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Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Cross-Sectoral Learning in Implementation Research: Harnessing the potential to accelerate results for children
Cross-Sectoral Learning in Implementation Research: Harnessing the potential to accelerate results for children

AUTHOR(S)
Jane Lewis; Robyn Mildon; Tom Steele

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

By illuminating why and how interventions work in real world settings, Implementation Research (IR) is a powerful tool for increasing the likelihood that evidence-based interventions, programmes and policies are successfully implemented. The insights that IR generates help bridge the 'know-do gap' – the gap between what we know works and what actually happens on the ground when we try to put a policy or intervention into place. IR is a means for increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes, reducing the risk of wastage and failure and accelerating programme and system improvements to reduce inequities and achieve desired results.

This paper, prepared by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation in collaboration with UNICEF, aims to promote a shared understanding of IR and its relevance to UNICEF's work.

The Impact of Interventions Targeting Caregivers, Health Workers and the Community to Alter Vaccine Behaviours and Childhood Vaccination Uptake: A Rapid evidence assessment protocol
The Impact of Interventions Targeting Caregivers, Health Workers and the Community to Alter Vaccine Behaviours and Childhood Vaccination Uptake: A Rapid evidence assessment protocol

AUTHOR(S)
John O'Rourke; Andrea Yearwood; Greg Sheaf; Sergiu Tomsa; Viviane Bianco; Mario Mosquera; Shivit Bakrania; Benjamin Hickler

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Vaccination is one of the most effective measures for preventing illness, disability and death. In Europe and Central Asia, routine immunization rates vary between countries and over time. Behavioural determinants of vaccine hesitancy in the region include diminished trust among caregivers and health professionals; knowledge and awareness of vaccination; perceptions of risk; and health professionals’ skills, knowledge and attitudes.

This rapid evidence assessment aims to summarize the impact of interventions targeting caregivers, healthcare workers and the community to improve intention and motivation to vaccinate and vaccination rates of children under 5 years old. The evidence will inform policy and programmatic recommendations.

Effectiveness of Inclusive Interventions for Children with Disabilities in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Protocol for an evidence and gap map
Effectiveness of Inclusive Interventions for Children with Disabilities in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Protocol for an evidence and gap map

AUTHOR(S)
Anil Thota; Ebele Mogo; Dominic Igbelina; Greg Sheaf; Rahma Mustafa; Shivit Bakrania; Alberto Vásquez Encalada; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Of the nearly 1 billion people with a disability, 80% live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and 240 million are children. Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society.

This protocol to the Evidence and Gap Map on the Effectiveness of Inclusive Interventions for Children with Disabilities Living in LMICs aims to identify the available evidence on inclusive interventions to improve access to health, education and social services for these children, and enable them to participate fully in society by addressing discrimination, improving living conditions, incorporating mainstreaming approaches and promoting empowerment. It highlights gaps in the evidence to prioritize future research and evaluation agendas; identifies contextual factors related to various populations and settings; and provides a database of peer-reviewed and grey literature in this area.

Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in South Sudan
Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in South Sudan

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

South Sudan is in a protracted crisis. Four million people have been displaced and many have been left living with high levels of injury, poverty and food insecurity. The impact of the crisis on children – who make up over 29% of the population – is particularly high, and a large number are at risk of being born with or acquiring a disability.

Assistive technologies (AT) – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by many children in South Sudan with disabilities. There is no reliable data available on disability prevalence or AT needs in South Sudan, though estimates suggest a range between 10% and 15% of the population. This work aims to understand the landscape of AT provision and the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations for priority actions.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Provision of Assistive Technology in the State of Palestine
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Provision of Assistive Technology in the State of Palestine

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Official statistics identify 2% to 7% of the population in the State of Palestine as having a disability. Evidence is limited regarding levels of access to assistive technologies (AT) by people with disabilities in the State of Palestine. However, estimates suggest that there are high levels of unmet need. Less than 10% of children with disabilities received assistive devices in the year of one recent survey. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on a range of such services in many countries, but little information is yet available on the impact on AT provision in humanitarian settings.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation
Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation

AUTHOR(S)
Priscilla Idele; Manasi Sharma; Camila Perera Aladro; Prerna Banati; David Anthony

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Mental health conditions affect about 1 in 7 adolescents globally. In the context of COVID-19, the importance of mental health and psychosocial support for all has been undoubtedly confirmed. Despite the increased attention to mental health issues, there is a dearth of evidence on what determines child and adolescent mental health, who is most at risk, and what works to foster mental health across contexts, cultures and distinct population groups.

