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National World Children's Day 2017 celebration held at Istituto degli Innocenti

(21 November 2017) A national celebration of World Children's Day (20 November) for Italy was held at Istituto degli Innocenti under the title Bambini, d(i)ritti verso il futuro, which means roughly "Children Stand Up for Their Rights." The event was attended by Italy's national Minister for Constitutional Reforms and Equal Opportunity, Maria Elena Boschi, together with Tuscan Regiona and Florence officials, senior management of the Istituto degli Innocenti, Sarah Cook, Director of UNICEF Innocenti and school children from several Florence schools.
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Violent discipline, sexual abuse and homicides stalk millions of children worldwide

(2 November 2017) Staggering numbers of children – some as young as 12 months old – are experiencing violence, often by those entrusted to take care of them, UNICEF said in a new report released today. “The harm inflicted on children around the world is truly worrying,” said UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Cornelius Williams. “Babies slapped in the face; girls and boys forced into sexual acts; adolescents murdered in their communities – violence against children spares no one and knows no boundaries.”A 15 year old, holds her doll inside her house at North Jakarta Indonesia. During the night she sings at a cafe in a red light district in the capital. A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents (download at right or below) uses the very latest data to show that children experience violence across all stages of childhood and in all settings:Violence against young children in their homes:Three-quarters of the world’s 2- to 4-year-old children – around 300 million – experience psychological aggression and/or physical punishment by their caregivers at home;Around 6 in 10 one year olds in 30 countries with available data are subjected to violent discipline on a regular basis. Nearly a quarter of one-year-olds are physically shaken as punishment and nearly 1 in 10 are hit or slapped on the face, head or ears.Worldwide, 1 in 4 children under age five – 176 million – are living with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence.Sexual violence against girls and boys:Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts in their lifetime. Only 1 per cent of adolescent girls who had experienced sexual violence said they reached out for professional help. In the 28 countries with data, 90 per cent of adolescent girls who had experienced forced sex, on average, said the perpetrator of the first incident was known to them. Data from six countries reveals friends, classmates and partners were among the most frequently cited perpetrators of sexual violence against adolescent boys. Violent deaths among adolescents:Globally, every 7 minutes an adolescent is killed by an act of violence.In the United States, non-Hispanic black boys aged 10 to 19 years old are almost 19 times more likely to be murdered than non-Hispanic white boys of the same age. If the homicide rate among non-Hispanic black adolescent boys is applied nationwide, the United States would be one of the top ten most deadly countries in the world. In 2015, the risk of being killed by homicide for a non-Hispanic black adolescent boy in the United States was the same as the risk of being killed due to collective violence for an adolescent boy living in war-torn South Sudan.Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region where adolescent homicide rates have increased; nearly half of all homicides among adolescents globally occurred in this region in 2015.Violence in schools:Half the population of school-age children – 732 million – live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited. Three-quarters of documented school shootings that have taken place over the past 25 years occurred in the United States.A 10 year old boy whose father and five uncles were killed in gang violence in Honduras UNICEF Innocenti is conducting an ongoing multi-country study on the drivers of violence affecting children in Italy, Peru, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. One of the key emerging findings is that violence affecting children should not be understood as an interaction between a child and another person, but through the socio-ecology of violence with complex, shifting layers of exposure to violence in all its forms.UNICEF prioritises efforts to end violence across all its work, including supporting government efforts to improve services for children affected by violence, developing policies and legislation that protect children, and helping communities, parents and children to prevent violence through practical programmes like parenting courses and actions against domestic violence. To end violence against children, UNICEF is calling for governments to take urgent action and support the INSPIRE guidance which has been agreed and promoted by WHO, UNICEF and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, including:Adopting well-coordinated national action plans to end violence against children – incorporating education, social welfare, justice and health systems, as well as communities and children themselves.Changing behaviours of adults and addressing factors that contribute to violence against children, including economic and social inequities, social and cultural norms that condone violence, inadequate policies and legislation, insufficient services for victims, and limited investments in effective systems to prevent and respond to violence. Focussing national policies on minimizing violent behaviour, reducing inequalities, and limiting access to firearms and other weapons. Building social service systems and training social workers to provide referrals, counselling and therapeutic services for children who have experienced violence. Educating children, parents, teachers, and community members to recognise violence in all its many forms and empowering them to speak out and report violence safely. Collecting better disaggregated data on violence against children and tracking progress through robust monitoring and evaluation.For more information about the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, please go to article was adapted from a story forst published on
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Social protection shows potential to promote active citizenship

