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Babies and mothers worldwide failed by lack of investment in breastfeeding

(1 August 2017) No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding, according to a new report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a new initiative to increase global breastfeeding rates.The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breast milk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.Evidence shows that breastfeeding has cognitive and health benefits for both infants and their mothers. It is especially critical during the first six months of life, helping prevent diarrhoea and pneumonia, two major causes of death in infants. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women.“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Breastmilk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.”The scorecard was released at the start of World Breastfeeding Week alongside a new analysis demonstrating that an annual investment of only US$4.70 per newborn is required to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50 per cent by 2025.Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding, suggests that meeting this target could save the lives of 520,000 children under the age of five and potentially generate US$300 billion in economic gains over 10 years, as a result of reduced illness and health care costs and increased productivity.“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective – and cost effective – investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies – and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”The investment case shows that in five of the world’s largest emerging economies—China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria—the lack of investment in breastfeeding results in an estimated 236,000 child deaths per year and US$119 billion in economic losses.Globally, investment in breastfeeding is far too low. Each year, governments in lower- and middle-income countries spend approximately US$250 million on breastfeeding programs; and donors provide only an additional US$85 million.The Global Breastfeeding Collective is calling on countries to:Increase funding to raise breastfeeding rates from birth through two years.Fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions through strong legal measures that are enforced and independently monitored by organizations free from conflicts of interest.Enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, building on the International Labour Organization’s maternity protection guidelines as a minimum requirement, including provisions for the informal sector.Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in maternity facilities, including providing breastmilk for sick and vulnerable newborns.Improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling as part of comprehensive breastfeeding policies and programmes in health facilities.Strengthen links between health facilities and communities, and encourage community networks that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.Strengthen monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programmes, and funding towards achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets.Breastfeeding is critical for the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals. It improves nutrition (SDG2), prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases (SDG3), and supports cognitive development and education (SDG4). Breastfeeding is also an enabler to ending poverty, promoting economic growth and reducing inequalities.In 1990 UNICEF and WHO adopted the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding in Florence to ensure that all facilities with maternity services fully implemented the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to support and encourage breastfeeding for new born infants which first appeared in a joint statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1989 on Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: the Special Role of Maternity Services. The Steps as well as the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes became the foundation for the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991.In 2009 BFHI was updated taking into account the experiences from the first 15 years of implementation and the guidance on infant feeding among mothers infected with HIV. In 2012, the 194 countries of the World Health Assembly committed to a target of increasing the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life from a baseline of 37 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025. About the Global Breastfeeding Scorecard - The Scorecard compiles data from countries all over the world on the status of seven priorities set by the Global Breastfeeding Collective to increase the rate of breastfeeding. The 23 countries that have achieved exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent are: Bolivia, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Micronesia, Federated States of Nauru, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, São Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Zambia.About the Global Breastfeeding Collective - Co-led by UNICEF and WHO, the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s mission is to rally political, legal, financial, and public support for breastfeeding, which will benefit mothers, children, and society. This press release was originally published on  
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Children on the move from Africa do not aim for Europe, UNICEF study shows

