Ethiopian children say ‘solving political problems’ a priority


Unlike children from 46 countries across the globe, an astonishing number of Ethiopian kids say solving political problems should take precedence in their country over any other problems such as improving healthcare and boosting infrastructure, finds a survey released earlier this week.
Though they are often powerless victims of the world’s conflicts and natural disasters, children are very mindful of their environment and ‘think beyond themselves and consider how their world can be improved’, says the new survey commissioned by a coalition of international NGOs ChildFund Alliance. The survey, compiled by GfK Roper international research and polling firm, was released on Tuesday marking Universal Children’s Day. 6,204 children between ages 10-to-12-years from Africa, Asia and the Americas were asked six questions including, ‘If you were president or leader of your country, what would you do to improve the lives of children in your country?’.
In Ethiopia, solving political and social problems is a popular choice for the surveyed kids with 31 percent of them favoring it as their to-be first priority. Improving education and providing for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter came second and third with 24 and 18 percents respectively.
For the rest of the developing countries education comes first. If made president one in two children in developing countries, or 50 percent, said they would improve education. Another 22 percent said they would provide for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter; an answer similarly cited by 25 percent of children in the developed world.
Though their priorities are close with each other, children from developing and developed countries show a stark difference in career path they want to undertake.
When asked what they wanted to become when they grow up, more than half of the children in developing countries including Ethiopia favor becoming doctors and teachers. Becoming a professional athlete is a leading choice for those in the developed world.
Not only their future aspirations but also their past is different. 40 percent of children in developing countries said they had gone through a drought; it gets even higher among African children. Only 10 percent had faced the same in the developed world.
Though understandably children had put various kinds of animals among things they  fear most, children in some countries have distinct concerns depicting different realities world children are living in .
40 percent of the children in the Central American country Guatemala had experienced forest or bushfire. Kids there had also gone through other natural disasters including landslide, flood, drought, snow storm and earthquake.
43 percent of the children in Sierra Leone say death, illness and disease are their greatest fears while for about a quarter of Cape Verde’s kids, violence and crimes are their biggest worries. 37 percent of children in Brazil are worried about pollution.
“Although often overlooked and discounted, theirs [children’s] voices are important voices.  Their perspectives not only help validate the work we are doing on a community level, but guide us in ways that can enhance our capacity to help improve the lives of children in a self-sustaining way,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International, advising governments to take a look at wishes and fears of their next generations.
The world population will hit 8 billion by 2025, according to a United Nations projection. The next billion of global inhabitants will still be children by 2025 and 90 percent of them will be born in less developed regions.