Save the Children’s “The Lottery of Birth” Co-Author José Manuel Roche Interviewed

A child’s chance of survival should not depend on where they are born, how wealthy their parents are, or their ethnic identity. Yet across the world, these factors continue to determine whether a child lives to celebrate his or her fifth birthday – factors which, for the child, are purely a matter of chance. This unfair lottery of birth violates every child’s right to an equal start in life.”

(“The Lottery of Birth”, Save the Children)

On March 17, Save the Children presented its new publication “The Lottery of Birth” launched early February this year at The New School. The findings presented by José Manuel Roche, Head of Research, Save the Children UK, cover global trends on child inequalities, survival and progress. With a focus on under-five child mortality, the report discloses inequalities and discrimination within countries. Equity for Children (EFC) organized this special event as part of the New School Seminar “Children’s Rights, Poverty, and Equity” held by Professor and EFC Executive Director Alberto Minujin, who provided an introduction on “Multidimensional Child Poverty and Inequality”.

In his presentation Roche highlighted some of the root causes of higher disparities between and within countries, namely, the lack of access to health and family planning services and the ineffectiveness of health systems.  Additional factors having a negative impact on equitable development include poverty, infrastructure, and fragile and weak governance. Save the Children seeks to intercept inequality and analyzes it by country through time, highlighting its strong links to poverty in some countries and to specific regions, access to health care and so on, in others, as Roche explained.

“The Lottery of Birth” report calls for all global and national leaders to agree that by 2030, no Post-2015 target should be considered met unless it is met for all social and economic groups. The report supports the adoption of stepping stone equity targets as part of the measures to provide the right policy incentive to “leave no one behind”.

To read the full report, please click here. Further resources, please click here.


Interview with José Manuel Roche, Head of Research, Save The Children UK

In this interview, José Manuel Roche analyzes the three key messages of “The Lottery of Birth” research and explains why it is critical to put the most marginalized children at the center of development policies and programs.  Importantly, Roche highlights, the new research contradicts widespread belief that reaching the poorest and most disadvantaged groups is harder and therefore likely to slow down progress.

José Manuel Roche is currently Head of Research at Save the Children UK. He holds a DPhil from the University of Sussex and has over 20 years of research and consultancy experience in international development, poverty analysis, social inequality, human development and the capability approach.


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