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Make the digital world safer for children - State of the World's Children Report, 2017

(11 December 2017) Despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF said in its annual flagship report released today. The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a digital world presents UNICEF’s first comprehensive look at the different ways digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances, identifying dangers as well as opportunities.  It argues that governments and the private sector have not kept up with the pace of change, exposing children to new risks and harms and leaving millions of the most disadvantaged children behind. The annual flagship publication of UNICEF makes use of evidence generated by Global Kids Online (GKO), a research project and network that supports worldwide efforts to conduct rigorous, comparable research on children’s use of digital technology.A boy in South Sudan holds up his mobile phone, which shows his photograph, as tweeted the previous day.  “For better and for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximizing the benefits of the internet for every child.”The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. These include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.But the report shows that millions of children are missing out. Around one third of the world’s youth – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.The report also examines how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.Children in New Delhi using a mobile phone  And digital networks like the Dark Web and cryptocurrencies are enabling the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including trafficking and ‘made to order’ online child sexual abuse.The report presents current data and analysis about children’s online usage and the impact of digital technology on children’s wellbeing, exploring growing debates about digital “addiction” and the possible effect of screen time on brain development.The Global Kids Online Cross-Country Research PartnershipAs co-coordinator of GKO, a cross country research partnership, UNICEF Innocenti has played a key role in providing evidence to support this year’s State of the World’s Children report. GKO is an international research project that aims to generate and sustain a rigorous cross-national evidence base around children’s use of the internet by creating a global network of researchers and experts.Global Kids Online started out with 4 countries at the end of 2015, with the purpose of conducting pilot studies to inform the development of a research toolkit intended to support high-quality research on children’s online experiences worldwide (Argentina, Serbia, South Africa, Philippines). By the end of 2017, the Global Kids Online network has grown by another 11 countries (Montenegro, Bulgaria, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Ghana, New Zealand, Canada, Albania, India, China), bringing the total number of country partners up to 15, with research implementation taking place in many of these countries in 2017/2018. Additional facts from the report include:Young people are the most connected age group. Worldwide, 71 per cent are online compared with 48 per cent of the total population. African youth are the least connected, with around 3 out of 5 youth offline, compared to just 1 in 25 in Europe.Approximately 56 per cent of all websites are in English and many children cannot find content they understand or that is culturally relevant.  More than 9 in 10 child sexual abuse URLs identified globally are hosted in five countries – Canada, France, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation and the United States. Only collective action – by governments, the private sector, children’s organizations, academia, families and children themselves – can help level the digital playing field and make the internet safer and more accessible for children, the report says.The report includes a set of recommendations to help guide more effective policymaking and more responsible business practices to benefit children. UNICEF Innocenti’s child protection specialist Jasmina Byrne played a key role in drafting the recommendations which include:Provide all children with affordable access to high-quality online resources. Protect children from harm online – including abuse, exploitation, trafficking, cyberbullying and exposure to unsuitable materials.Safeguard children’s privacy and identities online. Teach digital literacy to keep children informed, engaged and safe online.Leverage the power of the private sector to advance ethical standards and practices that protect and benefit children online.Put children at the centre of digital policy."Digital policies need to be mindful of children's needs and rights, particularly the most disadvantaged. They need to be evidence informed and they need to continuously evolve to adapt to technological change and emergeing challenges," said Jasmina Byrne.For more information on GKO visit: www.globalkidsonline.net
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Forced Displacement of Children in the Italian Context

