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Philippines undertakes national study on child internet use

(25 April 2017) A nationally representative child internet use survey in the Philippines was launched by UNICEF at a workshop for government, industry, law enforcement agencies, and NGOs. The aim of the meeting was to initiate a collaboration for the protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation based on a common understanding among key actors on global best practices, tools, resources and industry standards.UNICEF Philippines convened a workshop in Manila to strengthen collaboration among industry, government and non-governmental organizations for the protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation. The aim was to build a common understanding among key actors on global best practices, tools, resources and industry standards. A specific objective was also to form a loose coalition on child online protection in the Philippines, to strengthen cooperation and information sharing across sectors. Actors from several government ministries, as well as industry, law enforcement, and NGOs participated.[Read about UNICEF Innocenti’s work on child rights in the digital age]As part of the workshop, Daniel Kardefelt-Winther from UNICEF Innocenti introduced the Global Kids Online research partnership, which will be implemented in the Philippines during 2017 by UNICEF Philippines in collaboration with De La Salle University. The workshop provided an opportunity for government and other stakeholders to engage directly with UNICEF and the research team and discuss what particular questions and topics would be of relevance to government’s policy priorities and how they could be included in the study. This model of working is particularly helpful in achieving strong multi-stakeholder engagement and could facilitate greater uptake of research results. Due to the flexibility of the Global Kids Online research methodology, which explicitly emphasizes the importance of country context and current policy climate, most requests for data by partners can be easily accommodated.In the Philippines country project, particular emphasis will be placed on the challenge of online violence, sexual exploitation and abuse of children, an area where UNICEF Philippines has already conducted high quality research and advocacy. In addition, the project will be one of the first to explore in-depth how children in conflict zones use digital technology and how their online experiences interact with this challenging living environment. It is crucial to understand whether technology can be leveraged to create new opportunities for those who are more vulnerable, but also if children living in conflict zones may be exposed to new forms of online risk. The Philippines will be the first Global Kids Online country to tentatively explore if and how digital technology may change children’s aspirations – relating to their career prospects, education, living environment or marriage. It is hoped that these findings may pave the way for future interventions that can change children’s aspirations in life to be more positive, ambitious, and well-informed.Findings from new Global Kids Online studies will be presented throughout 2017 – stay tuned as we continue to deliver the latest results from our partners in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Philippines, Chile and Ghana. (This article was first published on
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Innocenti hosts global meeting on education research

(21 April 2017) An international meeting on the use of evidence in education policy and programming has brought together leading researchers, academics and experts from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO and other education donors and organizations at UNICEF Innocenti this month. The Building Evidence in Education, or BE2,working group meeting, hosted in Florence 5-7 April, aimed to promote better use of evidence in education programming, increased quality of education research and enhanced donor research collaboration. The BE2 donor working group is led by a Steering Committee composed of USAID, DFID, World Bank and a rotating UN agency, currently UNESCO’s International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP).A major focus of the meeting was lessons learned on ‘results based financing’ – funding strategies that pay on the delivery of one or more outcomes with financial or other incentives based on verification that a result has been achieved. Participants addressed the question of whether the intended alignment of governance, financing rules, incentives, and management practices has led to improved accountability.The three-day meeting also featured a policy round-table discussion on how to achieve impact through research in international development settings, held at the European University Institute (EUI).   Also presenting at the BE2 meeting were representatives from the UK government funded RISE programme – a multi-country research effort that addresses what works to improve education systems to deliver better learning for all at scale in developing countries. The new eight year joint program has expanded understanding of improving education beyond traditional ‘inputs’ such as infrastructure, teachers and textbooks. “It was a real benefit for us to reflect on how research is applied in policy and programming in education and other sectors,” said UNICEF Innocenti senior education specialist Dominic Richardson.“It was a valuable opportunity for us to keep up to date on issues in education policy and programming and the work of key agencies. The value of donors and funders getting together to improve the quality of education research can’t be overstated – it’s the bedrock of decision making and improving education policies globally. This meeting is recognition of that.“We’re seeking collaboration and we will continue to work with others actors across education research. We seek to collaborate on the ambitions of BE2 to improve the quality and quantity of evidence to inform education systems.”Sitting on the panel on achieving impact through research in international development settings was UNICEF Innocenti director Sarah Cook, who stressed the idea that knowledge generation through research should stimulate debate and even be provocative in some instances. Building Evidence in Education - BE2 - Working Group Meeting, UNICEF Innocenti, 5-7 April 2017, Florence, Italy.“We live in a world where we have so much data. We need to challenge the discourse about how data drives us and really get back to the question and problem of how data is collected and the quality of that data. We need a cautious interpretation of our data to open up spaces for conversations that are scientifically rooted and not just advocacy messages.”Professor Luís Miguel Poiares Maduro of EUI in Florence, a former Portuguese government minister, said government agencies often worked in ‘silos’ and added that it was important for researchers to reach out to the public, not only policy makers, when trying to translate research into policy outcomes.    “If we want more evidence base in public policies, you need to convince not only policy makers, you need to convince citizens also. You need to start to engage them,” he said adding that policy makers were often resistant to change.     The panel also provided an opportunity for Prof. Pauline Rose of the University of Cambridge to present The Impact Initiative, a project that aims the increase the impact and uptake from two research programmes jointly funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and DFID. 
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New series of research methods briefs to strengthen evidence on adolescence

