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Global toolkit for research on children’s digital experience

In response to the fast pace of technological development, the Global Kids Online network was created as an international research partnership aiming to develop a rigorous, cross-national evidence base on children’s online risks, opportunities and rights.
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Adolescent Well-being Research e-Digest under development

UNICEF recognised adolescence as an ‘age of opportunity’ in the 2011 State of the World’s Children report. Despite considerable progress in improving child wellbeing, progress lags in key areas of adolescent wellbeing. As part of Innocenti’s research programme on the social and structural determinants of adolescent wellbeing, a new research e-Digest is under preparation. The new Adolescent Wellbeing Research e-Digest will provide an accessible synthesis of the latest research on adolescent wellbeing in low and middle income countries to enhance understanding of new and emerging research findings. This e-Digest forms part of a broader package of research tools produced by the Research Facilitation Unit aimed at strengthening the evidence base and enhancing research uptake in policymaking and practice.The primary audience for the e-Digest is key stakeholders engaged in adolescent wellbeing programmes, UNICEF staff, and the broader community of development practitioners, policymakers and academics working on adolescent wellbeing. The e-Digest will be written in a clear, succinct language suitable for a lay audience and those for whom English may not be a first language. It will be published quarterly in a user-friendly design that presents the latest research on adolescent wellbeing in an accessible way.  The e-Digest will be produced by Social Development Direct a London based agency specialized in producing research synthesis, evidence digests & research communication products. For each edition the e-Digest team will scan a broad range of existing literature on adolescent wellbeing published over the preceding quarter, including: international peer reviewed journals, evaluation reports, systematic reviews, literature reviews and other evidence synthesis products.
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The Transfer Project international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The meeting will bring together national governments, research institutions and international organizations to discuss latest developments on cash transfer programmes in Africa.
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Research briefs on corporal punishment in schools in three languages

Our latest Innocenti Research Brief Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools in three languages: English, Spanish and French.
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Where are children in internet governance discourse?

Despite the fact that one in three internet users worldwide are under the age of 18, yet internet governance initiatives hardly register the special evolving needs of this group.
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New video on cash transfers for mother baby health

Rarely do stories and videos about development projects in Africa have the luxury of going back again and again to the real people and communities receiving support. With this new video Innocenti starts sharing a series of powerful visual stories from Ghana of exactly this. What’s more, the emerging visual content will track the critical research and evaluation efforts to gather hard evidence about social change.Ghana is on the cutting edge of using cash transfers to stimulate improved nutrition and growth outcomes among infants under one year old in its poorest communities. The project is called LEAP1000 because it builds on a highly successful cash transfer project in Ghana called Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty – or LEAP for short – to address persistent malnutrition and stunting among children in the first 1000 days of life.Innocenti’s social and economic policy team is providing support to the UNICEF Ghana office to design and coordinate a rigorous impact evaluation of LEAP1000. The new project provides a rare opportunity to document on film the planning, roll out, integration and analysis of randomized control trials which should deliver strong evidence of the impact of unconditional cash benefits to vulnerable households with pregnant mothers and infants. Ivan Grifi, Innocenti’s media producer for the LEAP1000 documentation effort, has been travelling to Ghana in recent months to capture the unfolding impact evaluation effort on film. In early 2016 Ivan will make his third and final trip to Ghana. The visit will allow him to spend quality time with households to capture on film the impact for households receiving the cash transfer payments as well as those in the control group not receiving the benefit.In the coming months Innocenti will publish Ivan’s unfolding documentation in video, photo and text stories. We hope to compile an honest and realistic visual story unfolding over time of how research and evaluation should be embedded in development interventions.
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New Innocenti website launched

