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Elizabeth Presler-Marshall; Erin Oakley; Shoroq Abu Hamad (et al.)
Age- and gender-based violence during adolescence is widespread, and the risks permeate all spheres of adolescents’ lives – family and marriage, schools, peer networks and communities. Yet this violence affects girls and boys very differently within and across low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts. Midway through the Sustainable Development Agenda, data from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research programme reinforces the urgency of investing in a tailored, adequately resourced package of interventions, coordinated across sectors and development actors. This would allow the global community to make meaningful progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 16 to eliminate all forms of violence affecting young people. This brief draws on data collected in three of GAGE’s core countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Jordan using mixed-methods research. GAGE findings highlight that adolescent girls – and boys – regularly face myriad forms of age- and gender-based violence. Risks are context-dependent, which in some cases means adolescent girls and boys do not perceive what they are experiencing as violence, and in other cases leads them to embrace such behaviour because it demonstrates to their peers and communities that they are conforming to social norms. Critical to tackling this violence is a recognition that age-based violence is often deeply gendered; that gender norms leave girls and boys at heightened risk of different types of violence; and that sometimes the best way to support girls to lead lives free of violence is to ensure that the boys in their environments are also free of violence.
Sally Youssef; Nicola Jones; Agnieszka Małachowska (et al.)
Syrian refugee adolescents in crisis-stricken Lebanon are facing growing challenges to their overall well-being, including their psychosocial well-being. With almost all the Syrian population in Lebanon sinking into severe poverty, the country’s compound crisis is taking a heavy toll on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of ever more vulnerable Syrian refugees. Isolation and mental health problems have been increasing among Syrian refugees, particularly adolescents and young people, as a direct result of the pressures caused by the economic crisis. Stigma surrounding mental health and lack of access to support services threatens the psychosocial well-being of all adolescents, but especially married girls. This report explores the impacts of this compound crisis on Syrian refugee adolescents’ psychosocial well- being and their opportunities to exercise voice and agency in their family and community. Drawing on a capabilities approach, the report presents findings from participatory research undertaken with 30 Syrian refugee adolescent girls and boys in Lebanon between 2019 and 2022. It explores gendered differences in voice and agency, and psychosocial well-being, by focusing on adolescents’ lived experiences amid the turbulent and deteriorating socioeconomic and political environment. It concludes with recommendations for policy and programming so that refugee adolescents can be supported to reach their full capabilities.
Vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian refugee adolescents in crisis-stricken Lebanon, amid a global pandemic, face the most enormous challenges to their education. With increasing socioeconomic vulnerabilities and shrinking opportunities, and the ever more fragile education sector, adolescents’ education is increasingly at risk. In 2021, an estimated 260,000 Lebanese children and 440,000 refugee children dropped out of school. This report focuses on Palestinian and Lebanese adolescents’ access to education and learning, and their opportunities to exercise voice and agency, highlighting the impact of the Lebanese crisis on their lives. It draws on findings from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study, involving adolescents from Syrian and Palestinian refugee communities and vulnerable Lebanese host communities. Using interactive participatory tools, including participatory photography, GAGE aims to gain a better understanding of ‘what works’ to empower different groups of adolescents (especially girls) in conflict-affected contexts.
Nicola Jones; Jude Sajdi; Elizabeth Presler-Marshall (et al.)
Most of the research on refugee economic participation has focused on adult refugee populations, particularly men. Data on adolescents and youth, particularly girls and young women, is limited. This report aims to fill some of these research gaps and contribute to efforts to support refugee youth to realise their potential in line with the commitments enshrined in both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to ‘leave no one behind’, and in the Global Compact on Refugees, to ‘enhance refugee self-reliance’. Focusing on male and female youth aged 15–24 years from Syrian and Palestinian refugee communities in Jordan, as well as vulnerable Jordanians in host communities, the report captures their aspirations and experiences in building independent and sustainable livelihoods. It incorporates a gender lens to identify and analyse the factors that promote or hinder youth participation in the labour market, paying particular attention to gender norms and roles.