(10 April 2017) The world is home to 1.2 billion adolescents: the largest cohort of this age-group in history. Adolescence is a critical period of cognitive, emotional, physical and sexual development with consequences that stretch far into adulthood. The period also provides a second “window of opportunity” to build on early investments, promote positive behaviours, and offer a second chance to those who fared less well in early childhood.90 per cent of adolescents live in low- and middle-income countries. Despite an increasing focus on their well-being, comprehensive data collection systems and research for effective interventions are lacking. This is particularly true for younger and disadvantaged adolescents.Working with Columbia University and experts from the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being UNICEF Innocenti has released a series of briefs providing a much needed review of contemporary research methodologies for adolescent well-being in low- and middle-income countries, covering: indicators and data sources, ethics, research with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, participatory research, measurement of the social and structural determinants of adolescent health, and adolescent economic strengthening interventions. Improving the methodological quality of research in adolescent well-being - This brief introduces the methodological series, outlining key research themes, intervention types, and their associated methodological implications. It makes the case that new understandings from neuroscience have important implications for programming.Data and indicators to measure adolescent health, social development and well-being - This brief covers the principles of good indicator definition; common use of indicators; examples of indicators for adolescent health and social development; existing global data to describe - and populate indicators of - adolescent health and social development; and how to improve data collection efforts.Inclusion with protection: Obtaining informed consent when conducting research with adolescents - The brief emphasizes the value of research with adolescents and discusses at length the importance of balancing inclusion and protection, concluding with a set of ethical ground rules and recommendations for research with adolescents and examples on how to apply them.Research with disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalized adolescents - This brief summarizes the health and well-being inequities experienced by DVMAs and the need for research with this group. It reviews the challenges and barriers to their inclusion in research; shares practical implications and best practices for their inclusion in research; and addresses ethical challenges and approaches to research.Adolescent participation in research: Innovation, rationale and next steps - This research - led by adolescents themselves - promotes social change and improves community conditions for healthy development. This brief reviews the theoretical and empirical rationales for youth-led participatory action research, its key principles, phases, practical implications and ethical issues. How to measure enabling and supportive systems for adolescent health - Enabling and protective systems for adolescents are the family, peers and the education and legal systems. This brief reviews the key concepts of social and structural determinants of health and the methodological issues related to their measurement in adolescence. Methodologies to capture the multidimensional effects of economic strengthening interventions - Aid agencies and non-governmental organizations have begun to include economic strengthening interventions as part of their core programming. This brief presents strategies for examining the multidimensional effects of economic strengthening interventions with a specific focus on the health and well-being of adolescent beneficiaries, highlighting research gaps and opportunities.The aim of these briefs is to improve efforts to collect rigorous evidence for programmes and policies on adolescent health and well-being. They will assist a wide range of professionals and stakeholders who conduct, commission or interpret research findings to make decisions about programming, policy and advocacy.This initiative was funded by the UK Department for International Development. The Editors of the series were John Santelli, MD, MPH, Columbia University and Nikola Balvin, PsyD, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.
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Child online rights and privacy in focus at major conference in Brussels

