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

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Supporting parenting among Syrian refugees in Lebanon: a randomized controlled trial of the caregiver support intervention

AUTHOR(S)
Kenneth E. Miller; Alexandra Chen; Gabriela V. Koppenol-Gonzalez (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Parenting interventions in humanitarian settings have prioritized the acquisition of parenting knowledge and skills, while overlooking the adverse effects of stress and distress on parenting—a key mediator of refugee children's mental health. We evaluated the effectiveness of the Caregiver Support Intervention (CSI), which emphasizes caregiver wellbeing together with training in positive parenting. This research conducted a two-arm randomized controlled trial of the CSI with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, with an intent-to-treat design, from September 2019–December 2020. A total of 480 caregivers from 240 families were randomized to the CSI or a waitlist control group (1:1). Retention from baseline to endline was 93%. Data on parenting and caregiver psychological wellbeing were collected at baseline, endline, and three-month follow-up.

'Each one of us has a dream': gender-responsive education and economic empowerment for refugee youth in Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Nicola Jones; Elizabeth Presler-Marshall; Agnieszka Małachowska (et al.)

Published: July 2022

Echoing global trends, where the absolute number of displaced persons continues to grow in tandem with the proportion of people living in protracted displacement, the vast majority of both Syrian and Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon have been there for 10 years or longer. So, how can decision-makers lay the foundations for gender-responsive education systems and economic empowerment for refugee youth in Lebanon? The collapse of Lebanon’s GDP by 58% during recent years has resulted not only in an explosion of demand for humanitarian assistance, but also created growing concerns about meeting SDG targets. Questions arise over how best to support adolescents and young people to transition into adulthood in the midst of such intertwined, and escalating, crises. This ODI Report began with an extensive review of secondary data, and uses primary qualitative data collected from Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon over the first half of 2021. Our research aims to identify programming proposals and recommended actions for donor and policy-makers to facilitate the economic and educational success for all young refugees living permanently outside their country's borders.

Correlates of sub-optimal feeding practices among under-5 children amid escalating crises in Lebanon: a national representative cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Maha Hoteit; Carla Ibrahim; Danielle Saadeh (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Children
Sub-optimal feeding practices among under-5 children are the major drivers of malnutrition. This study aims to assess the prevalence of malnutrition and the factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and complementary feeding practices among under 5 children amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the economic and the political crises in Lebanon. A nationally representative stratified random sample of mother–child dyads (n = 511) was collected from households using a stratified cluster sampling design. The survey inquired about infant’s feeding and complementary feeding practices using a valid questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements of the mother and child were collected. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to explore the determinants associated with under-5 children’s practices.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 9 | Issue: 6 | No. of pages: 26 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: breastfeeding, child health, child malnutrition, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, lockdown, social distance | Countries: Lebanon
The effects of the COVID-19 confinement on screen time, headaches, stress and sleep disorders among adolescents: a cross sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Andrew T. Wehbe; Tarek E. Costa; Samar A. Abbas (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Chronic Stress

Headache is a common symptom affecting children and adolescents. The medical literature over the last three decades reveals a variable prevalence and triggers in different countries, regions, circumstances and times. This study aims to assess the prevalence, frequency and quality of headaches in the Lebanese adolescent population under the COVID-19 confinement and study its triggers and relationship to screen time, self-reported anxiety, and sleep. A cross sectional design was used to collect two survey results by snowball distribution using social media targeting adolescents aged 15 to 17 years of age. The first survey included 13 questions with a single best answer about screen time, feeling anxious, sleep time, schedule and consistency, and headaches. The second survey included 3 questions about the quality of the headaches, anxiety and its triggers.

