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Journal Articles

UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

RESULTS:   107     SORT BY:


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Education response to COVID 19 pandemic, a special issue proposed by UNICEF: Editorial review
Published: 2021
This editorial paper presents 11 papers related to the special issue proposed by UNICEF on the Education Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic provoked an education emergency of unprecedented scale. At its onset in February 2020, school closures were announced in the worst-hit countries. At the peak of the crisis, 90 per cent of learners worldwide had had their education disrupted. Some learners, especially those from the most marginalised population groups, were put at risk of permanent dropout, provoking long-term and significant negative effects on children’s life-long wellbeing and the socio-economic development of their communities and countries. This special issue, which received contributions from UNICEF staff and various researchers, focuses on the impact of school closures, the effectiveness of remote learning solutions, equity implications, the mitigation of learning loss and notions around re-opening better. Different research perspectives and evidence is gathered to help strengthen policy considerations and future planning. The conclusion emphasizes building on the innovative solutions generated by the response to the crisis to make education systems more resilient, whilst also reinforcing the focus on equity and inclusion so that pre-existing disparities are not exacerbated in the future.
Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and Country responses for mitigating learning loss

Maria Carolina Alban Conto, Spogmai Akseer, Thomas Dreesen, Akito Kamei, Suguru Mizunoya, Annika Rigole

Published: 2021
This article investigates to what extent disrupted schooling and dropout affects children’s acquisition of foundational skills prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using household survey data from thirteen low- and lower-middle-income countries, we find that missing or dropping out of school is associated with lower reading and numeracy outcomes. Drawing on global surveys conducted during the pandemic, we find that countries’ remote learning responses are often inadequate to keep all children learning, avoid dropout, and mitigate the learning losses our findings predict, particularly for marginalized children and those at the pre-primary level.
How Social Assistance Affects Subjective Wellbeing: Lessons from Kyrgyzstan

Jennifer Waidler, Franziska Gassmann, Bruno Martorano

Published: 2021
This paper investigates the effects of social assistance on subjective well-being looking at the case of Kyrgyzstan. For this purpose, we exploit recent changes in the design of social assistance and apply a difference in difference (DiD) method combined with an inverse probability weighting (IPW) technique. In contrast to the existing literature, we find that in the short-term, the receipt of social assistance benefits is associated with lower levels of subjective well-being. Our findings also reveal that participation in social assistance leads to some reduction in satisfaction regarding recipients’ own economic conditions. Moreover, we find that the negative effects on subjective well-being disappear for the oldest generations, which experienced the dissolution of the Soviet Union. By contrast, the effect is negative for the youth, who grew up in a new society where needing help is ultimately the responsibility of the individual citizen. For individuals with high trust in political institutions, the negative effect of state intervention does not hold, while it persists in case of low trust in political institutions.
Violence against children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amber Peterman, Amiya Bhatia, Alessandra Guedes, Camilla Fabbri, Ilan Cerna-Turoff, Ellen Turner, Michelle Lokot, Ajwang Warria, Sumnima Tuladhar, Clare Tanton, Louise Knight, Shelley Lees, Beniamino Cislaghi, Jaqueline Bhabha, Karen Devries

Published: 2021
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected children’s risk of violence in their homes, communities and online, and has compromised the ability of child protection systems to promptly detect and respond to cases of violence. However, the need to strengthen violence prevention and response services has received insufficient attention in national and global pandemic response and mitigation strategies. In this paper, we summarize the growing body of evidence on the links between the pandemic and violence against children. Drawing on the World Health Organization’s INSPIRE framework to end violence against children, we illustrate how the pandemic is affecting prevention and response efforts. For each of the seven INSPIRE strategies we identify how responses to the pandemic have changed children’s risk of violence. We offer ideas for how governments, policy-makers, and international and civil society organizations can address violence in the context of a protracted COVID-19 crisis. We conclude by highlighting how the current pandemic offers opportunities to improve existing child protection systems to address violence against children. We suggest enhanced multisectoral coordination across the health, education, law enforcement, housing, child and social protection sectors. Actions need to prioritize the primary prevention of violence and promote the central role of children and adolescents in decision-making and programme design processes. Finally, we stress the continued need for better data and evidence to inform violence prevention and response strategies that can be effective during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 730–738 | Tags: violence against children, COVID-19
Closing the know-do gap for child health: UNICEF’s experiences from embedding implementation research in child health and nutrition programming
Published: 2021

UNICEF operates in 190 countries and territories, where it advocates for the protection of children’s rights and helps meet children’s basic needs to reach their full potential. Embedded implementation research (IR) is an approach to health systems strengthening in which (a) generation and use of research is led by decision-makers and implementers; (b) local context, priorities, and system complexity are taken into account; and (c) research is an integrated and systematic part of decision-making and implementation. By addressing research questions of direct relevance to programs, embedded IR increases the likelihood of evidence-informed policies and programs, with the ultimate goal of improving child health and nutrition.

This paper presents UNICEF’s embedded IR approach, describes its application to challenges and lessons learned, and considers implications for future work.

From 2015, UNICEF has collaborated with global development partners (e.g. WHO, USAID), governments and research institutions to conduct embedded IR studies in over 25 high burden countries. These studies focused on a variety of programs, including immunization, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, birth registration, nutrition, and newborn and child health services in emergency settings. The studies also used a variety of methods, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods.

