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Results Report for 2015 Now Available
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Results Report for 2015 Now Available

Each year UNICEF Innocenti produces its Results Report in order to highlight major research activities, important knowledge exchange events and other key results for children. Our Results Report for 2015 is now available and gives an overview of what has been accomplished over the course of 2015. Our small team and partners published over 100 research articles, reports and think pieces. Our linkages with the network of UNICEF regional and country offices allowed for particularly rich programming insights, diverse channels of communication, advocacy and policy engagement, as well as world-wide relationships with a wide array of international academic partners. The report highlights many of these relationships as well as how our work can generate knowledge and change through ‘research uptake’. In 2015 we marked 25 years of research for children and simultaneously welcomed new Director, Dr Sarah Cook to our privileged home in Filippo Brunelleschi’s Ospedale degli Innocenti.  The celebration provided an opportunity to reflect on past achievements and explore ways to continue the Office’s leadership role in producing high quality, cutting-edge and policy relevant research for children. Results Report 2015 features important new Innocenti evidence from the Transfer Project challenging conventional wisdom on the relationship between cash transfers and fertility. It also brings to the fore important new findings on adolescent wellbeing, on the association between corporal punishment in school and diminished achievement, and children’s rapidly increasing use of the internet.  Highlights of content:Significant strides were taken in improving governance of UNICEF’s research efforts undertaken. In-depth snap-shots of research projects on adolescent well-being, children’s use of the internet and contributions to the 2030 agenda are provided.Increased use of digital communication and social media channels for dissemination of research results.Description of important global research partnerships provided.Snapshot of office administration, resources and allocations.Comprehensive list of publications, articles and research briefs.Looking forward, Results Report forecasts important activities in 2016, including new areas of research in migration and education. It also announces re-establishment of a global Innocenti advisory group and a new research agenda. Importantly, 2016 should see heightened recognition of the role that research can play in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.(18 April 2016)
Governments urged to prioritise the most disadvantaged children in tackling inequality
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Governments urged to prioritise the most disadvantaged children in tackling inequality

The latest Innocenti Report Card raises concerns about the impact of inequality on the most disadvantaged children in high income countries. In 19 out of 41 countries studied, the poorest 10 per cent of children live in households that have less than half the income of the median. In Japan and the United States the poorest children live in homes that have about 40 per cent of the median income.  Report Card 13, Fairness for Children: A league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries, ranks 41 countries in the OECD and the European Union according to how far the bottom 10% of children fall below their peers in the middle of the distribution: ‘bottom-end inequality.’ The report measures bottom-end inequality of income, educational achievement, children’s self-reported health and life satisfaction, to create a full portrait of how far children at the bottom are being allowed to fall behind their peers. “As concern with high levels of inequality rises on the global policy agenda, our understanding of the long term impacts of inequality is also growing: what happens to children has life-long and even intergenerational consequences” said Dr. Sarah Cook, Director of the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. “Any serious efforts to reduce inequality must place priority on children’s well-being today and ensure that all children are given opportunities to achieve their potential.”According to the report, between 2006 and 2012 inequality in reading scores narrowed in the majority of countries, with the exception of Finland and Sweden which saw a widening gap in reading scores at the same time that median test scores fell. The largest improvements in reading achievement were made in Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany Mexico and Belgium. Inequality in children’s self-reported health symptoms increased in the majority of countries. More than half of children in Turkey and around a third of children in Bulgaria, France, Israel, Malta and Romania report one or more symptoms of ill-health a day. Despite this, many countries showed decreasing inequality in physical activity and unhealthy eating due to faster improvements among those at the bottom. Based on children’s ranking of their life satisfaction on a scale of 1 – 10, the median score across all countries is 8. But children at the lower end of the distribution fall far behind their peers. One in 20 children rated rating life satisfaction as 4 or less out of 10.  Combining all the measures of inequality, Denmark ranks at the top of the distribution. It has comparatively low bottom-end inequality in each of the four domains. Israel and Turkey rank at the bottom of the overall league table. Some of the richest countries in the world, however, fall in the bottom third of the overall league table including Canada, France, Belgium and Italy. Report Card 13 concludes with an analysis of the impact of family background on inequality. The findings are clear: lower socio-economic status is associated with poor educational achievement and low levels of physical activity, healthy eating and life satisfaction.“Understanding the differences among countries in how far the most disadvantaged children fall behind their average peers can provide some insight into the conditions or interventions that may help to reduce the gaps,” Sarah Cook said. “The league tables provide a clear reminder that the well-being of children in any country is not an unavoidable outcome of family circumstances or of the level of economic development but can be shaped by policy choices.” Other significant findings:Relative income gaps and levels of poverty are closely related: higher levels of poverty tend to be found in countries with wider income gaps and lower poverty where there are narrower income gaps.Two higher income countries, Belgium and France, are found at the bottom of the education league table, with very large achievement gaps. Four countries – Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and Poland – combine lower educational achievement inequality with fewer children falling below minimum proficiency standards.Inequality gaps in physical activity and in unhealthy eating decreased in the majority of countries.At ages 13 and 15 girls are more likely than boys in all countries to have fallen behind in self-reported measures of life satisfaction(14 April 2016)
Innocenti Report Card 13: Fairness for children to be launched in Paris
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Innocenti Report Card 13: Fairness for children to be launched in Paris