Parental challenges in online learning during the Lebanese Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sally Ballout; Dina Shouman

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Educational Research and Policies
Disrupting the traditional methods of education during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shift towards online learning platforms. This shift has been problematic and challenging for most Lebanese parents who have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in addition to different economic, political, and environmental problems. The purpose of this research is to explore the types of parental challenges in online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon. The study has been conducted on parents from a school in Beirut, and data has been collected using a mixed-methods design; the first instrument is an online survey and the second one is an online interview.55 parents were able to complete the survey, and 10 parents were able to do the interview.
Adolescent lives in Lebanon: what are we learning from participatory evidence? Lessons from participatory research with adolescents
Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: March 2022

Since 2019, Lebanon’s economy has been caught in an accelerating downward spiral, which the World Bank predicts will rank in the top three most severe global economic crises in the last 150 years. Food prices have now climbed more than 500%, over half of the country is living below the poverty line and the electrical grid is on the verge of collapse as fuel has become unavailable. For the 1.5 million Syrian refugees and nearly 200,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, the situation is even more dire. In Lebanon, GAGE is running participatory research groups with 83 vulnerable Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese adolescents. These young people are between the ages of 15 and 19 and live in host communities, formal refugee camps served by UNRWA (Palestinians), and informal tented settlements  (Syrians). The participatory research groups were established in 2019 and meet every four to six weeks  to discuss themes related to GAGE’s conceptual framework. This brief highlights headline emerging findings and provides links to fuller publications.

Lebanese crisis forcing youth out of learning, robbing them of their futures: UNICEF survey
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: February 2022

As Lebanon’s triple crisis continues to worsen, youth are struggling to find hope, support and opportunities amid mounting despair. The combined impact of an economic meltdown, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Beirut Port explosions are forcing youth from all backgrounds to take on responsibilities beyond their ages, with detrimental impacts on their mental health and on access to opportunities. More and more young people are dropping out of education or any type of learning to engage in ill-paid, irregular and informal work to generate whatever income they can to help their families cope with the mounting challenges. UNICEF’s new assessment shows that 3 in 10 young people in Lebanon have stopped their education, while 4 in 10 reduced spending on education to buy essential items like basic food and medicine. The combined impact of the crises has led to a significant increase in mental health issues among young people, resulting in risky behaviour and substance abuse, as well as an increase in gender-based violence (GBV). Approximately one in four adolescents in Lebanon suffers from a psychiatric disorder. Alarmingly, 94 per cent of adolescents with a mental disorder have not sought any treatment. In September 2021, UNICEF conducted a Youth-Focused Rapid Assessment (YFRA), interviewing around 900 youth and adolescents aged 15 to 246 across Lebanon. One in four reported often feeling depressed and just over half the respondents said their lives worsened over the past year.

Screen time effect on insomnia, depression, or anxiety symptoms and physical activity of school students during COVID-19 lockdown in Lebanon: a cross sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Bayan Tarek Abou Ali; Nada Omar Saleh; Hussein Walid Mreydem (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Sleep Medicine Research
This study aims to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on screen time among Lebanese high school students (grades 9–12). An anonymous online questionnaire was distributed among 510 school students from different governorates in Lebanon; this included questions regarding screen time, food habits, and physical activity. Psychological symptoms were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 items and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 items. Effects of screen time on sleep was evaluated using the Insomnia Severity Index and Bedtime Procrastination Scale.
Rights curtailed: lmpact of COVID-19 and economic crisis on child rights in Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Samira Abou Alfa; Reema Malhotra; Nana Ndeda

Institution: Save the Children
Published: December 2021

Children and families in Lebanon are enduring multiple crises. The economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly curtailed children’s rights and their access to basic services. This has been compounded by political deadlock, rising instability, and the enduring impact of the Beirut port explosion. Children’s education has been impacted, their mental wellbeing is worsening, there are increases in child labour and early marriage – and behind closed doors, physical, verbal, and sexual violence is being perpetrated against children. In 2020, the Arab Network on child rights (Manara Network) and Save the Children commissioned research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and child rights in Lebanon. The scope of this research was expanded in 2021 to include the impact of the economic crisis. The research process included a quantitative survey conducted in 2020 that covered Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian children, caregivers, and service providers; and interviews with public and private school principals, humanitarian and human rights organisations, and civil society associations. In 2021, focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with children, caregivers, teachers, and social workers in eight governorates in Lebanon. Gender balance, diversity of nationalities, and representation of people with disabilities, refugees, and immigrants were taken into consideration in all discussions.