(26 July 2017) Children on the move into Europe from Africa take the decision to leave home on their own and do not initially intend to go to Europe. For the majority the systematic trauma and abuse they witnessed or suffered in Libya caused them to flee to Europe and take the terrifying Central Mediterranean sea route, according to a new study (download right) commissioned by UNICEF and carried out by REACH. As many as 75 percent of the refugee and migrant children interviewed in Italy as part of the study, took the decision to embark on the journey alone. The journey itself can take a staggering two years or more for children. One of the key reasons children give for leaving home was violence at home but also deprivation and conflict. Child marriage was also reported as the main reason for leaving by 1 in 5 of all girls interviewed. Children’s journeys to Europe were often fragmented and their destination changed along the way.“What is striking about this study is it shows for the first time that there are overwhelmingly far more reasons that push children to leave their homes, than has been previously understood, and fewer pull factors that lure them to Europe,” said Afshan Khan UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. The aim of the study is to provide decision makers, partners and governments with evidence on what drives children to flee their countries and homes. The interviews were conducted in the two main gateways into Europe – Italy and Greece – with a total 850 children, between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.  UNICEF Innocenti has recently begun a new research project Children and Migration: Rights and  resilience which emphasizes child rights-sensitive inquiry to explain the intricate dynamics not captured by more general research. The latest version of UNICEF Innocenti's Research Watch has also focused on child migration bringing together top world experts to discuss the research agenda for migrant and refugee children.Refugee and migrant children in Italy unanimously reported their time in Libya as the most traumatising part of their journey on land. Almost half of them (47 per cent) reported to have been kidnapped for ransom in Libya, and one in four children (23 per cent) reported to have been arbitrarily arrested and held in prison without charges. The majority come from various countries in sub-Saharan Africa but some are from as far afield as Bangladesh.“For those who did aim to come to the continent, the allure of Europe was the chance of furthering their education, respect for their rights and getting ahead in life. However once they reach Europe the reality is sadly quite different and their expectations are shattered,” said UNICEF’s Afshan Khan. Mohammad, 17, (left) from Kafuta, Gambia sits by a pond in a park in Pozzallo, Sicily, Italy, during a walk around town to take a break from their accommodations at the asylum seeker reception center, known as a Hot Spot. In Greece the survey showed that one in three parents or caretakers said that seeking education for their children was the main reason they left their countries for Europe. However the survey of refugee and migrant children revealed that lengthy procedures and confusion about their rights have led to many children dropping out of the Italian and Greek reception systems, losing out on education and exposing them to high risks of abuse and exploitation.Of the 12,239 children who arrived in Italy in the first six months of this year, 93 percent travelled alone.As outlined in the study, the profiles of children arrived in Italy and Greece vary significantly. Children in Italy tend to have made the decision to migrate individually (75 per cent of interviewed children) and are mostly unaccompanied, boys, aged 16 to 17. In Greece, children tend to have taken a joint decision within their family and arrive with family members (91 per cent of interviewed children), at an almost equal level between boys and girls, and from all age groups. At the recent G20 and G7 summits, UNICEF urged governments to take action to protect child refugees and migrant as part of its six-point plan of Action for Children Uprooted which calls for the protection of every child uprooted by war, violence and poverty. The plan calls on governments to:Protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives;Keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status;Keep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services;Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants;Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.(This press release was originally published on the press centre)
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Quick summary of latest Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence, #6

