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Bullying: a global challenge requires a global measure

(12 July 2018) Bullying among children is a global challenge, with numerous detrimental side effects that have broader societal implications. Both victims and perpetrators of bullying suffer across various dimensions, including personal social development, education, and health, with negative effects persisting into adulthood. Bullying is also a serious concern for policymakers and child practitioners. High rates of bullying amongst children should raise warning flags regarding child rights’ failings. Moreover, due to its damaging effects on learning and behaviour, bullying in schools could reduce the effectiveness of public investment in children’s education and may incur costs through riskier behaviour in the future. These concerns have contributed to bullying becoming a globally recognised challenge. Yet, despite every region in the world monitoring children’s experiences of bullying, a validated global measure has not been produced. To fill this gap, UNICEF Innocenti’s Education Officer, Dominic Richardson, and Oxford University’s Chii Fen Hiu, have developed a global indicator on bullying by combining data from six international surveys on bullying prevalence amongst 11- to 15-year-olds in 145 countries.Patricia, 14, stands in a hallway at Professor Daniel Cordón Salguero Elementary School in El Salvador. The recently released working paper, Developing a Global Indicator on Bullying of School-Aged Children, documents the process of building and validating this global indicator of bullying. Secondly, the paper provides basic analyses on bullying rates and its links to macro-level determinants, including wealth, educational outcomes, and youth suicide rates. Finally, in the absence of a globally representative survey of children, the paper proposes a method of global indicator development that may be used to operationalise the Sustainable Development Goals.Important findings of the paper include:Experiencing some form of bullying at least once in a couple of months is most common amongst school children in poorer countries. By region, South Asia and West and Central Africa experience most bullying. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States experience the lowest rates of bullying. Neither girls nor boys are consistently more affected by bullying, but often boys and younger children experience more bullying. Bullying risk is not clearly linked with income inequality or educational expenditure, but high risk countries report lower per capita GDP and lower secondary school enrolment.Despite a loss in detail in scale, and much regional data being incomparable, it is possible to harmonise national-level data, to define and validate a measure of bullying risk for global comparison.Global National Map of Bullying by Relative RiskThe vast majority of the globe has usable data, and these have been shaded according to the risk of bullying from light grey (low) to black (high). Gaps in the data (white areas) are most notable in central and West Africa, South Asia, parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, and islands in the Pacific.At a glance, the global map shows higher risk in the western hemisphere, and lowest risk in the eastern hemisphere. However, this picture serves best to highlight the variation in experiences within regions. Variation is also likely to exist within countries, and between socio-economic and socio-demographic groups, and which cannot be uncovered using this analysis. The findings of the paper show that bullying is a complex phenomenon that takes multiple forms, and is experienced to widely varying degrees across the world. Importantly, the paper acknowledges those children who may be missing from the surveys on which the indicator is based. School-based surveys are limited insofar as they are selective in terms of the children they include and the questions they ask, thus influencing results. In particular, cyber-bullying is not included in the indicator. This increasing concern is explored in Innocenti’s work on Child Rights in the Digital Age. Full details by country, including year of study, average age group, source of data, and raw estimates (including gender breakdowns) can be found in the annex of the paper.
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Knowledge for Children in Africa: 2018 Publications Catalogue Published

(4 July 2018) Each year, UNICEF and its partners in Africa generate a wealth of evidence about the situation of children. The 2018 edition of the Knowledge for Children in Africa Publications Catalogue represents the collective knowledge produced by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices across Africa. Knowledge and evidence are essential to informing the development, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of children’s rights.In Africa, the current demographic revolution will see the under-18 population increase by two thirds, reaching almost 1 billion by 2050. These figures underscore an urgent need for strong evidence to inform the implementation of social policies and budgets for children.The catalogue features over 130 of the most important reports and studies that UNICEF and its partners have generated on the situation of children and young people across the continent. Covering a wide range of topics - including Child Poverty; Education and Early Childhood Development; and Social Protection among others - the publication captures some of the most advanced work to support efforts by children and young people to realize their rights to survival, development and protection.The under-18 population in Africa will reach almost 1 billion by 2050.UNICEF Innocenti has contributed extensively to evidence generation efforts in Africa. Within the Child Poverty topic alone, seven reports adopt Innocenti’s MODA tool for measuring multi-dimensional child poverty. A vaccinator records the number of children who have been immunized against polio by a vaccination team in Juba, South Sudan. Commenting on this, Social and Economic Policy expert Lucia Ferrone, notes an increase in efforts to track and measure child poverty in more African countries over recent years. “It’s great to see so many countries not only join the measurement, but also embrace UNICEF’s measure of child multidimensional poverty,” says Ferrone. “MODA was the first measure used to assess child poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, revealing that as many as 67% of children were multidimensionally poor. Now, countries are using MODA to adapt their national needs and priorities.”"It’s tremendous to see countries like Mali proceed on the second round of child poverty measurement since 2014."Many studies in the catalogue explore the area of Education and Early Childhood Development. Despite considerable progress towards the goal of universal primary education, "high school drop-out rates, low levels of school readiness, poor learning outcomes, and high levels of teacher absenteeism continue to plague many African states," notes education expert Despina Karamperidou. "Generating high quality evidence on the magnitude and underlying causes of negative education outcomes is the first crucial step in addressing them through the development of education policies and programs that are both context specific and culturally sensitive.""Generating high quality evidence is the first crucial step in addressing negative outcomes"UNICEF contributes to this effort by investing in three types of research projects, outlined in detail in the catalogue: (1) tools development for the measurement of education outcomes, (2) quantitative mapping and assessment exercises, and (3) qualitative causal analyses. Karamperidou comments that "collectively, these studies provide an evidence base on the major education challenges besetting the continent and a real opportunity for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of African education systems."The catalogue aims to more effectively disseminate knowledge and evidence being generated in Africa for key African constituencies working on children’s rights and development, and promote improved south-south learning exchange among countries. This third edition of the catalogue adds to the fast-growing evidence base on the situation of children in Africa.  Download the full catalogue.
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What are the ethical implications of using new technologies to generate evidence for children?

