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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Can youth empowerment programs reduce violence against girls during the COVID-19 pandemic?

AUTHOR(S)
Selim Gulesci; Manuela Puente Beccar; Diego Ubfal

Institution: The World Bank
Published: February 2021
This paper shows that a youth empowerment program in Bolivia reduces the prevalence of violence against girls during the COVID-19 lockdown. The program offers training in soft skills and technical skills, sex education, mentoring, and job-finding assistance. To measure the effects of the program, the study conducts a randomized control trial with 600 vulnerable adolescents. The results indicate that seven months after its completion, the program increased girls' earnings and decreased violence targeting females. Violence is measured with both direct self-report questions and list experiments. These findings suggest that empowerment programs can reduce the level of violence experienced by young females during high-risk periods.
Reimagining girls’ education: solutions to keep girls learning in emergencies
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: February 2021

This report presents an empirical overview of what works to support learning outcomes for girls in emergencies. Research shows that girls in emergencies are disadvantaged at all stages of education and are more likely to be out-of-school than in non-emergency settings. Girls are also struggling to learn. This solutions book seeks to highlight promising evidence-based actions in education for decision makers who are designing and implementing interventions to support girls’ education in low and middle-income country humanitarian settings and settings where education has been interrupted by the COVID‑19 pandemic. It documents practical examples of approaches that have been or are being tested, and from which lessons can be drawn. The overarching aim is that this evidence be used to inform programming in crises and support diverse stakeholders in mitigating the impact of emergencies on girls’ education.

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries.

The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries.

The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.

Re-imagining play spaces in early childhood education: supporting girls’ motive orientation to STEM in times of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Marilyn Fleer

Published: November 2020   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
In unprecedented times, the global community is calling for greater knowledge and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to support the decision making and practices of the general community. COVID-19 has highlighted this pressing need and inviting a ‘new normal’. But STEM is not the core business of early childhood. What role can the early childhood education research community take? This paper reports on a cultural-historical study that investigated how a Conceptual PlayWorld changed the traditional Froebelian play areas to support girls’ play and motives in STEM. The question guiding that study was how could a Conceptual PlayWorld overcome the problems previously identified in the literature on girls’ inclusion in STEM activities in preschools.
Counting the costs of COVID-19: assessing the impact on gender and the achievement of the SDGs in Indonesia
Institution: UN Women, Indosat Ooredoo
Published: October 2020

OVID-19 has affected Indonesian women and men differently. Although men are more likely to die from the pandemic, women’s mental health is taking a bigger toll. With school closures many women are now spending more time helping their children with schoolwork, and other forms of unpaid care and domestic work have also increased at home. As a result of the crisis, women’s paid work time and access to public transit have decreased, putting their livelihoods at stake. At a time when social distancing measures have rendered traditional data collection methods impossible, these effects are hard to capture. In response to this challenge, UN Women’s has partnered with Indosat Ooredoo to find innovative solutions to pursue data collection. These timely findings are important to inform response policies that meet the needs of women and men.

Coping with more than COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Kelley Swain

Published: October 2020   Journal: The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Education, and its precarity for young women around the world, is a major theme in the UNICEF video essay series, “Coping with COVID-19”, which invited 16 adolescent girls from nine countries to film their lives under lockdown—“unfiltered, unscripted, 100% real”. These young women face complex interconnected challenges. Having access to safe, reliable, high-quality education can help them make choices that will benefit their goals relating to future work, relationships, and community involvement.
Beijing+25: generation equality begins with adolescent girls' education
Institution: UNESCO
Published: October 2020

Adolescent girls' education contributes to a virtuous cycle that has proven positive impact on sustainable development. This report aims to examine progress and persistent gaps in our efforts to achieve gender equality in and through education since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, and to identify priority actions to be implemented within the Beijing+25 process, the Generation Equality Forum's Action Coalitions, and the Sustainable Development Goals. It shows the importance of adolescent girls' education and provides recommendations for collective action – in particular on three priority levers: Comprehensive sexuality education; the participation of adolescent girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and the development of adolescent girls' leadership – drawing in particular on consultation processes among international organizations, civil society and adolescent girls in the run-up to the Forum. In all areas, specific levers, intersectoral approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships are promoted.