The new Innocenti Report Card Fairness for Children. A league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries will be launched in Paris on April 14th at a conference jointly organized with the French National Committee for UNICEF. The 13th Innocenti Report Card will highlight the impact of growing inequality with a focus on how children in the bottom 10 per cent compare to their peers in the middle. League Tables will rank 41 high income countries in inequality of income, education, health and life-satisfaction. The high profile launch in Paris will present the findings of Report Card 13 to the international community with media participation. International researchers, policy experts, government leaders, civil society representatives and young people will discuss the implications for promoting increased equality for all children in three panel discussion followed by questions and answers. The report is the latest edition of the Innocenti Report Card series which assesses child well-being in EU and OECD countries. Stay tuned! Save the date and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Global toolkit for research on children’s digital experience
Article Article

Global toolkit for research on children’s digital experience

In response to the fast pace of technological development, the Global Kids Online network was created as an international research partnership aiming to develop a rigorous, cross-national evidence base on children’s online risks, opportunities and rights.
Adolescent Well-being Research e-Digest under development
Article Article

Adolescent Well-being Research e-Digest under development

UNICEF recognised adolescence as an ‘age of opportunity’ in the 2011 State of the World’s Children report. Despite considerable progress in improving child wellbeing, progress lags in key areas of adolescent wellbeing. As part of Innocenti’s research programme on the social and structural determinants of adolescent wellbeing, a new research e-Digest is under preparation. The new Adolescent Wellbeing Research e-Digest will provide an accessible synthesis of the latest research on adolescent wellbeing in low and middle income countries to enhance understanding of new and emerging research findings. This e-Digest forms part of a broader package of research tools produced by the Research Facilitation Unit aimed at strengthening the evidence base and enhancing research uptake in policymaking and practice.The primary audience for the e-Digest is key stakeholders engaged in adolescent wellbeing programmes, UNICEF staff, and the broader community of development practitioners, policymakers and academics working on adolescent wellbeing. The e-Digest will be written in a clear, succinct language suitable for a lay audience and those for whom English may not be a first language. It will be published quarterly in a user-friendly design that presents the latest research on adolescent wellbeing in an accessible way.  The e-Digest will be produced by Social Development Direct a London based agency specialized in producing research synthesis, evidence digests & research communication products. For each edition the e-Digest team will scan a broad range of existing literature on adolescent wellbeing published over the preceding quarter, including: international peer reviewed journals, evaluation reports, systematic reviews, literature reviews and other evidence synthesis products.
The Transfer Project international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Event Event

The Transfer Project international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The meeting will bring together national governments, research institutions and international organizations to discuss latest developments on cash transfer programmes in Africa.
Research briefs on corporal punishment in schools in three languages
Article Article

Research briefs on corporal punishment in schools in three languages

Our latest Innocenti Research Brief Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools in three languages: English, Spanish and French.
Where are children in internet governance discourse?
Article Article

Where are children in internet governance discourse?

Despite the fact that one in three internet users worldwide are under the age of 18, yet internet governance initiatives hardly register the special evolving needs of this group.
 New video on cash transfers for mother baby health
Article Article

