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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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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

AUTHOR(S)
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.

Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement: Introduction to a Special Issue

AUTHOR(S)
Tilman Brück, Jose Cuesta, Jacobus de Hoop, Ugo Gentilini, Amber Peterman

Published: 2019
Effective social protection is increasingly as essential to supporting affected populations in situations of protracted instability and displacement. Despite the growing use of social protection in these settings, there is comparatively little rigorous research on what works, for whom, and why. This special issue contributes by adding seven high-quality studies that raise substantially our understanding of the role of social protection in fragile contexts and in settings of forced displacement and migration. Together, these studies fill knowledge gaps, help support informed decision-making by policy-makers and practitioners, and demonstrate that impact evaluation and the analysis of social protection in challenging humanitarian settings are possible. The studies provide evidence that design choices in implementation, such as which population to target, choice of transfer modality or which messages are delivered with programmes, can make a substantial difference in the realisation of positive benefits among vulnerable populations. Furthermore, the findings of the studies underline the relevance of tailoring programme components to populations, which may benefit more or less from traditional programme implementation models.
School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

AUTHOR(S)
Elisabetta Aurino, Jean-Pierre Tranchant, Amadou Sekou Diallo, Aulo Gelli

Published: 2019
This study relies on a unique precrisis baseline and five-year follow-up to investigate the effects of emergency school feeding and generalised food distribution (GFD) on children’s schooling during conflict in Mali. It estimates programme impact on child enrolment, absenteeism, and attainment by using a difference in differences weighted estimator. School feeding led to increases in enrolment by 10 percentage points and to around an additional half-year of completed schooling. Attendance among boys in households receiving GFD, however, declined by about 20 per cent relative to the comparison group. Disaggregating by conflict intensity showed that receipt of any food assistance led to a rise in enrolment mostly in high-intensity conflict areas and that the negative effects of GFD on attendance were also concentrated in the most affected areas. School feeding mostly raised attainment among children in areas not in the immediate vicinity of conflict. Programme receipt triggered adjustments in child labour. School feeding led to lower participation and time spent in work among girls, while GFD raised children’s labour, particularly among boys. The educational implications of food assistance should be considered in planning humanitarian responses to bridge the gap between emergency assistance and development by promoting children’s education.
Assets for Alimentation? The Nutritional Impact of Assets-based Programming in Niger

AUTHOR(S)
Tilman Brück, Oscar Mauricio Diaz Botìa, Neil T. N. Ferguson

Published: 2019
A recent strand of aid programming aims to develop household assets by removing the stresses associated with meeting basic nutritional needs. In this study, the authors posit that such nutrition-sensitive programmes can reduce malnourishment by encouraging further investment in diet. To test this hypothesis, they analyse the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), in Niger, a conflict-affected, low-income country with entrenched food insecurity. Under the PRRO, a household falls into one of three groups at end line: receiving no assistance, receiving nutrition-specific assistance, or receiving nutrition-specific assistance and nutrition-sensitive food for assets-based programming. If provided alone, food aid has no nutritional impact relative to receiving no assistance. However, the study observes pronounced positive effects if food aid is paired with assets-based programming. The authors conclude, first, that certain forms of food aid function well in complex, insecure environments; second, that assets-based programmes deliver positive nutritional spillovers; and, third, that there are theoretical grounds to believe that assets-based nutrition-sensitive programmes interact positively with nutrition-specific programming.
Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach

AUTHOR(S)
Nandini Krishnan, Sergio Olivieri, Racha Ramadan

Published: 2019
Through three decades of conflict, food rations delivered through the public distribution system (PDS) have remained the largest safety net among Iraq’s population. Reforming the PDS continues to be politically challenging, notwithstanding the system’s import dependence, economic distortions, and unsustainable fiscal burden. The oil price decline of mid-2014 and recent efforts to rebuild and recover have put PDS reform back on the agenda. The government needs to find an effective way to deliver broad benefits from a narrow economic base reliant on oil. The study described here adopts a mixed demand approach to analysing household consumption patterns for the purpose of assessing plausible reform scenarios and estimating the direction and scale of the associated welfare costs and transfers. It finds that household consumption of PDS items is relatively inelastic to changes in price, particularly among the poor. The results suggest that any one-shot reform will have sizeable adverse welfare impacts and will need to be preceded by a well-targeted compensation mechanism. To keep welfare constant, subsidy removal in urban areas, for example, would require the poorest and richest households to be compensated for, respectively, 74 per cent and nearly 40 per cent of their PDS expenditures.
No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Mitchell Morey, David Seidenfeld