(6 December 2017) The plight of many unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) arriving in Italy through Central Mediterranean routes – currently the most dangerous access corridor to Europe – was recently discussed at an Innocenti Seminar “Forced Displacement of Children in the Italian Context.” The seminar showcased data, policy and media research to ignite discussion, explore linkages and consider potential future work in this area. UNICEF Innocenti conducts research on children affected by forced displacement to help explain intricate dynamics not captured by more general research.An 18 year old youth texting his family in Cote D'Ivoire at a cafe in Palermo, Sicily. Recent Data and trendsDr Alexandra Ricard-Guay, principal investigator for the EU project DemandAT researching interconnections between trafficking and smuggling of migrants, gave an overview of the legal framework and policy response on child migration and child trafficking in Italy underling knowledge  gaps and implications on the migration discourse .In her presentation, Ricard-Guay reported on the latest data available on child migration to Italy, a phenomenon which has more recently attracted the attention of politicians due to the increased numbers of children arriving by sea since 2011. “The exponential increase of unaccompanied children arriving in Italy has led to a tripling of capacity in the Italian reception system in the last 5 years. However, despite visibility there are still misbeliefs around the data and facts surrounding migrant children,” said Richard-Guay.Harrowing Journeys: Children and youth on the move across the Mediterranean Sea, at risk of trafficking and exploitation (https://data.unicef.org/resources/harrowing-journeys/) According to the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the total number of unaccompanied children in Italy has doubled since 2015 reaching 18,486 in August 2017. Sicily currently hosts over 43 per cent of these children. The number of unaccompanied children dropping out of reception facilities who become untraceable is remarkable. It is estimated that in 2017 there were 5,433 untraceable children.According to a recent assessment of children on the move in Italy conducted by the REACH Initiative in collaboration with UNICEF, lack of knowledge about the asylum system, misinformation, bad conditions in the reception facilities, mistrust, are among the reasons given by children leaving the reception facilities. Nonetheless the discourse around missing children remains mostly inside a ‘trafficking frame,’ “a politically convenient narrative that divert attention from other critical causes of disappearance,” as Ricard-Guay underlined.“The Zampa law, the first comprehensive legal framework for unaccompanied children,” she continued, “represents a significant policy response toward greater protection of unaccompanied  minors, but there are persisting challenges that still require attention from the legislator”.Ricard-Guay identified gender disaggregated data as one of the topical areas that need further qualitative investigation. According to the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies 93 per cent of children are boys between 15-17 years old, mainly from Gambia, Nigeria, Guinea and Egypt. Girls represent around 7 per cent with Nigeria as the main country of origin (48 per cent) followed by Eritrea (14 per cent) and Somalia (6 per cent). About age, girls are slightly younger, between 7 and 14 years old.https://www.osservatorio.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Barretta_Forum_Migr_Peace_simn2017.pdf Media Coverage AnalysisThe narrative about migrant children as portrayed in the media was analysed by Paola Barretta and Giuseppe Milazzo, associate researchers at the Osservatorio of Pavia, the main data source on media monitoring for UNHCR Italy. Milazzo’s research shows that news on migrants is mainly associated with crimes and safety (24 per cent) and terrorism (6 per cent), and that despite a drop in news coverage of migration issues since 2015 community fear towards migrants grew reaching 46 per cent of interviewees in a September 2017 poll.According to Milazzo, children are quite invisible in media coverage.of migration issues but are sometimes used as symbols to generate empathy. Only 3 per cent of all news on migration covers child migrants.“Although the frames of the news regarding child migrants are in general positive” concluded Milazzo” there are 4 alarming instances that are becoming recurrent and need further investigation. Those include age, [i.e.] child migrants are not children; school, [i.e]. child migrants are invading our schools; costs, [i.e.] child migrants represent a huge cost; and crime, [i.e.] child migrants are a threat to our personal safety”.Critical role of foster families and guardiansIolanda Genovese, Innocenti research officer – migration programme, drew on her experience  working for Accoglierete, a non-government association of volunteer guardians in Siracusa, and revealed the importance of civil society response to institutional gaps in putting protection and integration policy into practice. She highlighted challenges of a child turning 18 and transitioning from a supported to unsupported status in a day, and how crucial it is to empower and accompany him through adulthood.She underlined how local engagement can lead to attitudinal change in people perceptions about the migration phenomenon, from a mass-media driven negative perception towards a narratives that looks at the human before the “migrant”. The seminar was jointly organised by Dr Bina D’Costa, Migration programme, Dr Emanuela Bianchera, Knowledge Management and Dr. Patrizia Faustini, Communications. For further information go to the Children and Migration research page. 
