation have broken down.

The UNICEF reports, a 2011 atlas of social indicators for children and a 2012 study of child poverty and disparity, assess access to basic necessities such as food, water and shelter as well as services including health and education.

UNICEF Pacific's deputy representative says traditionally people who fell on hard times could rely on members of their clan for help.

Isabelle Austin says the government also relied on that system.

"The assumption was that because of those traditional solidarity systems, no one was sort of left out and everyone was able to manage. But now there is a growing recognition that this traditional system might no longer be enough."

Isabelle Austin says the reports have been instrumental in achieving that recognition - now the government has to decide what to do about it.