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Tanzania to integrate violence prevention for women and girls

(30 May 2016) A 16-year-old girl in Tanzania leaves her family home and enters into an abusive marriage. A year later, she gives birth to her first child. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she’s still technically a girl, but her life is shaped by adult pressures. In terms of protection, should she be considered a child — or a woman? The government of Tanzania has decided, with technical support from UNICEF, to create a different holistic and rights based option: they will integrate separate efforts on violence affecting women and violence affecting children into one programme.Despite obvious overlaps between these two fields of prevention, traditional programming continues to treat women and children as separate elements of society. Catherine Maternowska, lead researcher of UNICEF Innocenti’s Multi-Country Study of Drivers of Violence Affecting Children, recently hosted a series of workshops in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to unpack the intersections between these two fields. This merger, Maternowska says, ‘is a logical step for advocates of both women’s and children’s issues, who often find themselves facing the same challenges’. “In a country like Tanzania where early child marriage is a significant problem, a 10-year-old girl is still a child under the Convention for the Rights of the Child,” Maternowska said. “Yet, her reproductive rights, as she emerges into motherhood, must also be addressed by the women’s sector. It’s essential to recognize her multiplicity of needs while also ensuring that she has full access to sexual and reproductive health services.” According to continued learning from the Multi-Country Study, which is taking place in Italy, Peru, Zimbabwe and Viet Nam, social and cultural norms can determine levels of tolerance for violence. Integrating violence prevention services for women and children (including boys as well as girls) begins to address the way that gender and power inform a child’s life as well as the individual’s future outcomes. Increasingly, the field of violence prevention is encouraging social norms change as a way to encourage the kind of broad and sustainable social shifts needed to address gender and power imbalances. A participant in a Dar es Salaam workshop recounted her own lesson in gender norms when she was unexpectedly reclassified as a woman at 12 years of age.“When I was 12, I didn’t know that girls and boys were expected to be different. I would say I grew up as a tomboy,” she said. “That year, I ran away from my madrassa and didn’t go to classes for about a month. Instead, I was going to swim with a group of boys. One day, my grandfather passed away. When mother came to collect me from school, she learned from the teachers that I hadn’t attended for weeks. Later, my mother sat me down and said, ‘You are almost a woman. You need to stop behaving like a boy now.’ I was shocked. Before that, I had just thought of myself as… me.”International attention has recently turned to Tanzania after it became the first country in Africa to declare its intent to be a pathfinder country under the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which will launch later this year. Maniza Zaman, Country Representative at the UNICEF Tanzania Country Office, is hopeful this groundbreaking approach will reenergize efforts in the violence prevention sector. “This National Plan of Action is innovative because it aims to address both issues: violence against children and violence against women,” Zaman said. “The integrated plan holds promise. It will benefit from a higher level of oversight, lead to more streamlined coordination from national down to village level and also better linkages between parallel programmes.”The approach will be among the first on the continent to harmonise national databases, centralise ministry functions and help coordinate government and civil society work. Additionally, the combined plan will eliminate the conundrum of labelling and separating victims of violence. One critical element will be recognition of every individual’s evolving needs throughout the life cycle: all children become adults and all adults were once children. “The priority of violence prevention programming should be to reduce an individual’s vulnerabilities and increase opportunities — before violence enters the picture at all,” Maternowska said. “We’re deeply encouraged by the determination in Tanzania  to accomplish this innovation in rights agendas.” 
