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Children and youth face abuse, exploitation on Mediterranean migration routes – UNICEF, IOM

(13 September 2017) Migrant and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – UNICEF and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said today in a new report. (Download at right)Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.Aimamo, a 16-year-old unaccompanied child from the Gambia interviewed at a shelter in Italy described being forced into months of grueling manual labor by traffickers upon his arrival in Libya. “If you try to run, they shoot you. If you stop working, they beat you. We were just like slaves. At the end of the day, they just lock you inside.”The report is based on the testimonies of some 22,000 migrants and refugees, including some 11,000 children and youth, interviewed by IOM.“The stark reality is that it is now standard practice that children moving through the Mediterranean are abused, trafficked, beaten and discriminated against,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe. “EU leaders should put in place lasting solutions that include safe and legal migration pathways, establishing protection corridors and finding alternatives to the detention of migrant children.”[Explore our Children on the Move edition of Research Watch where global experts discuss evidence gaps on refugee and migrant children]“For people who leave their countries to escape violence, instability or poverty, the factors pushing them to migrate are severe and they make perilous journeys knowing that they may be forced to pay with their dignity, their wellbeing or even their lives,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM’s Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland.“Without the establishment of more regular migration pathways, other measures will be relatively ineffective. We must also re-invigorate a rights-based approach to migration, improving mechanisms to identify and protect the most vulnerable throughout the migration process, regardless of their legal status.”A child sits on a mattress laid on the floor of the women's section of the Al-Nasr detention centre in Zawiya, Libya.UNICEF Innocenti is ramping up research and evidence activities on children in emergency contexts with recent creation of new streams of research on children and migration and humanitarian response. Work will focus on capturing intricate dynamics of children's experiences not captured in other research efforts.The report also shows that, while all children on the move are at high risk, those originating from sub-Saharan Africa are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than those from other parts of the world: 65 per cent compared to 15 per cent along the Eastern Mediterranean route, and 83 per cent compared to 56 per cent along the Central Mediterranean route. Racism is likely a major underlying factor behind this discrepancy.Children and youth traveling alone or over longer periods, along with those possessing lower levels of education, were also found to be highly vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of traffickers and criminal groups over the course of their journeys. According to the report, the Central Mediterranean route is particularly dangerous, with most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya which remains riven with lawlessness, militias and criminality. On average young people pay between $1,000-5,000 for the journey and often arrive in Europe in debt, which exposes them to further risks.The report calls on all concerned parties − countries of origin, transit and destination, the African Union, the European Union, international and national organizations with support from the donor community – to prioritize a series of actions.These include establishing safe and regular pathways for children on the move; strengthening services to protect migrant and refugee children whether in countries of origin, transit or destination; finding alternatives to the detention of children on the move; working across borders to combat trafficking and exploitation; and combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination against all migrants and refugees.(The original version of the article appeared on
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Philippines conducting national survey of child internet use

