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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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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.
‘Children Heard, Half-Heard?’: A Practitioner’s Look for Children in the Responsibility to Protect and Normative Agendas on Protection in Armed Conflict

AUTHOR(S)
Jeremy Shusterman, Michelle Godwin

Published: 2018
When the United Nations (UN) agreed on a definition of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the 2005 World Summit, the two paragraphs it endorsed articulated what R2P stands for, giving the concept a focused but narrow remit around protecting populations specifically from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in armed conflict. In its next paragraph, the UN Membership reiterated concerns on the impact of armed conflict on children echoing the landmark 1612 Resolution by the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) adopted a few weeks before. Though side-by-side in the text, CAAC and R2P were not linked. To this day, for international practitioners in emergency responses, the interaction between both remains unclear. While this simultaneous peak moment for R2P and CAAC may have occurred by chance, this article describes how both concepts (as advocacy tools and instruments for practitioners to ‘respond’) emerged out of similar concern for protecting civilians – including children – in conflict. However, the link between both concepts should not be overstated. While R2P and CAAC fit together for the intentions they share, this happened more coincidentally than purposefully. This article argues, taking an international practitioner’s perspective, that both concepts should not be understood as always operating at the same level. CAAC has grown from an advocacy platform to an umbrella of different programmes, responses, tools and frameworks, including the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on Children and Armed Conflict. Even if applied with variable success, these tools and approaches under the CAAC agenda chart some ways practitioners can hope to do more towards protecting children in conflict. But for those same practitioners, delivering on a Responsibility to Protect is a different question – one where their ‘responsibility’ is at best secondary and implicit, because R2P sits squarely as a primary and explicit responsibility of states – who are also the ultimate duty bearers for children’s rights. While the echoes of a child rights agenda can be heard in the conversation around R2P, and while R2P can help frame and drive efforts by child protection practitioners to respond to some of the worst situations children face, R2P is, for the protection agency field officer, an aspirational goal, necessarily out of reach.
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