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UNICEF commemorates 70 years of work for the most vulnerable children

(12 December 2016) On the 70th anniversary of its founding – 11 December 1946 – UNICEF marks the immense progress made for the world’s children, and renews the urgent call to reach millions of children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crisis, poverty, inequality and discrimination. “UNICEF was founded after World War II to bring help and hope to all children at risk or in need – no matter which country they lived in or what role that country played in the war.  Our mission is no less urgent and universal today,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “With so many children around the world in so much need, we are recommitting ourselves to delivering results for every child.”The organization was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East. Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries. Today, UNICEF is the world’s largest children’s organization, working with partners in 190 countries and territories and through the efforts of 13,000 national and international staff to reach every child. The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, based in Florence, Italy, coordinates research conducted across the organization to advance knowledge on improving the lives of the most vulnerable children.UNICEF’s relentless engagement in the world’s toughest places has helped create remarkable progress for children in recent decades. The number of children dying before their fifth birthdays has been more than halved in the past 25 years. Hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty. Out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have been reduced by more than 40 per cent since 1990.In the 1940s, UNICEF provided emergency nutrition aid, mainly in the form of milk, to children in post-war Europe. In 2015, the organization and its partners treated 2.9 million children for severe acute malnutrition worldwide.In the 1950s, UNICEF led its first immunization campaigns against diseases such as tuberculosis and yaws. In 2015, the organization procured 2.8 billion doses of vaccines, and with its partners helping to protect 45 per cent of children under 5 years old worldwide from a range of deadly diseases.In 1953, UNICEF launched its first water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. Between 1990 and 2015, 2.6 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources and 2.1 billion gained access to improved sanitation facilities.In 1961, UNICEF expanded its programmatic focus to include children’s education. In 2015, UNICEF and its partners provided 7.5 million children aged 3 to 18 with access to formal or non-formal basic education.In 1988, the UNICEF founded the International Child Development Centre, with a broad mandate to contribute to an “emerging global ethic for children,” research quickly became a defining mission and the institution’s name soon evolved to Innocenti Research Centre, and finally to the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifies that all children should be registered at birth to establish their identity under the law and thus to safeguard  their rights. In 2015, UNICEF supported the registration of more than 9.7 million children’s births in 54 countries.Since its founding, UNICEF has responded to thousands of humanitarian emergencies affecting children. In 2015, UNICEF and partners vaccinated 11.3 million children against measles in countries affected by crisis; provided 4 million children in emergency situations with access to formal or non-formal basic education; and provided psychosocial support for 2 million children caught in conflicts and natural disasters.Since its founding, UNICEF has responded to thousands of humanitarian emergencies affecting children. In 2015, UNICEF and partners vaccinated 11.3 million children against measles in countries affected by crisis; provided 4 million children in emergency situations with access to formal or non-formal basic education; and provided psychosocial support for 2 million children caught in conflicts and natural disasters.Despite this impressive progress, millions of children are still being left behind because they live in poverty or in hard-to-reach communities, because of their gender, race, religion, ethnic group, or because they have a disability.  Nearly 250 million children are growing up in countries affected by conflict and nearly 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes.“UNICEF’s vision for the next 70 years is a world in which our work is no longer necessary -- a world in which every child is healthy, safe, educated, cared for and protected … and all children can make the most of their potential,” said Lake. “It’s the right thing to do, and the surest path to a better future for us all.” 
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Council of Europe Parliamentarians discuss measures against online child sexual abuse

(6 December 2016) UNICEF Innocenti has hosted a major meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) where combatting online child sexual abuse was a major topic of discussion.The meeting, held in Florence on 1 December, brought together the PACE Network of contact parliamentarians from up to 16 countries together with representatives of UNICEF Innocenti, INTERPOL, Middlesex University and ECPAT International, among others.Members adopted the Florence Declaration which underlined the need for sound legislative frameworks based on the Lanzarote Convention to protect children from new forms of sexual abuse in the digital environment. The Lanzarote Convention commits 42 signatory countries in Europe and beyond to criminalization of all forms of sexual offences against children, and specifies adoption of legislation to prevent sexual violence and prosecute perpetrators. New forms of online child sexual abuse addressed in the meeting included: live streaming, self-generated images by children, online grooming and virtual reality. The ‘dark web’ was also cited as a part of the internet increasingly being used to share child sexual content online. The Declaration also recognised the need to support victims of child sexual abuse. “Online, children can encounter abuse and exploitation from peers and adults alike. Exposure to harmful material and violation of privacy are ever present concerns,” said Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.