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New data underlines need for Tanzania’s social protection programme

“Life has become so difficult; things are not easy because it’s hard to get a job, or even having something to do, with my standard 7 level of education,” a 19 year old youth recently recounted to researchers in Tanzania’s Kisarawe district. “I also need a house, good clothes, enough food for my family. This is what worries me; I am concerned about my wellbeing and my family’s wellbeing.” Three out of every four youth living in households eligible for Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net programme, a government social protection strategy implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund, did not have their basic material needs met prior to enrolment in the programme. The new findings were reported at a Dar es Salaam event presided over by senior Tanzanian Government officials along with international partners and researchers. The new study, led by UNICEF Innocenti, in collaboration with REPOA, a Tanzanian policy research centre, will help to establish baseline evidence which, together with new data collected among the same households in 2017, will be used to measure impacts of the new cash transfer programme on youth well-being. Other findings emerging from the study show that, in recipient households, 48 per cent of 14–17 year olds were not enrolled in school, and the rate of youth with symptoms of depression was as high 52 per cent before the start of the programme. Seventy one per cent of youth aged 18–28 experienced feelings of depression. HIV risk behaviours are also prevalent, as are experiences of emotional, physical and sexual violence among females. “The findings come at a critical time,” says UNICEF Representative in Tanzania, Maniza Zaman. “Over the next 10–15 years, Tanzania’s largest ever youth population will enter their economically productive years. Yet youth in Tanzania face many barriers to reaching their potential. Some are unable to complete their education, and many youth, girls in particular, are at risk of early marriage and pregnancy, violence, and HIV. Youth also often lack economic opportunities. “The PSSN could reduce the risks faced by youth, by reducing poverty and food insecurity.” Results presented this week demonstrate the vulnerabilities experienced by the poorest households about to receive benefits under the new programme. Next year researchers will go back to beneficiaries to determine what impact the programme has had on their lives.Evaluation of the Productive Social Safety Net programme in Tanzania is being carried out under the Transfer Project.(21 October 2016)
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South Africa study on child internet use helps build global research partnership

An innovative new research partnership is set to greatly expand the amount of in-depth, cross national data available on the opportunities and risks of child internet use across the globe. The Global Kids Online project, a multi-country initiative led by UNICEF Innocenti and the London School of Economics, aims to create an international network of researchers and experts through provision of a research toolkit available online. The toolkit is designed to generate robust research to better understand children’s diverse digital experiences in various countries and contexts. The initial phase of the project consists of rigorous, multi method studies on how children access and use the internet in Serbia, South Africa, Argentina and the Philippines.Speaking at the launch of the South African Global Kids Online pilot study in Pretoria, Daniel Kardefelt-Winther, UNICEF Innocenti research coordinator said: “With 1 in 3 internet users being a child, it’s crucial that we establish an evidence base of what children do online and what impact the internet has on their lives. Global Kids Online does precisely this, with a focus on the developing world where child internet users in many countries outnumber adult users.”  “The uniqueness of this research is in the fact that we asked questions both of parents and their children. This is powerful because we can match parent and child data and see how parents’ knowledge of the internet influences the child’s digital skills. “We can also look at what parents’ attitudes to the internet are and see how this influences children’s opportunities to access. We can investigate whether parents’ knowledge of the internet influences what children do online and what risks they encounter.”The findings from the South Africa Kids Online study indicate that one in three children have been exposed to hate speech and inappropriate content online. One in five children has also met face to face with a person they had first met with online although most respondents reported feeling fine about the meeting as most of them were of similar ages.  Other South Africa findings reveal how most children value the internet for learning purposes, but rarely use the internet at school or receive guidance from their teachers on how to use the internet. Parents want to help their children but don’t feel they know enough about how to use the internet to guide them.Anthony Nolan, UNICEF South Africa Chief of Child Protection shared why it was important to understand children’s digital experiences. “Children and young people are leading the digital uptake in developing countries, but this also means that they are more likely to be exposed to negative online experiences,” he said.“UNICEF believes that by understanding how children and young people are behaving in the digital space, they can be empowered to be responsible users.”The South African Kids Online pilot study was conducted by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention. The study will feed into the Global Kids Online research findings which will be published in a synthesis report by UNICEF Innocenti later this year.  The South African Kids Online study interviewed 962 children, aged 9 to 17 years old, in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng regions about their internet use. Over 550 parents were interviewed in order to find out how they used the internet themselves and how they mediated their children’s internet use.For more information on Global Kids Online visit here. To download the South African Kids Online pilot study, visit here. To learn more about UNICEF Innocenti’s work on child rights in the digital age visit here. (4 October 2016)
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Armenia multidimensional child poverty report launched

