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Friday, 18 October, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Child poverty: Any hope of change?
On Thursday the UK-based charity Save the Children will launch Beat Poverty day, which it hopes will raise awareness of child poverty.

In its new report, "Paying the Price?" the charity highlights the lack of investment in health and education services.

It also looks at the private sector's role in providing these services in the developing world.

According to the report, poverty steals the lives of 30,000 children every day and millions more miss out on healthcare, education and the chance of a better future.

However, in 2001 aid from the richest 22 countries fell by more than US$2 billion to US$51.4 billion.

So are governments and international donors spending enough on overseas aid? Do Western NGOs help or do their well-meaning campaigns conflict with the reality of life in the developing world?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

There needs to be a rearranging of priorities by all nations. Why are we spending so much on defence? Is it to ensure a safer world for our children? Looking at the world around, it does not appear to be so. Both developed and developing countries need to take equal responsibility for the children of the world and respect their need for a better world - primarily a world free of the threat of war.
Rekha Abel, India

Poverty is the basic cause of terrorism. If the rich countries can be more helpful to poor countries and attempt to eliminate poverty, we can have a peaceful world free from any war.
Manoharan Ramanathan, Sri Lanka

The developed nations are making the best of efforts to overcome child poverty. But most of the aid they provide to developing nations is mostly circulated within the senior officials of the governments concerned. A very small amount of resources reaches the impoverished. The developed nations should directly work with needy people for better use of their resources and overcome the current situation.
Pravesh Saria, Nepal/ USA

The prevailing economic system of capitalism does not work. In reality, the few with all the facilities become wealthier and the poor become more impoverished. In the outset it seems Western NGOs are doing a good job. In reality however, there are many clauses imposed by Western governments despite the fact these organisation claim to be non-governmental organisations. Poor countries are then forced to adopt policies imposed by international bodies dominated by the donor western countries.
Steve, UK

We should hang our heads in shame

James, Melbourne Australia
It's a disgrace that the developed world treats the developing world as a giant pool of cheap labour to exploit for profit. It doesn't seem to matter that these children will miss out on an education because as soon as they are big enough they can sew a football, a sports shoe or a latest season fashion garment for 12 hours a day in horrific conditions. We should hang our heads in shame. We have the resources to feed, clothe and water the world. But we refuse to do it because we are too greedy.
James, Melbourne Australia

It is the lack of strong will and determination on the part of the governments, and failure to check corruption, channelling the aid money elsewhere in some developing countries that has led to an increase in poverty. Donor countries must keep a check on how their aid money is being spent and must demand a show of results. A reduction in aid only means more effective control on spending, reduction in wasteful expenses, reduction in administrative expenses etc.
Arvind, Bangalore, India/ Dallas, TX, USA

I agree with Melanie, Singapore that more emphasis needs to be put on reducing the population of Third World countries to a more manageable level, rather than trying to sustain the populations they have.
Louise, Sydney, Australia

I believe that the focus should be more on contraception and other means of decreasing the rates of reproduction rather than on trying to provide solutions to the effects of overpopulation.
Melanie Willi, Singapore

They absolutely need to reform themselves

Naved, USA
International donors and Western NGOs are motivated by their political goals, and channel their aid according to these objectives, rather than according to the need. However, the primary responsibility for poverty lies with societies where such poverty exists. They absolutely need to reform themselves and ensure good governance so that aid or no aid, poverty and deprivation are eradicated. Otherwise giving aid, politically motivated or not, is just throwing good money after bad.
Naved, USA

It's true that developed countries are not concentrating on developing countries. They are very much worried about the terrorist cells that are coming out in these countries. But the true fact is that "today's uneducated malnutritutioned children only become tomorrow's terrorists".
Madhan, Clemson, USA

Nations around the world should devote more resources to children's welfare, promote adoption and foster homes, increase tax rebates and credits for children's education and give more assistance to children's welfare and non-profit organisations devoted to youth development and children's rights.
Igonikon Jack, USA

The governments of the developing countries are doing as much as they can but the governments and NGOs of the developed countries are not doing enough to help the undeveloped or the developing countries. How can a developing country on the one hand fight terrorism and on the other solve the problems of its poor with full effectiveness?
Ravi Mittal, Mandi Gobindgarh, India

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