(11 September 2017) UNICEF Philippines, in collaboration with researchers at De La Salle University, is currently undertaking a national survey of child internet use based on the ‘Global Kids Online’ cross-national research toolkit methodology. The research follows a successful pilot study in 2016. A total of 144 field researchers are carrying out data collection across the country. In order to ensure young children's engagement, emphasis was placed on hiring young researchers with whom children would find it easier to establish rapport.In some cases, the fieldwork researchers have to undertake great efforts to reach secluded areas. For ensuring their safety, as well as to have a gender balance, there is a buddy-system in place in which one male and one female interviewer work and travel together. In terms of equipment, each team member received a waterproof bag for the tablet and printed surveys as back-up.[Read the Global Kids Online Research Synthesis, 2016]“We are trying to do fieldwork site visits and monitor the progress of the fieldwork and the work of the survey interviewers,” said Maria Margarita Ardivilla, of UNICEF Philippines. “This is important so that we can get an understanding of the perspective on the ground and help to address issues as they arise.”“This provided a space in which the field researchers and the members of the Research Board can process and talk about concerns from the field which proved to be an enriching experience for everyone involved. As some of the enumerators work under hard circumstances trying to reach hard to access places, seeing core members of the Research Board boosted their morale.” Researchers are taking a phased approach to the study: the preparatory phase (then undertaken with the University of the Philippines and the Philippines National Institutes of Health) included working on the research protocol and obtaining ethical approval; the second phase entailed conducting the pilot study in 2016; and the final third phase now includes conducting a nationally representative study with children aged 9-17 and their parents.Considering the sensitivity of some of the questions, particularly related to child sexual exploitation, all researchers received an extensive 4-day training prior to commencing the fieldwork. Training sessions were organized by the De La Salle University’s Social Research Development Centre where the research team, including UNICEF, Council for the Welfare of Children and Stairway Foundation, discussed and practiced utilization of standardized, accurate, sensitive and safe techniques for implementing the survey. The training programme included: 1) children’s rights and child safeguarding principles and protection protocols; 2) development and personality of children; 3) a participatory approach to reviewing the Global Kids Online toolkit, the tablet use and questionnaire application, including interview techniques; 4) discussion of key issues related to children’s internet use; 5) ethical considerations when conducting research with children; 6) role plays; and 7) a mock survey. UNICEF Philippines also required a Research Advisory Board to be created by the academic institution where members are from critical national agencies such as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Justice and Information and Communications Technology from government, NGOs, and sectoral representatives from the youth and LGBT organizations.A school girl takes a ‘selfie’ with her smartphone at St. Francis of Assisi School, while other students check their smartphones after classes in the Central Visayas city of Cebu, Philippines. The study aims to cover as many regions as possible, but some ongoing conflicts pose challenges for the team. The declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao initially raised concerns on whether social preparation and the actual survey would be affected, and whether the personal safety of the data collectors could be ensured. Having addressed the challenges, the fieldwork in Mindanao was able to commence but red flags remain in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This is a fragile region with pockets of armed conflicts and the team is currently seeking dispensation from the Ethical Review Board of De La Salle University to allow the inclusion of the ARMM as a site for the study. During the time of writing, it was reported to UNICEF Philippines that the De La Salle University continued the field survey in Mindanao with facilitation where some of the randomly selected area had a 100% response rate. Notably, in Metro Manila, children living in gated communities also proved hard to recruit, despite intensive social preparation.At present, 2,250 child respondents are identified to be surveyed. The quantitative survey will be followed by a qualitative workshop for results validation and to afford children the platform to express in more depth their experiences and thoughts about their opportunities and risks in the digital environment.The Global Kids Online survey in Philippines is made possible through the technical support of UNICEF Innocenti, London School of Economics, and the shared programmatic commitment on child online protection of UNICEF Philippines and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.(The original version of this article was written by Maria Margarita Ardivilla of UNICEF Philippines and published on 17 August 2017 on It has been edited slightly for re-publication here.)
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‘Cash plus’ interventions have potential for greater impact than cash alone

(5 September 2017) New Innocenti Working Paper: “How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors”, sets out to evaluate what factors contribute to more successful ‘cash plus’ programme outcomes.  The paper asserts that while cash transfers alone have contributed to numerous positive impacts in reducing poverty and promoting well-being, the provision of cash alone falls short in achieving long-term positive impacts on nutrition, learning, and morbidity. ‘Cash plus’ programmes aim to rectify this impact gap by complementing cash transfers with additional inputs, services, and linkages to other services in order to more effectively achieve successful outcomes and ensure long-term sustainability. The new working paper is a collaboration between the Centre for Social protection, Institute for Development Studies, the Transfer Project, the University of Ghana and UNICEF.‘Cash plus’ programming evolved from the theory that while cash transfers can be effective alone in the most ideal circumstances, the effect of cash transfers can be constrained by behavioural mediators, such as financial security, or broader moderators, such as quality or availability of health services.  Cash transfers alone, for example, may not prompt effective behavioural change to ensure successful outcomes for better nutrition, education, or health – these moderators may need their own additional inputs in the form of infrastructure support to improve the quality and availability of services to recipients.  Complementing cash transfers with programmes to improve access and quality of services aims to address these gaps to augment the effects of income.  Complementary inputs for ‘cash plus’ can include the provision of information, such as educational training or nutrition seminars for new mothers on best practices for feeding their children, as well as the provision of support, such as psycho-social counselling, and the facilitation of access to services, such as health insurance, or strengthening the quality of existing services and linkages.[Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design]The study aimed to identify criteria for successful ‘cash plus’ initiatives as well as challenges in development and delivery of such programmes, specifically targeting the health, nutrition, and education sectors.  The study reviewed the emerging evidence assessing the impact of ‘cash plus’ versus stand-alone cash and examined case studies in three countries:Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme in Ghana,Chile Solidario scheme in Chile,Integrated Nutrition Social Cash Transfer (IN-SCT) pilot project in EthiopiaTia Palermo, social policy specialist at UNICEF Innocenti and co-author of the working paper, discussed how ‘cash plus’ programming in Ghana augmented existing transfers to include vulnerable mothers and children. “Innocenti is leading a study evaluating the LEAP programme extension studying pregnant and nursing mothers in Ghana. What we found is that these programs were not reaching households with young children since the previous program targeted the mostly vulnerable elderly population. In order to reach these households, the ‘cash plus’ programme, which included cash transfers ‘plus’ free access to healthcare, was extended to pregnant women and mothers of children under one year old in order to achieve greater impact on child stunting in the first 1000 days,” she said. “This is particularly a problem in Ghana.” One aim of the LEAP ‘cash plus’ programme was to improve basic household consumption and nutrition and access to health care services. A need for complementary health insurance was identified after evidence of LEAP beneficiaries using their cash transfers to pay for high health insurance premiums, and often the cash transfers weren’t enough to cover that. The ‘cash plus’ intervention supplemented the cash benefit with free access to health insurance in Ghana. Previously, this wasn’t something impoverished mothers had access to in Ghana.  The three case studies identified key factors that were likely to contribute to more effective ‘cash plus’ programmes:Policy-level factors: including the importance of political champions in advocating for cash plus programmes and the establishment of formal agreements;Programme-level factors: including the need for awareness and engagement on behalf of all parties involved, such as the availability of a skilled workforce and better resources;Supply-side-level factors: including greater investment in availability and quality of services;Fit-for-purpose interventions: meaning additional components should appropriately match their intended purpose and also take into account local considerations.The paper concludes that the assessment of the three case studies indicates that effective implementation of ‘cash plus’ components has contributed to more successful programme outcomes. Where cash alone fails to address non-financial and structural barriers, ‘cash plus’ has the potential to contribute to greater, more sustainable impacts, overall. Through ‘cash plus’ programmes, the most vulnerable households living in poverty can be targeted beyond financial limitations.While ‘cash plus’ proves to be a promising intervention for social protection, more innovative monitoring and evaluation is called for, especially to understand the impact of the many variations of ‘cash plus’ programming as well as identifying ways to examine the impacts of additional components in isolation from the cash benefit, as well as to gain more insight into how greater impacts can be achieved.Download the working paper here. For more information on cash transfer programmes and ‘cash plus’ studies, please visit our webpage on Social Protection & Cash Transfers and follow our partner project: Transfer Project. Follow @UNICEFInnocenti and @TransferProjct on Twitter for real-time updates on cash transfer social protection programmes.  
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WHO, UNICEF global estimates for water, sanitation and hygiene for the SDGs

