search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

Quick summary of latest Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence, #6

For the first time available in English, French and Spanish language versions
e newsletter #2/2017 top image v2

(13 July 2017) The latest edition of Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence includes compelling research, resources, news and events that address the issue of gender from many perspectives that will benefit the work of colleagues within and outside of the UN, on behalf of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent girls and boys. We are pleased to make the digest available for the first time in three languages – English, French and Spanish.

This article provides a condensed selection of the research, resources, news, event, online courses included in the digest. To access the full contents of this highly useful publication visit here.


Building the Foundations for Sustainable Development: a Case for Global Investment in the Capabilities of Adolescents, Sheehan, P. et al., The Lancet, April 2017.   Cost-benefit analyses show that global investments in adolescent’s capabilities can result in high economic and social returns.

Child and Adolescent Health from 1990 to 2015: Findings from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2015 Study ,The Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration, JAMA Pediatrics, June 2017.   Trends in mortality and non-fatal health loss across 195 countries, show significant global decreases in child and adolescent mortality: from 14.18 million deaths in 1990 to 7.26 million deaths in 2015.

Mapping the Knowledge and Understanding of Menarche, Menstrual Hygiene and Menstrual Health among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-income Countries, Chandra-Mouli, V. and Patel, S., Reproductive Health, March 2017.   Unlike other normal bodily processes, menstruation is still surrounded by widespread stigma, lack of understanding and poor sanitary practices.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Very Young Adolescents Aged 10–14 In Developing Countries: What Does the Evidence Show? Woog, V. and Kågesten, A., Guttmacher Institute, May 2017.   Very early adolescence, defined as the years from 10 to 14, is a critical time to lay the foundations for positive sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

Understanding the Linkages between Social Safety Nets and Childhood Violence: A Review of the Evidence from Low- and Middle-income Countries, Peterman, A. et al., Health Policy and Planning, April 2017.   A review of 14 impact evaluations of social safety nets (SSNs) finds they have the potential to reduce violence against children, but there remain large gaps in our understanding across typologies of violence, region and programme design.

Children participate in a group counselling session, at the Dagoretti Child Development Centre, in the Mutuini area of the Dagoretti division of Nairobi, Kenya.

State of the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Approaches to Reduce Gender-Based Violence and Support the Empowerment of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings, Noble E. et al., Trauma, Violence and Abuse, March 2017.   This systematic review examines the evidence base for programming that seeks to reduce violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts.

Pathways between Childhood Trauma, Intimate Partner Violence, and Harsh Parenting: Findings from the United Nations (UN) Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, Fulu, E. et al., The Lancet Global Health, May 2017.   A recent UN multi-country study in Asia and the Pacific identifies significant, often gendered, pathways that connect childhood trauma, intimate partner violence (IPV), and harsh parenting.

Girl Child Marriage as a Risk Factor for Early Childhood Development and Stunting, Efevbera Y. et al., Social Science & Medicine, May 2017.   Data from 16 countries across sub-Saharan Africa confirms that girl child marriage is a risk factor for early childhood development and health.

Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Implications for Programme Design, Dammert, A. et al., World Bank Group, Policy Research Working Paper, March 2017.   Anti-poverty programmes have strong potential to improve schooling outcomes and reduce child labour.

Financial Education’s Contribution to Girls’ Economic Empowerment: A Global Review, Singh, J. and Schneiders, M., Aflatoun International, March 2017.   Education programmes on girl’s economic empowerment are more robust when they combine financial components with social and health components, such as social education, sexual and reproductive health education, and vocational training. Download policy brief [pdf]

Las Violencias en el Espacio Escolar (Violence in School Spaces) Trucco, D. and Inostroza, P., Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), March 2017.   Learning outcomes are directly affected by levels of violence in schools, with peer victimization being the main source of classroom violence.

A Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development (PYD) Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, YouthPower Learning, April 2017.   This review documents the use and effectiveness of Positive Youth development (PYD) approaches in 97 programmes across 60 Low and Middle-income Countries.


UNICEF Innocenti’s New Series of Briefs on How to Conduct Research with Adolescents – Developed by UNICEF, experts from Columbia University and the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these seven evidence briefs provide a review of contemporary research methodologies for adolescent well-being in low-and middle-income countries.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidance on Improving Adolescent Health – According to a new report by WHO Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!), more than 3,000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, such as road injuries, respiratory infections, self-harm.