Unlocking learning: the implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Thomas Dreesen; Akito Kamei; Despina Karamperidou (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: November 2021

Digital learning has the potential to offer interactive and personalized learning for children, in and out of school, including the most marginalized. However, depending on programme design, delivery, and use, digital learning can also exacerbate learning inequalities. This report presents tangible findings on the implementation and use of digital learning to improve outcomes for marginalized children in Lebanon. This report focuses on the UNICEF-Akelius Foundation Partnership and its implementation of a digital course used on tablets and mobile phones for language learning of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The report provides findings across three areas: First, the report investigates the digital course’s use in a blended learning environment where it was used on tablets by students as part of traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with teachers. Second, the analysis examines the transition to remote learning where the course was used on devices owned by the household, supported by teachers remotely. Third, the report estimates the effectiveness of the use of the digital course during this period of remote learning from August–November 2020 showing positive results for language and art competencies.

Enhancing teaching recovery techniques (TRT) with parenting skills: RCT of TRT + parenting with trauma-affected Syrian refugees in Lebanon utilising remote training with implications for insecure contexts and COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Aala El-Khani; Kim Cartwright; Wadih Maalouf (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Child psychosocial recovery interventions in humanitarian contexts often overlook the significant effect that caregivers can have on improving children’s future trajectory. This study enhanced the well-established, evidenced-based child trauma recovery programme Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) intervention with parenting sessions, i.e., TRT + Parenting (TRT + P), which aims to improve parent mental health and their ability to support their children’s mental health. It also described the findings of a three-arm randomised controlled trial comparing enhanced TRT + P vs. TRT and waitlist.
Caregiver perceptions and their influence on child education and labour across Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Ghazarian

Institution: World Vision
Published: June 2021
Children are the cornerstone of any society and as such, they need to be trained and provided with adequate opportunities to ensure their development, survival and rights on the path to their future as adults. Yet most of these children are at early age exposed to dangerous and risky jobs that affect every aspect of their development. This study contributes to a small but growing body of literature that explains the determinants of child activity decisions (including schooling, child labour and household chores) and aims to explore their prevalence in the Lebanese society along with associations with different socio-demographic factors as well as parental beliefs and perceptions around child labour and education.
Foundations for building forward better : an education reform path for Lebanon
Institution: The World Bank
Published: June 2021
Human capital development is a critical determinant of economic growth, equity, and prosperity, but outcomes in this domain are worryingly low inLebanon, risking the future of generations of children. Lebanese children lag behind their peers in human capital development—measured accordingto the World Bank (2020c) Human Capital Index—suggesting that the future productivity of the labor force and the country’s trajectory for equitablegrowth is at risk (World Bank 2020b). The Human Capital Index indicates that children born in Lebanon today will reach, on average, only 52 percentof their potential productivity when they grow up. This is lower than the average estimates for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region(57 percent) and upper-middle-income countries (56 percent). Lebanon’s poor performance on the Human Capital Index is largely attributed to theeducation outcomes calculated for the index.
Lebanon education in crisis: raising the alarm
Institution: Save the Children
Published: April 2021
At least 1.2 million children across Lebanon have had their education disrupted for more than one year, with many having last attended school in October 2019, following protests and civil unrest. This is impacting Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian children alike. With the country slipping deeper into an economic crisis, a safe and systematic school reopening in Lebanon is difficult to imagine. Even before this, children across the country already had lower than average literacy and numeracy rates in the Middle East region. This brief by Save the Children calls for global attention and action on the unfolding education crisis in Lebanon.  It draws from national and global data sources, sectoral recommendations, and the experiences of children in the country.

Working children in crisis-hit Lebanon: exploring the linkages between food insecurity and child labour
Food insecurity has increased significantly in Lebanon during the past year; nearly 97% of the Syrian refugees on Lebanese soil are marginally or completely food insecure. Food basednegative coping mechanisms have also increased and infant and young child feeding practices have deteriorated. Food is the main expenditure for the most vulnerable households. According to the last available figure on this topic (2016), at least 100,000 children were working in Lebanon and this trend is expected increase. The objective of this report is to draw attention to the linkage between food insecurity and child labour, and its recent evolution in Lebanon. ACF and IRC developed questionnaires and interviewed 648 individuals between July and September 2020 in the Bekaa, Beirut, North and South Lebanon. The interviewees were mostly Syrian refugees but also Lebanese individuals and working children were included. The survey findings were complemented by existing research findings from NRC and CAMEALEON and data from the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC).
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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.