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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Reusable sanitary napkins in rural India: a remote quality improvement project for adolescent girls promoting menstrual hygiene health during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Samantha Ciardi Sassone; Susan Silva; Jed Metzger (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Global Health Promotion
Medical and public health research supports an ongoing need for health promotion in meeting menstrual hygiene needs, including menstrual hygiene management (MHM) education and the adoption of reusable sanitary napkins. This quality improvement project focuses on menstruation education for adolescent girls in rural Tamil Nadu, India and the promotion of reusable sanitary napkins. Results indicate a significant improvement in MHM knowledge, confidence in managing menstruation, adoption of reusable sanitary napkins, and a decrease in missed school days. These findings support global recommendations for health promotion in India.
Gendered effects of COVID-19 school closures: Bangladesh case study
Institution: Population Council
Published: March 2022
Bangladesh’s education system met intensified challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the difficulties students have historically faced. A recent study on the impacts of COVID-19 school closures in rural communities in Bangladesh clarifies issues of remote learning access, management, and monitoring, as well as new strains on students’ time use. It also reveals general impacts on mental and physical health, economic status, as well as gendered effects including child marriage. Based on evaluations of mitigation measures, recommendations for comprehensive policies, provision of technical, financial, and social support, and improvements in education systems emerged.
Gendered effects of COVID-19 school closures: India case study
Institution: Population Council
Published: March 2022
With sudden school closures in 2020, about 250 million children in India from preschool through high school faced disruptions to their education. A case study assessed the gendered impact of COVID-19 school closures on education, health, well-being, and protection of adolescents in India. Based on surveys and interviews in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, findings point to the digital divide for girls as well as shared barriers to effective remote learning. Informed by the evidence, the study presents recommendations to scale up efforts to improve remote learning, reduce digital divide and strengthen teacher support, with a particular attention to addressing gendered differences.
Gendered effects of COVID-19 school closures: Kenya case study
Institution: Population Council
Published: March 2022
In Kenya, COVID-19 school closures escalated education inequalities especially for girls and young people in rural areas. These closures exacerbated adolescent mental health issues, food and economic insecurity, and experiences of violence. COVID-19 response programs implemented by both the Government of Kenya and non-state actors were not able to fully mitigate the impacts of school closures for adolescents, teachers, or schools. Continued efforts to understand the implications of school closures and to support vulnerable students are needed.
Gendered effects of COVID-19 school closures: Pakistan case study
Institution: Population Council
Published: March 2022
As schools closed and reopened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a study was conducted to assess the gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures on adolescent girls and boys in three districts in the province of Punjab. Data as well as discussions and interviews with adolescents, teachers, and parents shed light on difficulties in accessing and adjusting to remote learning, learning loss, deterioration of behaviors and health, and other effects. Based on these findings and further reflections by stakeholders on the successes and gaps of mitigation measures, the case study proposes recommendations for improved teacher training, digital access, alternative learning options, and a gendered focus in interventions.
Adolescent lives in Ethiopia: what are we learning from longitudinal evidence? Lessons from longitudinal research with adolescents
Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: March 2022

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.

Adolescent lives in Bangladesh: what are we learning from longitudinal evidence? Lessons from longitudinal research with adolescents
Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: March 2022

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.

WINGS 2022 – The world of India’s Girls: spotlight on adolescent girls amid COVID-19
Institution: Save the Children
Published: March 2022

This research by Save the Children India highlights the disproportionate impact of India’s Covid-19 crisis on girls, with lockdowns and school closures exacerbating existing gender inequalities in the country and hindering girls’ access to health, education, and play. The report, The World of India’s Girls, reveals that only a third (33%) of girls in India attended online classes during lockdown, while two thirds (68%) struggled to access health and nutrition services. A further 80% were unable to access sanitary items due to limited government supplies, lack of money and shop closures. This study was conducted in four states – Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Telangana, representing the four geographical zones (East, West, North and South) and included a survey, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.

Evidence on the gendered impacts of extended school closures: a systematic review
Institution: UNESCO
Published: March 2022

This publication investigates the evidence on the gendered impacts of extended school closures and periods out of school. The aim is to ensure that responses to the current and future crises are informed by an understanding of how they affect education access, participation and outcomes, as well as children’s nutrition, health, well-being and protection. Building on the findings of 154 studies from every region of the world, it highlights how extended school closures and periods out of school deepen gendered exclusions and vulnerabilities – with the poorest children being the most affected. Seven different forms of gendered impact on education processes are delineated, linked to failures to address the needs, rights and capabilities of girls, boys, women and men, and to build institutional structures to sustain equality and protect from violence.