“It is the responsibility of all of us to meet these challenges in a manner which is strategic, cooperative and has a firm grounding in human rights.”Cecile Diot, criminal intelligence officer at INTERPOL called for a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the issue and told parliamentarians it was crucial for NGO’s, private companies and civil society to work ever more closely to overcome the problem. It was estimated 80 per cent of content on the so-called dark web was related to child sexual abuse, she said. ”Altogether we may have a chance to defeat this criminality. We need a network to defeat a network,” said Ms. Diot.  Talks also focused on supporting parents, families and caregivers in protecting and empowering children against sexual violence in the digital environment, a key part of the declaration adopted by MP's. “Parents are an example of how to behave and what to do. If we as parents are inseparable with digital devices, our kids will do the same,” said Sevinj Fataliyeva, a parliamentarian from Azerbaijan. Dutch legislator Johan Van Der Hout said efforts to tackle child sexual abuse online were primitive if children’s voices were not accounted for. He called for a child-centred approach to the issue. “We have to empower them [children] on the internet. We cannot take it away,” he said. The views were mirrored by criminologist and Middlesex University researcher Elena Martellozzo, who conducts research on how children feel when exposed to sexual content online. Ms. Martellozzo said children were being exposed to online sexual content at earlier ages and there is a need to better understand the impact. “We need to focus on empowering young children. We need to focus on what they can be exposed to so they can have a better online environment which is a wonderful environment,” she said. “Critically engage with them about the material they find online.”Researchers from UNICEF Innocenti also presented Global Kids Online as a model for improving evidence on children’s experiences online. The global Research Synthesis pilot study on child internet use conducted by UNICEF Innocenti and the London School of Economics explores the opportunities and risks of the internet for children. According to the study up to two thirds of children in some countries have seen sexual content online, while a minority had contact with unknown persons online. Despite potential risks, research showed that most children had met persons with some kind of prior connection to them, such as a fellow classmate or community member. Parents also reported low digital skills, complicating potential risks to children online.“The conversation of what children do online should be part of the general discussion with children. It backfires when trying to ban kids from using phones,” said Jasmina Byrne, child protection specialist at UNICEF Innocenti.“In order to combat sexual violence against children we need legal and policy measures above all.” 
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45.8 million people in slavery, according to global estimates

(25 November 2016) Nearly 46 million people around the world are reported to be experiencing some form of modern slavery, according to the latest global estimates produced by the Global Slavery Index. The Global Slavery Index 2016, compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, provides an estimate of the number of people in modern slavery as well as steps taken by governments to tackle the issue in 167 countries. Data shows 58 per cent of those living in modern slavery are in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. Speaking at an Innocenti Seminar this week, Jacqueline Joudo Larsen of the Walk Free Foundation said providing accurate and rigorous data on the reality of modern slavery was crucial in effecting policy. “I think numbers play an important role in bringing attention to the issue and it does bring with it an urgency to policy response,” she said. “Our challenge is to get that number as correct as we can based on research. That’s where we’ll have the best impact.”  The Index also measures government action against modern slavery and comes with key policy recommendations for businesses and governments. Research shows that in some countries with high GDP rates, including Qatar and Singapore, policy responses are poor. The governments taking the least action overall include North Korea, Iran and Eritrea while the countries with the strongest responses include The Netherlands, the U.S. and the U.K. Strong political will, a strong civil society and adequate allocation of resources were defined as key components for effective national programmes to combat modern forms of slavery. Katharine Bryant, research manager at Walk Free Foundation told Innocenti staff gathered at the Seminar it was important for more countries to gather data directly from those who had experienced some form of modern slavery in order to better inform the research.“Very few countries take active steps to learn from survivor’s experiences, with regards to victim support or as participants in the criminal justice system. It’s really important that survivors of slavery are given the opportunity to feed in what the responses should be so that the research becomes more meaningful.”The Walk Free Foundation and UNICEF Innocenti researchers met this week in order to discuss opportunities for incorporating a child rights approach into the Global Slavery Index research. “Innocenti and the Walk Free Foundation would like to explore possible collaboration around modern slavery including methodological refinement and incorporating a better child lens to the instrument, as well as exploring areas of common interest such as child marriage, child labour, migration, wellbeing, trafficking and violence prevention more broadly,” said Kerry Albright, chief of research facilitation and knowledge management at UNICEF Innocenti. To produce the Global Slavery Index, random sample surveys were conducted in 25 countries. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with over 28,000 respondents in 52 languages using standardised instruments. Data was compiled from research instruments that represented 44 per cent of the global population in collaboration with Gallup. 
