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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Perturbed nuptiality, delayed fertility: childbirth effects of Covid19

AUTHOR(S)
Mazhar Mughal; Rashid Javed

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Population Research
An aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic that merits attention is its effects on marriage and childbirth. Although the direct fertility effects of people getting the virus may be minor, the impact of delayed marriages due to the first preventive lockdown, such as that imposed in Pakistan from March 14 to May 8 2020, and the closure of marriage halls that lasted till September 14 may be non-negligible. These demographic consequences are of particular import to developing countries such as Pakistan where birth rates remain high, marriage is nearly universal, and almost all child-bearing takes place within marriage. Based on historic marriage patterns, this study estimates that the delay in nuptiality during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak may affect about half of the marriages that were to take place during the year. In Pakistan, childbearing begins soon after marriage, and about 37% of Pakistani married women give birth to their first child within twelve months of marriage. A sizeable number out of these, around 400,000 annual births that occur within twelve months of the marriage, may consequently be delayed. Postponement of marriages due to the accompanying difficult economic situation and employment precariousness will accentuate this fertility effect. The net fertility impact of the Covid-19 outbreak will ultimately depend not only on the delay in marriages but also on the reproductive behavior of existing couples.
Youth relationships in the era of COVID-19: a mixed-methods study among adolescent girls and young women in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Celia Karp; Caroline Moreau; Grace Sheehy (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

Measures to mitigate COVID-19's impact may inhibit development of healthy youth relationships, affecting partnership quality and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. This is a mixed-methods study aiming to understand how COVID-19 affected girls' and young women's relationships in Kenya. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression examined factors associated with relationship quality dynamics and SRH outcomes among 756 partnered adolescents aged 15–24 years. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to explore youth perceptions of how intimate relationships changed during COVID-19.

Covid-19 and female learners in South Sudan: the impact of school closures in Juba, Rumbek, Kapoeta, Torit and Pibor
Institution: Institute of Social Policy and Research
Published: August 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting closure of South Sudan’s schools in March 2020 exacerbated many of the challenges female learners face in pursuing an education. Research found that increased poverty, domestic care work, early and forced marriage, and teenage pregnancy would make it difficult for female learners to return to schools when they reopened in May 2021. Greater financial and material support to female learners and their schools; more inclusive school environments for mothers, married or pregnant learners; and improved availability of services for learners experiencing gender-based violence, early and forced marriage or pregnancy are necessary to adequately support female learners to continue their education.
COVID-19 and children’s school resilience : evidence from Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Sylvain Dessy; Horace Gninafon; Luca Tiberti (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: July 2021
This paper analyzes the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on children's school resilience. Using an individual fixed-effect linear probability model on Nigeria data, it exploits the quasi-randomness of these measures to estimate their effect on school attendance after the lockdown was lifted. The results show that COVID-19 lockdown measures reduced children's probability of attending school after the school system reopened. This negative impact increased with children's age, reaching a peak among those whose education was no longer compulsory. For schoolchildren in that age group, the negative effect of COVID-19 lockdown measures is likely to be permanent, which, if not reversed, will undermine the quality of the economy-wide future labor force. The paper also finds evidence that in the child marriage-prone North-West part of Nigeria that these measures increased gender inequality in education among children aged 12 to 18. This result suggests that COVID-19 lockdown measures may exacerbate harmful traditional practices such as child marriage.
COVID-19: the turning point for gender equality

AUTHOR(S)
Senait Fisseha; Gita Sen; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Henrietta H. Fore (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Lancet
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have gone far beyond the disease itself. In addition to the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths, the pandemic has deepened social and economic inequalities. These indirect impacts have been compounded by pervasive gender inequalities, with profound consequences, especially for women, girls, and people of diverse gender identities. There has been an escalation in gender-based violence within households, increasing numbers of child marriages and female genital mutilation, and an increased burden of unpaid care work, with impacts on mental health. Communities of people affected by HIV are, again, at the crossroads of injustice and targeted discrimination. Measures to control the pandemic have reduced access to essential health and social welfare services, including sexual and reproductive health services, reduced employment and labour force participation, and decimated many household incomes. Here again, women have borne the brunt of marginalisation, particularly those working in the informal sector. Intersectionality analyses have highlighted the inextricable effects of poverty, racial discrimination, harmful gender norms, and limited agency and opportunities for women, especially already marginalised women, even when they represent most of the front-line health workers. The diversion of funds from other health and development programmes into economic recovery means that the pandemic is further eroding health gains made over decades, stalling progress on tackling gender inequalities.
COVID-19 and the surge of child marriages: a phenomenon in Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia

AUTHOR(S)
Maila D. H. Rahiem

Published: July 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Worldwide, there has been a massive increase in child marriages following the COVID-19 crisis. In Indonesia, too, this figure has risen with Indonesia ranked amongst ten countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. One of the Indonesian provinces with a high incidence of child marriage cases is in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). This study aims to examine what is causing the rate of child marriages to increase since the outbreak of COVID-19 in NTB.

Promises to keep: impact of COVID-19 on adolescents in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Julie Mwabe; Karen Austrian; Sheila Macharia

Institution: Population Council
Published: July 2021

This new report is one of the first in the world to look exclusively at the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ lives. It leverages data collected on the social, education, health, and economic effects of COVID-19 on adolescents in June 2020 and again in February 2021, and features contributions and recommendations from girls and boys who are part of advisory groups in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kilifi and Wajir counties, where the data was collected.

