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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

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.
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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.
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One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights
One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights

AUTHOR(S)
Sonia Livingstone; Jasmina Byrne; John Carr

Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Typically, in the discussions around the use of the Internet, children are acknowledged only in the context of child protection while their rights to provision and participation are overlooked. This paper specifically argues against an age-generic (or ‘age-blind’) approach to ‘users’, because children have specific needs and rights that are not met by governance regimes designed for ‘everyone’. Policy and governance should now ensure children’s rights to access and use digital media and consider how the deployment of the Internet by wider society can enhance children’s rights across the board. The paper ends with six conclusions and recommendations about how to embed recognition of children’s rights in the activities and policies of international Internet governance institutions.
Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review
Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review

AUTHOR(S)
Rachel Bray; Andrew Dawes

Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Based on an evidence-focused literature review, this paper examines existing knowledge on raising adolescents in east and southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Country selection was based on the availability of relevant literature and data. The vast majority of studies on parenting and adolescent development is based on research from the global north. This research sought to deepen understandings of family life, care practices and support networks in the east and southern African region so as to inform policy and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided. In addition, a framework for exploring contextually-relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.

Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam
Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam

AUTHOR(S)
Kirrily Pells; Maria José Ogando Portela; Patricia Espinoza Revollo

Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Being bullied has been found to have a significant impact on children’s physical and mental health, psychosocial well-being and educational performance, with lasting effects into adulthood on health, well-being and lifetime earnings. Little is known about bullying in low- and middle-income countries, however. This study uses a mixed methods approach combining survey analysis of the predictors and associations with being bullied, with qualitative data to explore the context in which bullying occurs and the social processes that underpin it. Findings show that better data collection and increased resource allocation to bullying prevention are needed. The development and evaluation of different types of effective, sustainable and scalable bullying prevention models in low- and middle-income country contexts are priorities for programming and research.

How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Paul Dornan; Martin Woodhead

Published: 2015 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper contributes longitudinal research evidence on these issues, notably: the impact of structural inequalities on children’s development within households and communities; the ways access to health, education and other key services may reduce or amplify inequalities; and especially evidence on the ways that children’s developmental trajectories diverge from early in life, through to early adulthood.
Corporal Punishment in Schools - Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam
Corporal Punishment in Schools - Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam

AUTHOR(S)
Maria José Ogando Portela; Kirrily Pells

Published: 2015 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Globally the use of corporal punishment in schools is increasingly prohibited in law, yet in many contexts its use continues, even where outlawed. Proponents argue that it is an effective and non-harmful means of instilling discipline, respect and obedience into children, while others point to a series of detrimental effects, including poor academic performance, low class participation, school dropout and declining psychosocial well-being. Establishing whether corporal punishment has lasting effects on children’s cognitive development and psychosocial well-being has been hampered by a lack of longitudinal data, especially from Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
Approaches towards Inequality and Inequity: Concepts, measures and policies
Approaches towards Inequality and Inequity: Concepts, measures and policies

AUTHOR(S)
Frances Stewart

Published: 2013 Innocenti Discussion Papers
The paper discusses what a fair, or equitable, distribution is, drawing on some contributions of Western philosophers and economists. After reviewing different approaches, it argues that inequality among groups is particularly unjust. The paper argues for a plural perspective on the space in which inequality is assessed, following Sen’s capability approach. It is argued that the assessment should relate to functionings (or outcomes) rather than capabilities (or possibilities), especially for children whose choices are severely constrained.
Tackling Structural and Social Issues to Reduce Inequities in Children’s Outcomes in Low- to Middle-income Countries
Tackling Structural and Social Issues to Reduce Inequities in Children’s Outcomes in Low- to Middle-income Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Marmot; Ruth Bell; Angela Donkin

Published: 2013 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Tackling inequities in children’s outcomes matters both from a moral perspective, and because of persuasive social and economic arguments. Reducing inequity in children’s outcomes requires tackling structural and social issues. The paper provides evidence about how social, economic and environmental conditions shape inequities in children’s outcomes. Building on insights generated through studies on the social determinants of health, the paper provides a framework to inform research and policy to reduce inequities in children’s outcomes, with a specific focus on low- and middle-income countries.
Assessing 'The Code of Conduct' for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism
Assessing 'The Code of Conduct' for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism
Published: 2012 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Sexual exploitation and abuse of children remains a worldwide problem. Despite a variety of national and international laws, including the introduction of extra-territorial legislation, there are still men and women who sexually abuse children at home and abroad. When tourism facilities are used by those who exploit children, the facility owners and managers are indirectly and unintentionally benefiting from these crimes. This has led to increasing recognition of the potential role of the travel and tourism sector in addressing this problem. The findings of this research are presented in two parts, covering four main themes. These are the effectiveness of The Code, and the strengths, weaknesses, lessons and gaps, which covers: i) the institutional arrangements for The Code; ii) membership of The Code; and iii) the implementation of the six Code criteria. Within the final category, special attention is paid to the reporting and monitoring of Code implementation.
The Place of Sport in the UN Study on Violence against Children
The Place of Sport in the UN Study on Violence against Children