Published: 2019
This study documents the impact of a cash transfer programme – known as the No Lost Generation Programme (NLG) and locally as Min Ila (‘from to’) – on the school participation of displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. An initiative of the government of Lebanon, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP), the programme provided cash for the benefit of children enrolled in afternoon shifts at public primary schools. It was designed to cover the cost of commuting to school and to compensate households for income forgone because children were attending school instead of working. Commuting costs and forgone income are two critical barriers to child school participation. The analysis relies on a geographical regression discontinuity design to identify the impact halfway through the first year of programme operation, the 2016/2017 school year. The analysis finds substantive impacts on school attendance among enrolled children, which increased by 0.5 days to 0.7 days per week, an improvement of about 20 per cent relative to the control group. School enrolment among Syrian children rose rapidly across all Lebanon’s governorates during the period of the evaluation, resulting in supply-side capacity constraints that appear to have dampened positive enrolment impacts.
How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger

AUTHOR(S)
Pascale Schnitzer

Published: 2019
The methods used to identify the beneficiaries of programmes aiming to address persistent poverty and shocks are subject to frequent policy debates. Relying on panel data from Niger, this report simulates the performance of various targeting methods that are widely used by development and humanitarian actors. The methods include proxy-means testing (PMT), household economy analysis (HEA), geographical targeting, and combined methods. Results show that PMT performs more effectively in identifying persistently poor households, while HEA shows superior performance in identifying transiently food insecure households. Geographical targeting is particularly efficient in responding to food crises, which tend to be largely covariate. Combinations of geographical, PMT, and HEA approaches may be used as part of an efficient and scalable adaptive social protection system. Results motivate the consolidation of data across programmes, which can support the application of alternative targeting methods tailored to programme-specific objectives.
Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: the Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection

AUTHOR(S)
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Nikhil Wilmink, Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, Richard de Groot, Tayllor Spadafora

Published: 2019
Social protection has the potential to provide a key interface between states and citizens. We consider how the institutional framing and design of social protection can be adapted from top-down forms of provision to forms that stimulate vulnerable citizens to make rights-based claims and demand accountability for their entitlements. A conceptual framework is developed that illustrates three channels through which citizenship can be engaged through social accountability mechanisms and in the context of social protection provision. Drawing on case studies, we highlight the different contexts in which the design and delivery of social protection can open up spaces for different forms of citizenship engagement and expression. Through opening up institutional spaces where citizens can engage with the state, and each other, we conclude that social protection is uniquely placed to build the economic, social and political capabilities of citizens.
Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Naomi Neijhoft, Sarah Cook, Tia Palermo

Published: 2017
As many as one billion children experience violence every year, and household- and community-level poverty are among the risk factors for child protection violations. Social safety nets (SSNs) are a main policy tool to address poverty and vulnerability, and there is substantial evidence demonstrating positive effects on children’s health and human capital. This paper reviews evidence and develops a framework to understand linkages between non-contributory SSNs and the experience of childhood emotional, physical and sexual violence in low- and middle-income countries. We catalogue 14 rigorous impact evaluations, 11 of which are completed, analysing 57 unique impacts on diverse violence indicators. Among these impacts, approximately one in five represent statistically significant protective effects on childhood violence. Promising evidence relates to sexual violence among female adolescents in Africa, while there is less clear evidence of significant impacts in other parts of the developing world, and on young child measures, including violent discipline. Further, few studies are set up to meaningfully unpack mechanisms between SSNs and childhood violence; however, those most commonly hypothesized operate at the household level (through increases in economic security and reductions in poverty-related stress), the interpersonal level (improved parental behaviours, caregiving practices, improved psychosocial well-being) and at the child-level (protective education and decreases in problem or risky behaviours). It is important to emphasize that traditional SSNs are never designed with violence prevention as primary objectives, and thus should not be considered as standalone interventions to reduce risks for childhood violence. However, SSNs, particularly within integrated protection systems, appear to have potential to reduce violence risk. Linkages between SSNs and childhood violence are understudied, and investments should be made to close this evidence gap.
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