UNICEF Report on Protecting Children on the Move from Violence, Abuse and Exploitation – In 2015-2016, at least 300,000 unaccompanied children and adolescents were recorded in over 80 countries.

UNESCO Recommendations to the Education Sector on Early and Unintended Pregnancy – Evidence shows that the education sector has a critical role to play in preventing unintended pregnancy and ensuring pregnant and parenting girls can return to school.

Child Fund Alliance’s Review of official development spending to end violence against children – The first official development assistance (ODA) review of its kind, reveals that only 0.6% out of a total $174 billion global ODA budget was allocated to ending violence against children (VAC) in 2015 – equating to less than $0.65 per child in recipient countries. Full report, Infographic and Executive Summary are available online.

A teacher playing with young girls in UNICEF supported school in Jalozai camp, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Young Lives’ Guide to Longitudinal Research – The Young Lives team provides insight into the methods and processes involved in carrying out a multi-country longitudinal study with young people.

MEASURE Evaluation Guidelines on Best Practices for Adolescent- and Youth-friendly HIV Services

 – Developed by the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation, these guidelines are informed by a review of 13 projects offering adolescent and youth-friendly HIV services.

Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) Toolkit – The GEAS toolkit includes research tools developed as part of an international study to understand the factors that predispose adolescents, aged 10-14, to sexual health risks. The tools include a parent/guardian questionnaire, a gender norms instrument, a vignette-based measure of gender equality, and a Health+ instrument.

The Impact Initiatives’ Key Issues Guide on Research with Children and Young People

This review draws on a synthesis of research outputs by the Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Key insights and recommended reading are shared on: livelihoods and aspirations; mobile technology; access to education; improving outcomes in food, nutrition and health choices.


Call on G7 leaders to Better Protect Refugee and Migrant Children – On the occasion of the G7 world leaders’ meeting in Sicily on 26-27 May, UNICEF urged governments to adopt a six-point agenda for action in order to protect and guarantee the rights of children as they move.

The Lancet launches a new journal on Child and Adolescent Health – The newly released monthly journal, Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, publishes research or evidence-based reviews that will directly impact clinical practice or child health across the disciplines of paediatrics, adolescent medicine, and child development. Full details on how to submit a paper here

New Guidelines for Children in the Justice System released – Guidelines for treating young people who come into contact with the justice system have been released by the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates. Instructions cover all interventions of justice systems prior, pending or following judicial interventions.

Menstrual Hygiene Day – Online resources available – On Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May), organizations around the world promoted campaigns to raise awareness about good hygiene management for adolescent girls. A collection of campaign materials and resources on menstrual hygiene management can be found on the Menstrual Hygiene Day website.

UNESCO Report on Youth and Violent Extremism in Morocco – A recent UNESCO report on violent extremism in Morocco urges national and international authorities to act jointly to prevent adolescents becoming victims of radical recruitment. Working groups made policy recommendations for addressing youth radicalization in schools and the media, providing jobs and economic opportunities, and increasing civic engagement.

Call to Action on Violence and Child Pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean – The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, has launched the Hemispheric Report on Sexual Violence and Child Pregnancy.

Innovative Research on Gender-based Violence (GBV) - Innovations aimed at preventing GBV were awarded special recognition by WHO and SRVI.


United Nations Youth-dedicated Days - In June the UN celebrates World Refugee Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Adolescent-related UN actions and useful resources can be consulted on the respective websites. Then, 15 July is World Youth Skills Day, while 12 August is International Youth Day , focusing this year on peace building and social justice.

International Society for Child Indicators Conference – This conference will discuss the latest child indicator research and implications. The theme is ‘Children in a World of Opportunities: innovations in research, policy and practice’. Organizers: McGill University, Date: 28-30 June 2017, Montreal. Registration

Girl Up’ Leadership Summit – More than 300 girl advocates from around the world will convene for the sixth annual Girl Up Leadership Summit.

Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) Forum 2017 – This forum will showcase research and innovation on sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and maltreatment. Organizers: Sexual Violence Research Initiative; Date: 18-21 September 2017. Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Registration


Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality Programming – This e-learning course will examine concepts of masculinity, patriarchy and intersectionality. Organizers: The Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre (HREA). Date: 11 October – 21 November 2017 Registration

To read the full digest with additional resources, comment and information download [here].

