search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

Cirenia Chavez


Cirenia joined Innocenti in October 2017 to support research related to adolescence, humanitarian settings and other emerging areas. She is a mixed-methods researcher, and has carried out extensive work on the subject of youth and organised crime in Mexico. Her research interests include adolescent well-being and capabilities, multidimensional poverty and their contribution to youth participation in risky behaviours. She has a PhD in Development Studies (University of Cambridge) and a background in International Relations (M.A. New York University, B.A. Tecnologico de Monterrey). She was the recipient of numerous scholarships, including Cambridge Trust, Conacyt and Fulbright. She has previously worked as a research assistant and consultant for development organisations, including the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London and UNDP-Regional Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean in New York. She has also engaged in teaching activities in the master’s programme at the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. (picture attached)
facebook twitter linkedin google+ reddit print email


This research brief provides a snapshot of Girls’ Access To Education (GATE), a non-formal education programme that aims to bring the most marginalized adolescent girls in Nepal into school. The nine-month programme provides out-of-school girls with the basic literacy, numeracy and life skills they need to enter and learn in formal schooling. The analysis draws on GATE monitoring data for 2018/19, covering 7,394 GATE beneficiaries in five districts of Nepal, and is combined with qualitative evidence including case studies and focus group discussions with former GATE participants conducted in 2019. The mixed-methods analysis finds that the GATE programme has been highly effective, with 95% completion of the programme by enrolled girls and 89% of girls making the successful transition to formal school. Moreover, GATE graduates enrolled in Grades 3 to 5 in formal schools outperformed non-GATE girls enrolled in the same grades, even though GATE girls overwhelmingly had no prior formal school experience. Qualitative evidence reveals that poverty, caring responsibilities and parents’ traditional views may be important factors in explaining why GATE girls had never previously attended school. Despite this, GATE beneficiaries who were interviewed maintain a positive outlook on the future and have clear career goals. One of the recommendations stemming from this brief is to explore the feasibility of expanding GATE approaches to target out-of-school children in other contexts, as GATE has been a cost-effective solution in the context of Nepal.


Cirenia Chavez; Annika Rigole; Purnima Gurung; Dilli Prasad Paudel; Bimala Manandhar

This short paper grew out of discussions at a two-day research workshop focused on famines and adolescents. It explores some of what we do and do not know about the impacts of humanitarian situations on adolescents’ lives. Adolescents and their specific capacities and vulnerabilities have tended to be overlooked in the design and implementation of humanitarian responses, including in social protection and further components of such responses. This paper seeks to bring these questions to the attention of researchers, policy makers and practitioners in order to address identified priority gaps; build on existing knowledge; invest in better evidence generation; and include adolescents in research and response efforts in meaningful ways. Such improvements to humanitarian responses would assist in developing more inclusive efforts that consider all ages in the child’s life-course; aim for more sustainable well-being outcomes and help meet core commitments to children in these settings.


Jose Cuesta; Michelle Godwin; Jeremy Shusterman; Cirenia Chavez


How prepared are global education systems for future crises? (20 May 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an education emergency of unprecedented global scale. At its peak, over 190 countries closed schools&n ...

What we know and what we don't know about youth gangs in Latin America (27 Sep 2018)

Gang violence in Latin America has become one of the central security concerns in some countries of the region, including the countries of t ...



Adding to global knowledge on what improves school settings and how children experience education systems.