UNICEF has found that this systematically embedding research in programs to identify implementation barriers can address concerns of implementers in country programs and support action to improve implementation. In addition, it can be used to test innovations, in particular applicability of approaches for introduction and scaling of programs across different contexts (e.g., geographic, political, physical environment, social, economic, etc.). UNICEF aims to generate evidence as to what implementation strategies will lead to more effective programs and better outcomes for children, accounting for local context and complexity, and as prioritized by local service providers. The adaptation of implementation research theory and practice within a large, multi-sectoral program has shown positive results in UNICEF-supported programs for children and taking them to scale.

Linking poverty-targeted social protection and Community Based Health Insurance in Ethiopia: Enrolment, linkages, and gaps

Essa Chanie Mussa, Frank Otchere, Vincenzo Vinci, Abduljelil Reshad, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) has received increasing attention in low and middle-income countries as a pathway toward universal health coverage. In 2011, the government of Ethiopia piloted CBHI and subsequently integrated CBHI with its flagship social protection programme, the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). We examined enrolment decisions by PSNP households, including, understanding of the programme, reasons for non-coverage, and factors associated with enrolment.

Current CBHI enrolment is higher among public works (PW) households (70.1 %) than Permanent Direct Support (PDS) clients (50.3 %). The most common reason for not enrolling in both PW and PDS households is cost. Results further show that the following characteristics are positively associated with CBHI enrolment: the number of children and working-age adults in the household, older household head, female household head, married household head, having been food insecure in the previous 12 months, heads having experienced illness in the past month, and increasing household wealth status.

While demographic factors are important in households’ decisions to enrol in CBHI, various mechanisms could be used to increase enrolment among vulnerable households such as PDS clients. In this regard, while better communication about CBHI could increase enrolment for some households, other poor and vulnerable households will need fee waivers to induce enrolment.

More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe

Sudhanshu Handa, Frank Otchere, Paul Sirma

Published: 2021

We present evidence on the overall impacts of state-sponsored cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, using data from three impact evaluations of government programmes. All three programmes were a key component of the poverty reduction strategy of the respective governments at the time of the evaluations. We show effects across nine broad domains including both protection, production and human development, using baseline and follow-up household surveys on treatment and control groups. We relate the pattern of impacts to programme design parameters to further understand the constraints faced by ultra-poor rural households.

All three programmes have strong effects on their primary objective—food security or food consumption, as well as on secondary objectives that include livelihood strengthening and children’s well-being. The largest and most consistent impacts occur in Malawi, where transfer values are in line with international best practice and payments were made regularly during the study period. All programmes show a positive income multiplier, with the multiplier largest in Malawi at 2.94.

The overall results across three national programmes add to the growing evidence from Africa that government unconditional cash transfers have important positive effects on households, that these effects are not limited to just food security, and that programme design features influence the pattern and size of impacts.

Protocol: Impact of social protection on gender equality in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A systematic review of reviews
Published: 2021
This is the protocol for a Campbell review. The review aims to systematically collect, appraise, map and synthesise the evidence from systematic reviews on the differential gender impacts of social protection programmes in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries (LMICs). Therefore, it will answer the following questions: (1) What is known from systematic reviews on the gender‐differentiated impacts of social protection programmes in LMICs? (2) What is known from systematic reviews about the factors that determine these gender‐differentiated impacts? (3) What is known from existing systematic reviews about design and implementation features of social protection programmes and their association with gender outcomes?
Government Anti-Poverty Programming and Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana

Amber Peterman, Elsa Valli, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

We examine whether a government cash transfer program, paired with a health insurance premium waiver and targeted to pregnant women and mothers of young children in Ghana, reduced intimate partner violence (IPV). The evaluation took place in two northern regions and followed a 24-month longitudinal quasi-experimental design. Findings show significant decreases in the 12-month frequency of emotional, physical and combined IPV (0.09 – 0.12 standard deviations). Analysis of pathways indicate improvements in economic security and women’s empowerment may account for reductions in IPV. Results indicate a promising role for social protection in improving the lives of pregnant women and new mothers.

Long-term Well-being among Survivors of the Rwandan and Cambodian Genocides

Jose Cuesta, Anna Maria Milazzo

Published: 2021
This paper adds to the thin empirical literature estimating the long-term effects of exposure to conflict from in utero to adolescence on adult well-being. The effects through adolescence of the two worst genocides in recent history – those occurring in Rwanda (1994) and Cambodia (1975–79) – are examined. The Rwandan genocide is shown to have produced long-term health outcomes among women exposed to the conflict during adolescence. A further contribution is the analysis of gendered effects during adolescence, which is enabled by the availability of data on men’s height for Rwanda. The long-term effects are confirmed for men, however this appears to be the consequence of exposure during adolescence later than for women, a result that is consistent with the biological literature on the differential timing of the onset of puberty by gender. No significant effects are detected in the case of the Cambodian genocide and we discuss some issues that may influence this result. Although more research and better data are needed, our results are suggestive of adolescent-specific effects of the Rwandan genocide, which may be comparable or larger than those previously found for younger children.
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