After many months of painstaking work we are very pleased to introduce to you our new website. When we started this project we talked to hundreds of core users about what was missing on the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti website. You told us that it was too hard for visitors to answer two essential questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” We heard you. Our new digital home features a re-vamped user experience which makes it much easier to connect to our Publications catalogue and our ongoing research projects. Starting on the home page you will be able to scan through our very latest publications and quickly link to our catalogue and improved publications pages with several new features for researchers. When you arrive at our Research project pages you will find an array of resources including our latest relevant publications, blogs, reports, conference pages, partner organization links and multi-media.We have a number of new features to help you get to know our people better. Out Staff page features individual biographies and photos, which in time will be supplemented with CVs and links to journal articles. You will also be able to learn more about the professional background of our research teams. Our Research Facilitation work will have a much more attractive and useful home. You will find expanded information on ethical research involving children, the Best of UNICEF Research, our popular Impact Evaluation learning series, our quality assurance resources and much more.You should also notice that our website performance has improved greatly. Our data is now at home in the clouds so page loading time has been significantly improved. In addition our site now uses adaptive screen technology to ensure the best possible user experience on all devices and screens. Finally, our new website has been built to make the most of the growing social media use of our key research, policy and development practitioner audiences. You can catch up with all our Innocenti blogs on our home page and you will be able to share our content with your friends and colleagues much more conveniently. We have also made it quick and easy to sign up to receive our email updates and newsletters.We hope you enjoy our new digital home. Please let us know about your experience.
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Innocenti researchers publish important findings on intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence affects 1 in 3 women globally, making it the most common form of gender based violence in the world. Programmes to address intimate partner violence usually target men and women in marriages and long term partnerships. However, new evidence from the UNICEF Office of Research — Innocenti shows that this approach may be misguided. The new study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, examines girls’ age of first intimate partner violence victimization, and shows that effective interventions should target boys and girls well before they enter into their first romantic relationship.The study finds that women enter their first marriage/partnership at about age 19, which means that many have started intimate relationships before this age. Physical or sexual violence perpetrated by a male intimate partners typically starts, on average, 3.5 years later, or at about 22 years of age. However, by the first year of partnership, over one third(38.5%) of women have already experienced violence. Therefore, if programs target married women and their partners, they likely have already missed the best window of opportunity for primary prevention for a large number of victims. The study concludes that it is critical to target adolescents before they first enter romantic relationships (before 18.6 years on average) to be effective at preventing violence.Study DetailsThe study analysed population-based data from Demographic and Health Surveys in 30 low- and middle-income countries. The researchers calculated the age at which women first experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence and how long into the marriage or partnership this violence first occurred. The variation in duration into partnership when violence first began was remarkably similar across countries (ranging from 2.5 to 5.2 years after union). Since the global average age of first union for women is approximately 18.6 years, this means that women first experience the onset of this kind of violence between 22 and 24 years of age, on average. Women in countries such as India, Nepal and Mali experience abuse even earlier (on average at age 19), while those in Philippines, Cambodia, and the Ukraine first experience violence somewhat later (aged 24 to 25 years on average).Figure 1: Age of marriage and IPV initiation among women in 30 low- and middle-income countriesImplications for programming and research for intimate partner violence preventionWe know from prior research that younger women are at higher risk, however this study is the first time global measures of age at intimate partner violence onset are highlighted.What can this tell us for current programming and research efforts? First, we need more research on what works to prevent violence among young people. Evaluationsof programmes targeting adolescents and young adults to date have been few, inconclusive, and largely limited to high-income countries. Additionally, most existing surveys (such as the DHS, which are implemented in regular increments in developing countries) only ask married and partnered women their experiences about intimate partner violence, meaning that we do not know much about the experiences of unmarried or non-cohabiting adolescents.Nevertheless, school-based programmes to prevent dating and sexual violence are viewed as some of the most effective types of primary prevention strategies for adolescents. The study results also imply that programs which succeed in preventing or delaying child marriage may only be effective in delaying intimate partner violence. Based on what we know, resources should be targeted towards addressing risk factors in childhood and adolescence and testing new interventions with adolescents.For more research on violence against women and adolescents, visit the Transfer Project[1] and the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti[2]Audrey Pereira is a Social and Economic Policy Consultant on the Transfer Project at the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti. The author would like to thank Amber Peterman her helpful feedback on this topic. The Transfer Project conducts rigorous impact evaluations in African countries on cash transfers and a range of outcomes including early childhood development, youth and adolescent well-being, school enrolment and education, time preference, economic activities, and violence.[1]https://transfer.cpc.unc.edu/?page_id=1151[2] http://www.unicef-irc.org/research/topic/
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Giving Cash to the Poor? Innocenti researchers share key insights at major public policy conference