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UNICEF experts call for improved internet policy for children at 4th World Internet Conference

(4 December 2017) The internet has brought great benefits to young people, particularly those who are marginalized or live in remote communities. Yet it also presents risks to child safety, according to international experts. UNICEF officials participated in the Safeguarding the Future: Online Protection of Underage Users session of the Fourth World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit. The session was co-hosted by the UNICEF China country office.According to Jasmina Byrne, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF Innocenti, “The majority of children from 7 countries surveyed (Argentina, Chile, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia, South Africa and the Philippines) have learned something new by going online – they found useful information for their study or work opportunity, participated in sites where other children share similar interests, and up to 50% of children looked for health information on line.”Participants in the Safeguarding the Future: Online Protection of Underage Users session of the Fourth World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit “When we asked children about negative experiences online between 12-36% of children said they had experienced being treated in a hurtful or a nasty way,” said Byrne. UNICEF Innocenti is co-sponsor, along with London School of Economics, of the Global Kids Online (GKO) research partnership which was launched in October 2016. GKO started with four participating countries and has grown to cover 10 countries with another 10, including China set to join the cross-country effort in 2018. "Protecting children online is a vital issue in internet governance. That’s why UNICEF has been engaged on this issue for years,’ said Ms Fatoumata Ndiaye, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, "And protecting children online is closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, which represent governments’ promises to their citizens to take action on key issues, including protecting children from violence, both offline and online."Children worldwide face threats from cyberbullying, internet fraud and invasions of privacy - and only the joint efforts of governments, tech companies and NGOs can protect them, said Rana Flowers, China representative for UNICEF.Fatoumata Ndaiye, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, deleivers remarks at the Safeguarding the Future: Online Protection of Underage Users session of the Fourth World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit. UNICEF has treated the protection of children online as a priority for many years, she said, adding that this year's edition of The State of the World's Children, the organization's annual report, will focus on the benefits and risks young people face in the digital age. The report will be released this month.Jasmina Byrne summed up key policy imperatives for improved internet governance for children. “Key features of digital policy for children’s rights should be the development of children’s skills and literacies. This will enable children to make the most of digital connectivity as well as to understand risks and negative consequences of their internet use. It will help them understand their own responsibility towards other internet users and to be good digital citizens. Digital literacy encompasses all these areas, implying a set of competencies that goes beyond technical skills. It includes the ability to search, evaluate and manage information found online.”Jasmina Byrne, UNICEF Innocenti child protection expert delvering remarks at the Safeguarding the Future: Online Protection of Underage Users session of the Fourth World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit
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Economics of inequality and conflict

(1 December 2017) Students recently gathered for the opening lecture in the University of Florence School of Economics and Management’s new lecture series on development economics, given by Jose Cuesta Chief of social and economic policy at UNICEF Innocenti.Cuesta’s lecture, titled Inequality, Redistribution and Conflict, presented an economic perspective on conflict and inequality, through examination of economic models influencing current events. The presentation zoomed-in on recent examples of civil conflict in Honduras and Zimbabwe, looking at the effect of inequality on the costs of war and how these variables may have affected political stability.Mothers and children near the coast shortly after arriving in Cox's Bazar District, Bangladesh. The three spent seven days on a bank of the Naf River in Myanmar before making the crossing aboard a fishing boat.Research on the link between inequality and conflict is important for UNICEF – a leading humanitarian response agency in countries affected by conflict.  “Understanding how conflict emerges and pervades is critical for our work, both in terms of contextualizing our programming and ensuring it contributes to solutions,” said Cuesta. Equity, for example, is one cross-cutting pillar that is intimately related to conflict, he added.In his lecture, Cuesta presented economic models that attempt to measure the role of inequality as a contributing variable in predicting a conflict. Some models, he emphasized, could be tailored to work for very specific situations, but measuring inequality as well as factoring in the many different cultural contexts that exist for different countries and states, has proven to be a challenge for developing universal economic models for conflict. Inequality, Redistribution and Conflict from UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti Cuesta noted, “a model that can be only used for one country is not a very useful model. The economic model of conflict provides a set of principles that are useful to understand certain dynamics of conflict – but not all... we can come up with variables with more resolution, including those of culture, social norms, perceptions and attitude. That would require more precise instruments of data collection. And then we need to better explain the results our analytics provide.”There are several ways in which poverty or inequality can affect conflict, according to Cuesta. “A researcher cannot pick up the argument that best suits his or her theory. Here, the role of mixed methods is a good alternative,” he said. For example, looking at how conditions of unequal voice and participation can potentially both reduce and accelerate conflict (by either squelching opposition or fueling grievances) is an area where qualitative research could be used to determine the chances a given country has of experiencing civil war. More granular and country specific work is needed, he stressed, in order to create better models.Jose Cuesta, UNICEF Innocenti's Chief of Social and Economic Policy, delivering his lecture titled 'Inequality Redistribution and Conflict' to open a new lecture series on development economics at the University of Florence, School of Economics and Management. [READ about UNICEF Innocenti’s emerging research initiative to analyse the effects of conflict and crisis on adolescent health]Improving our ability to measure inequality is also crucial for better research. “As it is the case to measure poverty, or child wellbeing, in order to measure inequality, we first need more frequent data. Waiting 5 or 10 years to have a chance to measure is completely inadequate,” Cuesta said. “In fact, we know much more of the ultra-poor than the ultra-rich. A possible solution to this problem is to gain more anonymous access to tax records. When this access is allowed, the payoffs are huge,” he added, referencing the World Wealth and Income Database, which has greatly improved the diagnostics of inequality around the world.