AUTHOR(S)
Celia Brackenridge; Kari Fasting; Sandra Kirby; Trisha Leahy; Sylvie Parent; Trond Svela Sand

Published: 2010 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper presents a secondary analysis of supporting documents from the UN Study on Violence against Children. The purpose of the analysis is to identify sport-related material in the documents, and gaps in research knowledge about the role of sport in both preventing and facilitating violence against children. This is a complementary document to the IRC study ‘Protecting Children from Violence in Sport: A review with a focus on industrialized countries’, developed by the same research team. Content analysis was undertaken on material archived for the UN Study, including submissions by UN agencies and non-governmental organizations on research relating to violence against children, and on the country surveys that had been returned by governments as part of the UN Study consultation. A list of search terms was established and each selected text or survey was searched against them. On the basis of these analyses, several key conclusions emerged. First, there is a marked absence of empirical data about the forms, prevalence and incidence of violence to children in sport and about the best mechanisms for preventing or resolving such problems. Second, there is a lack of coordination between governments and sport NGOs on the subject of violence against children in sport, and there appears to be no evidence of a functional link between the agencies responsible for sport for development and those responsible for prevention of violence to children. The findings point to the need to do more, targeted research on violence against children in sport and to assess the efficacy of sport as a tool of violence prevention. Since countries approach the matter of violence to children in many different ways, the establishment of international standards for safeguarding children and for violence prevention in sport is recommended.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 13 | Thematic area: Child Protection | Tags: child abuse, children's rights, sport, violence
Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system
Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Kools; Virginia E. Vitiello

Published: 2010 Innocenti Discussion Papers
There is need for a holistic, comprehensive ECD monitoring system that covers the multiple facets (i.e. education, health, social protection and the social and economical context in which the child is born) of public and private ECD interventions in a country. Such a system is essential for ensuring that all children can reap the benefits of ECD. It serves as a means of support and oversight for monitoring the performance and planning of ECD policies and programmes in developing countries. The paper highlights the importance of comprehensive ECD monitoring for making evidence-based decisions, and discusses practical issues to take into consideration when developing such a system. One of the first steps is deciding what to monitor through the selection of a limited number of valid and measurable indicators that are aligned to policy and programme goals. In this respect the capacity of the government system should be thoroughly assessed, including 1) the identification and evaluation of existing administrative and other data sources; 2) a training needs analysis of the administrators who will operate the monitoring system to allow for strengthening their skills and prepare them for their future duties; and 3) consideration of the long-term costs of operating a monitoring system in relation to the (projected) available funds, in order to ensure the sustainability of the system.
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Monitoring of health services can serve two major functions: providing information for performance management as well as for evidence-based policy-making. The means by which monitoring is carried out and the balance that is struck between these functions vary according to the situation of different countries. This paper reviews monitoring processes and the availability of data relating to early childhood development in the cases of Germany and the United Kingdom. The discussion centres on pre-requisites for successful routine data collection: a national framework, a national database and making data available publicly.
Child Migrants with and without Parents: Census-based estimates of scale and characteristics in Argentina, Chile and South Africa
Child Migrants with and without Parents: Census-based estimates of scale and characteristics in Argentina, Chile and South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Shahin Yaqub

Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper studies child migration in Argentina, Chile and South Africa. It defines child migrants as under 18 year olds whose usual residence was in a different country or province five years prior to census. The paper estimates the scale of child migration; compares relative magnitudes of internal and international migration; and considers sensitivity to alternative definitions of migration. Second, it examines family structures within which migrant children live at destinations, defining children who are co-resident with adult parents and siblings as dependent, and those outside of these close family members, as independent. Third, the internal/international and in/dependent distinctions are analysed jointly to describe some social-economic characteristics of the four sub-groups of migrant children.
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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.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
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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