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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.
Cheb Hoeurn (et al.)
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.
Angela Daly; Alyson Hillis; Shubhendra Man Shrestha (et al.)
Navpreet Kaur; Roger W. Byard
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.
Stephen Larmar; Merina Sunuwar; Helen Sherpa (et al.)
Shivit Bakrania; Cirenia Chávez; Alessandra Ipince; Matilde Rocca; Sandy Oliver; Claire Stansfield; Ramya Subrahmanian
This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.
The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited.
There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.
Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:
There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.
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 children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response