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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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COVID-19: the turning point for gender equality

AUTHOR(S)
Senait Fisseha; Gita Sen; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Henrietta H. Fore (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Lancet
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have gone far beyond the disease itself. In addition to the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths, the pandemic has deepened social and economic inequalities. These indirect impacts have been compounded by pervasive gender inequalities, with profound consequences, especially for women, girls, and people of diverse gender identities. There has been an escalation in gender-based violence within households, increasing numbers of child marriages and female genital mutilation, and an increased burden of unpaid care work, with impacts on mental health. Communities of people affected by HIV are, again, at the crossroads of injustice and targeted discrimination. Measures to control the pandemic have reduced access to essential health and social welfare services, including sexual and reproductive health services, reduced employment and labour force participation, and decimated many household incomes. Here again, women have borne the brunt of marginalisation, particularly those working in the informal sector. Intersectionality analyses have highlighted the inextricable effects of poverty, racial discrimination, harmful gender norms, and limited agency and opportunities for women, especially already marginalised women, even when they represent most of the front-line health workers. The diversion of funds from other health and development programmes into economic recovery means that the pandemic is further eroding health gains made over decades, stalling progress on tackling gender inequalities.
COVID-19 and the surge of child marriages: a phenomenon in Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia

AUTHOR(S)
Maila D. H. Rahiem

Published: July 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Worldwide, there has been a massive increase in child marriages following the COVID-19 crisis. In Indonesia, too, this figure has risen with Indonesia ranked amongst ten countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. One of the Indonesian provinces with a high incidence of child marriage cases is in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). This study aims to examine what is causing the rate of child marriages to increase since the outbreak of COVID-19 in NTB.

Promises to keep: impact of COVID-19 on adolescents in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Julie Mwabe; Karen Austrian; Sheila Macharia

Institution: Population Council
Published: July 2021

This new report is one of the first in the world to look exclusively at the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ lives. It leverages data collected on the social, education, health, and economic effects of COVID-19 on adolescents in June 2020 and again in February 2021, and features contributions and recommendations from girls and boys who are part of advisory groups in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kilifi and Wajir counties, where the data was collected.

Early marriage and teenage pregnancy: the unspoken consequences of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Shuaibu Saidu Musa; Goodness Ogeyi Odey; Muhammad Kabir Musa (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Public Health in Practice
Early marriage and its sad consequences to the girl child and socio-economic development of the nation has been an age-long issue being advocated against in many parts of Nigeria. At the onset of COVID-19, the teeming efforts to curb this issue almost got jeopardized with harsh economic situations in many households due to the lockdown and the willingness to marry off their girls to reduce this burden. Closure of schools and cases of sexual gender based violence also impacted the prevalence of early marriage during the pandemic in Nigeria.
Pandemic pivot: achieving transformative results in the Covid-19 pandemic
Institution: United Nations Population Fund
Published: June 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum in 2020, UNFPA implemented the third year of its Strategic Plan 2018–2021. The plan’s targets are three transformative results to be achieved by 2030: ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning, and ending GBV and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation and child marriage. UNFPA adapted and responded quickly to the global emergency, focusing immediately on maintaining the provision of SRH information and services and on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on progress towards the three transformative results.
Breaking the chain: empowering girls and communities to end child marriages during COVID-19 and beyond
Institution: World Vision
Published: May 2021

Right now, there are 650 million child brides living in every region of the world. Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights, which severely impacts the global economy, peace and security, as well as hampering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress has been made over the last decade, but 2020 saw the greatest surge in child marriage rates in 25 years. Global projections of girls married by 2030 have shot up from 100 million to 110 million, as an additional 10 million girls will now be married due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to anecdotal data from our programmes, between March-December 2020, child marriages more-than doubled in many communities compared to 2019.This report compiles research and data from four unique contexts – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and Uganda – where World Vision has been working to address the issue of child marriage. In each of these countries, case studies were developed using first-hand accounts of promising practices towards eliminating child marriage.

Let's go digital! Using digital technology to end child, early and forced marriage and reduce adolescent pregnancy

AUTHOR(S)
Raša Sekulović

Institution: Plan International
Published: April 2021
This report examines the role that digital technologies and online solutions can play in ending child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) in the Asia-Pacific region. Based on an in-depth literature review and key informant interviews, it explores the ways in which Plan International Asia-Pacific Regional Hub (APAC) and other child-rights based development organisations have integrated digital technologies in their programmatic and influencing approaches towards eliminating CEFM in the region. It also introduces some of the digital technologies that have been developed by the private sector, which can be effective in CEFM prevention. Drawing on these insights, the report develops a series of recommendations about how digital technologies can be leveraged most effectively to reach scale and generate impact in eradicating CEFM.
The COVID‐19 pandemic: a first‐year review through the lens of IJGO

AUTHOR(S)
Sophie Maprayil; Amy Goggins; Francis Harris

Published: March 2021   Journal: International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
A policy brief for UN Women on the impact of COVID‐19 on women has noted that, across the board, the impacts of COVID‐19 are exacerbated for women and girls. The health of women in general has been adversely affected, with resources being reallocated in the emergency response to COVID‐19 and frequently leading to the suspension or limitation of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) services. The UN Women brief also paints a stark picture in terms of gender‐based violence, noting that as the pandemic deepens both social and economic stress, coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, many women have been forced to isolate with their abusers, a situation which has coincided with disruption or lack of access to the support services which they so desperately need. The UNFPA have predicted that the pandemic is also likely to cause significant delays to programs dedicated to preventing child marriage and female genital mutilation; the estimated projections are stark, with over 2 million more cases of FGM and 13 million more child marriages over the next 10 years than would otherwise have occurred. As the official journal of the International Federation for Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), IJGO is a major source for global cutting‐edge research and reports on issues affecting women's health, as well as addressing economic, social, and human rights issues.
Listen to us: adolescent girls in North West South West Cameroon on conflict and COVID-19
Institution: Plan International
Published: March 2021