Compounding inequalities: Adolescent psychosocial wellbeing and resilience among refugee and host communities in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Nicola Jones; Sarah Baird; Bassam Abu Hamad (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Plos One
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated risk-mitigation strategies have altered the social contexts in which adolescents in low- and middle-income countries live. Little is known, however, about the impacts of the pandemic on displaced populations, and how those impacts differ by gender and life stage. This study investigates the extent to which the pandemic has compounded pre-existing social inequalities among adolescents in Jordan, and the role support structures play in promoting resilience.
The impact of COVID-19 on gender equality and food security in the Arab region with a focus on the Sudan and Iraq
This rapid gender analysis (RGA) explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality and food security in the Arab region. It is a joint collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and CARE International (CARE). This collaboration recognizes the need to expand the evidence base on gender-differentiated impacts of crises for informed recovery and response planning, while highlighting the imperative of collecting sex- and age-disaggregated data (SADD) more consistently.
Scars of pandemics from lost schooling and experience : aggregate implications and gender differences through the lens of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Roberto Samaniego; Remi Jedwab; Paul Romer (et al.)

Published: February 2022

Pandemic shocks disrupt human capital accumulation through schooling and work experience. This study quantifies the long-term economic impact of these disruptions in the case of COVID-19, focusing on countries at different levels of development and using returns to education and experience by college status that are globally estimated using 1,084 household surveys across 145 countries. The results show that both lost schooling and experience contribute to significant losses in global learning and output. Developed countries incur greater losses than developing countries, because they have more schooling to start with and higher returns to experience. The returns to education and experience are also separately estimated for men and women, to explore the differential effects by gender of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, while the study uncovers gender differences in returns to education and schooling, gender differences in the impact of COVID-19 are small and short-lived, with a loss in female relative income of only 2.5 percent or less, mainly due to the greater severity of the employment shock on impact. These findings might challenge some of the ongoing narratives in policy circles. The methodology employed in this study is easily implementable for future pandemics.

Girls’ lived experiences of school closures : insights from interviews with girls and mothers in Punjab, Pakistan

AUTHOR(S)
Rabea Malik; Najaf Zahra; Ayesha Tahir (et al.)

Published: February 2022
This note explores findings on the changing household dynamics in response to the mandated Coronavirus (COVID-19) school closures in Punjab, Pakistan. The SMS girl impact evaluation and a complementing qualitative study assessed the lived experiences of girls during school closures. Mothers and daughters in select districts were interviewed via phone. The initial round of interviews tells a story of economic hardship, gendered division of household tasks, loss of learning, lack of engagement with educational TV programming, and fear that some students may not re-enrol when schools reopen.
Leveraging data and partnerships: strengthening girls' education in emergencies with WROs
Institution: Equal Measures 2030
Published: January 2022

For girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, education can be a ladder out of poverty and a way to break cycles of abuse and violence. Yet, there are still steep gender-related barriers to a quality and safe education such as gender-based violence, discrimination, child and forced marriage, lack of access to healthcare and menstrual hygiene products, unpaid domestic labour, and the prioritization of boys’ education. Even girls who do access education face a range of challenges, including poor quality facilities, large class sizes, and a lack of qualified female teachers and staff. For girls in fragile and conflict-affected areas, the threats can include kidnapping, injury, forced recruitment, and displacement. With the COVID-19 pandemic, those challenges have only increased. There are several stakeholders working to reduce these barriers and make sure that girls who must access their education in emergency situations can do so safely and effectively. They are also trying to make sure that the education available is of high quality and sensitive to their unique needs. In 2021, the Government of Canada supported a partnership with Equal Measures 2030 and its in-country partners FAWE and IPBF, based in Kenya and Burkina Faso, respectively, to look at how to strengthen the equitable and coordinated provision of education for girls and women in both countries. The result was research and advocacy that aimed to make the education systems of both countries more data-driven and gender-responsive. This report details the experiences, findings, and recommendations encapsulated in our work.

EdTech for Ugandan girls: Affordances of different technologies for girls’ secondary education during the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Kalifa Damani; Rebecca Daltry; Katy Jordan (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Development Policy Review

This article discusses the use of educational technology (EdTech) in girls’ education at PEAS schools (‘Promoting Education in African Schools’) in rural Uganda during the COVID-19-related school closures. This article addresses a research gap surrounding the potential use of EdTech to support girls’ education, focusing on the barriers to girls’ EdTech use and how technology might be used to enhance girls’ education in disadvantaged rural areas – specifically their academic learning and their social and emotional learning. A sequential, explanatory mixed-methods case study approach was used. Quantitative exploration of a dataset of 483 Ugandan students, from 28 PEAS schools, was first conducted, followed by interviews with PEAS staff to elucidate the reasons and context behind the findings.

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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.