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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Time use of youth during a pandemic: evidence from Mexico

AUTHOR(S)
Cynthia Boruchowicz; Susan W. Parker; Lindsay Robbins

Published: September 2021   Journal: 149
Studying how the pandemic affects the education and work of adolescents is a critical question with long lasting implications for well-being of the next generation, particularly in the developing world. The Covid-19 pandemic by mid-March 2020 had led to the closing of most educational institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the region has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic (Sanmarchi et al., 2021). This paper uses the Mexican National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE) to provide evidence on the pandemic’s effects on school and work of youth. It measure changes in the time use of adolescents comparing patterns just before the pandemic (January to March 2020) with those at the beginning of the following school year (September 2020), controlling for pre pandemic trends and potential seasonality.
“I Must Work to Eat”: Covid-19, poverty, and child labor in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda
Institution: Human Rights Watch
Published: September 2021

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, countries around the globe had made remarkable progress in reducing child labor. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of children in child labor decreased by approximately 94 million between 2000 and 2016, representing a drop of 38 percent. But as the pandemic caused massive school closures and unprecedented loss of jobs and income for millions of families, many children have entered the workforce to help their families survive, while others have been forced to work longer hours or enter more precarious and exploitative situations. Some have become their families’ primary breadwinners after losing a caregiver to Covid-19. Some despair of ever going back to school. This report examines the rise in child labor and poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic in three countries: Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda, the impact on children’s rights, and government responses. Each of the three countries has made significant progress reducing poverty and child labor in recent decades. Each has also made an explicit commitment as a “pathfinder” country to accelerate efforts to eradicate child labor in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Are working children in developing countries hidden victims of pandemics?

AUTHOR(S)
Polyxeni Kechagia; Theodore Metaxas (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Social Sciences
The consequences of the recent pandemic have been disproportionately disruptive to several social groups, including children. As developing economies have been firefighting the recent pandemic, the welfare of minors could be affected and children’s economic exploitation and abuse could increase. Therefore, the present research aims to shed light on and to investigate the association between child labour in developing countries and pandemics, including the coronavirus, through conducting a systematic literature review on previous empirical studies. The present research concludes that previous studies on non-COVID-19 pandemics have mainly focused on the African economies, while studies on the recent pandemic have focused on Asian countries. In addition, differences were observed in relation to the methodological approaches and the characteristics of minor employees and the protection services in certain countries have proven to be insufficient.
The challenges of inequality and COVID-19 for young people in Peru: evidence from the listening to young lives at work COVID-19 phone survey

AUTHOR(S)
Kath Ford; Santiago Cueto; Alan Sanchez

Published: August 2021

This policy brief looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of adolescents and young people in Peru as they transition into adulthood, focusing on how widening inequalities are hitting those from disadvantaged backgrounds hardest. Peru continues to suffer one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world, despite an initial strict national lockdown between March and June 2020, and subsequent regional lockdowns between July and September 2020. A second set of regional lockdowns, and new related restrictions, have been introduced since January 2021, in response to an even more devastating second wave of infections. This brief investigates the broader economic and social impacts of the pandemic, presenting policy recommendations based on findings from the Listening to Young Lives at Work COVID-19 phone survey, conducted in the second half of 2020. It focuses on five key areas of impact: interrupted education and inequality in learning outcomes; unequal access to decent jobs; worsening mental health and well-being; specific implications for girls and young women, including increased domestic work burdens; and increasing risk of domestic violence. It is part of a series of national policy briefs drawing on findings from our 2020 COVID-19 phone survey.

Caregiver perceptions and their influence on child education and labour across Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Ghazarian

Institution: World Vision
Published: June 2021
Children are the cornerstone of any society and as such, they need to be trained and provided with adequate opportunities to ensure their development, survival and rights on the path to their future as adults. Yet most of these children are at early age exposed to dangerous and risky jobs that affect every aspect of their development. This study contributes to a small but growing body of literature that explains the determinants of child activity decisions (including schooling, child labour and household chores) and aims to explore their prevalence in the Lebanese society along with associations with different socio-demographic factors as well as parental beliefs and perceptions around child labour and education.
Child labour: global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward
Institution: *UNICEF, International Labour Organization
Published: June 2021

The latest global estimates indicate that the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years. 63 million girls and 97 million boys were in child labour globally at the beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. This report warns that global progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years. The number of children aged 5 to 17 years in hazardous work – defined as work that is likely to harm their health, safety or morals – has risen by 6.5 million to 79 million since 2016. In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, extreme poverty, and inadequate social protection measures have led to an additional 16.6 million children in child labour over the past four years. Additional economic shocks and school closures caused by COVID-19 mean that children already in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions, while many more may be forced into the worst forms of child labour due to job and income losses among vulnerable families. The report warns that globally 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic. Children in child labour are at risk of physical and mental harm. Child labour compromises children’s education, restricting their rights and limiting their future opportunities, and leads to vicious inter-generational cycles of poverty and child labour.

COVID-19 school closures in the DRC: impact on the health, protection and education of children and youth
Institution: Cellule d’Analyse en Sciences Sociales
Published: May 2021

This report presents an analysis of the impact of school closures as a COVID-19 response measure in the DRC, and is intended to inform evidence-based programming to mitigate the short- and long-term consequences to health, protection, and education of children and adolescents in the DRC. It demonstrates that the impact of school closures does not end with the reopening of schools; the evidence shared in this report highlight the long-term impacts that will continue to be felt following two extended periods of school closures in the DRC, and calls for an urgent response.

School drop-out risk hotspot analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Cheb Hoeurn (et al.)