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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 www.end-violence.org/.This article was adapted from a story forst published on www.unicef.org
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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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Supporting educators in zones of war, conflict and widespread violence

(19 October 2017) The annual Georg Arnhold Symposium Preparing educators for peacebuilding in violent conflict has been organized this year in Florence, jointly by the Georg Eckert Institute and UNICEF Innocenti, 16 – 18 October 2017 to explore methods for supporting and empowering educators working in situations of highly escalated conflict, widespread violence and of transition from war to peace, and to contribute to sustainable and positive peace.The Georg Arnhold Symposium’s main objective is to provide a venue for a global dialogue on violence, conflict and post-violence settings, affecting all societies both in the North and South, and for constructive responses to violence in the educational system taking place at the personal, organizational, and societal levels.Syrian refugee and education activist Muzoon Almellehan skips rope with students at the School of Peace at the Kousseri internally displaced peoples site in the Lake Region, Chad “It is important to build a global dialogue about the role of education in conflict situations around the world” said professor Giovanni Scotto of the University of Florence and lead organizer of the Symposium, “to overcome the stereotype that conflicts and conflictual situations are mainly in the South.”The gathering offered an opportunity to share insights and review case studies coming from the direct experiences of the participants. For three days the group of researchers, street educators and activists discussed and shared experiences from different parts of the world, highlighting the importance of locally developed knowledge, models, and strategies to address violence with education.“It is important to adhere to and start from the reality and experience of individuals,” continued Prof. Scotto. “If we want to build a sustainable peace in conflictual situations. There are different ways of experiencing violence, each of them requiring a different kind of answer.”Presentation underway during the Georg Arnhold Symposium 2017: Preparing Educators for Peace-building in Violent Conflicts in Sala Brunelleschi at the Innocenti Institute. According to the conference organizers understanding the training of educators working in settings of acute violence and conflict, and supporting their work are essential steps towards developing better educational responses to armed conflict and violence as well as for building sustainable peace.The Symposium aims to highlight the importance of locally developed knowledge, models, and strategies to address violence through education, and also to build a community of practice on education in peacebuilding. The ultimate objective is to strengthen the ability of both international and local peace educators, learning from local wisdom, experiences and resources.Participants in a discussion at the Georg Arnhold Symposium 2017: Preparing Educators for Peacebuilding in Violent Conflicts. Peacebuilding is a research topic which deserves close attention for the implications it can have on the lives of young people and for the role that young people can play in sustainable conflict resolution. In 2015 UNICEF Innocenti dedicated a full edition of Research Watch to Youth, conflict and peacebuilding, and in May 2017 organized the 15th global symposium on the Contributions of Psychology to Peace jointly with the University La Sapienza in Rome and the International Union of Psychological Science.The Georg Arnhold Symposium is one of the three activities that are managed annually by the Georg Arnhold programme, in addition to a Summer School and a Professorship by the Georg Eckert Institute. 
