This report is published as a companion volume to the 2012 State of the World’s Children: Children in an Urban World
Already, more than one in four Tanzanian children lives in one of the country’s myriad of cities and towns. Given current urban growth rates, this proportion is increasing rapidly. While national development plans and policies give strong attention to Tanzania’s rural areas, Cities and Children argues that children growing up in urban areas merit greater attention than have received so far. Many of these children, especially those living in unplanned urban settlements, are often no better off, and sometimes are worse off, than their rural peers – in terms of living conditions, access to quality services, infrastructure and amenities, and exposure to risks that are specifically associated with the urban environment and lifestyle.
One aim of the report is to demystify the notion of an unqualified ‘urban advantage’,a notion largely based on the fact that official urban/rural statistics only capture broad aggregates, depicting the status of an “average urban child” who seems invariably better off than rural children, but who doesn’t actually exist — thereby missing out on the countless urban children for whom the promise of a vaunted urban life simply does not hold true. Cities do offer great potential for improving the lives of children, but only if the process of urban growth is managed properly.
This is the second consecutive publication that UNICEF Tanzania produces as a companion volume to the State of the World’s Children. Last year a report was published on Adolescence in Tanzania and now the team is working on one that focuses on Children with Disabilities, which will complement the SOWC 2013. The aim is to hopefully give visibility to various aspects of the equity agenda in the country, and to bring home global issues to bear on local realities.