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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.
Elizabeth Presler-Marshall; Bassam Abu Hamad; Sally Youssef (et al.)
Palestine refugees, of whom there are nearly 6 million, primarily live in the countries surrounding the land that is now recognised by most UN member states as the State of Palestine. Palestine refugees are largely excluded from labour markets, due to blockades and national laws, and subsequently have high rates of poverty. Most depend on services and support delivered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and its governmental and non-governmental partners for survival. Palestinian adolescents, whether they live in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, in Jordan or in Lebanon, face myriad threats to their well-being. These include age- and gender-based violence and exploitation in the home, at school and in the community. With the world’s attention elsewhere, however, most of those threats remain largely invisible. This report draws on data collected by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research programme to begin addressing evidence gaps and exploring the protection risks facing Palestinian adolescents.
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.
Samira Ahmed Raha; Md. Sajib Rana; Saklain Al Mamun Al Mamun (et al.)
This research is part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme, a nine-year, mixed methods longitudinal research and evaluation programme following the lives of 20,000 adolescents in six low- and middle-income countries. BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH) and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) partnered to carry out rapid-response research in Dhaka to gain an understanding of vulnerable and underprivileged adolescents’ lives during the pandemic. This policy brief presents findings from the second round of data collection which included 30 in-depth interviews with adolescents living in three sites in Dhaka. Findings show inequalities in access to and continuation of distance education, negative effects in psychosocial well-being, unequal access to digital connectivity, financial constraints, with inequalities between different socio-economic classes, gender and age groups, which put them at risk of discontinuing education, entering into child labour and also early marriage.
Elizabeth Presler-Marshall; Nicola Jones; Sarah Alheiwidi
Erin Oakley; Sarah Baird; Mohammad Ashraful Haque (et al.)
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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