Every last child report

Children the world chooses to forget

Children across the globe are being denied the opportunity to learn and survive simply because of who they are or where they live. 400 million children from ethnic and religious groups are discriminated against according to our estimations. 720 million women alive today were married before they were 18 – compared with 156 million men. 1 in 4 refugee children of secondary age are estimated to be in school compared with 3 in 4 children worldwide. There's a 3–4 times greater likelihood that children with disabilities will experience physical and sexual violence and neglect than their peers.

Download our Every Last Child report to read the uncomfortable truth.

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Children are being left behind globally

Mothers can only temporarily register their children in Nicaragua without the father's signature, preventing them from being fully protected.

93% of adolescent girls in Bolivia reported problems with accessing healthcare.

> 50% of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children are growing up in poverty in the UK, compared with one in five children overall.

The CDI score for the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso is less than half the CDI score for the capital, Ouagadougou.

Only 42% of children in the North East region of Kenya have completed primary school compared to 93% in Nairobi.

80% of unaccompanied migrants surveyed in South Africa were living in informal settings or shacks; 14% on the street; and only 5% in formal shelters. Only 8% of those living in informal shelters attended school

1/4 of refugees surveyed in Jordan said they saw going to school as an unsafe activity.

Around 1/3 of children with disabilities in China do not complete compulsory education.

Ethnic minority children in Vietnam are 3.5 times more likely to die before the age of five compared with their Kinh peers.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 2x more likely to be developmentally vulnerable than non-indigenous children.

Excluded children

More than five million children still die each year before their fifth birthday. Most of these lives can be saved, but this will require new approaches: many of these children belong to excluded groups and are often among the hardest to reach. Despite recent progress in fighting poverty, economic growth is not reaching children who need it most – because of geography, their gender or ethnicity, a disability or because they are victims of conflict – limiting their ability to survive, learn and be protected.

The effects of exclusion are a recurring barrier. From conception to adulthood, excluded children face more challenges than their peers. Malnutrition in early life may impair a child's ability to learn in school. Failure to complete school leads to fewer economic opportunities in adulthood. If excluded children do not manage to overcome these challenges, they are likely to pass on poverty to their own children, and the cycle will continue.

Download our report to understand more about the children the world chooses to forget.

Download the Every Last Child campaign report


But things can get better

  • More than 90% of Rwanda's population was covered by the national health insurance system in its first decade.
  • 50% reduction in gender inequalities in child mortality has been achieved in Bangladesh in the last two decades.
  • 91% of girls worldwide completed primary school as of 2013, up from 78% in 2000 and nearing boys' completion rate of 93%.

Save the Children's global campaign

Save the Children is committed to helping ensure that every last child survives and learns. Every Last Child will work to ensure that 15 million of the world's excluded children have access to life-saving healthcare and quality education. To do this, we will campaign to remove barriers resulting from poverty, discrimination and a lack of political voice. These barriers exclude millions of children from basic healthcare, nutrition and education each year.

Save the Children is calling on world leaders to make three guarantees for every child: fair finance, equal treatment and accountability to children. By securing specific changes in policies, laws, budgets and public norms, we can make significant strides in terms of child survival and learning.

Download the Every Last Child campaign report

A fair chance for all children

Through our Every Last Child campaign, Save the Children is calling on world leaders to make three guarantees that ensure all children have the opportunity to survive and learn, regardless of who they are or where they live.

Fair finance

Create global rules and national systems that enable money to be raised and spent in ways that get every child the essential services they need to survive, learn and be protected.

Equal treatment

Challenge and change laws and behaviours that discriminate against children, in ways that stop them from surviving, learning and being protected.

Accountability to children

Give excluded children and their communities a voice in the decisions that affect them, and ensure that every last child is registered and counted.

The response

In 2015, world leaders agreed a new set of Global Goals (the Sustainable Development Goals or 'SDGs'), which created shared targets to end poverty and the promise to 'leave no-one behind'. Save the Children shares those ambitions and applaud those world leaders who pushed for bold commitments.

We believe that without urgent action to tackle exclusion, progress for children will slow and may even halt altogether. Our Every Last Child campaign will address some of the key causes of exclusion so that we can reach 15 million children and contribute towards progress on the SDGs. Together we can reach every last child.

Save the Children is campaigning at an international and national level to achieve the greatest impact for children. Take a look at the research on excluded children in some of our campaign countries.


Exclusion timeline of girls in India

Birth adolescence
Boys in India
Girls in India

Girls in India

2–4% estimated female foeticide

Boys in India

Child mortality rate of 51 per 1000 live births

Girls in India

Child mortality rate of 55 per 1000 live births

Boys in India

40% are stunted

Girls in India

38% are stunted

Boys in India

96% primary school completion rate

Girls in India


97% primary school completion rate

Boys in India

16% married before age 18

Girls in India

58% married before age 18


Exclusion timeline of ethnic minority children in Vietnam

Birth adolescence
Kinh majority children
Ethnic minority children

Kinh majority children

18% of their mothers don't receive antenatal care (4 or more visits)

Ethnic minority children

67% of their mothers don't receive antenatal care (4 or more visits)

Kinh majority children

Infant mortality of 10 per 1000 live births

Ethnic minority children

Infant mortality of 30 per 1000 live births

Kinh majority children

9% of children don't receive DPT3 vaccine

Ethnic minority children

23% of children don't receive DPT3 vaccine

Kinh majority children

2% of children don't complete primary school

Ethnic minority children

12% of children don't complete primary school

Kinh majority children

24% of children don't attend secondary school

Ethnic minority children

57% of children don't attend secondary school

Kinh majority children

30 per 1000 adolescent birth rate

Ethnic minority children

115 per 1000 adolescent birth rate


Exclusion of conflict-affected children in Syria

Before the conflict

96% births attended by a skilled birth attendant

95% of the population had access to local health services

80% of children received the DPT3 vaccine

UNIVERSAL primary completion

96% youth literacy rate

After 5 years of conflict

More than 2 million children have left Syria and are living as refugees around the world.

306,000 children have been born in exile since the start of the crisis and are vulnerable to statelessness.

In 2015 over 20% of children had to cross active lines of conflict to take their grade 9 and grade 12 examinations.

Less than 1/4 of sub-districts surveyed have regular reproductive services

64% of public hospitals estimated to be damaged, destroyed or closed due to insecurity

38% of primary health centres estimated to be damaged, destroyed or closed due to insecurity


2/3 of Syria's doctors have fled the country

43% of children received the DPT3 vaccine

More than 2 million children are out of school

1/5 of schools have been destroyed, damaged, or occupied

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