(13 July 2017) The latest edition of Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence includes compelling research, resources, news and events that address the issue of gender from many perspectives that will benefit the work of colleagues within and outside of the UN, on behalf of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent girls and boys. We are pleased to make the digest available for the first time in three languages – English, French and Spanish. This article provides a condensed selection of the research, resources, news, event, online courses included in the digest. To access the full contents of this highly useful publication visit here.LATEST RESEARCH Building the Foundations for Sustainable Development: a Case for Global Investment in the Capabilities of Adolescents, Sheehan, P. et al., The Lancet, April 2017.   Cost-benefit analyses show that global investments in adolescent’s capabilities can result in high economic and social returns. Child and Adolescent Health from 1990 to 2015: Findings from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2015 Study ,The Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration, JAMA Pediatrics, June 2017.   Trends in mortality and non-fatal health loss across 195 countries, show significant global decreases in child and adolescent mortality: from 14.18 million deaths in 1990 to 7.26 million deaths in 2015. Mapping the Knowledge and Understanding of Menarche, Menstrual Hygiene and Menstrual Health among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-income Countries, Chandra-Mouli, V. and Patel, S., Reproductive Health, March 2017.   Unlike other normal bodily processes, menstruation is still surrounded by widespread stigma, lack of understanding and poor sanitary practices. The Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Very Young Adolescents Aged 10–14 In Developing Countries: What Does the Evidence Show? Woog, V. and Kågesten, A., Guttmacher Institute, May 2017.   Very early adolescence, defined as the years from 10 to 14, is a critical time to lay the foundations for positive sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Understanding the Linkages between Social Safety Nets and Childhood Violence: A Review of the Evidence from Low- and Middle-income Countries, Peterman, A. et al., Health Policy and Planning, April 2017.   A review of 14 impact evaluations of social safety nets (SSNs) finds they have the potential to reduce violence against children, but there remain large gaps in our understanding across typologies of violence, region and programme design. Children participate in a group counselling session, at the Dagoretti Child Development Centre, in the Mutuini area of the Dagoretti division of Nairobi, Kenya. State of the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Approaches to Reduce Gender-Based Violence and Support the Empowerment of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings, Noble E. et al., Trauma, Violence and Abuse, March 2017.   This systematic review examines the evidence base for programming that seeks to reduce violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts. Pathways between Childhood Trauma, Intimate Partner Violence, and Harsh Parenting: Findings from the United Nations (UN) Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, Fulu, E. et al., The Lancet Global Health, May 2017.   A recent UN multi-country study in Asia and the Pacific identifies significant, often gendered, pathways that connect childhood trauma, intimate partner violence (IPV), and harsh parenting. Girl Child Marriage as a Risk Factor for Early Childhood Development and Stunting, Efevbera Y. et al., Social Science & Medicine, May 2017.   Data from 16 countries across sub-Saharan Africa confirms that girl child marriage is a risk factor for early childhood development and health.Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Implications for Programme Design, Dammert, A. et al., World Bank Group, Policy Research Working Paper, March 2017.   Anti-poverty programmes have strong potential to improve schooling outcomes and reduce child labour. Financial Education’s Contribution to Girls’ Economic Empowerment: A Global Review, Singh, J. and Schneiders, M., Aflatoun International, March 2017.   Education programmes on girl’s economic empowerment are more robust when they combine financial components with social and health components, such as social education, sexual and reproductive health education, and vocational training. Download policy brief [pdf] Las Violencias en el Espacio Escolar (Violence in School Spaces) Trucco, D. and Inostroza, P., Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), March 2017.   Learning outcomes are directly affected by levels of violence in schools, with peer victimization being the main source of classroom violence. A Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development (PYD) Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, YouthPower Learning, April 2017.   This review documents the use and effectiveness of Positive Youth development (PYD) approaches in 97 programmes across 60 Low and Middle-income Countries. RESOURCESUNICEF Innocenti’s New Series of Briefs on How to Conduct Research with Adolescents – Developed by UNICEF, experts from Columbia University and the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these seven evidence briefs provide a review of contemporary research methodologies for adolescent well-being in low-and middle-income countries. World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidance on Improving Adolescent Health – According to a new report by WHO Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!), more than 3,000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, such as road injuries, respiratory infections, self-harm. UNICEF Report on Protecting Children on the Move from Violence, Abuse and Exploitation – In 2015-2016, at least 300,000 unaccompanied children and adolescents were recorded in over 80 countries.UNESCO Recommendations to the Education Sector on Early and Unintended Pregnancy – Evidence shows that the education sector has a critical role to play in preventing unintended pregnancy and ensuring pregnant and parenting girls can return to school. Child Fund Alliance’s Review of official development spending to end violence against children – The first official development assistance (ODA) review of its kind, reveals that only 0.6% out of a total $174 billion global ODA budget was allocated to ending violence against children (VAC) in 2015 – equating to less than $0.65 per child in recipient countries. Full report, Infographic and Executive Summary are available online.A teacher playing with young girls in UNICEF supported school in Jalozai camp, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.Young Lives’ Guide to Longitudinal Research – The Young Lives team provides insight into the methods and processes involved in carrying out a multi-country longitudinal study with young people. MEASURE Evaluation Guidelines on Best Practices for Adolescent- and Youth-friendly HIV Services – Developed by the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation, these guidelines are informed by a review of 13 projects offering adolescent and youth-friendly HIV services. Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) Toolkit – The GEAS toolkit includes research tools developed as part of an international study to understand the factors that predispose adolescents, aged 10-14, to sexual health risks. The tools include a parent/guardian questionnaire, a gender norms instrument, a vignette-based measure of gender equality, and a Health+ instrument. The Impact Initiatives’ Key Issues Guide on Research with Children and Young PeopleThis review draws on a synthesis of research outputs by the Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Key insights and recommended reading are shared on: livelihoods and aspirations; mobile technology; access to education; improving outcomes in food, nutrition and health choices.NEWSCall on G7 leaders to Better Protect Refugee and Migrant Children – On the occasion of the G7 world leaders’ meeting in Sicily on 26-27 May, UNICEF urged governments to adopt a six-point agenda for action in order to protect and guarantee the rights of children as they move. The Lancet launches a new journal on Child and Adolescent Health – The newly released monthly journal, Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, publishes research or evidence-based reviews that will directly impact clinical practice or child health across the disciplines of paediatrics, adolescent medicine, and child development. Full details on how to submit a paper hereNew Guidelines for Children in the Justice System released – Guidelines for treating young people who come into contact with the justice system have been released by the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates. Instructions cover all interventions of justice systems prior, pending or following judicial interventions.Menstrual Hygiene Day – Online resources available – On Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May), organizations around the world promoted campaigns to raise awareness about good hygiene management for adolescent girls. A collection of campaign materials and resources on menstrual hygiene management can be found on the Menstrual Hygiene Day website.UNESCO Report on Youth and Violent Extremism in Morocco – A recent UNESCO report on violent extremism in Morocco urges national and international authorities to act jointly to prevent adolescents becoming victims of radical recruitment. Working groups made policy recommendations for addressing youth radicalization in schools and the media, providing jobs and economic opportunities, and increasing civic engagement. Call to Action on Violence and Child Pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean – The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, has launched the Hemispheric Report on Sexual Violence and Child Pregnancy.Innovative Research on Gender-based Violence (GBV) - Innovations aimed at preventing GBV were awarded special recognition by WHO and SRVI. EVENTSUnited Nations Youth-dedicated Days - In June the UN celebrates World Refugee Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Adolescent-related UN actions and useful resources can be consulted on the respective websites. Then, 15 July is World Youth Skills Day, while 12 August is International Youth Day , focusing this year on peace building and social justice.International Society for Child Indicators Conference – This conference will discuss the latest child indicator research and implications. The theme is ‘Children in a World of Opportunities: innovations in research, policy and practice’. Organizers: McGill University, Date: 28-30 June 2017, Montreal. Registration‘Girl Up’ Leadership Summit – More than 300 girl advocates from around the world will convene for the sixth annual Girl Up Leadership Summit.Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) Forum 2017 – This forum will showcase research and innovation on sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and maltreatment. Organizers: Sexual Violence Research Initiative; Date: 18-21 September 2017. Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil RegistrationONLINE COURSESEngaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality Programming – This e-learning course will examine concepts of masculinity, patriarchy and intersectionality. Organizers: The Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre (HREA). Date: 11 October – 21 November 2017 Registration To read the full digest with additional resources, comment and information download [here].
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Knowledge for Children in Africa: 2017 Publications Catalogue

