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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Geographies of global issues: Change and threat
Title Africa’s Vulnerable Children and the Millennium Development Goals: Experiences and Interventions in Malawi
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1-19
URL https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-981-4585-95-8_22-1
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established by the United Nations (UN) in 2000 to coordinate and monitor global efforts to advance social development by 2015. Child poverty is a core concern reflected in the MDGs’ focus on children’s access to food, education, and health care. This focus on children is intertwined with the evolution of the idea of the global child, a discursive figure that reflects abstract ideas about children in a global society but often obscures the material contexts of children’s lived realities in diverse settings. Sub-Saharan Africa has lagged behind other regions in reaching their MDG targets and Malawi has lagged behind the average progress in sub-Saharan Africa. Malawi’s exceptional difficulty in reaching MDG targets presents a valuable case study for examining the limitations of the MDGs at a finer grain of detail. This chapter demonstrates key discrepancies between global scale efforts to define and target child poverty through the MDGs and the contextual issues facing impoverished children in Malawi. The juxtaposition of Malawi’s top-down Growth and Development Strategy, which tends to address the generic needs of the abstracted global child in Malawi, with an intervention rooted in contextspecific problems identified by guardians of vulnerable children highlights the need to address multiple practical and strategic needs simultaneously to bring about lasting progress. Crucially, this includes the intellectual task of deconstructing the global child discourse and building understanding of the interrelated issues that create and sustain high levels of poverty in Malawian households and communities.

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