New video on cash transfers for mother baby health

Rarely do stories and videos about development projects in Africa have the luxury of going back again and again to the real people and communities receiving support. With this new video Innocenti starts sharing a series of powerful visual stories from Ghana of exactly this. What’s more, the emerging visual content will track the critical research and evaluation efforts to gather hard evidence about social change.Ghana is on the cutting edge of using cash transfers to stimulate improved nutrition and growth outcomes among infants under one year old in its poorest communities. The project is called LEAP1000 because it builds on a highly successful cash transfer project in Ghana called Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty – or LEAP for short – to address persistent malnutrition and stunting among children in the first 1000 days of life.Innocenti’s social and economic policy team is providing support to the UNICEF Ghana office to design and coordinate a rigorous impact evaluation of LEAP1000. The new project provides a rare opportunity to document on film the planning, roll out, integration and analysis of randomized control trials which should deliver strong evidence of the impact of unconditional cash benefits to vulnerable households with pregnant mothers and infants. Ivan Grifi, Innocenti’s media producer for the LEAP1000 documentation effort, has been travelling to Ghana in recent months to capture the unfolding impact evaluation effort on film. In early 2016 Ivan will make his third and final trip to Ghana. The visit will allow him to spend quality time with households to capture on film the impact for households receiving the cash transfer payments as well as those in the control group not receiving the benefit.In the coming months Innocenti will publish Ivan’s unfolding documentation in video, photo and text stories. We hope to compile an honest and realistic visual story unfolding over time of how research and evaluation should be embedded in development interventions.
New Innocenti website launched
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New Innocenti website launched

After many months of painstaking work we are very pleased to introduce to you our new website. When we started this project we talked to hundreds of core users about what was missing on the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti website. You told us that it was too hard for visitors to answer two essential questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” We heard you. Our new digital home features a re-vamped user experience which makes it much easier to connect to our Publications catalogue and our ongoing research projects. Starting on the home page you will be able to scan through our very latest publications and quickly link to our catalogue and improved publications pages with several new features for researchers. When you arrive at our Research project pages you will find an array of resources including our latest relevant publications, blogs, reports, conference pages, partner organization links and multi-media.We have a number of new features to help you get to know our people better. Out Staff page features individual biographies and photos, which in time will be supplemented with CVs and links to journal articles. You will also be able to learn more about the professional background of our research teams. Our Research Facilitation work will have a much more attractive and useful home. You will find expanded information on ethical research involving children, the Best of UNICEF Research, our popular Impact Evaluation learning series, our quality assurance resources and much more.You should also notice that our website performance has improved greatly. Our data is now at home in the clouds so page loading time has been significantly improved. In addition our site now uses adaptive screen technology to ensure the best possible user experience on all devices and screens. Finally, our new website has been built to make the most of the growing social media use of our key research, policy and development practitioner audiences. You can catch up with all our Innocenti blogs on our home page and you will be able to share our content with your friends and colleagues much more conveniently. We have also made it quick and easy to sign up to receive our email updates and newsletters.We hope you enjoy our new digital home. Please let us know about your experience.
Innocenti researchers publish important findings on intimate partner violence
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Innocenti researchers publish important findings on intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence affects 1 in 3 women globally, making it the most common form of gender based violence in the world. Programmes to address intimate partner violence usually target men and women in marriages and long term partnerships. However, new evidence from the UNICEF Office of Research — Innocenti shows that this approach may be misguided. The new study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, examines girls’ age of first intimate partner violence victimization, and shows that effective interventions should target boys and girls well before they enter into their first romantic relationship.The study finds that women enter their first marriage/partnership at about age 19, which means that many have started intimate relationships before this age. Physical or sexual violence perpetrated by a male intimate partners typically starts, on average, 3.5 years later, or at about 22 years of age. However, by the first year of partnership, over one third(38.5%) of women have already experienced violence. Therefore, if programs target married women and their partners, they likely have already missed the best window of opportunity for primary prevention for a large number of victims. The study concludes that it is critical to target adolescents before they first enter romantic relationships (before 18.6 years on average) to be effective at preventing violence.Study DetailsThe study analysed population-based data from Demographic and Health Surveys in 30 low- and middle-income countries. The researchers calculated the age at which women first experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence and how long into the marriage or partnership this violence first occurred. The variation in duration into partnership when violence first began was remarkably similar across countries (ranging from 2.5 to 5.2 years after union). Since the global average age of first union for women is approximately 18.6 years, this means that women first experience the onset of this kind of violence between 22 and 24 years of age, on average. Women in countries such as India, Nepal and Mali experience abuse even earlier (on average at age 19), while those in Philippines, Cambodia, and the Ukraine first experience violence somewhat later (aged 24 to 25 years on average).Figure 1: Age of marriage and IPV initiation among women in 30 low- and middle-income countriesImplications for programming and research for intimate partner violence preventionWe know from prior research that younger women are at higher risk, however this study is the first time global measures of age at intimate partner violence onset are highlighted.What can this tell us for current programming and research efforts? First, we need more research on what works to prevent violence among young people. Evaluationsof programmes targeting adolescents and young adults to date have been few, inconclusive, and largely limited to high-income countries. Additionally, most existing surveys (such as the DHS, which are implemented in regular increments in developing countries) only ask married and partnered women their experiences about intimate partner violence, meaning that we do not know much about the experiences of unmarried or non-cohabiting adolescents.Nevertheless, school-based programmes to prevent dating and sexual violence are viewed as some of the most effective types of primary prevention strategies for adolescents. The study results also imply that programs which succeed in preventing or delaying child marriage may only be effective in delaying intimate partner violence. Based on what we know, resources should be targeted towards addressing risk factors in childhood and adolescence and testing new interventions with adolescents.For more research on violence against women and adolescents, visit the Transfer Project[1] and the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti[2]Audrey Pereira is a Social and Economic Policy Consultant on the Transfer Project at the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti. The author would like to thank Amber Peterman her helpful feedback on this topic. The Transfer Project conducts rigorous impact evaluations in African countries on cash transfers and a range of outcomes including early childhood development, youth and adolescent well-being, school enrolment and education, time preference, economic activities, and violence.[1]https://transfer.cpc.unc.edu/?page_id=1151[2] http://www.unicef-irc.org/research/topic/
Giving Cash to the Poor? Innocenti researchers share key insights at major public policy conference
Article Article

