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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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Global workshop raises capacity on Public Finance for Children

(28 Sept 2017) Nearly 100 UNICEF staff, managers and specialists from 62 countries recently gathered at UNICEF Innocenti in Florence for two one-week workshops on public finance for children.
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New Expert Report Uncovers the Massive Global Burden of Childhood Violence

(27 September 2017) Violence in childhood is a preventable but nearly universal phenomenon that affects 1.7 billion children, nearly 3 out of 4 worldwide, each year, with catastrophic but often hidden impacts on individuals, communities and societies.It affects children in every country, rich and poor, north and south.Ending violence in childhood and freeing children from fear is the world’s single largest investment opportunity to enhance children’s capabilities and build peaceful societies. The annual financial costs of physical, sexual and psychological violence against children are estimated to range between 2 and 5 percent of global GDP, or about US $7 trillion.Two siblings in their home in Omoa, Honduras. They have tried to flee intense gang related violence through migration numerous times.Violence in childhood is also inextricably linked with violence against women.Children who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of abuse when they grow up.These are among the key findings of the new Global Report 2017 Ending Violence in Childhood, issued today by the international learning collaborative Know Violence in Childhood: A Global Learning Initiative (or Know Violence). The report is one of the most comprehensive analyses of childhood violence ever undertaken, an almost three year long effort documenting the scale of violence experienced by millions of the world’s children. The new report highlights both the enormous scale of this global crisis, and the integrated prevention strategies that can end childhood violence, thereby unlocking opportunities for economic progress, enhanced human development, and expanded freedoms.“From severe physical punishment to sexual abuse to homicide, childhood violence damages individuals, families and communities in both rich countries and poor, with a cost in the trillions of dollars a year,” said Know Violence Global Co-Chair A.K. Shiva Kumar. “But violence in childhood is not inevitable. Political leaders must help us implement what we already know works and break the silence around this critical issue.”Childhood violence includes a broad range of experiences, from corporal punishment to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, to the effect of witnessing violence against others.Beyond the immediate physical damage it causes, exposure to violence can traumatize children, harm school performance, lead to depression and other illnesses, and increase the chances that young people will become the victims or perpetrators of violence in the future.“Growing up free from violence is a fundamental human right, and ensuring safe childhoods is a key component of sustainable human development,” said Baroness Vivien Stern, Know Violence Global Co-Chair. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals will require all governments to strengthen their data gathering systems on violence.Know Violence has synthesized the best evidence from thousands of sources worldwide on how to make these global goals a reality.”Over the course of Know Violence’s work, the research team uncovered significant gaps in the availably of nationally representative data on key indicators of violence against women and children.According to Know Violence Steering Group Chair and President of the China Medical Board Dr. Lincoln Chen, “The Know Violence Learning Initiative has made a significant contribution by compiling what we know, but also identifying what we do not know.”Dr. Chen continued, “This is particularly true with violence against boys, with data on physical violence only available for six countries, and sexual violence for only four countries. Surely we can find the will and resources to ensure that we understand the extent to which our children are impacted by violence and how to stop it.”In an effort to better track and compare available data, the Know Violence report also presents a unique new matrix, the global Violence in Childhood (VIC) Index. This new tool enables comparisons to be made between countries and regions of the world.The report is informed by input from 44 research papers exploring the causes and impact of, and responses to, childhood violence, that were commissioned from over one hundred authors. These papers drew on over 3,100 articles, books, and reports, including over 170 systematic reviews of evidence on preventing childhood violence.Know Violence also organized a series of regional meetings around the world in order to directly engage with researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.While the challenges in ending violence in childhood are significant, solutions exist and the opportunities are substantial.Governments everywhere need to adopt prevention approaches to end violence and stop treating violence in childhood as a series of bad incidents.Solutions should enhance the individual capacities of parents, caregivers, and children to deal with anger and frustration, also to report violence.Violence-prevention must be embedded in institutions – such as schools, health, and social services facilities – so that children are in violence-free spaces as they grow up.Eliminating the root causes of violence – arising from power differences, inequality, and patriarchy – can support the building of more peaceful communities.Ending Violence in Childhood calls for political leaders and policy-makers to advance proven programs to end violence in childhood.Break the silence around violence, encourage discussion of this widespread social problem, and foster movements that can bring about long-lasting change.Strengthen violence-prevention systems and improve knowledge and regular evidence gathering and reporting.Integrate violence-prevention into health, education, and social policies, and make sure violence-prevention is a core dimension of policy reform.Track progress towards ending violence by putting in place appropriate monitoring and tracking systems.Unite the movements combatting violence against women and ending violence against children, by uncovering and focusing on the links between these two pervasive threats.About Know Violence in ChildhoodLaunched in New Delhi in November 2014, Know Violence in Childhood is an international learning initiative dedicated to informing and supporting a global movement to end violence in childhood. Know Violence has analyzed existing data, commissioned new research and synthesized knowledge on the causes and consequences of violence against children worldwide. The work highlights the impact of childhood violence on individuals, families, communities and societies, expands the research base on this global crisis, and promotes evidence-based strategies to help keep children safe. Know Violence is comprised of a diverse, multi-sectoral group of 100 leading researchers and experts. The initiative operates under the leadership of Steering Committee President Lincoln Chen (President, China Medical Board) and of Global Co-Chairs AK Shiva Kumar (economist and policy adviser) and Vivien Stern (UK House of Lords). Partners include the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the University of Delaware, and FXB. Know Violence supporters include an anonymous donor, American Jewish World Service, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, the NOVO Foundation, OAK Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the UBS Foundation and UNICEF. Associates of Know Violence include the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Save the Children International, Together for Girls, World Childhood Foundation and Twitter.(The article originally appeared as a press release on www.knowviolenceinchildhood.org) 
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International Conference on Social Protection in the contexts of fragility and forced displacement