(5 April 2017) A major conference on digital rights in Brussels has attracted over 1,500 people from 500 organisations including members of government, NGOs, policy makers, development practitioners and researchersThe annual RightsCon summit in Brussels drew participants together for consultation on issues of technology and human rights with keynote speakers including Alexander de Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Frank La Rue, Assistant Director General of Communications and Information at UNESCO.  Researchers from UNICEF Innocenti attended the conference and hosted a panel discussion on Child Rights Online: Privacy and Freedom of Expression alongside major contributors including the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, Prof. Joseph Cannataci and representatives from NGOs and the private sector including the Lego Group, GSMA and Millicom among others. UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Privacy, Joseph Cannataci, presents at a UNICEF Innocenti hosted panel discussion on child online rights, privacy and freedom of expression at the RightsCon summit“The conference comes at a crucial time when one in three children are internet users and more children are going online at younger ages,” said Jasmina Byrne, lead researcher on children and digital rights at UNICEF Innocenti and panel chair.“This has major repercussions for child online rights and privacy. It was important for us that we took an evidence based approach to the issue.” Mr Cannataci spoke about privacy and children’s rights as a complex web recognising that privacy is essential for the development of a child’s personality and autonomy and that the violation of the right to privacy might affect other human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and to hold opinions without interference. “Children go between offline and online environments and shift between the two. The risks, both on-line and offline do not always relate to the child’s age but to the level of their maturity and the way they approach risks. We need a more sophisticated way of understanding risks that are not only based on age,” said Mr Cannataci adding that it was important to take into account the evolving capacities of the child when understanding issues surrounding child rights and privacy.  Mario Viola de Azevedo Cunha, Senior Research Fellow at UNICEF Innocenti and panellist presented on sharenting and emphasised the need for parents to better protect children’s privacy online. “Privacy is not only undermined by corporations and governments but also by parents and teachers,” he said.“Privacy laws around the world and the processing of personal data online is based on parental consent. This has consequences in terms of privacy because they [parents] monitor what their children are doing online. They also can overexpose their children by oversharing images of children online. When you protect child privacy you help develop a child’s personality and protect other rights including freedom of expression and the right to the access of information.”Also participating in the panel were representatives from UNICEF’s Child Rights and Business Unit working on child rights and business, Patrick Geary and Amaya Gorostiaga, who presented key findings from their newly published discussion paper on privacy, protection of personal information and reputation rights, which identifies key threats to children’s rights online and also provides recommendations for the ICT sector on responsibilities and opportunities to respond to privacy risks. The paper is the first in a series of discussion papers on children's rights and business in a digital world, which will also explore freedom of expression and right to information, access and digital literacy, advertising and marketing, and further topics of interest.Panel discussions also revolved around the newly formed UN Human Rights Council Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age which now takes into account the right of the child, referring expressly to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. “The new UN HRC Resolution that makes explicit reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and calls for special consideration to children is an opportunity to develop a more comprehensive international agenda on children’s privacy and data protection as critical safeguards of children’s rights both offline and online.” said Jasmina Byrne.Find out more about UNICEF Innocenti's research on child internet use.
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Responses to the global recession: How have children been affected?

by Yekaterina Chzhen
(2017-04-13) It has been 10 years since the first tremors were felt in the American sub-prime mortgage market which later rocked the entire planet through a global recession. 

Seven briefs for seven adolescent research challenges

by John Santelli
(2017-04-07) On behalf of the Lancet Commission and the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, I am very pleased to announce the birth of a new series of seven briefs  ...