Jordan is a small, highly resource-constrained country situated in the heart of the Middle East. Long a haven for refugees fleeing regional conflict, over one-third of Jordan’s 10 million residents are not Jordanian. Jordan is home to approximately 1.5 million Syrians, half of whom are registered as refugees with UNHCR. Jordan is also hosting 2.5 million registered Palestine refugees. In Jordan, GAGE has collected mixed-methods baseline data (between mid-2018 and early 2019) with approximately 4,000 Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian and Dom adolescents living in host communities, formal refugee camps and informal tented settlements; fielded three rounds of covid-19 phone surveys; and is running ongoing participatory research groups with older married girls, out-of-school boys and adolescent girls and boys with disabilities (15–19 years). GAGE is also evaluating a variety of UNICEF Jordan’s programming. This brief highlights headline emerging findings and provides links to fuller publications.
Since 2019, Lebanon’s economy has been caught in an accelerating downward spiral, which the World Bank predicts will rank in the top three most severe global economic crises in the last 150 years. Food prices have now climbed more than 500%, over half of the country is living below the poverty line and the electrical grid is on the verge of collapse as fuel has become unavailable. For the 1.5 million Syrian refugees and nearly 200,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, the situation is even more dire. In Lebanon, GAGE is running participatory research groups with 83 vulnerable Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese adolescents. These young people are between the ages of 15 and 19 and live in host communities, formal refugee camps served by UNRWA (Palestinians), and informal tented settlements (Syrians). The participatory research groups were established in 2019 and meet every four to six weeks to discuss themes related to GAGE’s conceptual framework. This brief highlights headline emerging findings and provides links to fuller publications.
From August 2017, the largest wave of Rohingya refugees crossed the Myanmar border into Bangladesh, fleeing crimes that the UN Special Rapporteur has claimed ‘bear the hallmarks of genocide’. Over 880,000 displaced Rohingya now live in 32 makeshift and 2 registered refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district, one of Bangladesh’s poorest regions, where 1.36 million people – comprising both refugees and host community residents – remain in need of humanitarian assistance. This brief draws on mixed-methods data collected both before and after the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from younger (aged 10–14) and older (aged 15–19) cohorts at baseline, our research captures the voices of Rohingya and Bangladeshi adolescents and their views on everyday life, including the structural and socio-cultural constraints they face and whether they are being left behind.
Ethiopia has made remarkable progress over the last two decades. The poverty rate has halved (from 46% to 24%), the primary completion rate has more than doubled (from 18% to 50%) and the odds of marriage for girls under the age of 15 have fallen to less than 1 in 10. However, alongside the covid-19 pandemic, the last two years have seen increasing ethnic and religious tension and violence, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to deliver on promised political transformations. In Ethiopia GAGE has collected baseline and midline data with approximately 8,000 rural and urban adolescents in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regions as well as Dire Dawa City Administration; fielded two rounds of covid-19 phone surveys; and is running ongoing participatory research groups with older girls and boys (15–19 years). Nested within the Ethiopian study, GAGE is also carrying out an impact evaluation of the adolescent empowerment programme ‘Act With Her’ (AWH). This brief highlights headline emerging findings from this unique dataset, as well as providing links to more comprehensive publications and an annex with key quantitative indicators.
Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in social and economic development in recent decades, which contributed to the country attaining middle-income status in 2015. While the country’s educational advancements are noteworthy – net enrolment rates in school have converged towards gender parity and literacy rates have improved – entrenched obstacles related to educational transitions for adolescents persist. In Bangladesh, GAGE has collected mixed-methods baseline data from a school-based sample in Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, as well as virtual data collected at various intervals during the covid-19 pandemic. Quantitative baseline data was collected from 2,220 adolescents attending grades 7 and 8 in 109 public (government) and semi-private (monthly pay order (MPO)) schools in February and March 2020; and qualitative baseline data was collected by phone from 100 adolescents, parents and teachers between August and September 2020. This brief highlights headline emerging findings and provides links to more comprehensive publications.
Nicola Jones; Taghreed Alabadi; Sarah Alheiwidi (et al.)