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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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Child Dignity in a digital world Congress at Vatican City

(10 October 2017) UNICEF Innocenti was invited to present the results of a survey launched by Global Kids Online (GKO), an international research project co-sponsored with the London School of Economics, at the “Child Dignity in the Digital World” congress organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the WeProtect Global Alliance, 3-6 October. The Congress brought together outstanding experts, leaders and government representatives from around the world to discuss international efforts to protect children from online sexual abuse and other issues related to child protection in the digital age.In his remarks Pope Francis recognized the great advantages offered by the digital revolution, but exhorted social media businesses to invest “a fair portion of their great profits” to protect “impressionable minds” and to guide the processes set in motion by growth of technology, rejecting any “ideological and mythical vision of the net as a realm of unlimited freedom”.An adolescent girl reading a text at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome first congress on Child Dignity Congress on protecting children from online sexual abuse. The final “Declaration of Rome” called on politicians, religious leaders, and stakeholder organizations to help build a global awareness to protect children from online exploitation. Jasmina Byrne, child protection specialist at UNICEF Innocenti, introduced the GKO project and shared insights from 5 countries that have already made their results public: Argentina, Bulgaria, South Africa, Chile and Montenegro Between 32 and 68 per cent of children have seen sexual images online, and between 11 and 27 per cent have felt upset by the images. Moreover, between 7 and 26 per cent of interviewed children were targeted by sexual images with up to 39 per cent feeling upset about it. Both experiences were more common among the older children. Between 20 and 41 per cent of children accepted contact with people they were familiar with but had not met in person, while in the 12 months prior to the surveys between 8 and 32 per cent of children met a “stranger” and of those up to 40 per cent fell into the 15-17 age range. “Although only between 1 and 8 per cent were upset by meeting those they did not know before” said Jasmina Byrne, “… we should not neglect the number of those who felt bothered about this experience and we need to know more about these children.”Byrne also highlighted some of the implications for policy that have resulted from the survey, including: the close connection between offline and online risks and the need to understand more about the children who are most vulnerable to online harm. She also highlighted the importance of adopting a child-centered approach to online risks, giving full recognition of diversity in children’s lives, age and gender. Early educational interventions, especially for younger children, to support the development of children’s digital skills, literacies and safety practices are among the most critical recommendations coming out of the GKO research to date. Byrne emphasized the importance of promoting digital citizenship and child safety online through a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral approach, and with engagement from parents and children themselves. Jasmina Byrne, child protection specialist with UNICEF Innocenti shaking hands with Pope Francis at the Pontifical Gregorian University Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World. The random household surveys undertaken by GKO research partner countries did not specifically target children or groups of children who are vulnerable to sexual abuse online, but instead looked at the whole range of children’s experiences online. As of 2017 it has collected data from 10 countries and some 10,000 children and 5,000 parents. More information available about country reports, comparative analysis and other resources at https://www.unicef-irc.org/research/270/ and www.globalkidsonline.net. Also presenting at the Congress was Cornelius Williams, Global Chief of Child Protection based at UNICEF headquarters in New York. Williams explained how the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 provide an important global commitment endorsed by the world’s governments to advocate for improved multi-sectoral efforts to protect children from violence and exploitation online.Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection said “The congress provides an outstanding opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practice on risks and prevention as children navigate this new digital world.”Baroness Shields OBE, UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security said: “Our increasingly connected society greatly empowers children, but also exposes them to risks that compromise their safety and wellbeing. To address these escalating global threats we need a broad coalition of government, faith leaders, academia and industry, all committed to protecting the dignity of children in this digital age.” The Pontifical Gregorian University conference in Rome provided an opportunity to reflect on the magnitude of a rapidly growing global phenomenon which involves children from all ages and in all countries, and to discuss online bullying, pornography and paedophilia at the presence of representatives from the main social media business companies, including Facebook and Microsoft.The international research project GKO developed by UNICEF Innocenti, London School of Economics, EU Kids Online is a first step in that direction. GKO provides a methodology and a research framework to carry out comparative research worldwide with children from 9-17 and their parents, and to build evidence that can be used to help policy makers and practitioners develop approaches to protect children’s rights in the digital age; maximizing their opportunities to benefit from the internet while minimizing risk of harm. 
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