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Kalpana Vincent; Viviane Bianco; Sarah Fuller (et al.)
The return to face-to-face learning helps children return to a sense of normality, although different normality as prevention and control measures have likely altered school and classroom routines. It is important that schools should have a risk-mitigation strategy in place. Countries should ensure these strategies carefully balance the likely benefits for, and harms to, younger and older age groups of children when making decisions about implementing infection prevention and control measures. Any measure needs to be balanced with the even worse alternative of schools being closed and Any measure introduced by schools should follow standard protocols for implementation. This publication shares more detailed considerations for health and educational authorities on the public health and social measures to reopen schools as safely as possible.
Schools are essential for children’s learning, health, safety and well-being. But students’ learning suffered a major setback when most educational institutions reduced or cancelled in-person instruction and moved to remote learning and teaching to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Prolonged school closures continue to jeopardise the future of millions of children across the globe. The Europe and Central Asia Region is no exception. Schools should be the first to open and last to close. Getting children back in the classroom remains a priority for UNICEF and WHO Regional Offices, striking a balance between applying public health and social measures and ensuring that children are able to continue learning and socializing to the greatest extent possible. UNICEF and WHO have created several tools and resources to support countries in their back-to-school efforts. This joint UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (UNICEF/ ECARO) and WHO Regional Office for Europe Schooling Resource Pack has an easy-to-find compilation of materials to help parents/caregivers, teachers and students return to school safely.
Brian Keeley; Juliano Diniz de Oliveira; Tara Dooley
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children. But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long. The State of the World’s Children 2021 examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health. It focuses on risks and protective factors at critical moments in the life course and delves into the social determinants that shape mental health and well-being. It calls for commitment, communication and action as part of a comprehensive approach to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children and care for children facing the greatest challenges.
Priscilla Idele; Prerna Banati; David Anthony (et al.)
COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical.
Recognizing the persistent and harmful impact that COVID-19 and related lockdown measures pose for the HIV response, governments across ESA region continue to implement interventions to sustain and further advance hard won gains toward ending AIDS. One year after the release of UNICEF’s Compendium of innovative approaches to HIV programming in Eastern and Southern Africa in the context of COVID-19, this new Volume II describes results achieved in the nine countries highlighted in Volume I and shares experiences from an additional eight countries. This collective work demonstrates how countries are building upon the learning and architecture of the HIV response to proactively mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while scaling up efforts to achieve global HIV goals, resulting in stronger responses and resilient systems for both HIV and COVID-19.
Manahil Siddiqi; Ramya Subrahmanian
This paper presents a review of select evidence generated by UNICEF on the impact of COVID-19
on child protection. It takes stock of UNICEF’s contributions to the global COVID-19 child protection
knowledge base and presents what has been learned so far from this evidence base on the impacts of
COVID-19 on child protection and the response measures put in place since the pandemic. This review offers a starting point for UNICEF to further build its evidence base with external partners for
continued evidence generation – so that it can be used to address child protection issues and lessons in
the context of COVID-19.
Deepika Ganju; Tom Pellens
Protecting children from COVID-19 in school requires an effort from the entire community, including national and local governments, school administrators, teachers, parents/caregivers and students. To reopen schools as safely as possible and keep them open during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent implementation of effective strategies to prevent COVID-19 transmission during all school-related activities is critical. This guide outlines practical tips to support school administrators in implementing safety measures and creating a safer learning environment for children. The decision to reopen schools should be guided by the best interests of children and the guidance of the local government and public health authorities in each country.
One of the objectives of this collaboration is to produce a range of youth-led, data-driven research products, providing insight into the most effective ways to support young people in East Africa. This special edition Barometer is designed to provide a snapshot into the lives of Kenyan girls aged 15-19 (also referred to as adolescent girls) in 2021. This edition of COVID-19 Barometer includes new insights from Shujaaz Inc’s annual national youth survey, which draws on face-to-face interviews with 2,015 young people conducted between December 2020 and January 2021. Drawing on additional qualitative research, the Barometer aims to provide an update on the challenges, lifestyles, priorities and aspirations of adolescent girls, during a turbulent pandemic. This edition focuses on key topics including education, sexual and reproductive health, financial security, mental wellbeing and resilience. We hope it provides a valuable update for organisations working with adolescent girls across Kenya, and inspiration for similar research in East and Southern African countries.
