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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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Social protection and child labour: eliminating child labour in agriculture with social protection
COVID-19 and its direct and indirect economic impacts particularly affect rural populations, leading to an increase in hunger and poverty. To cope with this situation, rural households may likely resort to using child labour among other negative coping strategies, facilitated by the closure of schools in response to the spread of the virus. The prevalence of child labour remains high in agricultural sub-sectors. Because social protection coverage remains limited and cash payments and other types of support to subsistence farmers, forest communities, fisherfolk and artisanal fishers are often scarce or irregular, FAO encourages the expansion of social protection to rural areas as an effective strategy for eliminating child labour. This information note aims at outlining what are child labour and social protection, how social protection can significantly contribute to eliminating child labour in agriculture, and what are FAO’s planned efforts to leverage on social protection interventions to generate knowledge and increase impact at country level on child labour elimination. 
Cover
Gender Alert on COVID-19 Afghanistan
Institution: UN Women, *UNICEF, Human Rights Watch
Published: October 2020
Families already living in poverty, many of whom are internally displaced persons or returnees, have little ability to weather a new crisis. They will be most under pressure to relieve financial crises through child labor or child marriage. In addition to dropping out of school, education disruption puts girls and young women at increased risk of numerous abuses: child marriage, exploitation, child labor, early pregnancy, and gender-based violence. An increase in reported cases of child marriage within the first few weeks/months of the pandemic has been documented.

A double-edged sword: protection risks facing Venezuelan children during the COVID-19 pandemic
Institution: World Vision
Published: October 2020
The problems that place children at greater risk during the pandemic are associated with the scarcity of food, an increase in child labor, child marriage, domestic violence and abandonment. 49 per cent report that child marriages have increased since March in a survey with 420 households.
Save the Children Protection Assessment on the Impact of COVID-19 in Uganda
Institution: Save the Children
Published: July 2020
This report presents the main findings of a Save the Children child protection rapid survey. The survey finds that children are increasingly vulnerable and at risk - from an increase in violence and abuse, stress, poverty and hazardous coping strategies such as child labour and child marriage.
Impact of COVID-19 on Child Labour in South Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Iffat Idris

Published: June 2020
This review drew on a mixture of academic papers, grey literature and media reports and blogs. Evidence on the impact of previous pandemics/crises on child labour in South Asia was limited, and hence the report looks at the Ebola epidemic in Africa and the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and global financial crisis of 2007/8. The literature details the pathways through which the current crisis could lead to increased child labour. However, precise data on impact on child labour is very limited, and does not disaggregate much by country, and even less by sector, gender or rural/urban location.
Reshmi Prabhu (12) in a cotton field in Karnatarka, India. She previously worked in the fields before being enrolled in school for the first time this year. 
COVID-19 and Child Labour: A time of crisis, a time to act
Institution: *UNICEF, International Labour Organisation
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Recent years have seen significant progress in the fight against child labour. The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, can potentially reverse the positive trends observed in several countries and further aggravate the problem in regions where child labour has been more resistant to policy and programme measures.
The level of global economic integration and the current crisis are likely to have a large and possibly lasting worldwide adverse socio-economic and financial impact. The pandemic is increasing economic insecurity causing disruptions in supply chains, falling commodity prices, in particular oil, and halting the manufacturing industry. The financial markets have been particularly affected, tightening liquidity conditions in many countries and creating unprecedented outflows of capital in many economies.
The paper discusses the main channels through which the current pandemic can influence child labour, including fall in living standards; deteriorating employment opportunities; rise in informality; reduction in remittances and migration; contraction of trade and foreign direct investment; temporary school closures; health shocks; pressure on public budgets and international aid flows.
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

 

This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

Research Brief: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

 

This research brief summarizes the findings of a rapid review that collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19. is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

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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.