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Understanding child experiences boosts effort to end violence

(21 November 2016) Physical and emotional violence are pervasive and largely accepted aspects of children’s lives, according to a set of recently published studies. Interviews with children and their caregivers over nearly a decade in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam provide researchers with important new insights on the way violence impacts children as they grow up. The new findings have been published in the “Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence” series of working papers produced by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Young Lives research initiative. The papers comprise the latest evidence to emerge from UNICEF’s Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children.“Violence is pervasive in children’s lives – impacting them in the family, in schools, and in the community – and this research, based on interviews with the same children over many years, paints a clearer picture of the intergenerational transmission of violence,” said Catherine Maternowska, UNICEF Innocenti’s lead researcher on the project.“Understanding how violence affects children as they move through childhood, adolescence and later into young adulthood, gives us important insights into change in a child’s capacities and in the environments where they live, sleep, study and play”. The new papers reveal unique aspects of the way children from four very different corners of the world perceive and cope with violence. A number of issues also appear to be in common among them as well. Violence is clearly linked to economic shocks in the family, such as death, illness or loss of a job. In Viet Nam children perceived economic hardship as the cause of increased tension and stress leading to more exposure to violence at home. In Peru, children were more often exposed to exploitative child labor and instances of neglect when families had to cope with loss of economic resources.In all four countries, parents and children both articulated the perception that violence is an acceptable or even necessary tool for shaping good behaviour and values. In Peru, children subjected to violence expect to raise their children the same way. In Ethiopia, violence was viewed as an acceptable way to instill a culture of hard work and discipline. In India, violence was articulated by some as an acceptable way to deal with ‘transgressions’ committed by young women and girls. At the same time, children express how they suffer under these often-unbearable conditions. Violence, according to children across all four countries, is a normal consequence of failing to meet responsibilities in the home and at school—linking two important spheres in children’s lives. In India almost all children experienced corporal punishment in school. In Viet Nam, children feared being beaten by their parents for poor grades on school exams. In Ethiopia, violence was often experienced as a result of failing to perform agricultural chores properly. Experiences of violence change depending on age, gender and setting. In India girls and young women commonly experience sexual harassment referred to as ‘eve-teasing’ in public ranging from verbal taunts to groping. In Ethiopia, boys are far more likely to report instances of physical violence at home while girls reported insults and harassment by boys in the community. In Viet Nam, the strong social preference for boy children put women and girls at greater risk of violence.Qualitative research conducted by Young Lives addressed children’s well-being, their experiences of transitions (for example, changing schools), and their time-use and daily experiences. Multiple qualitative research methods were used including one-to-one interviews, group discussions and creative activities (such as drawings of a child ‘doing well’ or ’doing badly’), and body mapping carried out in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.In Ethiopia between 130 and 150 interviews were conducted with children and caregivers in each round. In India some 400 children and caregivers were interviewed in each round. In Viet Nam 72 children and caregivers were interviewed in each round. In Peru 100 children and caregivers participated in the interviews.A highly important component of the Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence series is the documentation of children’s narratives over time, as children enter into adulthood. In some cases children participating in the study were married by the time of the most recent round of interviews was completed. These narratives provide powerful new documentation which can help direct more effective interventions. Ravi’s story from the India qualitative interviews provides a good example. As a small child, Ravi witnessed his father beating his mother and he attempted to intervene. He also went on to try and protect his sister from her violent husband. At age 13 Ravi told researchers: “When my mum and dad fight I feel very bad. When my dad beats my mum we try and stop him.” But as a married man, aged 21, Ravi is resorting to violence against his own wife. “When she tells lies she gets a beating. Every day. She won’t keep quiet. I get angry. If I go out somewhere, she will say: ‘Why did you take so long?’ ”According to Catherine Maternowska: “Stories like Ravi’s provide powerful data which helps us understand how and when we can effectively intervene to prevent violence. At age 12, when Ravi was very opposed to violence, a supportive violence prevention programme addressing the consolidation of gender norms before they set in could have possibly helped change his desire to use violence later in life.”The Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children undertakes research primarily in Italy, Peru, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe examining the way structural, institutional, community and individual factors interact to affect violence in children’s lives, with a particular focus on the risks and experiences of violence by gender and age. Complementing the study, a number of papers have been produced using the longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data produced by the Young Lives research initiative. Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, initiated in 2000, which has followed 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Viet Nam. This set of papers aims to understand various aspects of children’s experiences of violence, and the impacts of violence on children’s lives over time, across different settings.Read more on the Multi Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children. Listen to a recent interview with UNICEF Innocenti researcher, Catherine Maternowska on the drivers of violence against children or read her latest blog reflecting on the way research is changing the way Peru is fighting violence against children. 