This report is the result of a multi-sectoral needs assessment exercise focusing on the rights and needs of adolescents living in the Anglophone territories of North West South West (NWSW) Cameroon. Conducted under extremely challenging circumstances, the assessment used innovative methods pioneered by Plan International to capture the voices of adolescent girls and young women, alongside adolescent boys, young men and their parents and caregivers. It spoke directly to adolescent girls themselves, in particular adolescent girls who are mothers, pregnant, or married, whose ideas, and needs, are often ignored. The NWSW regions of Cameroon have been engulfed in crisis since late 2016, yet this conflict, and its impacts on adolescents, have received limited attention from the international community. This report, which gives adolescents the space to voice their concerns and priorities can be used to engage with states, donors and other humanitarian actors on this neglected crisis and highlight what needs to be done to address adolescents’ needs, rights and aspirations.

COVID-19: a threat to progress against child marriage
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: March 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly affecting the everyday lives of girls: their physical and mental health, their education, and the economic circumstances of their families and communities. Changes like these increase the likelihood of child marriage, and over the next decade, up to 10 million more girls will be at risk of becoming child brides as a result of the pandemic.
Battling the perfect storm: adapting programmes to end child marriage to COVID-19 and beyond
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: March 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly exacerbating key factors that put children at risk of marrying before their 18th birthday. This learning brief synthesizes evidence to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting child marriage risk factors and how UNICEF, within the UNFPA–UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage, is pivoting to identify and respond to risk factors and adapt programming to COVID-19 limitations. With a focus on UNICEF’s response in five Global Programme countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Uganda and Yemen, the brief summarizes key lessons learned to inform current and future programme planning with evidence from the first and second waves of the pandemic.
Progress toward ending child marriage over the last decade: a missed opportunity to deliver for girls
Institution: Save the Children
Published: February 2021

Compared to the previous generation, the incidence of child marriage worldwide has declined. However, strides forward have suffered from substantial limitations. At the global level, child marriage is still too widespread, and progress too slow, to meet the SDG target in 2030. At the regional level, some areas have achieved remarkable progress, while others are lagging behind. Worryingly, in the majority of cases, progress over the past decade (2010-2020) has not matched advancements achieved in the decade prior (2000-2010). At the country level, inclusive progress hasn’t always materialized: in a number of countries, gaps are widening not only between wealth groups, but also on the basis of residence. In a nutshell, progress has been unevenly distributed not only across time, but also across geographies, with stark divides both among and within countries. COVID-19 is expected to have a damaging impact on child protection, including according to Save the Children’s own projections. Urgent efforts are needed to guarantee girls’ rights and prevent devastating setbacks. In the longer term, more research is needed to understand what drives child marriage, so as to tackle it more effectively in different regions.

Children’s right to be heard: we’re talking; are you listening?
Institution: Child Fund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children
Published: January 2021
As countries usher in 2021, children throughout the world continue to grapple with unprecedented hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that turned the world upside down in 2020. The global health crisis prompted lockdown efforts that raised the risk of violence, hunger, child labor, child marriage, and school dropouts—particularly among girls. It also curtailed opportunities for children to engage in activities aimed at promoting their right to be heard. Recent research shows children are eager to have their voices heard and to play a pivotal role in halting the spread of the virus and minimizing its negative impacts. During consultations for this policy brief, children reported it was very important that they maintain strong peer participation groups and connections to other adolescents and children during lockdowns. They also shared that participation during lockdowns helped promote positive mental health and lessen anxiety and loneliness.
Influencing policy to reduce child marriage in India: reflections from young lives

AUTHOR(S)
Kath Ford; Renu Singh

Institution: Young Lives Longitudinal Study
Published: December 2020
In October 2017, India’s Supreme Court issued a landmark judgement ruling that a man who has sex with his wife where she is less than 18 years old, is committing rape. Evidence from Young Lives longitudinal data and national census analysis by the Young Lives India team contributed directly to this important change in the law, aiming to reduce child marriage. In June 2020, the Government of India established a task force to consider increasing the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years of age. Young Lives evidence is again making an important contribution to this debate, at a time of huge social and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This report discusses how longitudinal research can influence policy change and what the potential impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic might be on levels of child marriage.
Child marriage in COVID-19 contexts: disruptions, alternative approaches and building programme resilience
Institution: UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund, *UNICEF
Published: December 2020
This brief has been developed jointly by UNFPA and UNICEF regional offices in Eastern and Southern Africa. It provides an overview of child marriage in the region, particularly in the context of COVID-19, as well as an analysis of disruptions to child marriage programmes. The brief also describes alternatives to traditional programmatic work as a means to overcome challenges presented by COVID-19. It proposes a way forward for child marriage programming during the COVID-19 response and recovery phases, as well as outlining implications for future programming, including the need to strengthen programme resilience
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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.