Institution: Save the Children
Published: May 2021

COVID-19 poses a serious threat to a country’s development, particularly in the education sector. In partnership with CARE International, and as part of Cambodia’s GPE-funded COVID-19 Accelerating Funding Response and Recovery programme, UNICEF has awarded SCI with implementing the Communication for Education and Improved School Governance. The purpose of the project is to support the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in the process of reopening schools and, in particular, reach the most vulnerable families and their children. To support the above project, this study was proposed and conducted. This study had two objectives: 1) to map the risk of drop-out at the district and province levels, and 2) to examine the determinants of drop-out risk. To meet the objectives of the study, data from joint COVID-19 rapid education assessment were employed. In this study, only student and caregiver data were used. To map school drop-out risk at the district and province levels, school drop-out risk was aggregated to the district and province levels using weighted averages. The study employed both descriptive and inferential statistics.

Working children in crisis-hit Lebanon: exploring the linkages between food insecurity and child labour
Food insecurity has increased significantly in Lebanon during the past year; nearly 97% of the Syrian refugees on Lebanese soil are marginally or completely food insecure. Food basednegative coping mechanisms have also increased and infant and young child feeding practices have deteriorated. Food is the main expenditure for the most vulnerable households. According to the last available figure on this topic (2016), at least 100,000 children were working in Lebanon and this trend is expected increase. The objective of this report is to draw attention to the linkage between food insecurity and child labour, and its recent evolution in Lebanon. ACF and IRC developed questionnaires and interviewed 648 individuals between July and September 2020 in the Bekaa, Beirut, North and South Lebanon. The interviewees were mostly Syrian refugees but also Lebanese individuals and working children were included. The survey findings were complemented by existing research findings from NRC and CAMEALEON and data from the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC).
Breaking the child labour cycle through education: issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children of in-country seasonal migrant workers in the brick kilns of Nepal

AUTHOR(S)
Angela Daly; Alyson Hillis; Shubhendra Man Shrestha (et al.)

Published: February 2021   Journal: Children's Geographies
This viewpoint offers a commentary on the status of Nepalese children of migrant workers in the brick kilns of the construction industry and the potential impacts of COVID-19 on their lives. The paper identifies a temporal cycle of movement in the life of a child from a migrant working family with the variances that need to be taken into consideration by stakeholders to tackle child labour, and to reduce risks to children of migrant workers posed by the current pandemic. It draws on the education and emergencies literature to examine ‘lessons learned’ and considers key questions to ask in the time of COVID-19, especially in the education sector, to mitigate further entrenchment of exclusion of this group of children in Nepal.
Prevalence and potential consequences of child labour in India and the possible impact of COVID-19 – a contemporary overview

AUTHOR(S)
Navpreet Kaur; Roger W. Byard

Published: February 2021   Journal: Medicine, Science and the Law
Child labour is a global phenomenon occurring predominantly in countries with lower socioeconomic status and resources. Societal and familial poverty, loss or incapacitation/illness of parents, lack of social security and protection, and ignorance about the value of, or limited access to, education are among the myriad reasons for the involvement of children in the workforce. Child labour is a barrier to the development of individual children and their society and economy. Global estimates indicate that 152 million children (64 million girls and 88 million boys) are working, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide. Currently the COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market consequences are having a major impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, impoverished families and their children are often the first to suffer, which may push many more vulnerable children into child labour situations. Child labour in India is more prevalent than in many other countries, with approximately 10 million children actively engaged in, or seeking, work. This paper focuses on the issue of child labour, its causes and its ill effects. Further, it also reviews the international legal framework relating to child labour and legislative issues in India.
Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

Strengthening community engagement in Nepal during COVID-19: community-based training and development to reduce child labour

AUTHOR(S)
Stephen Larmar; Merina Sunuwar; Helen Sherpa (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development
The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to serious socio-economic consequences globally. These impacts are disproportionately disruptive to vulnerable groups and low- and middle-income countries. This paper explores the case of Nepal and challenges faced by NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) to reduce child labour in brick production, embroidery (zari) and the carpet industry amidst the strict lockdown laws, and industry closure during the pandemic. The case of the Sakriya Project, a child protection initiative headed by World Education Inc. (WEI) Nepal illustrates challenges and opportunities for social work in building capacity to support this vulnerable population during the pandemic.
Social protection and child labour: eliminating child labour in agriculture with social protection
COVID-19 and its direct and indirect economic impacts particularly affect rural populations, leading to an increase in hunger and poverty. To cope with this situation, rural households may likely resort to using child labour among other negative coping strategies, facilitated by the closure of schools in response to the spread of the virus. The prevalence of child labour remains high in agricultural sub-sectors. Because social protection coverage remains limited and cash payments and other types of support to subsistence farmers, forest communities, fisherfolk and artisanal fishers are often scarce or irregular, FAO encourages the expansion of social protection to rural areas as an effective strategy for eliminating child labour. This information note aims at outlining what are child labour and social protection, how social protection can significantly contribute to eliminating child labour in agriculture, and what are FAO’s planned efforts to leverage on social protection interventions to generate knowledge and increase impact at country level on child labour elimination. 
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Gender Alert on COVID-19 Afghanistan
Institution: UN Women, *UNICEF, Human Rights Watch
Published: October 2020
Families already living in poverty, many of whom are internally displaced persons or returnees, have little ability to weather a new crisis. They will be most under pressure to relieve financial crises through child labor or child marriage. In addition to dropping out of school, education disruption puts girls and young women at increased risk of numerous abuses: child marriage, exploitation, child labor, early pregnancy, and gender-based violence. An increase in reported cases of child marriage within the first few weeks/months of the pandemic has been documented.

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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.