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Innocenti Research Briefs

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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
What Makes Me? Core capacities for living and learning
SPOTLIGHT

What Makes Me? Core capacities for living and learning

This report explores how ‘core capacities’ – or cornerstones of more familiar concepts, such as life skills and competences – develop over the early part of the life course, and how they contribute to children’s personal well-being and development.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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The Transformative Impacts of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from two government programmes in Zambia
The Transformative Impacts of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from two government programmes in Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Luisa Natali

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Unconditional cash transfers are on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, with recent estimates indicating a doubling of programmes between 2010 and 2014. This brief provides an overview of the comprehensive impacts across eight domains of two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Zambian Government: The Child Grant Programme (CGP) and the Multiple Category Targeting Programme (MCP). Although the primary objective of these programmes is poverty mitigation rather than economic empowerment, we document protective and productive outcomes in order to assess whether these programmes generate transformative effects and have the potential to offer a sustained pathway out of poverty for poor households.

 

The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017
The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

The annual workshop of the Transfer Project, “The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa” focused on new challenges arising from moving from fragmented programmes to integrated social protection systems, combining cash transfers with complementary (also referred to as ‘plus’) interventions, as well as the assessment of social protection in emergency contexts.

This year’s workshop was organized through the Transfer Project by the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO), UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC), in Dakar, Senegal, from 7 to 9 June 2017.

 Approximately 125 social protection experts and stakeholders from over 30 countries gathered for the workshop to review the rigorous evidence from impact evaluations across Africa. In recognition of the complexity of this work and the continued growth of cash transfer programmes globally, the workshop brought together researchers, policymakers, and development partners to debate, discuss and reflect on current experiences, new evidence and future directions.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 4 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: cash transfers
Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes
Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

This brief summarizes the key insights and conclusions from a discussion paper on gender socialization during adolescence, with a focus on low- and middle-income settings. By reviewing theories from psychology, sociology and biology, significant societal changes and effective programme interventions, the paper sets out to provide a more holistic picture of the influences and outcomes of gender socialization for adolescent programming and policy.

Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers
Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Six common perceptions associated with cash transfers are investigated using data from eight rigorous evaluations of government unconditional cash transfer programmes across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The evidence refutes each claim. Used in policy debates, these perceptions undermine well-being improvements and poverty reduction, in Africa and globally.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 4 | Thematic area: Economic Development
Is University Education More Important for a Boy than for a Girl? Social approval of unequal educational opportunity across 21 countries
Is University Education More Important for a Boy than for a Girl? Social approval of unequal educational opportunity across 21 countries
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

The attitudes that we hold are shaped and nurtured by society, institutions, religion and family; they involve feelings, beliefs and behaviours and represent a form of judgement. These attitudes and values define the power relations, dynamics, opportunities and choices between men and women, boys and girls. Societies vary significantly in the scale of egalitarian attitudes and beliefs related to gender roles and opportunities in  education, politics, the family, and the workforce. Progress towards more egalitarian gender values is crucial for achieving gender equality among children and young people, which in turn is a pre-condition for sustainable development.

Adolescents’ Mental Health: Out of the shadows. Evidence on psychological well-being of 11-15-year-olds from 31 industrialized countries
Adolescents’ Mental Health: Out of the shadows. Evidence on psychological well-being of 11-15-year-olds from 31 industrialized countries

AUTHOR(S)
Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Mental health is increasingly gaining the spotlight in the media and public discourse of industrialized countries. The problem is not new, but thanks to more open discussions and fading stigma, it is emerging as one of the most critical concerns of public health today. Psychological problems among children and adolescents can be wide-ranging and may include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disruptive conduct, anxiety, eating and mood disorders and other mental illnesses. Consistent evidence shows the links between adolescents’ mental health and the experience of bullying. Collecting internationally comparable data to measure mental health problems among children and adolescents will provide important evidence and stimulate governments to improve psychological support and services to vulnerable children.

Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?
Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Early childhood development is a driving force for sustainable development due to its multiplier effects not only on children but also on the community and society at large. Access to ECEC alone is insufficient for achieving positive child outcomes – it must also be of high quality. This Brief aims to summarize the key points of ongoing debate on this issue, and outline some of the challenges faced by high-income countries. A step towards a more holistic monitoring of ECEC would be to develop a coherent national strategy that recognizes diversity while addressing disparities; to respond to the needs of both child and family through strong partnerships with parents and ECE practitioners; and to apply measurement tools that capture a child’s engagement rather than test readiness.

Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being
Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Evidence from national studies in developed and developing countries suggests that girls spend more time on housework. The most common explanation relates to behaviour modelling as a mechanism of gender role reproduction: children form habits based on parental models. This brief shows that participation in household chores is an essential part of children’s lives. There is a common pattern of a gender gap between boys’ and girls’ daily participation in housework across a diverse range of socio-economic and cultural contexts in 12 high-income countries. The persistence of this gap points to gender stereotyping – a form of gender role reproduction within a family that potentially can reinforce inequalities over the life-course.

 

Migration and Inequality: Making policies inclusive for every child
Migration and Inequality: Making policies inclusive for every child
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
Drawing on Europe’s experience, this brief provides a cross-country comparative overview of inequality affecting children in the migration pathway, who are often described as 'children on the move'. Following a brief overview of the policy and practice in relation to various categories of refugee and migration children in Europe, it reflects on the performance of the countries with regard to Target 10.7 of the SDG.
Not Refugee Children, Not Migrant Children, But Children First: Lack of a systematic and integrated approach
Not Refugee Children, Not Migrant Children, But Children First: Lack of a systematic and integrated approach
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
This brief takes a deep dive in the semantics and conceptual issues in the children and migration discourse, and highlights some of the key implementation gaps. It offers a summary of the risks, vulnerabilities and protection needs of children as refugees and migration in Europe. Using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the normative frameworks, this brief also emphasizes how the voices of children in migration pathway must be heard and respected.
Growing Inequality and Unequal Opportunities in Rich Countries
Growing Inequality and Unequal Opportunities in Rich Countries
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
Forthcoming
Improving the Methodological Quality of Research in Adolescent Well-being
Improving the Methodological Quality of Research in Adolescent Well-being
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

This brief introduces the methodological series Conducting Research with Adolescents from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), outlining key research themes, intervention types, and their associated methodological implications. It highlights adolescence as a critical phase within the life course and a period of biological and social transition that is itself undergoing change. It makes the case that new understandings from neuroscience have important implications for programming; addressing social and structural determinants is crucial to improving adolescent well-being; inter-sectoral and comprehensive multi-component action is required, as is matching action to need; and gender and equity should always be considered in research, programmes and policy.

The brief is one of seven on research methodologies, designed to expand and improve the conduct and interpretation of research on adolescent health and well-being in LMICs. Building on the recent Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these briefs provide an overview of the methodological quality of research on adolescents. They cover topics including: indicators and data sources; research ethics; research with disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalized populations; participatory research; measuring enabling and protective systems for adolescent health; and economic strengthening interventions for improving adolescent well-being.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 15 | Thematic area: Adolescents | Tags: health, life course, research methods
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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home. This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future. *** L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa. Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
Publication Publication

Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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