(11 July 2017) Every year UNICEF and its partners in Africa generate a wealth of evidence on the situation of children. Knowledge and evidence are essential to informing the development, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of children’s rights. The 2017 edition of the UNICEF Africa Publications Catalogue provides an up-date of the most recent knowledge and evidence publications undertaken by UNICEF in Africa.This second edition of the catalogue - representing the collective knowledge produced by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices across Africa - is a joint initiative undertaken by the Regional Offices of  Eastern and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa.Health workers in Uganda's Bukomansimbi District Health Headquarters discuss progress in public health data collection via the mTrac ‘dashboard’ website. The catalogue features 287 reports and studies that UNICEF and its partners are generating on the situation of children and young people. They capture some of the most advanced work to support efforts by children and young people to realize their rights to survival, development and protection.The publications cover a wide range of topics, which are organized under the following categories:Part 1: Highlights of Regional PublicationsPart 2: Publications by Thematic AreaChild Poverty and Socio-Economic DevelopmentChild Protection Children and Social ProtectionClimate Change and Energy AccessCommunication for DevelopmentEducation and Early Childhood DevelopmentFinancing for Development: Public Finance for ChildrenHIV/AIDSHumanitarian Action, Resilience and Peace BuildingMaternal, New-born and Child HealthNutritionWater, Sanitation and HygieneYouth and AdolescentsPart 3: Publications Indexed by Country and by Addis Ababa Action Agenda/Sustainable Development GoalsUNICEF Innocenti has contributed extensively to evidence generation efforts in Africa in the fields of social protection, family and parenting support, multidimensional child poverty, nutrition and food security, adolescent well-being, violence affecting children, child internet use among other research themes.Download full catalogue in related content column at right.
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Youth engagement as a pathway to peace

by Nikola Balvin
(2017-08-16) Despite broad agreement that youth engagement is important to forging sustainable peace and development, young people are often not given the opportunity to participate i ...

‘Nobody will answer you if you talk’: The case for research on trafficking in emergencies

by Alina Potts
(2017-08-16) In the spring of 2013, I traveled to northern Syria as part of an international organization’s emergency response team. Over the course of that year, more than ...