Researchers from the Innocenti Social and Economic Policy team are prominently featured at a special panel discussion called Giving Cash to the Poor?: Impacts of Africa’s Unconditional Cash Transfers as part of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall Research Conference in Miami, Florida.This year’s theme is “The Golden Age of Evidence-based Policy,” meant to highlight the role of APPAM members around the globe in conducting rigorous evaluations of social programs and in developing the theory and methods of quality evaluations to learn how to more effectively address the world’s social problems. The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary annual research conference that attracts the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. The conference is comprised of panels, roundtables, symposia, and poster presentations from 14 policy areas and is designed to encourage substantive interaction among participants.Research from Innocenti under the Transfer Project features innovative research on cash transfer programs coming out of Africa that not only investigate the traditional domains, but also dig deeper into the potential effect of cash transfer programs to better explain the pathways that these programs reduce poverty and build human capital. The panel brings together research from several different cash transfer programs, African countries, and domains.The African government run programs are unique in that, in contrast to the first generation of Latin American conditional cash transfers, they are nearly all unconditional programs. Despite strong overall evidence, there are still questions as to how impacts in these unconditional programs compare to traditional conditional programs. This panel presents new cross-country data from three large-scale African government run programs: 1) Impacts on food security in Zimbabwe’s Harmonised Social Cash Transfer; 2) Impacts on women’s empowerment and decision-making in the Zambian Child Support Grant, 3) Impacts on consumption smoothing and productive activities also in the Zambian Child Support Grant, and 4) Impacts on child nutrition in Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer.These studies will help policymakers and donors gain more insight into how to design cash transfer programs to target specific outcomes. These studies will also help researchers design studies of cash transfer programs to investigate domains not previously studied.Read more about the panel here:Panel: Giving Cash to the Poor?: Impacts of Africa’s Unconditional Cash TransfersThursday, November 12, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PMBrickell Center (Hyatt Regency Miami)Panel Organizers:  Juan Bonilla, American Institutes for ResearchPanel Chairs: Sudhanshu Handa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; UNICEF Discussants:  Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University and Mary Zaki, University of Maryland Comparing Objective and Experiential Indicators of Household Food Insecurity in ZimbabweGarima Bhalla, University of North Carolina and Sudhanshu Handa, UNICEF Impact of the Zambian Child Grant Program on Women's Decision-Making and EmpowermentAmber Peterman1, Rosa Castro2, Hannah Reeves2, Claire Nowlin2, Juan Bonilla2 and David Seidenfeld2, (1)UNICEF, (2)American Institutes for Research Consumption Smoothing and Productive Investments in Rural ZambiaJuan Bonilla1, Sudhanshu Handa2,3 and David Seidenfeld1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (3)UNICEF Impacts of an Unconditional Cash Transfer on Household Food and Nutrition Security in MalawiKristen Nichole Brugh1, Gustavo Angeles1, Peter Mvula2 and Maxton Tsoka2, (1)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (2)Center for Social Research of the University of Malawi 
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Researching Children’s Rights in the Digital Age: Global Kids Online