UNICEF and the National Statistical Service of Armenia have released the country’s first comprehensive national study on multidimensional child poverty: Child Poverty in Armenia: National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis. The report offers a comprehensive picture of child poverty in a national context, by looking at multidimensional and monetary poverty and providing estimates on the degree to which the two measures overlap. The research is the first of its kind in the Caucasus region and is based on UNICEF Innocenti’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology. According to the study, 64 per cent of children in Armenia are deprived in two or more dimensions. Nationwide, only 12 per cent of children are not deprived in any dimension. This is true, however, for only three per cent of children in rural areas and18 per cent of children in urban areas. Most children are deprived in the dimensions of utilities, housing and leisure; while the majority of younger children (0-5) are mostly deprived in nutrition.“Child poverty is about more than just money – it’s multidimensional. For children, poverty means being deprived in crucial aspects of their lives, such as nutrition, education, leisure or housing. These deprivations go beyond monetary aspects, not only affecting the quality of their life at present, but also their ability to grow to their full potential in the future,” said UNICEF Representative in Armenia, Tanja Radocaj.There are severe rural/urban divides found in two dimensions. In the utilities dimension: 87 per cent of children in rural areas are deprived in utilities, which is a combination of poor access to water and heating. In the information dimension: 57 per cent of rural children are deprived of access to information, while this is true for only one third of children in urban settings. No significant gender differences were observed in the distribution of deprivation across the dimensions.“This is the first report of its kind in Armenia that depicts the situation of multidimensional poverty, including its overlap with monetary poverty, among children at a national level. With this analysis we can now address a key target of the Sustainable Development Goal 1 and monitor our progress toward meeting this goal,” said the President of the National Statistical Service, Stepan Mnatsakanyan.When deprivation is juxtaposed with poverty, almost one in three children are both poor and deprived. Twenty eight per cent of children are deprived in two or more dimensions, while also living in monetary-poor households. These children represent the most vulnerable section of society and should be prioritized by social policies. Thirty six per cent of children are deprived, but do not live in a poor household. These children need direct intervention to tackle their deprivations and are at a greater risk of being missed by policies that only address monetary poverty.The analysis carries important implications for policy making and makes the case to improve social protection measures, in order to ensure children are protected from risks, while also expanding access to the social services they greatly need. Whether examining poverty from monetary or non-monetary sides, data demonstrates that children are more likely to live in poverty than other groups. Ending child poverty is a pressing challenge in many countries around the world. (27 September 2016)
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Major international conference on youth and gender

