CONNECT  facebook youtube pinterest twitter soundcloud
search advanced search



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)
facebook twitter linkedin google+ reddit print email

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)
facebook twitter linkedin google+ reddit print email

Evidence on parenting of adolescents in Africa challenges conventional views

A new discussion paper examines research findings and evidence on parenting of adolescents in eastern and southern African countries. The paper aims to shed new light on how adolescents are raised, what social and structural factors affect parenting and where families turn for support in this important region. Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review, seeks to deepen understanding of family life, care practices and support networks so as to inform policies and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. Countries selected in the literature review include Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Heidi Loening-Voysey, a child protection research and evaluation specialist at UNICEF Innocenti explained the key findings in the paper.“The paper highlights the notion of adolescents and parents living within the cultural ideals of a community and how the responsibility of raising teenagers through to adulthood is shared with kin and community members.“The usefulness of this paper lies in the depth of understanding that it provides to the way in which families are adversely affected by socio-economic factors and the potential for intervention designs to strengthen and preserve families.She added: “It refers to adolescents’ expectations of parents in expanding and adapting the five dimensions of parenting defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007 which were love, limit setting, respect for individuality, modelling behaviour and provision.”Key findings in the paper challenge conventional views on parenting which, it argues, emanate largely from the western world. The findings highlight that parenting in the southern and east African region has to be seen in the context of strong cultural values, high levels of migration, the HIV epidemic and extreme poverty, each of which make an impact on parenting in the region.Evidence shows how community and kinship structures still play prominent roles facilitating adolescents’ entry into adulthood in eastern and southern Africa. In adolescent households, the mother and grandmother play key roles in adolescent upbringing, however, traditional community and kinship structures are beginning to fade due to a range of factors including joblessness and migration.The paper also examines support networks for parents and adolescents with results showing that they often turn to support form outside of the family as it can prove to be more reliable and does not threaten integrity. Support groups established by health based organisations have become an important source of help for adults; however, adolescents and young parents often do not possess relevant social status required to access formal and informal community networks.An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided in the discussion paper. In addition, a framework for exploring context relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.The methodology used is a rigorous, evidence-focused literature review based on the core principles of a systematic review. The review encompassed academic and grey literature from six countries and from the region as a whole.(9 August 2016)
facebook twitter linkedin google+ reddit print email

Peru makes strides in understanding drivers of violence against children

A new report has revealed insights into the scope of physical, psychological and sexual violence affecting children in Peru. Produced by the Government of Peru with support from UNICEF, the findings are intended to support improved national violence prevention efforts. The Spanish language report, Understanding for Prevention: Summary of violence against children and adolescents in Peru, was led by Peru’s national Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations with support from UNICEF Peru and several other government and academic partners. The study feeds into the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti’s Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children on-going in Peru as well as in Italy, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. Key findings from a nationally representative survey show that about 70 per cent of adolescent boys and girls report experiencing physical or psychological violence at home during their lifetimes, while about half of all boys and girls have experienced peer-to-peer violence in schools. Three out of four children in Peru aged 9 – 17 report having experienced emotional violence at home or in school. According to other data in the Cuzco Region up to one in five females had experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes, while equal percentages of adolescent girls and boys reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime.“These findings highlight the need for targeted research, policy and programming responses for prevention of violence,” said Mary Catherine Maternowska, who leads the Innocenti study for UNICEF. The Understanding for Prevention report employed a comprehensive investigation of reliable quantitative and qualitative data sources. Peru’s 2015 National Survey of Social Relations of over 3,000 children and adolescents in all parts of the country provides a robust quantitative national data sample. The Young Lives Longitudinal Study of Childhood Poverty contributes further understanding about violence based on cohort data from 4,000 Peruvian children who were followed from infancy to age 19. In addition, over 100 published and unpublished research articles on violence against children in Peru were analyzed and 60 violence prevention interventions carried out by government and private institutions were mapped and assessed.Maternowska notes that the study views violence affecting children not merely as an issue of personal behaviour, but as a complex social phenomenon.“Violent behavior is influenced by a host of ecological factors.  Parents’ and children’s levels of education, the quality of interpersonal relationships with the family to the family’s social connections to the community and a community’s social norms concerning the discipline and supervision of children can conspire against children in different ways in different cultures. Even more distal issues, like a family’s financial security can determine the types and intensity of violence.” The report focuses on violence occurring in different forms and in different settings. Physical, psychological and sexual violence are quantified and analyzed on the basis of age, gender and setting such as home, community and school. This allows Peruvian policy makers to organize more appropriate and better targeted interventions. In 2015 the Peruvian Parliament passed a law prohibiting corporal punishment against children in all settings, including the home, citing data from UNICEF’s Multi Country Study as having contributed to this historical moment.  Results from Understanding for Prevention are currently being used to calculate Peru’s overall Burden of Violence—a rigorous approach to estimating the impact of violence in Peru across multiple sectors (health, education, gender, social policy, etc.). A Burden of Violence study highlights the proportion of negative outcomes that could be reduced if violence was prevented.Additional findings highlighted in the report:The relationship between violence in childhood and poorer educational outcomes is profound and complex, affecting children across and between settings where they live, sleep, play and learn.  Violence tends to be normalized—or widely accepted—passed down from one generation to another.  Many violent mothers and fathers were themselves physically and psychologically abused in childhood, and they repeat those behaviours with their children who, in turn, use violence to resolve their own conflicts.Exposure to domestic violence can be psychologically harmful to children, and is often associated with physical violence against children and neglect. Alcohol abuse is highlighted in the literature as a risk factor for spousal violence.Girls who experienced physical violence at home were nearly twice as likely to have failed a course in the last year, or to have ever repeated a grade in school. Boys who experienced psychological violence, or were verbally threatened at home, were over three times more likely to have ever been expelled from school.Violence in schools, including physical and verbal abuse by teachers and peers, is the number one reason children give for disliking school. This is probably associated with grade repetition and slow progression through school. Children physically beaten in school at age 8 are 10 per cent more likely to have repeated a grade by age 12 than those who were not beaten. Entender para prevenir: Violencia hacia las niñas, niños y adolescentes en el Perú is a multi-sectoral publication of Peru’s national Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (MIMP) in cooperation with Perú Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI). It was produced by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Peruvian government, researchers and practitioners with support from the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú. External international support was provided by UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti with technical support from the University of Edinburgh.(8 August 2016)
facebook twitter linkedin google+ reddit print email


Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa

by Daniel Kardefelt-Winther
(21-09-2016) When the scope of a research project on child internet use spans multiple countries with vast cultural, economic and social variation, navigating the di ...

Why research should be a priority in the global response to the child migration crisis

by Rayyan Sabet-Parry
(7-09-2016) With world leaders gathering at the United Nations for high level deliberations on the global migration crisis, the need for solid evidence to develop better ...