(28 August 2017) Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines, released last month, presents the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services. The overriding conclusion is that too many people still lack access, particularly in rural areas.[During World Water Week: 29 Aug - 1 Sept, UNICEF will be drawing attention to the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies; for more information follow UNICEF coverage here]“Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centres,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization. “These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”Billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, but these services do not necessarily provide safe water and sanitation. Many homes, healthcare facilities and schools also still lack soap and water for handwashing.  This puts the health of all people – but especially young children – at risk for diseases, such as diarrhoea.As a result, every year, 361,000 children under 5 years die due to diarrhoea. Poor sanitation and contaminated water are also linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.“Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community – and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “As we improve these services in the most disadvantaged communities and for the most disadvantaged children today, we give them a fairer chance at a better tomorrow.”Significant inequalities persistIn order to decrease global inequalities, the new SDGs call for ending open defecation and achieving universal access to basic services by 2030. Of the 2.1 billion people who do not have safely managed water, 844 million do not have even a basic drinking water service. This includes 263 million people who have to spend over 30 minutes per trip collecting water from sources outside the home, and 159 million who still drink untreated water from surface water sources, such as streams or lakes. In 90 countries, progress towards basic sanitation is too slow, meaning they will not reach universal coverage by 2030.A girl pumps water from a borehole provided by UNICEF in Borno State, Nigeria.Of the 4.5 billion people who do not have safely managed sanitation, 2.3 billion still do not have basic sanitation services. This includes 600 million people who share a toilet or latrine with other households, and 892 million people – mostly in rural areas – who defecate in the open. Due to population growth, open defecation is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania.Good hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease. For the first time, the SDGs are monitoring the percentage of people who have facilities to wash their hands at home with soap and water.  According to the new report, access to water and soap for handwashing varies immensely in the 70 countries with available data, from 15 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa to 76 per cent in western Asia and northern Africa.Additional key findings from the report include:Many countries lack data on the quality of water and sanitation services. The report includes estimates for 96 countries on safely managed drinking water and 84 countries on safely managed sanitation.In countries experiencing conflict or unrest, children are 4 times less likely to use basic water services, and 2 times less likely to use basic sanitation services than children in other countries.There are big gaps in service between urban and rural areas. Two out of three people with safely managed drinking water and three out of five people with safely managed sanitation services live in urban areas. Of the 161 million people using untreated surface water (from lakes, rivers or irrigation channels), 150 million live in rural areas.(This article originally appeared on on 12 July 2017) 
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Adolescent girls in Europe and Canada at a higher risk of multidimensional poverty than boys

by Yekaterina Chzhen
(2017-09-15) A recent paper in Child Indicators Research shows that girls aged 11, 13 and 15 are more likely to suffer from multidimensional poverty than boys in 26 out of 38 high and ...

What is gender socialization and why does it matter?

by Nikola Balvin
(2017-08-18) Even if you are not familiar with the concept of “gender socialization”, it is most likely that you have been influenced by it and in turn passed on your own ...