Play is key for child development and the mental health of children and caregivers. Play is an essential part of development in the early years. Play is the way young children from birth to three learn, as they explore and begin to make sense of the world around them. Research shows that play supports many interrelated facets of development including cognitive, physical, social, emotional and language development in young children, setting the foundation on which new learning builds throughout a child’s life.
Parental Leave Limbo: Childcare Challenges and the Potential for Policy Progress
As I transition back to work after six months of maternity leave, I can’t believe my timing during the launch of a major new UNICEF report Where Do Rich Countries Stand on Childcare? Published by UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti, where I work, the report ranks countries across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) based on their national childcare and parental leave policies.
Reimagining Digital Learning: Lessons from the Learning Passport in Timor-Leste
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools worldwide governments rapidly worked to deploy remote learning to continue education. 9 in 10 countries around the world used online learning platforms to support children’s learning in 2020. However, understanding of how students, especially those from marginalized households in remote areas, can access, use, and learn from digital platforms is limited.
Finland is the happiest country in the world – again. Or is it?
Recently, news outlets across the world announced: Finland ranked happiest country in the world – again. This information is based on the World Happiness Report 2021 which uses data from the Gallup World Survey.
Researchers reflect on what inspired them to work on gender
I actually didn’t intentionally set out to work on gender and came to the issue in a roundabout way. I often joke that while I started out by studying what, in my opinion, is arguably humanity at its best (I have a degree in studio art!), I ended up working with humanity at its worse: violence against children and against women.
How can formative assessment foster learning as schools reopen?
During COVID-19 related school closures, at least 463 million children had no access to remote learning (digital or TV/Radio). This crisis not only affects overall learning levels, but increases gaps, with the learning of children from disadvantaged households more deeply affected.
Why developing more measures of social and gender norms really matters for gender equality
In August 2020, I joined the Gender-Responsive and Age-Sensitive Social Protection (GRASSP) Team at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti as a research intern. Working with my colleagues Elena Camilletti and Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, we mapped and reviewed available measures of gender equality outcomes, including ones on social and gender norms across the life course used or tested in research and evaluations in low- and middle-income countries.
Promising Futures: Vocational training programme in rural Bangladesh
In a town in the rural Sumanganj District of Bangladesh, we met recent graduates of Alternative Learning Pathways, a Let Us Learn-supported programme implemented in partnership with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. The project targets adolescents aged 14 to 18 who have dropped out of school and are mostly unemployed or out-of-school. Alternative Learning Pathways provides them with vocational training in trades for which there is market demand in the community. In the Sumangani District, these trades included tailoring and dress making (the most popular), wood furniture design, IT support technician, mobile phone servicing, and beauty salon (for girls exclusively), amongst others (see Figure 1).
Bright Beginnings: Community-Based Early Childhood Education in Rural Bangladesh
According to the most recent census, around half of the population in Bangladesh’s Sunamganj District lives below the poverty line. Monsoon flooding in the district perennially cuts villages off from one another and makes access to schools difficult. We drive past bustling markets and vast stretches of rice fields, arriving in a sparsely populated village on the banks of the Shurma river. Welcomed by members of the community, we take off our shoes to pay a visit to a new community pre-primary education center established by Let Us Learn in partnership with Dhaka Ahsania Mission.
Digital engagement for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation during COVID-19
COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM). In Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan, reports show that school closures, social isolation, limited mobility, and reduced law enforcement and frontline service providers increase girls’ risk of undergoing FGM. Social distancing has triggered an accelerated shift to digital technologies as people increasingly rely on technology for access to services, information, education, social networks, and livelihoods. Thus, scaling up digital engagement was identified as a way to mitigate girls’ risk of FGM and continue community-based initiatives in the absence of in-person contact for preventing harmful practices.
Overcoming the adolescent financing gap: The Burundi investment case
Adolescence (10-19 years) is a make or break period when individuals begin to consolidate their physical, cognitive, emotional and socio-economic foundations that will shape their lives. Adolescence is a critical period as many individuals never fully recover from any developmental shortcomings they experience. Yet in today’s world, many adolescents lack access to critical services in health, education, psycho-social support, parental guidance and an enabling environment that would adequately prepare them for a safe transition to adulthood.