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Innocenti blog posts are published on UNICEF connect - Evidence for Action blog
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It’s Payday! What a cash transfer looks like in Ghana
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It’s Payday! What a cash transfer looks like in Ghana

Cash transfer programs have become an increasingly popular component of social protection strategies across sub-Saharan Africa. These programs provide monthly payments to poor and vulnerable households and can lead to multiple demonstrated benefits, such as the improvement of health and education among young people, and impacting the local economy. Recently, the Government of Ghana expanded the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Program, which assists extremely poor households (defined by those that live on less than $1.10 USD per day) that contain orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly and those with disabilities. The expansion, known as LEAP 1000, now includes extremely poor households with pregnant women and infants and focuses on children in the first 1000 days of life. Through the cash transfer payment, LEAP 1000 is expected to improve children’s nutritional status and reduce stunting, both common problems in Ghana.
Doing impact evaluation in a remote region of Ghana
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Doing impact evaluation in a remote region of Ghana

What do snakes, flat batteries, limited privacy, and identifying a suitable cut-off point have in common? As I recently observed, they are some of the many challenges that can occur when conducting an impact evaluation in a remote village.On a recent trip to Ghana, we observed baseline data collection for an evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 cash transfer programme. The programme is administered by the Government of Ghana with technical support from UNICEF and targets households with women who are pregnant or have children under the age of 12 months. The impact evaluation is taking place in five programme districts and has a target sample size of 2,500 households: half from the treatment group and half from the comparison group. Because it wasn’t possible to randomly assign participants to a control group and carry out a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), the evaluation uses another rigorous approach called Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD; see page 7 of Brief 8 for a description). The results will inform the Ghanaian government of changes in families’ lives caused by cash transfers and inform future delivery of similar programmes.
Best of UNICEF Research 2015
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Best of UNICEF Research 2015

The Office of Research – Innocenti has just released the third edition of its annual publication Best of UNICEF Research 2015. With each edition we learn more about a key element in a global development organization’s effort to gather evidence. Over the course of its existence Best of UNICEF Research has grown in terms of the quality of research represented, the range and complexity of research questions addressed and in the programmatic and geographic scope of the submissions.Research is an essential part of UNICEF’s effort to improve the situation of the world’s children. Quality data gathering, appraisal and analysis can fuel informed decision making and planning, assess intervention impact, question practices and improve policy discourse. High quality research is carried out across the full breadth of UNICEF offices and locations. But often, especially in country offices, it is undertaken with a sharp focus on how it can support programmes for children in particular contexts. Best of UNICEF Research is now a vital tool for increasing organization-wide learning and sharing about quality research.
Why we need more research on children’s use of the Internet
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Why we need more research on children’s use of the Internet

It is becoming difficult to imagine a day in a teenagers’ life – in all parts of the globe – without internet access: to socialize with peers, seek information, watch videos, post photos and news updates or play games. As the internet rapidly penetrates all regions, children’s experiences worldwide are increasingly informed by their use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).The ITU estimates that by the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people will be using the internet, 2 billion of which will be in developing countries. This exponential growth is largely attributable to the rapid spread of mobile broadband technology with 3G mobile coverage reaching close to 70% of the total world population.
Giving girls a chance
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Giving girls a chance

Mounting evidence from systematic reviews, such as these on early childbearing and HIV risk, suggest that cash transfers have positive impacts on youth transitions into adulthood. Yet, data illustrating howthese programs affect outcomes is generally scarce.Now new research from the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published in Social Science & Medicine, recently presents evidence of these impacts, suggesting that unconditional cash transfer programs targeting orphans and vulnerable children may significantly reduce the likelihood of early pregnancy.
25 years of research on child rights at Ospedale degli Innocenti
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25 years of research on child rights at Ospedale degli Innocenti

UNICEF is well known for its role in responding to complex humanitarian crises affecting children around the world. The work of the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, based at the 600-year-old Ospedale degli Innocenti, in Florence, Italy rarely hits world headlines. Yet over the quarter century of its existence UNICEF at Innocenti has produced ground-breaking analytical work which has informed action and shifted global development discourse on critical child rights issues.In order to mark its 25th Anniversary, the Office recently convened a special anniversary seminar to reflect on achievements and look toward future directions for research at Innocenti. In its historic Renaissance surroundings former directors and senior researchers, together with a constellation of local and national Italian partners, shared their experiences and insights. On behalf of the Italian Government, the Office’s most generous financial donor, Luca Zelioli, First Counsellor, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered opening remarks.
Are we failing adolescents?
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Are we failing adolescents?

Almost half of all women in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are married before eighteen. Globally, adolescents are two times more likely to be out of school than primary school aged children. Nearly eight million 15-24-year-olds in Europe are not in education, employment or training.Is it time to ask the question: “Are we failing adolescents?”
Supporting families and parents in a rapidly changing world
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Supporting families and parents in a rapidly changing world

In China about 100 million children have parents who migrate away from home in search of employment. Some of these children accompany their parents, usually from a rural village to a strange new urban world. Most of these children – about 60 million of them – remain at home, supported and cared for by grandparents, neighbours or friends.In China, and across the globe, traditional notions of family and parenting are long gone. Family can no longer be defined as the biological nuclear family or even by relation through kinship.
Evidence from Africa shows cash transfers increase school enrollment
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Evidence from Africa shows cash transfers increase school enrollment

An estimated 63 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 are currently out of school, according to a recent report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF. This is a staggering number, and the barriers to school enrolment–poverty, conflict, gender discrimination, and child labour–are not easy to overcome.However, researchers are helping to identify what works in social protection to increase secondary school enrolment in Africa, particularly among the poorest, rural households – groups that were highlighted as having the greatest need in the new report.
Multidimensional Child Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa
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Multidimensional Child Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa

A new working paper called ‘Analysing child poverty and deprivation in sub-Saharan Africa’ has been published by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. The paper uses a framework called ‘MODA’ designed to measure multidimensional poverty specifically for children within and across countries. We caught up with Sudhanshu Handa, Chief of Social and Economic Policy at the UNICEF Office of Research to learn about the paper’s new findings and the strategy behind its unique analysis.
Impact evaluations reap long term benefits for children
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Impact evaluations reap long term benefits for children

We have an obligation to invest where it makes the most difference for children. But how do we decide what will reap the greatest benefits in the long term?The dilemma of whether to invest in services that provide immediate benefits, or in evidence generating initiatives for the long term, is a difficult one. The answer requires a careful analysis of the cost of not addressing immediate needs versus the potential future benefits of policy and budgetary change brought about by research and advocacy.
Best of UNICEF Research 2014
Blog Blog

Best of UNICEF Research 2014

UNICEF staff are so preoccupied with the increasingly complex task of assisting the most vulnerable children that they don’t often realize the extent and quality of research their offices and programmes throughout the world carry out.UNICEF is actually a major global research organization with hundreds of research projects carried out each year to underpin its programmes, policy and advocacy work. Its work addresses new and emerging development challenges, and advances knowledge on children with relevance often well beyond the local country context.
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