Recognition that access to digital connectivity, tools and services is fundamental to inclusion and participation in society has grown exponentially over the last five years, including for persons affected by forced displacement and socially disadvantaged young people. This report presents findings from a rapid qualitative research assessment of UNICEF Jordan’s digital inclusion programme for vulnerable Jordanians, Palestinian and Syrian refugees attending Makani centres undertaken in July and August 2021. The programme distributed tablets and 10GB of monthly data to 10,000 vulnerable households in order to help address the digital divide and support access to online education and learning as well to life skills and other non-formal education programming. Drawing on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with adolescents and their parents, this report explores the effects that the tablet distribution initiative has had in terms of education and learning, access to information and services, as well as to peers and mentors.
Anita Ghimire; Sharmila Mainali; Fiona Samuels (et al.)
Bassam Abu Hamad; Sarah Baird; Nicola Jones (et al.)
The population of Jordan has increased rapidly over the past 10 years, with the country taking in more than a million Syrian refugees, of whom nearly half are below the age of 18 years. The Government of Jordan, supported by the international community, has made substantial efforts to provide basic services for its refugees, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressure on the country’s limited resources. Given that young people account for a relatively large proportion of the population, especially the refugee population, it is critical that we understand what impacts the pandemic is having on adolescent girls and boys in order to ensure that the national response by government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and development partners including the United Nations (UN) are adolescent-friendly and equitable. This research brief draws on the findings of a questionnaire-based telephone survey involving nearly 3000 adolescent boys and girls, conducted as part of the Region-wide Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research programme which is co-funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.
As elsewhere, in the State of Palestine, the burden of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality has overwhelmingly fallen on older people. There is, however, growing recognition that younger people, including adolescents aged 10–19 years who account for more than a fifth of the population (1), are also suffering negative impacts on their health because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that nearly 40% of the population in the State of Palestine are refugees it is important to distinguish between the experiences of the non-refugee and the refugee adolescent populations, and within the latter, those living in camp and non-camp settings. Such disaggregated evidence will help to inform national response plans by government and development partners to ensure that they are both adolescent-responsive and equitable. This policy brief draws on findings of a questionnaire-based telephone survey involving just over 1000 adolescent boys and girls which was conducted as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research programme.
Farhana Alam; Md Sajib Rana; Samira Ahmed Raha (et al.)
This study is part of a cross-country series designed to share emerging findings in real time from qualitative interviews with adolescents and school teachers in the context of covid-19. Our sample for this study was purposefully selected from an ongoing baseline GAGE impact evaluation study, and includes two cohorts: younger adolescents (10–14 years) and older adolescents (15–19 years), all of whom are in-school (grades 7 and 8). Adolescent respondents were drawn from both urban and rural schools in Chittagong and Sylhet divisions of Bangladesh. The objectives of the research are as follows: 1) to understand adolescents’ experiences of transition from childhood to adulthood, and to identify differences in their experiences by age, gender, disability and geographic location; 2) to identify adolescents’ knowledge of covid-19, and how the pandemic response has affected adolescent lives. To inform the pandemic response, this study aims to understand adolescents’ knowledge, perceptions and practices during the covid-19 pandemic, their challenges and worries, and the coping mechanisms they are using to deal with the evolving situation.
N. Jones; S. Guglielmi; A. Małachowska (et al.)
This report aims to support timely and context-relevant policy and programming in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the State of Palestine (Gaza and West Bank) and Jordan by adding to the evidence base on adolescent girls’ and boys’ experiences during COVID-19. Drawing on mixed methods research it captures the risks and opportunities adolescents face across four low- and middle-income country contexts six to nine months after lockdowns in response to the pandemic were first introduced. With a focus on the intersectional challenges faced by adolescents including by gender, age, marital status, disability and context, the report covers three key domains: education and learning; violence and bodily integrity; and voice, agency and community participation. This is the companion report to a report published in August 2020, ‘I have nothing to feed my family’, which focused on the immediate, short-term effects of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns on girls and boys across the same contexts. The report concludes with key recommendations for policy and programming actors so that efforts to ‘build back better’ post-pandemic can be more effectively informed by adolescents’ experiences and voices.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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