Two new discussion papers written collaboratively with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, highlight the advantages and risks of using these technologies to gather data about children and provide useful guidance for researchers on the questions they should be asking in order to protect children’s rights.
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Workshop on evidence on social protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement

(6 June 2018) An international workshop at UNICEF Innocenti will bring together and foster exchange between researchers and policy makers working on social protection in settings of humanitarian emergency. The workshop, jointly organized with UNICEF's Social Inclusion section in New York, will take place on 7 and 8 June. The workshop is seen as a follow-up to the international conference on social protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement held in Brussels in late 2017. The workshop will focus on the latest rigorous quantitative evidence on the effects of social protection programmes in humanitarian settings, concentrating on evidence gaps and the policy implications. The workshop coincides with the publication of seven new draft working papers, which will be discussed on the day. The papers broadly fall into three themes: Comparisons between effectiveness of different delivery modalities; Evaluations and implications of targeting choices (including universal reforms); and Impacts of programs targeted at refugees and host communities.All seven papers are now available for download and can be found on the right-hand column of this page under "Related Content - Publications".Malian refugees use a water point in the Mangaize refugee camp, Niger. Recurrent conflict between armed groups in Northern Mali cause a constant influx of refugees into the Tillabery and Tahoua regions of Niger.As part of the commitments under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1, the global community at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) pledged to expand the coverage of social protection measures for all, and to achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable by 2030. This expansion must include scale up of social protection in humanitarian contexts, including fragility and forced displacement to ensure no one is left behind. Social protection is increasingly considered as an important policy response in contexts of fragility and displacement. In non-fragile contexts, Innocenti research has provided extensive evidence and knowledge on related policy implications generated by  Social Cash Transfer Programmes in several low and middle income countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia  among others. Between 2013 and 2015 positive impacts on poverty, income multipliers, food security, productivity, education and health demonstrate that social protection helps reduce poverty, inequality, enhances livelihoods, and has long-term positive impacts on human capital development.This year the UNICEF Innocenti team will continue to document positive evidence and knowledge gaps associated with conducting research on these systems, such as the cash transfer program in Lebanon, known as Min Ila, an initiative of the Government of Lebanon, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme to encourage school participation of displaced Syrian children. As Jacob De Hoop, Humanitarian Policy Specialist at Innocenti leading the research, highlights in his blog this research represents one of the first evaluations of a cash transfer program that aims to improve education outcomes for children in a refugee context and helps fill an important gap in our knowledge about what programs work to help refugees. It also demonstrates the challenges of achieving an equitable balance between assistance for refugees and host populations, an important question, particularly in locations where social protection guarantees for nationals and social services infrastructure remain limited.In September UNICEF Innocenti interviewed six experts attending the Brussels Conference to talk about existing challenges, experience and potential of social protection programmes in contexts of fragility; forced displacement and prolonged crisis, as well as to identify future directions for research. Their words confirm the lack of knowledge in those areas and the critical role of research in bridging the gaps. The interviews conducted now form the basis of a new edition of UNICEF Innocenti's Research Watch programme titled: Social Protection in Emergency Situations Research Watch. On the Research Watch page you can find all the expert video interviews as well as extended podcasts and written commentary.You can download the seven working papers now! Search on the right-hand column of this article under "Related Content - Publications".
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Niger: the nowhere land where children on the move are someone else’s problem as Europe and North Africa tighten their borders

by Sarah Crowe
(2018-07-24) Nothing could be further than from the gates of paradise than this scorching, unearthly wasteland stretching out as far as the eye can see and beyond. Since November ...

5 Questions with Kerry Albright, Chief of Research Facilitation and Knowledge Management at Innocenti

by Kerry Albright
(2018-07-05) Kerry Albright asnwers 5 questions about her work at UNICEF, her experience at the Evidence for Children roundtable event in New York, and her thoughts on the future ...