Richardson, Dominic; Dugarova, Esuna; Higgins, Daryl; Hirao, Keiko; Karamperidou, Despina; Mokomane, Zitha; Robila, Mihaela (2020). Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals, Innocenti Research ReportUNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence
This report explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the key role that both families and family policies have in determining social progress, and the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of the publication is opportune. The report summarizes reviews of evidence across six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence to highlight some important issues that policymakers might consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. A key contribution of the work, given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, has been to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have also been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other goal areas.
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.
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have
had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.
High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having
to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income
countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline.
This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning.
However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant.
Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.