UNICEF Innocenti researchers shared recent evidence on adolescent well-being, the drivers of violence and the role of social protection cash transfers in adolescent transitions in sub-Saharan Africa at a major conference on youth and gender issues in relation to international development policy.The Adolescence, Youth and Gender: Building Knowledge for Change conference, organised by Young Lives, on September 8-9 at the University of Oxford, brought together up to 150 researchers and academics to promote dialogue and share the latest global evidence on adolescence, youth and gender and the implications for policy and programming.UNICEF Innocenti social policy specialist Tia Palermo participated in a panel titled Influencing Gender Socialisation in Adolescence and presented insights from a recent impact evaluation of a Tanzanian conditional cash transfer programme in relation to its impact on youth well-being and the transition to adulthood. According to Palermo, Maxine Molyneaux, a professor at University College London (UCL) and a keynote speaker during the conference, highlighted the issue of research and policy gaps related to adolescents.“Molyneaux noted that adolescents are only minimally mentioned in the SDGs, and stressed the importance of putting adolescents on the agenda of research and policymaking related to cash transfer programs,” said Palermo.Molyneaux shared important insights on gender and social protection, including how household-level monetary assessments of poverty are insufficient as women ‘suffer secondary poverty in households.’“This is true also of children,” observed Palermo. “And that’s why Innocenti developed and conducts multi-dimensional poverty among children, known as MODA (multiple overlapping deprivation analysis). Innocenti researchers are also conducting a large portfolio of research on impacts of cash transfers on adolescent well-being as part of the Transfer Project.”Another researcher stressed the need for a “unifying framework on adolescence, similar to that which exists for early childhood development,” a development that been successful in filling research gaps and advocating for Early Childhood Development (ECD)  programming. Key components for such a framework, and noted gaps in the current research, include 1) how do peer preferences and behaviours enter into adolescents’ decision-making processes? 2) What are the intra-household dynamics related to adolescent decision making, and 3) How is school quality produced?”Jacob de Hoop, an Innocenti social policy specialist presented on Economic Empowerment and Children’s Activities and said he gained important new insights on research in humanitarian settings. “Carrying out research in humanitarian settings is more complex than carrying out research in most other settings. A particular issue is that in other settings we would typically prefer to rely on panel data in which households or individuals are observed over a period of multiple years,” said De Hoop.Collecting panel data may be challenging in more volatile settings, as sample attrition is likely to be high. As a result of this and other complications, less is known about appropriate policy responses in humanitarian and emergency settings. According to De Hoop: “There is a real need for expanding the evidence base and for developing research methods that can be used in humanitarian settings.”Research and evaluation specialists, Mary Catherine Maternowska and Alina Potts presented on Understanding the Key Drivers of Violence Against Children as part of a panel on children’s experiences of violence and building a framework for violence prevention. Potts observed: “As someone who is looking at violence prevention and sees adolescence as a critical time, it was notable that no matter what the purpose, a lot of the work building off of Young Lives’ longitudinal dataset ends up addressing violence—because it is so prevalent in the minds and the lives of the young people they are following.Plenary speakers Prudence Ngwenya Nonkululeko of the African Union Commission and Maxine Molyneaux of UCL concluded the conference with a number of important observations. Ngwenya Nonkululeko highlighted “Agenda 2063,” put together by 54 African heads of state and laying out a 50-year vision for Africa, as a challenge for research designed to inform existing regional priorities. Maxine Molyneaux of UCL eloquently summarized another of the conference’s main themes: that “gender and generation must be factored into programme design.” Elsewhere, Innocenti consultant Lucia Ferrone presented on The Evolution of Adolescent Outcomes in Multi-dimensional Poverty as part of a panel on the Impacts of Deprivation and Economic Empowerment on the Well-Being of Adolescents and Young People.Richard de Groot, a consultant with UNICEF Innocenti explored Unconditional Cash Transfers and Schooling Outcomes in Ghana: Heterogeneous Effects for Boys and Girls in Secondary School.For more information on conference activities and speakers visit here. To find out more about UNICEF Innocenti research on the drivers of violence against children, visit here. For more information on Innocent work around cash transfers (The Transfer Project) visit here. For more information on Innocenti work on Multidimensional Poverty (MODA) visit here.(15 September 2016)
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Migrant and refugee children face higher rates of bullying

by Simona C. S. Caravita
(12-10-2016) As highlighted in the recent UN Secretary General’s report, "Protecting children from bullying," rates of bullying among children are high across ...

Cash transfers and improved child nutrition: Where did all the impacts go?

by Richard de Groot
(29 September 2016) During a recent trip to Ghana, we presented the baseline findings from an impact evaluation of the “LEAP 1000” cash transfe ...