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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Distance education & the digital divide: ensuring learning continuity for girls during school closures
Institution: Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies
Published: June 2022

This brief was developed to support the dissemination of key messages in Mind the Gap 2: Seeking Safe and Sustainable Solutions for Girls’ Education in Crises. It provides an overview of evidence and gaps in girls’ and women’s access to distance education and recommends actions for gender-responsive planning and design of distance education policies and interventions.


Girls’ education and women’s equality: how to get more out of the world’s most promising investment

AUTHOR(S)
Shelby Carvalho; David Evans

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: May 2022

To hear talk of it, you might think educating girls is a silver bullet to solve all the world’s ills. A large and still growing collection of research demonstrates the wide-ranging benefits of girls’ education. Recent research has nuanced some of those findings, but the fundamental result stands: Educating girls is good for girls and good for the people around them. This report goes beyond what works to get girls in school and learning—still very important questions—to probe how education can work together with other societal systems and structures to provide better lifetime opportunities for women.

The influence of a school social network intervention on adolescent's health behaviors: a gender-specific agent-based model

AUTHOR(S)
Shu Zhang; Tianyi Xiao; Jie He

Published: April 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
Adolescence is a crucial stage for health behavior development, which is associated with health in adulthood. School closures caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have exposed adolescents to an increased risk of obesity due to a lack of physical activity. Although social network interventions provide an effective approach for promoting health-related behavior, current practices neglect gender differences in adolescent behavioral patterns and emotional preferences. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of centrality-based methods integrated with of gender contexts in a social network intervention to improve adolescent's health behavior.
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.

Gender-responsive education in emergency in Nigeria: safeguarding girls' presents and futures

AUTHOR(S)
Edem Dorothy Ossai

Published: November 2021

This policy brief highlights ways that a gender-responsive perspective can be fully incorporated into planning, policy design, and implementation models for education in emergencies (EiE) in Nigeria, so that governments and education stakeholders can ensure that girls, like boys, can continue learning in times of crisis. Girls’ education is historically vulnerable to crises, which has led to concerns that the school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic might reverse decades of advances in their schooling. The data discussed here were collected through qualitative research involving the Oyo State Ministry of Education, private-sector education partners of the government, broadcast stations, female and male upper secondary students, and members of community-based school governing boards and school management committees, as well as analysis of program content.

Gender differences in psychosocial status of adolescents during COVID-19: a six-country cross-sectional survey in Asia Pacific

AUTHOR(S)
Jun Wang; Alec Aaron; Anurima Baidya (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
School closures and family economic instability caused by the COVID-19 lockdown measures have threatened the mental health and academic progress of adolescents. Through secondary data analysis of World Vision Asia Pacific Region’s COVID-19 response-assessments in May–June 2020, this study examined whether adolescents’ study, physical, and leisure activities, psychosocial status, and sources of COVID-19 information differed by gender. The assessments used cross-sectional surveys of adolescents in poor communities served by World Vision (n = 5552 males and n = 6680 females) aged 10–18 years old in six countries. The study households of adolescents were selected either by random sampling or non-probability convenience sampling and assessed using telephone or in-person interviews. Multivariate logistic regression analyses examined the relationship between gender and psychosocial status; daily activities (e.g., play, study); and sources of information about COVID-19.
Empowered women. empowered children
Published: November 2021

Every child deserves to reach her or his full potential wherever they live. Yet, achieving positive child well-being outcomes remains a challenge globally. COVID-19 has further exacerbated children’s existing vulnerabilities and amplified inequalities, especially in fragile contexts. As part of its mandate to help the most vulnerable children achieve their full potential, World Vision focuses on child well-being programmes that aim to improve key child well-being outcomes. Ten years of conflict in Syria have aggravated gender inequalities and the risks of violence for women and girls inside and outside the country. To increase the focus on gender-responsive programmes that respond to the strategic needs of women, World Vision (WV) Syria Response conducted a piece of research that aimed to better understand the connection between Syrian mothers’ and children’s well-being and identify impactful approaches that effectively address both. Specifically, the research explored women’s empowerment and children’s well-being factors in Syria and selected host countries. It looked at how women’s socio-demographic factors and empowerment components influence physical, emotional, mental, and psycho-social child well-being. A cross-sectional observation methodology was developed using convenience sampling in Northwest Syria (NWS) and Government of Syria (GoS) areas, Jordan, and Turkey. The research targeted World Vision’s beneficiary children living in structured families and their mothers. The survey results were complemented key informant interviews (KIIs) with mothers and their children.

Women Count annual report 2020
Institution: UN Women
Published: August 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp relief the importance of data to inform policy and programme responses to ensure that they are gender responsive. UN Women rose to the challenge and supported countries to collect data on the impacts of the pandemic to help inform national recovery plans. And despite the challenges of the pandemic, regular data production and other core components of the programme, along with other core work of the programme, continued. UN Women rolled out 52 Rapid Gender Assessment (RGA) surveys to capture the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic on women and girls. The surveys confirmed that women and men are experiencing the pandemic differently. The data have since been used to inform critical gender-responsive policies and recovery plans to build back better.

Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti; Tara Patricia Cookson; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF, UN Women
Published: July 2021

The importance of mainstreaming gender into social protection policies and programmes is increasingly recognized. However, evidence on the extent to which this is actually happening remains limited. This report contributes to filling this evidence gap by drawing on the findings of two complementary research projects undertaken by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and UN Women in 2019. Using a specifically developed analytical framework, these two projects reviewed 50 national social protection strategies and 40 social protection programmes across a total of 74 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to assess the extent to which they incorporate gender equality concerns.

Cash and voucher assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sani Dan Aoude

Institution: CARE
Published: June 2021
In April 2020, CARE received a five million dollar grant from MARS to implement a multi-country program, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Peru, Thailand, and Venezuela1, with the aim of reducing the negative impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, especially women and girls, using complementary and multimodal approaches. A key activity of this program was the provision of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) to vulnerable populations to meet their diverse basic needs. Program data indicated that CVA was implemented in Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Thailand.
Have social protection responses to Covid-19 undermined or supported gender equality? Emerging lessons from a gender perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Rebecca Holmes; Abigail Hunt

Institution: UK Aid, ODI
Published: June 2021

The impacts of the Covid-19 crisis have exacerbated gender inequalities. The rapid onset of the crisis in early 2020 severely disrupted livelihoods, and these impacts were strongly mediated by existing gender inequalities in the labour market, gendered roles and responsibilities around care work, and also household composition, with women shouldering disproportionate burden of the crisis. This paper examines the extent to which social protection responses to the crisis have recognised and addressed the gendered impacts of the crisis. Drawing on case studies from South Africa and Kerala, India, the paper looks at the design and implementation features of the social protection response from a gender perspective, and offers policy recommendations for strengthening gender in social protection and crisis response in the future.

A qualitative investigation of LGBTQ+ young people's experiences and perceptions of self-managing their mental health

AUTHOR(S)
Rosa Town; Daniel Hayes; Peter Fonagy (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
There is evidence that young people generally self-manage their mental health using self-care strategies, coping methods and other self-management techniques, which may better meet their needs or be preferable to attending specialist mental health services. LGBTQ+ young people are more likely than their peers to experience a mental health difficulty and may be less likely to draw on specialist support due to fears of discrimination. However, little is known about LGBTQ+ young people’s experiences and perceptions of self-managing their mental health. Using a multimodal qualitative design, 20 LGBTQ+ young people participated in a telephone interview or an online focus group. A semi-structured schedule was employed to address the research questions, which focussed on LGBTQ+ young people’s experiences and perceptions of self-managing their mental health, what they perceived to stop or help them to self-manage and any perceived challenges to self-management specifically relating to being LGBTQ+ .
Crisis of care and education in the early years: paradoxical moments in the global pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
I-Fang Lee

Published: December 2020   Journal: Global Studies of Childhood
Care in the early years entails more than childcare. This paper has three major sections. In the first section, I begin with an introduction and a quick overview of the ECEC system in Australia. This snapshot of the Australian ECEC system presents a messy map of the care and education system for young children under a neoliberal political economy to elucidate what this may mean in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this contextual background of the ECEC system in Australia, in the second section I discuss my theoretical, ethical, political, ontological, and epistemological positioning when re-imagining and reconceptualizing what a socially just ECEC landscape might look like through the lens of a feminism approach. This onto-epistemological discussion explains the shift toward a feminist approach and how this enables me to (re)think about care and education in the early years differently. Taking up this different set of analytical tools with a post-structural sensibility of the politics of caring, in the third section, I continue on to critical analyses and discussions, highlighting the paradoxes of care and education in the early years. A key aim of this paper is to un-settle the taken-for-granted ways of thinking and talking about ECEC in Australia.
Gender, work-family conflict and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 among Quebec graduate students

AUTHOR(S)
Jaunathan Bilodeau; Nancy Beauregard; Amélie Quesnel-Vallée (et al.)

Published: September 2020
This study aims to document the gendered experience of the lockdown and its association with depressive symptoms among graduate students in Quebec. The policy measures taken after the COVID-19 were not gender- neutral. This study demonstrates the importance of taking gendered effects of policies into consideration, and points to mitigating actions that can forestall the exacerbation of gendered inequalities in mental health.
Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Institution: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Published: July 2020   Journal: UNHCR Policy Brief
Forcibly displaced adolescent girls are facing increased risk of disrupted education and school drop-out as well as an extra caregiving burden during the pandemic. Refugee and internally displaced women and girls are more likely to hold precarious jobs in the informal sector and face disruptions in livelihoods and income generating activities as a result of the pandemic. The outbreak and subsequent movement restrictions have exacerbated existing risks of GBV, in particular intimate partner violence, as well as risks of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) while also hampering access to lifesaving services for survivors and other essential health services. Furthermore, limited access to information and decision-making spaces related to the COVID-19 response place women and girls at risk.
Despite these challenges, forcibly displaced women and girls are showing extreme resilience and are playing an important role in responding to the pandemic. This brief provides a snapshot of GBV and gender responsive interventions by UNHCR during the outbreak.
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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.