Related Articles

Quick summary of latest Innocenti Research Digest|Adolescence, #5
Article Article

Quick summary of latest Innocenti Research Digest|Adolescence, #5

(5 April 2017) Our latest quarterly Innocenti Research Digest|Adolescence synthesizes the latest research findings in adolescent well-being over the first quarter of 2017. Key themes include: the new UN General Comment on the Rights of the Child during adolescence; the risks refugee and migrant children face on the central Mediterranean migration route; and the work of the Know Violence in Childhood: Global Learning Initiative, established as a collective response by individuals from multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations and funding agencies concerned about the global impact of violence in childhood and the need for investment in effective violence prevention strategies. For a complete look including current links to all the news, upcoming events, resources and latest research resources collected in the digest download here.   We provide a short selection of key resources here:NEWSUN General Comment on the Rights of the Child during Adolescence – In February, the United Nations adopted General Comment No. 20, providing countries with detailed normative guidance on the measures needed to ensure the rights of children during adolescence. This provision helps to raise the profile of adolescence as a period of capacity development, distinct from childhood and adulthood.UNICEF Warns of the Extreme Risks facing Refugee and Migrant Children on the Central Mediterranean Migration Route – Refugee and migrant children routinely suffer sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and detention, along the central Mediterranean migration route from North Africa to Italy, warns UNICEF in this new report. In 2016, children made up nearly 16% of new arrivals in Italy via the central Mediterranean route, and 9 out of 10 children were unaccompanied. Global Status Report on School Violence and Bullying – It is estimated that 246 million children and adolescents experience school violence and bullying in some form every year. In response, UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence Prevention at Ewha Womans University (Seoul, Republic of Korea) launched a report at the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying, from 17 to 19 January 2017.(Download digest for all news)EVENTS International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) Conference: Towards health and wellbeing for all adolescents by 2030 – Organizers: International Association for Adolescent Health; Arab Coalition for Adolescent Health; and the Egyptian Society for Adolescent Medicine. Date: 12-14 May 2017 Location: Cairo, Egypt 11th World Congress on Adolescent Health – Organizers: International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH); MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child; and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), with the support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Date: 27-29 October 2017 Location: New Delhi, India Registration Global Adolescent Health Conference: Unleashing the Power of a Generation – Organizers: Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH); Every Woman Every Child (EWEC); the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH); and the World Health Organization (WHO). Date: 16-17 May 2017 Location: Ottawa, Canada (Download digest to see all event/register)RESOURCESWorld Future Council Good Practice Guide on Protecting Refugee Women and Girls – Profiling more than 30 examples of innovative good practice from 13 different countries, this resource includes case studies on protecting adolescent girls from violence, during their journey and in destination countries. Gulu, Uganda - February 8: Acan Everline Linda at UNIFAT P/S, Gulu Municipality, Gulu District February 8 2011USAID and PEPFAR Positive Youth Development Measurement Toolkit – The Positive Youth Development (PYD) approaches to evaluation help measure the extent to which young people are positively engaged in, and benefit from, interventions focused on their empowerment. UNFPA and WHO Technical Guidance on Adolescent Health – Systematic processes for identifying priorities and actions for adolescents to thrive in their communities, are part of the new technical guidance, developed by the UNFPA and WHO. WHO Fact Sheets on Adolescent Contraceptive Use – Designed to help policy makers and programme planners reduce inequalities in contraceptive service provision, WHO’s new country fact sheets include data from 58 countries on adolescents’ current sources of contraception, methods utilized, and explanations why contraception is not used.Review on Preventing Household Violence in Humanitarian Settings – In this review, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and the CPC Learning Network analyze interventions used in humanitarian contexts to prevent violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC).RESEARCHSpecial Issue of Know Violence in Childhood: A global learning initiative – Eds Kumar et al., Journal of Psychology, Health and Medicine, March 2017. This special issue of the Journal of Psychology, Health and Medicine features 15 studies commissioned by the Know Violence learning initiative, focusing on effective interventions to positively impact violence during childhood and adolescence. A review of evidence-based practices to address social norms and violence highlights the importance of combining strategic approaches (e.g. targeting social norms directly, changing attitudes and behaviour to shift social norms), core principles (e.g. using public health frameworks), and intervention strategies (e.g. engaging bystanders, involving stakeholders Towards Gender Equality: The GEMS journey thus far. An Evaluation Report of the Gender Equality Movement in Schools (GEMS) Program in Jharkland – International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), December 2016. An evaluation of the Gender Equality Movement in Schools (GEMS), a curriculum for children aged 12-14 in India, observed significant improvements in the children’s attitudes to gender and violence, the interaction between boys and girls, communication with teachers, and reduced perpetration of violence. The Health Benefits of Secondary Education in Adolescents and Young Adults: An international analysis in 186 low-, middle- and high-income countries from 1990 to 2013 – Viner et al., SSM – Population Health, December 2016. Analysis of global data between 1990 and 2013 reveals that improvements in secondary education have led to substantial health benefits, including decreases in adolescent fertility, HIV prevalence, and mortality rates among young people. Positive health outcomes are greatest amongst young women and those from low-income countries, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Has Child Marriage Declined in sub-Saharan Africa? An analysis of trends in 31 countries - Koski et al., Population and Development Review, February 2017. Decreases in the prevalence of child marriage are concentrated among girls aged 15 -17 years according to a study of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data from 31 sub-Saharan African countries. The study highlights that high levels of child marriage persist throughout much of sub Saharan Africa, despite legislative efforts to prevent the practice. When the Money Runs Out: Do cash transfers have sustained effects on human capital accumulation? – Baird et al., World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 7901, December 2016. According to the findings of a recent study in the Zomba district of Malawi, many of the initial benefits of a pilot two-year cash transfer programme targeting girls aged 13-22 were found to be short term. Significant declines in HIV prevalence, teen pregnancy, and early marriage among recipients of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) during the programme evaporated quickly two years after the cessation of transfers. Maternal Undernutrition and Childbearing in Adolescence and Offspring Growth and Development: Is adolescence a critical window for interventions against stunting? - Benny et al., Young Lives Working Paper 165, February 2017. Children born to stunted adolescent mothers have a 15% higher chance of being stunted and an 11% higher chance of being underweight than children whose older mothers were not malnourished. According to analysis of longitudinal data on a cohort of children and their mothers from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam, these differences persist through adolescence. For a complete look including current links to all the news, upcoming events, online courses, resources and latest important research collected in the digest download here.  

