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Office of Research-Innocenti
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Profiles

Prerna Banati

Deputy Director a.i. (Former title)

Prerna Banati has served as Chief of Programmes and Planning at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti since 2012. Prior to this, she was a Takemi Fellow in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard University. She has previously led work on Program Effectiveness at the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and conducted epidemiological modeling as part of the Global Burden of Disease project based at WHO. Prior to this, she was based in South Africa leading research on community HIV prevention for independent NGOs and has published in the fields of HIV prevention, reproductive health, migration and health, aid architecture, health financing and environmental risk. Before her work in Africa, Prerna worked for a multinational consulting company in Boston in the field of quantitative human health risk assessment. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Publications

Adolescent girls’ potential to disrupt the gender socialization process: Evidence from Plan International UK’s longitudinal cohort study, ‘Real Choices, Real Lives’
Publication Publication

Adolescent girls’ potential to disrupt the gender socialization process: Evidence from Plan International UK’s longitudinal cohort study, ‘Real Choices, Real Lives’

This brief discusses findings from Plan International UK’s ‘Real Choices, Real Lives’ report, which explores factors in adolescent girls’ lives across Benin, Togo and Uganda that may influence them to ‘accept’ or ‘disrupt’ the gender socialization process. The brief focuses on one of a handful of qualitative longitudinal studies addressing the challenges of gender norms in low- and middle-income country settings, providing crucial evidence in these countries to address Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality.
Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy
Publication Publication

Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy

Of 1.2 billion adolescents in the world today, 90% live in low- and middle-income countries. These adolescents not only face many challenges but also represent a resource to be cultivated through educational opportunities and vocational training to move them toward economic independence, through initiatives to improve reproductive health, and through positive interpersonal relationships to help them avoid risky behaviors and make positive decisions about their futures. This volume tackles the challenges and promise of adolescence by presenting cutting-edge research on adolescent social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical development; promising programs from different countries to promote adolescents’ positive development; and policies that can advance adolescents’ rights within the framework of international initiatives, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Sustainable Development Goals, which are guiding the international development agenda through 2030. This volume seeks to provide actionable strategies for policymakers and practitioners working with adolescents. Disconnects between national-level policies and local services, as well as lack of continuity with early childhood responses, present a significant challenge to ensuring a coherent approach for adolescents. Increasingly, adolescent participation and demands for rights-based approaches are seen and often unfortunately conflated with violence. This volume adopts a positive framing of adolescence, representing young people as opportunities rather than threats, and a valued investment both at individual and societal levels, contributing to a positive shift in discourses around young people.
The Adolescent Brain: A second window of opportunity - A compendium
Publication Publication

The Adolescent Brain: A second window of opportunity - A compendium

In 2016, UNICEF hosted The Adolescent Brain: A second window of opportunity, a symposium that brought together experts in adolescent neuroscience to discuss this emerging science and how we can apply it to support all adolescents – but especially those already facing risks to their well-being, including poverty, deprivation, conflict and crisis. The articles in this compendium elaborate on some of the ideas shared at the symposium. Together, they provide a broad view of the dynamic interactions among physical, sexual and brain development that take place during adolescence. They highlight some of the risks to optimal development – including toxic stress, which can interfere with the formation of brain connections, and other vulnerabilities unique to the onset of puberty and independence. They also point to the opportunities for developing interventions that can build on earlier investments in child development – consolidating gains and even offsetting the effects of deficits and traumas experienced earlier in childhood.
2016 Results Report
Publication Publication

2016 Results Report

The 2016 UNICEF Innocenti Results Report presents the activities and key results of the Office of Research achieved in 2016.

Blogs

Time to ramp up psychosocial support for adolescents in crisis settings
Blog Blog

Time to ramp up psychosocial support for adolescents in crisis settings

Globally, the increase in humanitarian crises, protracted conflicts, displacement, violence, terrorism, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and climate change is putting children and adolescents at significant risk of mental and emotional ill-health.
Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women
Blog Blog

Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women

On March 12th 2019, UNICEF will co-host a side event to the sixty-third Commission on the Status of Women, together with the UK’s Department for International Development and GAGE Consortium managed by ODI, to share evidence and policy approaches to strengthen gender equality outcomes of social protection programmes, with a particular focus on adolescents and the safe transition to adulthood. Well-designed social protection can address risks and vulnerabilities across the life-course for girls and women, yet so often gender and age inequalities are not considered in social protection systems. Social protection is failing to deliver on this potential – missing the opportunity to benefit the most marginalized girls and women and risks widening inequalities even further. More work and investment is needed to make gender- and adolescent-responsive social protection a reality.
Three windows of opportunity - Using science to inform programming for adolescents and young people
Blog Blog

Three windows of opportunity - Using science to inform programming for adolescents and young people

Recent scientific discoveries and studies demonstrate that adolescence is a critical or sensitive period, a time in life during which adverse events and exposures can have great impact. Scientific advances can provide actionable insights into windows of opportunity during which policies and programs can have a positive impact on lifetime trajectories.
Is longitudinal research the best response to the ‘post-truth’ order?
Blog Blog

Is longitudinal research the best response to the ‘post-truth’ order?

Longitudinal studies are an irreplaceable resource for understanding trajectories, transitions and shocks over time. Undeniably, the UK leads the world in tracking the life course of its citizens through longitudinal research. 

Journal articles

Children’s Roles in Social Reproduction: reexamining the discourse on care through a child lens
Journal Article Journal Article

Children’s Roles in Social Reproduction: reexamining the discourse on care through a child lens