Supporting women throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency response and economic recovery
Institution: The World Bank
Published: October 2020
In addition to its immediate adverse impact on women’s and girls’ health and education, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to further exacerbate existing gender inequalities in economic opportunities across Sub-Saharan Africa. This brief highlight evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab and other promising research on mechanisms that can help protect the lives and livelihoods of women and girls - at the household level, in firms and farms, and during adolescence - in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. While these interventions focus on improving economic and social outcomes for women, many of them also have positive impacts for men. 
A new generation: 25 years of efforts for gender equality in education
Institution: UNESCO - Global Education Monitoring Report Team
Published: October 2020
Over the past 25 years girls' access to education has dramatically improved. However, girls, particularly those with intersecting disadvantages in terms of poverty or disability, still face the worst forms of acute exclusion in world's poorest countries. Education is a critical lever for women's rights. The potential increase in early pregnancy is likely to be a result of increased early marriages, a consequence of households being plunged deeper into poverty due to the pandemic.
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COVID-19 and Girls’ Education in East Asia and Pacific
Institution: UNICEF - East Asia and Pacific
Published: October 2020 UNICEF Publication
This brief summarizes the impact of COVID-19 on the education of girls in countries across the East Asia and Pacific region and proposes considerations for national stakeholders and policy makers in their school reopening efforts and beyond. The Brief also highlights and provides specific examples of UNICEF’s programmatic interventions to ensure that girls are not left behind in the efforts to reimagine more inclusive and equitable quality education systems after COVID-19.
In solidarity with girls: gender and education in crisis
Published: September 2020

Drawing on the ‘build back better’ principle, this brief contributes to policy dialogues and discussions on how we can plan for and work towards more equal, gender-responsive school systems once restrictions are lifted. This policy brief builds on the content of an intergenerational dialogue that is representative of the wider youth network that each advocate represents. The dialogue focused on the gendered impacts of school closures and youth-led, innovative responses that are being undertaken in different contexts. It also explored some policy measures and actions aimed at governments, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to promote girls’ return to school. This brief contributes to policy dialogues and discussions on how we can transform our education systems to work better for girls. The intergenerational dialogue on which this policy brief is based discussed the existing inequalities that have been exacerbated through the pandemic, with a focus on the gender digital divide. The brief also outlines concrete actions to rebuild a ‘new normal’ in education post COVID-19, alongside visions for more gender equal, inclusive education systems. The recommendations are aimed at governments, policymakers, funders and other key stakeholders in the gender and education space.

The hidden impact of COVID-19 on gender equality

AUTHOR(S)
et al.

Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2020
As COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, governments have implemented measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, including school closures, home isolation/quarantine and community lockdowns. These measures have exacerbated gender inequalities, impacting the lives of children and households. This research highlights gendered differences in several areas related to children and COVID-19, with an emphasis on how gender inequalities intersect with disability and displacement status. Recommendations are based on Save the Children’s COVID-19 research, lessons from ongoing programming, and existing studies.
A case for girl-child education to prevent and curb the impact of emerging infectious diseases epidemics

AUTHOR(S)
Shadrack Frimpong; Elijah Paintsil

Published: September 2020   Journal: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Not only do epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) cause the loss of millions of lives, but they also cost the global economy billions of dollars. Consequently, there is an urgent need to formulate interventions that will help control their spread and impact when they emerge. The education of young girls and women is one such historical approach. They are usually the vulnerable targets of disease outbreaks – they are most likely to be vehicles for the spread of epidemics due to their assigned traditional roles in resource-limited countries. Based on our work and the work of others on educational interventions, this study proposes six critical components of a cost-effective and sustainable response to promote girl-child education in resource-limited settings.
African girls in the Covid-19 pandemic
Institution: Plan International
Published: August 2020

As countries across Africa experience the impact of COVID-19 across health systems, economies and communities, progress made in the last decade in achieving the rights of adolescent girls’ risks being lost. African governments must act in urgency to address this “invisible crisis" and protect the important gains made to protect, and empower girls over the last decade.COVID-19, an unfolding global health crisis, is revealing a grim impact on millions of adolescent girls across Africa. Along with rising infection rates across countries in the continent, the disease is compounding challenges to girls’ agency, protection, learning and leadership. The African response to the pandemic will – if unchecked - roll back important gains made in ensuring African girls’ access and enjoyment of human rights. COVID-19 is emerging as not only a health crisis but a significant protection crisis for adolescent girls across the continent.

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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.