Giving Cash to the Poor? Innocenti researchers share key insights at major public policy conference

Researchers from the Innocenti Social and Economic Policy team are prominently featured at a special panel discussion called Giving Cash to the Poor?: Impacts of Africa’s Unconditional Cash Transfers as part of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall Research Conference in Miami, Florida.This year’s theme is “The Golden Age of Evidence-based Policy,” meant to highlight the role of APPAM members around the globe in conducting rigorous evaluations of social programs and in developing the theory and methods of quality evaluations to learn how to more effectively address the world’s social problems. The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary annual research conference that attracts the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. The conference is comprised of panels, roundtables, symposia, and poster presentations from 14 policy areas and is designed to encourage substantive interaction among participants.Research from Innocenti under the Transfer Project features innovative research on cash transfer programs coming out of Africa that not only investigate the traditional domains, but also dig deeper into the potential effect of cash transfer programs to better explain the pathways that these programs reduce poverty and build human capital. The panel brings together research from several different cash transfer programs, African countries, and domains.The African government run programs are unique in that, in contrast to the first generation of Latin American conditional cash transfers, they are nearly all unconditional programs. Despite strong overall evidence, there are still questions as to how impacts in these unconditional programs compare to traditional conditional programs. This panel presents new cross-country data from three large-scale African government run programs: 1) Impacts on food security in Zimbabwe’s Harmonised Social Cash Transfer; 2) Impacts on women’s empowerment and decision-making in the Zambian Child Support Grant, 3) Impacts on consumption smoothing and productive activities also in the Zambian Child Support Grant, and 4) Impacts on child nutrition in Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer.These studies will help policymakers and donors gain more insight into how to design cash transfer programs to target specific outcomes. These studies will also help researchers design studies of cash transfer programs to investigate domains not previously studied.Read more about the panel here:Panel: Giving Cash to the Poor?: Impacts of Africa’s Unconditional Cash TransfersThursday, November 12, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PMBrickell Center (Hyatt Regency Miami)Panel Organizers:  Juan Bonilla, American Institutes for ResearchPanel Chairs: Sudhanshu Handa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; UNICEF Discussants:  Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University and Mary Zaki, University of Maryland Comparing Objective and Experiential Indicators of Household Food Insecurity in ZimbabweGarima Bhalla, University of North Carolina and Sudhanshu Handa, UNICEF Impact of the Zambian Child Grant Program on Women's Decision-Making and EmpowermentAmber Peterman1, Rosa Castro2, Hannah Reeves2, Claire Nowlin2, Juan Bonilla2 and David Seidenfeld2, (1)UNICEF, (2)American Institutes for Research Consumption Smoothing and Productive Investments in Rural ZambiaJuan Bonilla1, Sudhanshu Handa2,3 and David Seidenfeld1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (3)UNICEF Impacts of an Unconditional Cash Transfer on Household Food and Nutrition Security in MalawiKristen Nichole Brugh1, Gustavo Angeles1, Peter Mvula2 and Maxton Tsoka2, (1)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (2)Center for Social Research of the University of Malawi