Research Projects

Adolescent wellbeing
Research Project Research Project

Adolescent wellbeing

Despite great strides in improving overall child well-being, progress has been slower in key areas of adolescent vulnerability, including exposure to violence, early marriage and school completion, especially among adolescent girls. The Lancet Commission ‘Our Future’ (2016) has examined the rapidly changing social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being and their implications on health promotion and prevention work.  It stresses the importance of adolescence as a critical period of formative growth that affects well-being across the life course. Although evidence is building in some domains of adolescent’s lives, greater understanding of the transition to adulthood and how different underlying factors interact is needed in order to inform the basis for effective programming and policy. The need to incorporate consideration of different structural factors into programme design is gaining support, yet there is still little guidance on systematic evidence-based approaches to employ in practice. The Adolescent Research Programme is advancing global understandings of adolescent well-being in selected countries and themes by defining the drivers of well-being outcomes (‘causes and consequences’) and examining effective policy and programme interventions (‘what works’). Research Priorities 2014 – 2018• Rigorous evidence generation on structural and social determinants of adolescent wellbeing across sectors and throughout the life course.• Understanding formal institutions, systems and policy processes as well as social and cultural norms affecting behaviours and policy implementation.• Analytical focus on age and gender gaps to shed light on the main drivers of adolescent vulnerability.Global Research PartnershipTogether with UK Department of International Development, Italy, SIDA, UNICEF as well as US Department of Labour, the Oak Foundation, and others, the global research partnership is working with multiple national governments and institutions to improve understandings of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives.The programme is linked to the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence initiative. It leverages UNICEF’s programme technical capacity as well as networks of regional and country offices and implementing partners in low and middle income countries.Drawing on multi –disciplinary research expertise, the UNICEF programme has produced cutting edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents.Quality evidence is having impact - informing effective policy and interventions in focus countries and beyond.