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Peru makes strides in understanding drivers of violence against children

(8 August 2016) A new report has revealed insights into the scope of physical, psychological and sexual violence affecting children in Peru. Produced by the Government of Peru with support from UNICEF, the findings are intended to support improved national violence prevention efforts. The Spanish language report, Understanding for Prevention: Summary of violence against children and adolescents in Peru, was led by Peru’s national Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations with support from UNICEF Peru and several other government and academic partners. The study feeds into the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti’s Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children on-going in Peru as well as in Italy, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. Key findings from a nationally representative survey show that about 70 per cent of adolescent boys and girls report experiencing physical or psychological violence at home during their lifetimes, while about half of all boys and girls have experienced peer-to-peer violence in schools. Three out of four children in Peru aged 9 – 17 report having experienced emotional violence at home or in school. According to other data in the Cuzco Region up to one in five females had experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes, while equal percentages of adolescent girls and boys reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. “These findings highlight the need for targeted research, policy and programming responses for prevention of violence,” said Mary Catherine Maternowska, who leads the Innocenti study for UNICEF. The Understanding for Prevention report employed a comprehensive investigation of reliable quantitative and qualitative data sources. Peru’s 2015 National Survey of Social Relations of over 3,000 children and adolescents in all parts of the country provides a robust quantitative national data sample. The Young Lives Longitudinal Study of Childhood Poverty contributes further understanding about violence based on cohort data from 4,000 Peruvian children who were followed from infancy to age 19. In addition, over 100 published and unpublished research articles on violence against children in Peru were analyzed and 60 violence prevention interventions carried out by government and private institutions were mapped and assessed.Maternowska notes that the study views violence affecting children not merely as an issue of personal behaviour, but as a complex social phenomenon.“Violent behavior is influenced by a host of ecological factors.  Parents’ and children’s levels of education, the quality of interpersonal relationships with the family to the family’s social connections to the community and a community’s social norms concerning the discipline and supervision of children can conspire against children in different ways in different cultures. Even more distal issues, like a family’s financial security can determine the types and intensity of violence.” The report focuses on violence occurring in different forms and in different settings. Physical, psychological and sexual violence are quantified and analyzed on the basis of age, gender and setting such as home, community and school. This allows Peruvian policy makers to organize more appropriate and better targeted interventions. In 2015 the Peruvian Parliament passed a law prohibiting corporal punishment against children in all settings, including the home, citing data from UNICEF’s Multi Country Study as having contributed to this historical moment.  Results from Understanding for Prevention are currently being used to calculate Peru’s overall Burden of Violence—a rigorous approach to estimating the impact of violence in Peru across multiple sectors (health, education, gender, social policy, etc.). A Burden of Violence study highlights the proportion of negative outcomes that could be reduced if violence was prevented.Additional findings highlighted in the report:The relationship between violence in childhood and poorer educational outcomes is profound and complex, affecting children across and between settings where they live, sleep, play and learn.  Violence tends to be normalized—or widely accepted—passed down from one generation to another.  Many violent mothers and fathers were themselves physically and psychologically abused in childhood, and they repeat those behaviours with their children who, in turn, use violence to resolve their own conflicts.Exposure to domestic violence can be psychologically harmful to children, and is often associated with physical violence against children and neglect. Alcohol abuse is highlighted in the literature as a risk factor for spousal violence.Girls who experienced physical violence at home were nearly twice as likely to have failed a course in the last year, or to have ever repeated a grade in school. Boys who experienced psychological violence, or were verbally threatened at home, were over three times more likely to have ever been expelled from school.Violence in schools, including physical and verbal abuse by teachers and peers, is the number one reason children give for disliking school. This is probably associated with grade repetition and slow progression through school. Children physically beaten in school at age 8 are 10 per cent more likely to have repeated a grade by age 12 than those who were not beaten. Entender para prevenir: Violencia hacia las niñas, niños y adolescentes en el Perú is a multi-sectoral publication of Peru’s national Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (MIMP) in cooperation with Perú Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI). It was produced by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Peruvian government, researchers and practitioners with support from the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú. External international support was provided by UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti with technical support from the University of Edinburgh. 
