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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fragilities in the global health architecture that contributed to countries being ill-equipped to effectively respond to a global health emergency, which in turn led to devastating consequences for children’s access to essential health services. Increased political awareness and commitment to pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) efforts offer a pivotal opportunity to make gains in child survival through resilient health systems that are anchored in a primary health care and rights-based approach. Save the Children and UNICEF UK new policy briefing presents a series of measures for the WHO Pandemic Accord as well as recommendations for the broader health emergency PPR architecture.
The 2022 Global Strategy progress report provides an assessment of the situation of women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health in this third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 1 presents abundant evidence showing that inequities persist despite great progress in reducing maternal and child mortality in the two decades leading up to the pandemic. A child’s life trajectory and rights to health, education, opportunities and safety are still largely determined by where that child is born. Data showing stagnation or drops in coverage of lifesaving interventions similarly serve as a reminder of the need to be more vigilant about bridging gaps and placing women, children and adolescents at the centre of development efforts. It also showcases key drivers of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being. It emphasizes that women’s empowerment and adolescent participation are pivotal to achieving the 2030 Agenda yet notes that there is a long way to go in reducing gender inequality and increasing young people’s meaningful opportunities to actively engage in community and civic life. Also stressed is the importance of addressing the complex factors underpinning today’s unacceptable levels of malnutrition and developing effective strategies to reach women, children and adolescents affected by conflict, forced migration, poverty and climate change impacts. Section 2 takes stock of the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on women, children and adolescents. Although children and adolescents are less likely to experience severe health consequences from SARS-COV-2 infection compared with adults, multiple years of education, health, nutrition and social service disruptions have impacted and will continue to impact their lives.
Nurth Palomo; Luis Vargas Faulbaum; Anna Carolina Machado (et al.)
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the foundations of the economy and provoked devastating social effects in all the countries in the world, being Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) one of the most affected regions. The region is also experiencing a significant deterioration in the levels of poverty and extreme poverty, which affects children and adolescents more significantly. This Research Report analyzes digital payment systems for social protection interventions in the region.
Marco Valenza; Thomas Dreesen; Sophia Kan
Sophia Kan; Thomas Dreesen; Marco Valenza
Ellen Helsper; Steven Vosloo
The digitization of society does not have a universal effect on all children. Even with the same internet access, digital literacy and content, children from different places and backgrounds can still have unequal experiences and outcomes. A child’s individual environment influences the extent to which they can seize digital opportunities and avoid digital risks. Unaddressed injustices and inequities based on sexism, racism, classism and other forms of discrimination, contribute to this, and technological advances reflect and amplify existing social, cultural and economic inequalities. In order to get the most out of digital technology, underlying inequalities in the lives of children need to be addressed. This report presents a future-ready, child-centred digital framework that incorporates all aspects of digital inclusion, addresses known gaps, explicitly aims to achieve digital equality, involves a broader range of stakeholders to do this, and responds to emerging technologies and trends.
UNICEF and WHO jointly organized Ending Violence Against Children During COVID-19 and Beyond: Second Regional Conference to Strengthen Implementation of the INSPIRE Strategies, held virtually on 1–5 November 2021. The Conference comes under the umbrella of the 2021 Solutions Summit series of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC). Over 1700 delegates gathered for the Conference virtually, representing governments (including from the health, social welfare, education and justice sectors), youth groups, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international NGOs, faith-based organizations and religious leaders, academic institutions, private sector and development partners, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children. The purpose of the Conference was to identify actions needed to ensure effective prevention and response to VAC during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, utilizing the strategies outlined in INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children.
We are in a learning crisis. To give young people the best chance to succeed, we need to support them holistically. The first step is to identify where children and youth are in building the range of skills they need, monitor progress in their development and ensure no child or young person is left behind. The Recovering Learning report published jointly by UNICEF and the Education Commission, and supported by Generation Unlimited, contributes to these efforts by providing a comprehensive view of skills attainment among children and youth. The report highlights the need to improve tracking progress in skills development, especially in light of the global priority to recover education in response to COVID-related disruptions. To succeed in the global commitment to support the holistic development of children and young people, we need better and more inclusive data to recover and reimagine our education system RAPID-ly. We also need to mobilize increased and improved investment in education to finance transformation, including through innovative instruments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education for approximately 1.2 billion students across the Asia-Pacific, and forced the closure of many schools, precipitating a transition towards remote learning, albeit with uneven access and quality, and threatening to deepen the ‘learning crisis’ that already existed, particularly for the most vulnerable learners. As education systems in the Asia-Pacific seek to recover the learning loss due to the pandemic and address the broader learning crisis, it is incumbent on governments to identify appropriate recovery strategies in the short term. Also, governments need to support education system transformation so that all learners reach minimum proficiency in numeracy and literacy and acquire competencies needed to fulfil their potential –personal, social and economic. Learning recovery strategies will differ across the region, not the least because schools were fully or partially closed1for different lengths of time -for example, India (82 weeks), Indonesia (77 weeks), and Bangladesh (73 weeks). Other countries saw shorter closures, such as: Vanuatu (4 weeks), Papua New Guinea (6 weeks), and the Solomon Islands (7 weeks).
Teachers are the most important actors in improving students’ learning outcomes and thus in addressing a learning crisis in the region. Moreover, the unprecedented and extensive school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected about 43 million teachers in school education in the Asia-Pacific region. These teachers were at risk of losing their jobs due to budget cuts, they had to address the new challenge of teaching remotely, as well as worrying about their own and their families’ health and well-being. Throughout the school closures, teachers continued to teach under extremely fluid and trying conditions: increased workloads, having to use new and unfamiliar technologies without adequate training, experiencing a lack of materials for online instruction, high levels of physical and mental stress, and insufficient support.
Heather L. Ramey; Heather L. Lawford; Yana Berardini (et al.)
According to children and youth in Canada, what were the negative and positive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives? How did they experience changes in their relationships; daily schedule; time at home; use of technology; or feelings of anger, worry, loneliness or gratitude? How were these experienced by marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ and Indigenous children and youth? To date, research on Canadian children’s and youth’s experiences during the pandemic has lacked a broad exploration of their own perspectives. This qualitative study, however, was informed by three child and youth advisory teams, with input from 10 focus groups; 23 semi-structured interviews and a total of 74 young people (10–19), from four provinces and one territory.
Francesca Viola; Maria Rosaria Centrone; Gwyther Rees
This report recounts the journeys of a group of adolescents through the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, one of the first countries to be affected by the virus. It is the first product of an in-depth qualitative study that aims to understand the experiences of children and young people from their point of view and through their words. The data for this project were collected online between February and June 2021 with 114 participants between the ages of 10 and 19, who attended lower and upper secondary schools in 16 regions of Italy, and included children and young people who identify as LGBTQI+, unaccompanied and separated children, and adolescents from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds
In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region has suffered a triple curse, as it faced the largest combined impact in health, economic and educational terms. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people´s lives, livelihoods, and human capital formation represents, without doubt, one of the worst crises in LAC’s history. As we seek to rebuild better and foster more inclusive and sustainable growth, the main concern, nonetheless, is not the heavy toll of the pandemic, but the future of an entire generation of children and young people who have endured this massive shock. This report is the first evidence-based assessment of this educational catastrophe in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report intends to systematically document the impact that COVID-19 has had on the region’s education sector two years after. The 24 months since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 is described sequentially, focusing firstly on the features of the “triple curse”, and then on the direct impact on schooling, learning and skills development. The report also addresses significant cross-sectoral impacts, namely those related to digital and transferable skills.
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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