During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, communication is key to develop and sustain the effective and trusted relationship between students, teachers and parents/caregivers. Credible and consistent two-way communication ensures a clear understanding of messages, facilitates ongoing dialogue and enables collective decision-making with the active involvement of students, teachers and families. School administrators play a large role in shaping communication and engagement among schools, families, and teachers to support children’s continued participation in quality and inclusive learning. Adopting principles listed in this guide will help school administrators to design the right approach in building communication strategies and plans, which encourages parents/caregivers, teachers and students to work together and create an enriching learning environment amidst the challenging situation.
Joel Mullan; Emma Broadbent; Bassem Nasir (et al.)
Technology is playing a growing role to provide education, training and employment, including in humanitarian and migration responses. By driving a shift to online work and training on an unprecedented scale, albeit not universally, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the use of digital technologies in programmes that support school-to-work transition, including solutions focused on youth who are FDPs, in host communities, or are otherwise vulnerable. This report, funded in part by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands’ PROSPECTS partnership, provides an overview of how digital technologies are being used to support youth’s transition from school to work, ‘learning to earning’, in displaced and host communities. Based on a rapid analysis of emerging approaches and lessons in this burgeoning space, the report’s purpose is to inspire concerted attention and action to ensure effectiveness and scale of such digital enablers.
Jan Beise; Danzhen You (et al.)
Age plays a critical role in a child’s migration, but how will gender mediate that experience? Which gender-specific vulnerabilities, needs, and opportunities influence the lives of girls and boys on the move? This report reviews the existing evidence base – official statistics and quantitative and qualitative studies from the community level to the global level – to shed light on these important questions. Examining the available information not only indicates where and how children on the move need targeted resources, support and protection, but also pinpoints areas needing further investigation. Available data and research demonstrate that gender plays a pivotal role from the time the decision to leave home is made, and continues to shape experiences and vulnerabilities throughout the child’s journey and integration process at the destination. COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity to the lives of children on the move, exacerbating pre-existing insecurities in some dimensions and introducing new ones. Girls in particular are feeling many of these effects acutely, such as gender-based violence.
Laetitia Antonowicz; Parmosivea Soobrayan; Sarah Fuller
Education has been significantly disrupted in Europe and Central Asia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unequal access to and varied quality of remote and hybrid learning during the first 18 months of the pandemic have slowed students’ learning and widened equity gaps between students. The pandemic has also significantly impacted the well-being and mental health of students, teachers and parents. UNICEF has advocated for schools to be among the last institutions to close and the first to reopen when it is safe to do so and has called for joint coordination across sectors and partners to keep schools open and children, teachers and families safe. This document, Building resilient education systems beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Second set of considerations for school reopening, aims to support education decision-makers at national, local and school levels to plan for education recovery and normalisation following the 2020 school closures and continuing education disruption in 2021. It provides a set of considerations to address the most pressing priorities and mitigate the most significant risks to ensure that all children and young people participate in high-quality, inclusive and safe learning. The Considerations apply to access, learning, well-being, safety in schools and nutrition.
JohnBaptist Bwanika; Tom Pellens; Esther Kaggwa
While there has been a global rush to generate rapid evidence on COVID-19 mental health impacts among adults, limited evidence exists on the potential impacts on children. This is the protocol for our rapid review that seeks to (i) understand the immediate impact of COVID-19’s first wave on the mental health of children and adolescents (0–19 years); and (ii) apply lessons learned from this pandemic to mitigate the impacts of future health crises.
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.
Read the latest quarterly digest on violence against children and women during COVID-19.
The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
Subscribe to updates on new research about COVID-19 & children
COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response