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Impact of armed conflict on education: new evidence from Ivory Coast

(18 November 2016) A recent Innocenti Seminar presented evidence from a new study on the impact of armed conflict on children’s education and mortality. The study gathered data from Ivory Coast, a country that has been deeply affected by armed conflict since 2002. Despite the global commitments to ensure full and complete access to free quality education for every girl and boy, recent trends in universal enrolment registered a regression with around 58 million out-of-school children in the world, out of which 36 per cent living in countries that have been affected by conflict. Idrissa Ouili, Assistant Professor at High Institute for Population Science (HIPS) University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, statistician and economist with several years of experience in population policies, poverty, education, family planning and reproductive health issues, presented new evidence from Cote d’Ivoire about the impact of armed conflict in children’s education in an internal seminar at UNICEF Innocenti.The aim of the study, Armed Conflicts, Children's Education and Mortality: New Evidence from Ivory Coast, conducted in 2015 was to explore the impact of armed conflict on three different outcomes during the Ivorian armed conflict from 1999 to 2011: 1) school enrolment (probability of being enrolled in school); 2) school attainment (number of years of schooling for individuals enrolled in school); 3) under five child mortality.Using several sources of data, including the Côte d’Ivoire Demographic and Health Surveys, as well as data from pre-conflict and post-conflict surveys, Professor Ouili compared different cohorts of children who had one of more years of life affected by conflict, with groups of children that were not affected by conflict. Results show that in the group of children aged 6-18 in 2011, armed conflict decreased school enrolment by 10% compared with a group of same age in 1998; in the group of students aged 18-36 in 2011, those who were in schools during the conflict period experienced at least one year drop-out of schooling in average, compared with a group of same age in 1998. Lastly, in children aged 5-16 in 2011 armed conflict increased under 5 mortality rate by 3% compared with a group of same age in 1998.Professor Ouili is one of the four young African fellows coming to UNICEF Innocenti in 2016-2017 as part of a programme funded by SIDA. Fellows are collaborating with researchers in the Social and Economic Policy Unit at Innocenti and with country evaluation teams on specific research questions around the impacts of cash transfers on health, education, or multidimensional poverty utilizing Transfer Project data.Each fellow visits the UNICEF Innocenti for 2-3 weeks, during which time researchers also present a seminar on some of their past research. The remainder of the approximately 12-month fellowships are conducted from their home base. 