(27 September 2017) Evidence demonstrates that a set of protective policies – known as social protection – can help reduce poverty, inequality, and childhood deprivation and has long-term positive impacts on human capital development. Social protection can unlock the productive potential of the poorest, increase local economic growth and micro-economic activity and even stimulate aggregate growth.
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Innovative research impact assessment looks at drivers of violence study in Peru

(21 September 2017) Dr. Sarah Morton, of the University of Edinburgh, and fellow researchers, recently completed an impact assessment of a UNICEF Innocenti research programme, the Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children, which generates evidence on best pathways to prevent violence against children in Italy, Peru, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. The project aims to help governments address violence against children by promoting better understanding of why it occurs – the drivers of violence. The assessment report narrowed its focus on the outcomes of the violence study in Peru, making that country a case study for important lessons learned for other countries involved in the research project and beyond.The assessment addressed the following objectives: understand and evaluate the impact of the Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children in Peru; assist UNICEF in demonstrating the value of research-based projects on children and violence through objective verification; and develop and refine an approach to assessing the impact of research through field testing in a middle income country setting. “The Drivers of Violence project has human-centred design approaches at its core. Findings are intended to feed back into both national programming and the emerging global evidence base on violence prevention on a real-time basis,” said Kerry Albright, Chief of Research Facilitation and Knowledge Management at Innocenti. “Unusually, early indications of outcomes and impact were emerging even before research outputs had been written.  We were keen to better understand and document the value of approaching research in such a way through independent corroboration, as well as to capture tacit knowledge and effects not usually captured by more traditional impact assessment models.”The impact assessment found that the multi-partner, relationships-driven approach of the Multi-Country Study helped to maximise impact in Peru. The assessment also found that national ownership of the research process was important in ensuring that the findings were specific to Peru, a key finding considering the country’s geographic diversity and multi-culturalism, and also helped ensure national ownership and data sovereignty. Dr Morton’s assessment also set out to test the Research Contribution Framework (Morton, 2015), developed to examine how research uptake and use ‘contributes’ to policy and practice change, in a low- and middle-income country. The Research Contribution Framework requires key partners to agree the main mechanisms through which the research might impact on policy or practice, which are then tested, along with key risks and assumptions. [Read an 8 page illustrated data graphics report Cross-Country Snapshot of Findings from the Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children]In describing the Research Contribution Framework, Albright explained the framework has been adapted from contribution analysis, using the idea of ‘contribution’ to help explain the ways research is taken up and used to influence policy and practice as well as to articulate wider benefits. The Framework provides an empirical basis to focus on research users and to better assess the value of the research process as well as the final outcomes, enabling the team to capture more intangible impacts such as empowerment, ownership, trust and the added value of strategic partnerships which had occurred along the way.A husband and wife receive counseling and information on domestic violence from a district social worker in Vinchos, PeruBy using this approach, the Study contributed to a number of policy and programme changes in Peru, including the passage of a law banning corporal punishment in all settings. Through this impact assessment, the Research Contribution Framework was also found to be adaptable and effective in low- and middle-income countries, and could be used to assess research impact in other contexts. Similar to other impact studies (Oliver et al 2014) there are several key factors that helped to unlock impact in this case:Starting out with an intention to make a difference Building a partnership approach to research, acknowledging different roles needed for change (but also creating time lags and other challenges) Assigning knowledge-brokering roles to key staff In-country research and analysis capacity building a core component of the approachNew to this study, the value of it being a multi-country study was also identified as a factor which maximised impact. The fact that the study allowed participants to understand how the drivers of violence affecting children in Peru compare to other countries was important, with one saying they ‘don’t feel alone’. [Read Mary Catherine Maternowska's blog: Bringing data out of the shadows in Peru - A 25 year journey]Key findings from the UNICEF Innocenti study on the drivers of violence affecting children in Peru: The study used a practically-focused, multi-partner approach to generating evidence that was important for subsequent impact. The specific combination of research outputs, awareness-raising, capacity-building and knowledge-brokering activities, built on this partnership approach, and maximised impact. UNICEF took a knowledge brokerage role to connect people with the research and to ensure key actors were aware of and included in the study, its findings and possible actions. Richer connections between research and policy were developed and sustained. Being engaged closely with the study helped local actors to be clearer about the issues of violence in their country, and was seen as a useful way of forwarding the agenda to tackle violence. Partnership kept levels of awareness high during a change of government. The study filled an evidence gap, helping to shift discourse on violence and give it higher political priority. There is now more capacity in Peru for academics, government analysts and policy makers to work together to address this issue and to get the evidence they need to develop policy. The research improved access to high quality information on violence, which in turn contributed to legislative changes, will help to leverage funding and has informed programmes at the ministerial level. It has also improved coordination efforts at the national level regarding violence prevention and has influenced how other countries in the region approach violence issues. Study partners will continue to work on violence issues. Levels of violence against children may have begun to decrease in Peru since the start of the study, but the final impact of the study is not yet known. Read a case study report on the violence affecting children study in Peru (Spanish) and Dr. Morton’s full impact assessment report. This article was adapted from a story in the AESIS September newsletter.
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Children and youth face abuse, exploitation on Mediterranean migration routes – UNICEF, IOM