Early marriage and teenage pregnancy: the unspoken consequences of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Shuaibu Saidu Musa; Goodness Ogeyi Odey; Muhammad Kabir Musa (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Public Health in Practice
Early marriage and its sad consequences to the girl child and socio-economic development of the nation has been an age-long issue being advocated against in many parts of Nigeria. At the onset of COVID-19, the teeming efforts to curb this issue almost got jeopardized with harsh economic situations in many households due to the lockdown and the willingness to marry off their girls to reduce this burden. Closure of schools and cases of sexual gender based violence also impacted the prevalence of early marriage during the pandemic in Nigeria.
Child Marriage in the context of COVID-19: Analysis of trends, programming and alternative approaches in the Middle East and North Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Camilla Landini; Shadia Elshiwy

Documented good practices, programmatic interventions and alternative approaches that has been implemented in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child marriage in the Middle East and North Africa region is presented in this study. Furthermore, key recommendations for strengthening child marriage prevention programming during the COVID-19 pandemic are presented.
Pandemic pivot: achieving transformative results in the Covid-19 pandemic
Institution: United Nations Population Fund
Published: June 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum in 2020, UNFPA implemented the third year of its Strategic Plan 2018–2021. The plan’s targets are three transformative results to be achieved by 2030: ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning, and ending GBV and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation and child marriage. UNFPA adapted and responded quickly to the global emergency, focusing immediately on maintaining the provision of SRH information and services and on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on progress towards the three transformative results.
Breaking the chain: empowering girls and communities to end child marriages during COVID-19 and beyond
Institution: World Vision
Published: May 2021

Right now, there are 650 million child brides living in every region of the world. Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights, which severely impacts the global economy, peace and security, as well as hampering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress has been made over the last decade, but 2020 saw the greatest surge in child marriage rates in 25 years. Global projections of girls married by 2030 have shot up from 100 million to 110 million, as an additional 10 million girls will now be married due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to anecdotal data from our programmes, between March-December 2020, child marriages more-than doubled in many communities compared to 2019.This report compiles research and data from four unique contexts – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and Uganda – where World Vision has been working to address the issue of child marriage. In each of these countries, case studies were developed using first-hand accounts of promising practices towards eliminating child marriage.

Let's go digital! Using digital technology to end child, early and forced marriage and reduce adolescent pregnancy

AUTHOR(S)
Raša Sekulović

Institution: Plan International
Published: April 2021
This report examines the role that digital technologies and online solutions can play in ending child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) in the Asia-Pacific region. Based on an in-depth literature review and key informant interviews, it explores the ways in which Plan International Asia-Pacific Regional Hub (APAC) and other child-rights based development organisations have integrated digital technologies in their programmatic and influencing approaches towards eliminating CEFM in the region. It also introduces some of the digital technologies that have been developed by the private sector, which can be effective in CEFM prevention. Drawing on these insights, the report develops a series of recommendations about how digital technologies can be leveraged most effectively to reach scale and generate impact in eradicating CEFM.
The COVID‐19 pandemic: a first‐year review through the lens of IJGO

AUTHOR(S)
Sophie Maprayil; Amy Goggins; Francis Harris

Published: March 2021   Journal: International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
A policy brief for UN Women on the impact of COVID‐19 on women has noted that, across the board, the impacts of COVID‐19 are exacerbated for women and girls. The health of women in general has been adversely affected, with resources being reallocated in the emergency response to COVID‐19 and frequently leading to the suspension or limitation of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) services. The UN Women brief also paints a stark picture in terms of gender‐based violence, noting that as the pandemic deepens both social and economic stress, coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, many women have been forced to isolate with their abusers, a situation which has coincided with disruption or lack of access to the support services which they so desperately need. The UNFPA have predicted that the pandemic is also likely to cause significant delays to programs dedicated to preventing child marriage and female genital mutilation; the estimated projections are stark, with over 2 million more cases of FGM and 13 million more child marriages over the next 10 years than would otherwise have occurred. As the official journal of the International Federation for Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), IJGO is a major source for global cutting‐edge research and reports on issues affecting women's health, as well as addressing economic, social, and human rights issues.
Listen to us: adolescent girls in North West South West Cameroon on conflict and COVID-19
Institution: Plan International
Published: March 2021

This report is the result of a multi-sectoral needs assessment exercise focusing on the rights and needs of adolescents living in the Anglophone territories of North West South West (NWSW) Cameroon. Conducted under extremely challenging circumstances, the assessment used innovative methods pioneered by Plan International to capture the voices of adolescent girls and young women, alongside adolescent boys, young men and their parents and caregivers. It spoke directly to adolescent girls themselves, in particular adolescent girls who are mothers, pregnant, or married, whose ideas, and needs, are often ignored. The NWSW regions of Cameroon have been engulfed in crisis since late 2016, yet this conflict, and its impacts on adolescents, have received limited attention from the international community. This report, which gives adolescents the space to voice their concerns and priorities can be used to engage with states, donors and other humanitarian actors on this neglected crisis and highlight what needs to be done to address adolescents’ needs, rights and aspirations.

COVID-19: a threat to progress against child marriage
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: March 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly affecting the everyday lives of girls: their physical and mental health, their education, and the economic circumstances of their families and communities. Changes like these increase the likelihood of child marriage, and over the next decade, up to 10 million more girls will be at risk of becoming child brides as a result of the pandemic.
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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.