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Cash transfers key to tackling poverty and hunger in Africa

(5 November 2016) Social cash transfers are enabling some of Africa’s poorest families to substantially increase food consumption and increase school enrollment, new evidence from UNICEF Innocenti and its partners shows.  In a new book, From Evidence to Action: The Story of Cash Transfers and Impact Evaluations in Sub-Saharan Africa - launched in Johannesburg on November 15 – UNICEF, FAO, and other partners showcase the impacts cash transfer programmes have had in eight Sub-Saharan countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).“Cash transfers are enabling the poorest families to substantially increase food consumption and improve overall food security,” said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, Regional Director for UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa.“While cash alone is not enough to solve all problems, it is increasingly helping families avoid negative coping strategies, such as taking children out of school, or selling off assets.”At the “Critical Thinking Forum,” organized by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper to launch the book, government and UN representatives discussed what’s working and what challenges remain with national social protection programmes across the region.Evidence shows how there is an increase in secondary school enrollment as a result of cash transfers which allow families to purchase school uniforms and other supplies. Evidence shows that cash transfers did not result in increased expenditure on alcohol and tobacco – a commonly held concern. In Zambia, evidence showed an increase of farmland and expenditure on hired labour by 36 per cent. A significant portion of the evidence presented in the book is based on research conducted in the field by UNICEF Innocenti.The new evidence finds that government-run cash transfer programmes are expanding across the continent, with national social protection strategies often including a cash component. While cash transfers in Africa tend to be provided unconditionally (direct and predictable transfers without strings attached), many countries do include programme messaging to encourage school enrolment and periodic health and nutrition checks for children.For several years, there have been concerns that beneficiaries would waste money as a result of the cash transfers, however UNICEF and FAO gathered evidence across a ten year period through the Transfer Project, which clearly indicates that the majority of recipients are utilising cash transfers to better the living standards of their families, especially children.Gathered evidence has also fostered strong collaboration among policymakers, development partners and researchers and led to improved social cash transfer policies and practices in Africa.Watch the video below to see how researchers are measuring the impact of cash transfers reducing child malnutrition in Ghana.
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WHO experts to update recommendations on breastfeeding in maternity facilities

(4 November 2016) On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, the World Health Organization is convening the second meeting of the WHO Guideline Development Group – Nutrition Actions 2016-2018 in Florence, Italy, 7 – 11 November 2016. The WHO Guideline Development Group, together with other WHO expert advisory panels and a multi-disciplinary team of experts from all parts of the world will formulate final draft recommendations on new born and infant nutrition, taking into account existing evidence as well as diverse values and preferences, costs and feasibility.(4 November 2016) The Innocenti Centre is an appropriate venue for the review of the guidelines based on new evidence, and for an update on the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding in maternity facilities.The Ospedale Degli Innocenti, which today houses UNICEF Innocenti and the Istituto Degli Innocenti, is the spot where, almost 600 years ago, child care – and breastfeeding practice itself – for the most vulnerable children, became a civic priority for the community of Florence. In 1990 UNICEF and WHO adopted in Florence the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding to ensure that all facilities with maternity services fully implemented the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to support and encourage breastfeeding for new born infants.The Ten Steps first appeared in a joint statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1989 on Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: the Special Role of Maternity Services. The Steps as well as the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes became the foundation for the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991.In 2009 BFHI was updated to take into account the experiences from the first 15 years of implementation and the guidance on infant feeding among mothers infected with HIV.This year, for five days, the Innocenti Centre will be again at the heart of the discussion to finalize the global guidelines for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in maternity facilities and to scope the vitamin A supplementation guidelines. 
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Global Kids Online research partnership is launched; research synthesis on child internet use published

(2 November 2016) Today UNICEF Innocenti and the London School of Economics launch the Global Kids Online (GKO) research partnership at the Child Lives in the Digital Age seminar at UNICEF headquarters. We have published executive summary of the study which captures new findings on the opportunities and risks for children from pilot studies using the GKO approach in Argentina, the Philippines, Serbia and South Africa.An engaging short video brings to life the growing impact of the internet in the lives of young people in GKO research pilot site in Eastern Cape, South Africa.A new UNICEF Connect blog: “The Internet of opportunities: what children say” has been posted by Jasmina Byrne and Daniel Kardefelt-Winther.The GKO research toolkit makes robust, pilot tested, adaptable research tools and guidelines freely available on www.globalkidsonline.net to promote improved evidence on children’s use of the internet in any country or context. The full text of the research synthesis report can be downloaded on the GKO website.
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