This conceptual framework aims to inform research on child and adolescent mental health. It incorporates children’s developmental stages and the dynamic environment in which they live and grow. Informed by a review of existing theoretical frameworks on mental health and child development, this framework integrates elements of the socio-ecological model; the life course approach; the social determinants of health approach; and Innocenti Report Card’s Worlds of Influence Framework. Combining diverse aspects of these frameworks and approaches, we propose an integrated model to guide UNICEF’s research in this area. 

Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan
Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Due to the impacts of the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan’s child population is at high risk of being born with or acquiring a primary or secondary disability.

According to a recent estimate, up to 17% of Afghanistan’s children live with some form of disability. Assistive Technologies – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by a large proportion of children with disabilities in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes a commitment to provide assistive technologies equitably to all who need it. However, little action has been taken to meet this commitment, and there continues to be a vast gap between need and provision. This work presents the the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations to begin to close the gap.

The Provision of Assistive Technology to Children with Disabilities in Humanitarian Settings: A Review of the available evidence on the current state of provision, gaps in evidence, and barriers to and facilitators of better delivery
The Provision of Assistive Technology to Children with Disabilities in Humanitarian Settings: A Review of the available evidence on the current state of provision, gaps in evidence, and barriers to and facilitators of better delivery

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

One billion people in the world live with a disability; 240 million are children. The majority of the world’s children with disabilities live in low- and middle-income countries, where humanitarian crises are most likely to occur. Humanitarian crises increase the prevalence of child disability and the need for assistive technologies as children sustain new disabling injuries, children with disabilities lose their assistive devices, or access to limited existing health services is worsened by crisis. In addition, there are likely to be many more children with disabilities in humanitarian settings whose need for assistive technologies has never been identified.

This literature review discusses the barriers to assistive technologies provision in humanitarian settings and considers possible entry points for provision in the future. Recommendations include: coordination platforms for provision; gathering evidence on existing in-country provision and strengthening those systems; designing programmes for provision that account for pre-existing barriers, within-crises barriers including those internal to humanitarian organizations like UNICEF.

How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Sabbiana Cunsolo; Victor Cebotari; Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

From a developmental perspective, skills or capacities, such as ‘relaxing’, are commonly considered necessary for children to achieve optimal development and reach their full
potential. From this perspective ‘relaxing’ can be considered a capacity that could help children to cope with emotional and behavioural problems and lower their levels of stress and anxiety.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to map the existing evidence of cultivating ‘relaxing’ as a key core capacity with an explicit focus on children, and understand age-related development, links to wellbeing and other core capacities, and the levels and application of ‘relaxing’ among significant adults in children’s lives. These contributions will help inform real, positive and efficient changes in general policies and practices for child development.

How listening develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
How listening develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Marloes Vrolijk; Dominic Richardson; Sabbiana Cunsolo

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical knowledge of children’s listening and how does it interact with overall well-being throughout childhood?

This review study is a first attempt to map the existing theoretical and empirical literature about a possible core capacity for well-being: listening.

It focuses on the development of listening throughout childhood, listening in formal and informal learning, listening in family and community settings, and possible links between listening and well-being. Relevant empirical studies were identified that further explain the development of listening comprehension throughout childhood. Relevant streams of literature identified included listening to music and positive effects on child wellbeing, children’s extensive listening in schools, and the effects of undesirable listening environments.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 31
How observing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
How observing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Sabbiana Cunsolo; Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

This study maps map the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s ability for ‘observing’ or ‘noticing’ as a core capacity for life within the Learning for Well-Being Foundation’s theoretical framework, and how it interacts with overall child development.

More specifically, this review aims to contribute to existing knowledge in three ways: (i) it adds to the evidence of ‘observing’ as a core capacity for children from a childhood development perspective, (ii) it assesses the interaction of ‘observing’ with other core capacities and with overall child well-being, and (iii) it looks at the development of ‘observing’ as a core capacity among significant adults in children’s lives (e.g., teachers, educators, parents). 

Although the available evidence is limited, results show a significant link between children’s levels of observation or attention and cognitive skills in general, such as working memory and executive attention.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 26
How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Marloes Vrolijk; Dominic Richardson; Sabbiana Cunsolo

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Reflecting, or thinking about one’s own thinking, is understood by the Learning for Well-Being Foundation as one of the possible core capacities which may influence well-being in children. This study explores the academic literature for theoretical and empirical evidence in support of this conceptualization.

Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s reflecting and how does it interact with overall well-being throughout childhood?

The objectives of the review are to map the evidence of the development of reflecting in children, describe possible gaps in the literature and search whether any studies explore reflecting as a core capacity, or study the relationship between reflecting and child well-being. In doing so this paper focuses on the possibly diverse development of the core capacity in children, on the capacity in parents, teachers and other caregivers and the role they play in the development of the core capacity, and on the evidence from the academic literature.

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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
Publication

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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