(24 October 2017) A new UNICEF Innocenti study, Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: The Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection, considers how social protection can address vulnerability while encouraging active citizenship.  The paper shines light on how social protection programmes can be informed and developed through active citizenship measures which simultaneously reduce vulnerability of the poor and strengthen accountability measures that empower citizens to voice their concerns.Community gathering for a LEAP social protection payment in Maweakpor in the Volta Region, Ghana Co-authored by Richard de Groot, UNICEF Innocenti consultant, Tayllor Renee Spadafora of UNICEF Ghana, Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai University of Ghana, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and Nikhil Wilmink from the Institute of Development Studies, the Innocenti Working Paper demonstrates how social protection programmes can promote social accountability mechanisms that enhance citizen-state participation.“In many countries with established social protection policies, there are usually standalone programmes without transformative effects. Social protection has the potential for so much more – to give people a voice in society – and that’s what we’re trying to measure here,” said co-author Richard de Groot.“A lot of people know what it means to be an active citizen – holding authorities accountable, protesting to achieve goals, etc. – but there is a small proportion of people actually doing this,” said de Groot. “Since social protection targets the most vulnerable populations, including those without a voice in society, if implemented well, social protection has the potential to expand their voices and participation in society.”Figure: How social accountability mechanisms enable citizen-State interfaces within social protection programmesSocial protection for active citizenship aims to create intrinsic benefits that promote citizen engagement, ideally creating a pathway for citizens to evolve from consumers and users in invited spaces to makers and shapers claiming spaces to voice their concerns to the State.Looking at evidence from three countries – Brazil, India, and Ghana – the study aims to show how social rights vary across countries and how different cultural contexts and programmes contribute to the stimulation of justice-based claims. In Ghana, where a higher dependence on aid provision exists, justice-based social protection is in its infancy. However, progress promoting active citizenship is seen emerging on a local level in the form of beneficiary demand and feedback on social protection programmes including the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer programme.  Ghana’s national social protection policy, launched in June 2016, helps to promote active citizenship and beneficiary rights through accountability measures embedded in the policy.  In India, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme provides a framework to promote citizen rights and entitlements through accountability and transparency measures enabling citizens to voice their concerns. In Brazil, the Bolsa Família programmes grew from the municipal level, encouraging citizens to engage and to pressure the state to meet its commitments.“What we see at the moment is that in a lot of low-income countries, citizen engagement is very much closed and it is the government that decides what programmes happen and how,” de Groot added. “Through mutual reinforcement, programmes focusing on linking social rights to active citizenship allow the State to be more responsive to the needs of its citizens and the citizens to be more engaged in society.”While the case studies show signs of promise, de Groot notes that despite rapid growth, most programmes currently only promote a “one-way invited space”.  “There is so much potential to move beyond this to get more engaged citizens claiming their space where the most vulnerable can get a double benefit from social protection programmes that help people to fulfil livelihoods and engage in society.”    
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Tunisia study explores effect of intervention packages on childhood stunting

(19 October 2017) A new UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper: Child Undernourishment, WASH and Policy Synergies in Tunisia, establishes an econometric strategy for implementing UNICEF’s conceptual framework on nutrition by analysing the effects of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) investments on child stunting. Looking at evidence from different populations and locations in Tunisia – a country with uneven progress in child nutrition – the paper asserts that successful mitigation of child stunting cannot rely on one universal approach, but instead requires mapping and application of the most effective intervention packages by residence and socioeconomic status to meet the varied needs of children in different contexts.A family in their kitchen in an urban low income area of Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. Many families in the neighborhood arrived from rural areas in search of jobs, but most are now unemployed. The paper, co-authored by UNICEF Innocenti’s Jose Cuesta and the World Bank’s Laura Maratou-Kolias, demonstrates how improvements in stunting come from successful integration of interventions from nutrition and WASH sectors. While UNICEF’s strategy has long recognized that WASH interventions can improve nutrition, this paper intends to enable policy makers and programme managers to implement more effective intervention packages to improve nutrition outcomes specific to targeted population groups.“Typically, economists will tell you which intervention has the largest impact, but we wanted to look at which packages of interventions correlate with the best outcomes,” Cuesta, author and Social Policy Chief with UNICEF Innocenti, said. “Indicators are just one part of how to improve programing – in this paper, we’re trying to provide a bigger strategy to inform policy interventions, linking UNICEF’s conceptual framework with multidimensional indicators to follow over time.”In the case of Tunisia, the study analysed which investments had the largest impact on improving child nutrition using data from the 2012 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. The estimates indicated that multi-sectoral invention packages varied in how they correlated with better nutrition outcomes depending on socioeconomic status and residence.  Among rural poor groups in Tunisia, for example, packages combining WASH, care, food security and health interventions did not show significant effects on child nutrition, whereas this combination was effective in Tunisian urban settings. Among rural poor groups, integration of care and food security interventions alone correlated with better nutritional outcomes for children. Integrated multi-sectoral interventions for appropriate child nutrition. Adapted from UNICEF policy review 1990 Intervention packages can be ineffective for several reasons. Lack of sufficient investment and poor efficiency in implemention can explain why some interventions are more effective than others, especially for the most vulnerable rural poor. According to Cuesta, measurement and evaluation need to be improved in order to implement better targeted solutions.“The data from Tunisia shows that single interventions don’t work – or don’t correlate with the best outcomes for nutrition specifically,” said Cuesta. “Only packages work, but not all packages worked for every location, setting, or socioeconomic zone. Packages aren’t going to work the same for everyone.” This research aims to lay the foundation for more effective efforts to mitigate child stunting by improving understanding of how interventions from different sectors should be packaged differentially to address undernourishment by population group and location. The paper stresses that a single intervention will not bring uniform benefits across different types of households and that since investments are limited, interventions need to selectively respond to the specific requirements of different types of households before nutrition can improve evenly for all Tunisian children.Keywords:Nutrition, stunting, WASH, programming, TunisiaRelated publications:UNICEF Strategy for Improved Nutrition of Children and Women in Developing CountriesImproving Child Nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progressThe role of foods as source of nutrients in the prevention of stuntingCash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What We Know and What We Need to Know  
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Children and migration decisions: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll

by Sara Burrone, Bina D'Costa, Goran Holmqvist
(2017-11-16) Migration is a major human phenomenon that has accompanied civilization since the origins of mankind. People have been moving across regions, countries and continents in ...

Migration, hate speech and media ethics

by Patrizia Faustini
(2017-11-08) Migration is not a crime. It is a practice as old as human civilization and a human right recognized in many international treaties. Since 2013 European media have intens ...