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Francesca Viola

Consultant

Francesca joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in October 2018 where she supports the social and economic policy unit on research projects related to integrated social protection in Sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked on impact evaluation of public policies in Ghana, Kenya and Morocco with the World Bank and Innovation for Poverty Action and on children’s rights advocacy with Terre des Hommes. Francesca holds an MSc in Development Economics and an MA in Childhood Studies and Children’s Rights. Her research interests include household economic wellbeing, child sensitive social protection and child-rights based approaches.

Publications

Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts
Publication Publication

Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts

Adolescents face unique vulnerabilities related to their health, schooling and the intensification of gender socialization. As the next generation next in line to become adults, their transition has major implications for the future health, economic growth and well-being of nations. Yet, children and adolescents have low rates of social protection coverage globally – a missed opportunity for investment. This report examines how social protection can promote adolescent well-being and facilitate safe and productive transitions to adulthood in lower- and middle-income countries. Focusing on government, non-contributory programmes, the following questions are examined: 1) whether and how current non-contributory social protection programmes are adolescent-sensitive and 2) what is the impact of non-contributory social protection programmes on adolescents.
Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region
Publication Publication

Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region

Emerging evidence suggests that social protection programmes can have a positive role in delaying marriage for girls. But the pathways and design features by which programmes may influence child marriage outcomes remain unknown. This mixed-methods study explores whether and how the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Ethiopia, given its national reach and potential to address poverty, can also affect child marriage practice. It draws on descriptive quantitative and qualitative data from an ongoing impact evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Program (ISNP) pilot in the Amhara region. It finds that PSNP, through an economic channel, is effective in reducing financial pressures on families to marry off girls and in improving girls’ education opportunities. Income-strengthening measures must, however, be accompanied by complementary efforts – including girls’ empowerment, awareness-raising and legal measures – to transform deep-rooted social and gender norms and attitudes that perpetuate the harmful practice of child marriage.
A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response
Publication Publication

A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response

This rapid review seeks to inform initial and long-term public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by assessing evidence on past economic policy and social protection responses to health and economic crises and their effects on children and families. The review focuses on virus outbreaks/emergencies, economic crises and natural disasters which, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, were rapid in onset, had wide-ranging geographical reach, and resulted in disruption of social services and economic sectors without affecting governance systems. Lessons are also drawn from the HIV/AIDS pandemic due to its impact on adult mortality rates and surviving children.