(13 September 2017) Migrant and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – UNICEF and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said today in a new report. (Download at right)Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.Aimamo, a 16-year-old unaccompanied child from the Gambia interviewed at a shelter in Italy described being forced into months of grueling manual labor by traffickers upon his arrival in Libya. “If you try to run, they shoot you. If you stop working, they beat you. We were just like slaves. At the end of the day, they just lock you inside.”The report is based on the testimonies of some 22,000 migrants and refugees, including some 11,000 children and youth, interviewed by IOM.“The stark reality is that it is now standard practice that children moving through the Mediterranean are abused, trafficked, beaten and discriminated against,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe. “EU leaders should put in place lasting solutions that include safe and legal migration pathways, establishing protection corridors and finding alternatives to the detention of migrant children.”[Explore our Children on the Move edition of Research Watch where global experts discuss evidence gaps on refugee and migrant children]“For people who leave their countries to escape violence, instability or poverty, the factors pushing them to migrate are severe and they make perilous journeys knowing that they may be forced to pay with their dignity, their wellbeing or even their lives,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM’s Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland.“Without the establishment of more regular migration pathways, other measures will be relatively ineffective. We must also re-invigorate a rights-based approach to migration, improving mechanisms to identify and protect the most vulnerable throughout the migration process, regardless of their legal status.”A child sits on a mattress laid on the floor of the women's section of the Al-Nasr detention centre in Zawiya, Libya.UNICEF Innocenti is ramping up research and evidence activities on children in emergency contexts with recent creation of new streams of research on children and migration and humanitarian response. Work will focus on capturing intricate dynamics of children's experiences not captured in other research efforts.The report also shows that, while all children on the move are at high risk, those originating from sub-Saharan Africa are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than those from other parts of the world: 65 per cent compared to 15 per cent along the Eastern Mediterranean route, and 83 per cent compared to 56 per cent along the Central Mediterranean route. Racism is likely a major underlying factor behind this discrepancy.Children and youth traveling alone or over longer periods, along with those possessing lower levels of education, were also found to be highly vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of traffickers and criminal groups over the course of their journeys. According to the report, the Central Mediterranean route is particularly dangerous, with most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya which remains riven with lawlessness, militias and criminality. On average young people pay between $1,000-5,000 for the journey and often arrive in Europe in debt, which exposes them to further risks.The report calls on all concerned parties − countries of origin, transit and destination, the African Union, the European Union, international and national organizations with support from the donor community – to prioritize a series of actions.These include establishing safe and regular pathways for children on the move; strengthening services to protect migrant and refugee children whether in countries of origin, transit or destination; finding alternatives to the detention of children on the move; working across borders to combat trafficking and exploitation; and combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination against all migrants and refugees.(The original version of the article appeared on www.unicef.org)
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