This year’s International Day of Education theme is ‘To Invest in People, Prioritize Education’. Indeed, quality and inclusive education has been deemed as one of the fastest and surest ways to pull children and entire communities out of poverty. Access to education directly corresponds with the levels of development, as evidenced by measures such as the Human Development Index, Sustainable Development Goals, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index, all across the globe.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) prioritize education, formal, informal and non-formal education, as a means to end all forms of poverty and as an end goal in itself. With less than 7 years left to realize the Agenda 2030 and its SDGs, we need to consider – are we on track to achieving education for all children?
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – Goal 4, Sustainable Development Goals.
At the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic, children suffered an immeasurable blow to their education as schools worldwide were temporarily shut down, and learning switched from physical classrooms to virtual platforms. Not only did the digital divide impede the progress of the children and schools with inadequate access to online learning infrastructure, but the brunt of the pandemic lead to an increased strain on children’s mental health and wellbeing. More than that, the resultant widespread loss of livelihoods meant that more people were thrust into poverty, thereby affecting children’s education.
Coupled with the growing shocks brought on by climate change and violent conflicts, The total adverse impacts to education are still being experienced globally, even as the severity of pandemic wanes 3 years on. These global upheavals and opportunities necessitate innovative solutions investing in children’s education and outcomes leading to overcoming child poverty.
The Children’s Solutions Lab by Arigatou International has been one of such nascent spaces for children to come up with solutions against poverty through education. First launched in 2020, the Children’s Solutions Lab is one of Arigatou International’s meaningful spaces for child participation, whose aim is to support young people in taking action to address poverty affecting children in their communities through solutions based on education. Most noticeable, children from Cuba, India, Malawi and Peru have, through the Children’s Solutions Lab come up with unique and innovative solutions towards promoting education especially for vulnerable children.
“Through the Children’s Solutions Lab, we want to focus on how education can help in ending child poverty. We are looking for innovative, sustainable, relevant and replicable solutions that we can support, aimed at ending child poverty” Maria Lucia Uribe – Director Arigatou International – Ethics Education.
The Children’s Solutions Lab seeks to promote ethical reflections among children about the root causes of poverty and how some cultural norms can impact the wellbeing of children and, ultimately, lead to child poverty.