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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.
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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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Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and gap map research brief of phase 1 and 2 findings
Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and gap map research brief of phase 1 and 2 findings
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps remain when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies.

This brief summarizes the key findings from the Evidence Gap Map on interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. It includes findings from Phase 1 (English-language publications) and Phase 2 (Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish publications).  All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school
Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Malagasy adolescents face severe challenges in accessing and completing basic education. Among those students who complete the primary cycle, one in four does not transition into lower secondary school. Economic constraints among vulnerable households coupled with low-quality education result in widespread dropout and poor learning outcomes.

Acknowledging these multidimensional barriers, UNICEF Madagascar leveraged funds from the Let us Learn (LUL) programme to implement a two-pronged strategy to support Malagasy children in accessing and continuing lower secondary school. The Catch-up Classes provide out-of-school adolescents with a learning pathway to build the foundational literacy and numeracy skills they need to resume studying in formal school. Conditional cash transfers target families with children who are at risk of abandoning school after completing the primary cycle.

This brief builds on programme monitoring data, impact evaluations and qualitative insights from the field to highlight lessons learnt and actionable recommendations for accessing and continuing vulnerable children’s secondary education.

It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19
It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

This paper presents a new estimate that pre-primary school closures in 2020 may cost today’s young children US$1.6 trillion in lost earnings over their lifetimes. Children in middle-income countries will be most greatly affected. However, most low- and middle- income countries are leaving pre-primary education out of their responses to COVID-19. This paper also draws lessons from evaluations of accelerated, bridging and remedial programmes on how introducing or expanding these transition programmes in the early years can mitigate the long-term impact on learning from pre-primary school closures.

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of society. In mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed their schools, putting 9 out of 10 enrolled children out of school.

These closures disproportionately affected marginalized children, worsening existing inequities across education systems worldwide.

This brief draws on the experience of five UNICEF education country programmes supported by the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, to document tangible lessons in adapting education programmes to support the most marginalized children during school and learning centre closures.

The evidence in this brief stems from a series of semi-structured interviews with Education and Child Protection specialists, as well as a document review of available COVID-19 response studies, in the five LUL-supported UNICEF Country Offices.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 12 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: COVID-19, education, educational programmes
Ujana Salama: Mradi wa nyongeza ya fedha (cash plus) unaohusu ustawi na mabadiliko salama kwa vijana - Matokeo ya tatihimini ya kati
Ujana Salama: Mradi wa nyongeza ya fedha (cash plus) unaohusu ustawi na mabadiliko salama kwa vijana - Matokeo ya tatihimini ya kati
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs
Mradi huu wa majaribio wa ‘Cash Plus’ unaohusu Ustawi na Mabadiliko Salama na Yenye Afya kwa Vijana nchini Tanzania, kwa ufupi “Ujana Salama”, unalenga kuimarisha maisha ya vijana wa vijijini. Vijana hawa wa umri wa balehe wanatoka katika kaya maskini na wanakabiliwa na hatari nyingi za kiafya na kiuchumi. Mradi huu unatekelezwa na Mfuko wa Maendeleo ya Jamii Tanzania (Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF)) na kuendeshwa kupitia Mpango wa Kunusuru Kaya Maskini (Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN)). Mpango huo unawalenga vijana wa umri wa balehe katika kaya zinazonufaika na Mpango wa Kunusuru Kaya Maskini (ruzuku inayojumuisha uhawilishaji pesa, Ujenzi au ukarabati wa miundombinu na kuimarisha njia za kujiingizia kipato katika kaya). Msaada wa kiufundi unatolewa na UNICEF Tanzania na Tume ya Kudhibiti UKIMWI Tanzania (TACAIDS).
Ujana Salama: Mpango wa nyongeza ya fedha (cash plus) unaohusu ustawi na mabadiliko salama kwa vijana  - Matokeo ya mzunguko wa3 tathimini
Ujana Salama: Mpango wa nyongeza ya fedha (cash plus) unaohusu ustawi na mabadiliko salama kwa vijana - Matokeo ya mzunguko wa3 tathimini
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Mradi wa nyongeza ya fedha “Cash plus’ wa majaribio unaohusu Ustawi na Mabadiliko Salama kwa Vijana unaotekelezwa Tanzania, kwa kifupi “Ujana Salama”, unalenga kuimarisha maisha ya vijana wa vijijini. Vijana hawa kutoka kaya maskini wanakabiliwa na changamoto nyingi za kiafya na kiuchumi, zikiwemo kukatisha masomo shuleni, mimba za utotoni, maradhi yaambukizwayo kwa njia ya ngono, ukatili, unyanyasaji na unyonyaji.

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

This research brief is an addition to a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child well-being in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 11 | Tags: child well-being, COVID-19
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs
This brief provides midline findings from the impact evaluation of a cash plus model targeting youth in households receiving the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). Implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), with technical assistance of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF Tanzania, the programme aims to improve livelihood opportunities and facilitate a safe transition to adulthood. The 'plus' component included training on livelihoods and sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-HIV, mentoring and productive grants, as well as linkages to youth-friendly health services. The impact evaluation is a longitudinal, mixed methods study. The midline analysis was conducted immediately after training (before mentoring, disbursement of productive grants and health facility strengthening).
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 4 | Thematic area: Social protection | Tags: cash transfers, social protection
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Round 3 Findings
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Round 3 Findings
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

“Ujana Salama” (‘Safe Youth’ in Swahili) is a cash plus programme targeting adolescents in households receiving the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). Implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), with technical assistance of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF Tanzania, the ‘plus’ component includes in-person training, mentoring, grants and health services. The impact evaluation studies the differential impact of the integrated programme (cash plus intervention targeting adolescents) with respect to the PSSN only. It is a mixed methods study, including baseline (2017), Round 2 (2018), Round 3 (2019) and Round 4 (2021) surveys. This brief summarizes findings from the Round 3 survey, which was conducted one year after the training, three months after the mentorship period, and one to two months after grant disbursement. The full report is available here.


 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 6 | Thematic area: Social protection | Tags: cash transfers, social protection
Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 1: Laws, crime and justice
Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 1: Laws, crime and justice
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

The production of evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps exist that need to be addressed when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies. An Evidence Gap Map provides an overview of available evidence on the topic and eight briefs summarize the findings. This brief focuses on ‘Laws, crime and justice’ interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 2: Norms and values
Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 2: Norms and values
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

The production of evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps exist that need to be addressed when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies. An Evidence Gap Map provides an overview of available evidence on the topic and eight briefs summarize the findings. This brief focuses on ‘Norms and values’ interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 3: Safe environments
Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries. Pillar 3: Safe environments
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

The production of evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps exist that need to be addressed when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies. An Evidence Gap Map provides an overview of available evidence on the topic and eight briefs summarize the findings. This brief focuses on ‘Safe environments’ interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

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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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

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.

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