It is becoming difficult to imagine a day in a teenagers’ life – in all parts of the globe – without internet access: to socialize with peers, seek information, watch videos, post photos and news updates or play games. As the internet rapidly penetrates all regions, children’s experiences worldwide are increasingly informed by their use of information and communication technologies. This advance in technology presents challenges for safeguarding children’s rights, as their use of digital devices often precedes an effective rights framework and is outpacing legislation and regulation. Furthermore, while digital engagement is rapidly spreading throughout the world, this fast-paced growth often occurs far ahead of any understanding of what constitutes safe and positive use in digital contexts.The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that by the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people will be using the internet, 2 billion of whom will be in developing countries. This exponential growth is largely attributable to the rapid spread of mobile broadband technology, reaching close to 70 per cent of the total world population. What implications does this have for children worldwide? We may see more and more children in lower income countries going online and more children accessing the internet through ‘mobile first’. We may see a digital divide growing not only between those who have access to the internet and those who do not, but also between generations: parents/grandparents/caregivers and children. We may see some children’s educational experiences being enhanced by access to the internet, but we may also see more children at risk of negative experiences because they lack guidance, support and mediation from their parents and educators who have not yet caught up with the fast pace of internet development.This has led to growing concern by child rights organizations, regulators, the private sector and other stakeholders that children’s rights need to be realised online as well as offline. In order to do so, it is imperative that the conditions under which young users live and the ways in which they use the internet are considered when designing and distributing online technologies, networks and services. Although evidence from the global North shows how the risks and opportunities of internet use are impacting on children’s well-being and the realisation of their rights, there is a lack of robust evidence from lower income countries even though this is where we are likely to see most of the future growth in the population of young internet users.1 Where research exists, there are major challenges related to comparability of findings across countries and contexts due to the use of different samples, measures and methods.This research project aims to facilitate cross-national research in the global South by providing the tools to generate and sustain a rigorous evidence base. The scale of such a task is beyond the capacity of any single research institution, nor would it be appropriate for one institution to conduct research across such diverse contexts. What is needed instead is a research toolkit which encompasses the common elements but also allows for local and participatory adaptation or development.With this in mind, Global Kids Online was created as an international research partnership, drawing on and expanding the achievements of the EU Kids Online network – an innovative cross-national initiative funded by the European Commission’s Better Internet for Kids (originally, Safer Internet) Programme. With Professor Sonia Livingstone from the London School of Economics and Jasmina Byrne from the UNICEF Office of Research as principal investigators, the project involves collaboration with a number of researchers and experts from different countries. The purpose is to gather evidence to understand whether and how children’s rights are being enhanced or undermined in the digital age as well as to inform policy makers and stakeholders nationally and internationally. UNICEF’s global presence facilitates this multi-national partnership by enabling the project to conduct research across multiple contexts.The project aims for a balanced approach which focuses not only on the risks that children encounter on the internet, but also on the opportunities for social connectedness, entertainment, learning, participation, creativity, and expression of identity. To accomplish this, we adopt a bottom-up research approach that focuses primarily on children’s own experiences. The specific goals of the project are to:Develop a research toolkit consisting of a modular survey, qualitative research protocols and methodological guidelines Specifically, the toolkit will contain:- a modular survey questionnaire comprising compulsory modules, optional modules and guidance for construction of additional modules;- methodological guidelines developed by commissioned experts;- a short version of the questionnaire with only compulsory modules (‘essential indicators’) that can be incorporated into other surveys;- qualitative guidelines and tools for modifying the toolkit according to particular country contexts or needs, to ensure cross-national sensitivity.Produce national reports from four participating countries and a synthesis reportThe project initially facilitates research in four countries (Argentina, the Philippines, Serbia, and South Africa). The research is conducted by UNICEF Country Offices in partnership with national academic institutions, with the UNICEF Office of Research as global coordinator. Each country will produce a national report with results from quantitative and qualitative research on the risks and opportunities of children’s internet use, supported by the toolkit. A synthesis report will be developed that summarizes the research process, highlights key lessons and expands on the practical outcomes of the implementation and evaluation of the toolkit.Develop a website for hosting the toolkit, national reports and a synthesis reportThe research project will run until June 2016 when the toolkit and reports will be shared publically through an open access website. Following the first stage, participation by other interested countries will be contingent on meeting a set of requirements, with the intention of preserving the integrity of the research framework and ensuring comparability of data. We hope that this work will inspire researchers and practitioners to generate more knowledge that will support global policy efforts relating to children’s rights in the digital age. Click here to download document Contacts:Jasmina ByrneLead Researcherjbyrne@unicef.orgDaniel Kardefelt-WintherResearch Coordinatordkardefeltwinther@unicef.org1 For recent international reports, see UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti (2012), International Telecommunications Union (2013), EU Kids Online (2011 and 2014) and Family Online Safety Institute (2011).
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