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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.
Shadrack Frimpong; Elijah Paintsil
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.
Sharon Goulds; Isobel Fergus; Esther Winslow
As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread worldwide it is becoming clear that the outbreak of this virus has implications that reach far beyond the direct impact on people’s physical health. What started as a health emergency is causing fundamental shifts in society as governments struggle to try and contain the crisis. COVID-19 is having an impact on all sectors of society across the world. But its impact does not fall equally: the virus is taking advantage of pre-existing inequalities. As the world has sought desperately to deal both with the medical impacts of the virus and to prepare a response to its many secondary effects, research on COVID-19 has accelerated. However, there is limited research on the social impacts of COVID-19 and on the consequences for young people, especially those specific to girls. Plan International commissioned research to look specifically at the impact of the current pandemic on girls and young women, collecting data from over 7,000 girls across 14 countries. The report also includes extracts from interviews with young women, reflecting on the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives in Mozambique, Brazil, Ghana and Nicaragua. The scale of this pandemic affects girls and young women in all aspects of their daily lives: their safety, wellbeing, education, economic security, health, nutrition and access to technology. All pre-existing inequalities are made worse by COVID-19. Its impact on girls and young women, who face unique vulnerabilities, needs to be acknowledged and it is their experiences and perspectives this research seeks to understand.
COVID-19 unprecedented disruption to education has the potential to roll
back substantial gains made on girls’ education in recent decades, with
broader immediate and longer-term effects on the achievement of the
Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to poverty
reduction, health and well-being, inclusive quality education and gender
equality. The guide, developed by the Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO,
UNGEI and UNICEF, aims to help policymakers and practitioners in
ministries of education and their partners address the gender dimensions
of the pandemic-related school closures. It provides targeted
recommendations to ensure continuity of learning while schools are
closed, and to establish comprehensive, timely and evidence-based plans
for reopening schools in a way that is safe, gender-responsive and
Governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects on women and girls. Gender-Based Violence is a problem of human-rights, public health and development. It is also a problem that has had devastating effects for women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic. This real-time emergent learning brief has been prepared for UNICEF Country Offices and Practitioners as they respond to gender-based violence during the pandemic. Drawing on evidence from UNICEF country experiences, the brief identifies emerging risks related to gender-based violence; highlights programme responses and adaptations; and outlines key points for programming, advocacy and systems change.
Margo Goll; Andreia Soares; Tanjeeba Chowdhury
Tal Rafaeli; Geraldine Hutchinson
Susan Kaaria; Erdgin Mane; Tacko Ndiaye (et al.)
Lucia Fry; Philippa Lei; Naomi Nyamweya (et al.)
This report uses insights from the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic and the 2008 global financial crisis to understand the short- and long-term consequences of COVID-19 for girls. Following the Ebola outbreak and school closures in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, enrolment rates for girls dropped. Increased rates of poverty, household responsibilities, child labour and teenage pregnancy as well as restrictive school policies prevented many girls from returning to the classroom. The epidemic also reduced funding for education as governments diverted funds to public health and put a strain on the preexisting teacher shortage. Girls' education and COVID-19 suggests how governments and international institutions can mitigate the effects of the current pandemic and help girls return to school, including finding ways to keep girls learning during the pandemic, factoring in gender when planning for reopening schools and making sure that education systems have adequate financing in the post-crisis months and years.
This report is for humanitarians working in fragile contexts that are likely to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It is organised around broad themes and areas of focus of particular importance to those whose programming advances gender equality and reduces gender inequalities. It seeks to deepen the current gender analysis available by encompassing learning from global gender data available for the COVID-19 public health emergency.
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