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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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Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

AUTHOR(S)
Audrey Pereira

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Approximately half of all mental health disorders begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. Among adolescents, depression is one of the leading contributors to morbidity, while suicide and interpersonal violence are among the leading causes of mortality. Mental ill-health also reinforces poverty through decreased productivity and loss of earnings, increased health expenditures, and social stigma. Since the evidence on the effects of poverty-alleviation programmes on mental health have been inconclusive, there is a need for research on specific poverty-alleviation interventions for vulnerable groups who are more at risk for poor mental well-being.

Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Although it is often legally prohibited, the use of physical violence for discipline is a well-established norm in many communities, both at home and at school. Corporal punishment is often part of a wider problem of violence in schools, which includes other forms of humiliating punishment from teachers, peer bullying and gender-based violence. Violence in schools, including physical and verbal abuse by teachers and peers, is the foremost reason children aged 8 give for disliking school.

Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Bien qu’elle soit souvent légalement interdite, l’utilisation de la violence physique pour faire régner la discipline est une norme bien établie dans de nombreuses communautés, tant à la maison qu’à l’école. Les châtiments corporels font souvent partie d’un problème plus large de violence scolaire, qui comprend d’autres formes de châtiments humiliants infligés par les enseignants, le harcèlement entre condisciples et la violence sexuelle. La violence à l’école, y compris la violence physique et verbale des enseignants et des pairs, constitue la principale raison pour laquelle les enfants âgés de 8 ans n’aiment pas l’école.

Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Aunque a menudo está legalmente prohibido, el uso de la violencia física para inculcar la disciplina es una norma sólidamente establecida en muchas comunidades, tanto en el hogar como en la escuela. A menudo el castigo corporal forma parte de un problema general de violencia en las escuelas, que incluye otras formas de castigos humillantes por parte de los profesores, acoso escolar y violencia por razón de género. La violencia en las escuelas, incluyendo los abusos verbales y físicos por parte de profesores y compañeros, es el motivo principal por el que los niños de 8 años manifiestan no querer asistir a la escuela.

Bottom-end Inequality: Are children with an immigrant background at a disadvantage?
Bottom-end Inequality: Are children with an immigrant background at a disadvantage?
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

The extent to which the socio-demographic composition of child populations drives inequality in child well-being depends on which children are most likely to do much worse than their peers. In this Research Brief we present evidence on the socio-economic vulnerability of immigrant children and highlight the relative contribution of immigrant background to the risks of falling behind in household income, education, health and life satisfaction.

Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

In 2010, the Zambian Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health began implementation of the Child Grant Programme with the goals of reducing extreme poverty and breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. The impact of the grant was explored across a range of outcomes for women over the medium term (two to four years).

One of the difficult aspects of assessing this evidence is the myriad of indicators used to measure ‘empowerment’. For example, researchers have used indicators ranging from women’s intra-household decision-making to social networks, land or asset ownership, and interpret all these as ‘empowerment’, making it difficult to draw conclusions. The analysis is complemented with qualitative data to understand the meaning women and men place on empowerment in the rural communities. Although more evidence is needed to understand how cash transfers can empower women in Africa, women’s savings and participation in small businesses were seen to have increased, giving them more autonomy over cash and improving their financial standing.

Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable
Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

This Brief summarizes the proceedings of the Know Violence Roundtable examining the evidence on the role of social protection in reducing childhood violence hosted by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, 12-13 May, 2016.

Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design
Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Sharing of good, practical research practices and lessons learned from development and humanitarian contexts is in high demand not only within UNICEF, but also in the broader international development and humanitarian community, ‘Impact Evaluation in the Field’ complements other methodological briefs by discussing how textbook approaches are applied in often challenging, under-resourced development contexts as well as the innovative solutions that are needed to ensure that practical demands do not compromise methodological rigour. The series will grow over time, allowing UNICEF staff and partners to share new experiences and approaches as they emerge from applied research. The overarching aim is to contribute to strengthening capacity in research and evaluation, improving UNICEF and partners’ ability to provide evidence-based, strategic, long-term solutions for children. This brief documents the impact evaluation design of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 programme which is being piloted in ten districts in two regions and targets about 6,000 households initially.

Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation
Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Sharing of good, practical research practices and lessons learned from development and humanitarian contexts is in high demand not only within UNICEF, but also in the broader international development and humanitarian community, ‘Impact Evaluation in the Field’ complements other methodological briefs by discussing how textbook approaches are applied in often challenging, under-resourced development contexts as well as the innovative solutions that are needed to ensure that practical demands do not compromise methodological rigour. The series will grow over time, allowing UNICEF staff and partners to share new experiences and approaches as they emerge from applied research. The overarching aim is to contribute to strengthening capacity in research and evaluation, improving UNICEF and partners’ ability to provide evidence-based, strategic, long-term solutions for children. This methodological brief focuses on the qualitative component of the evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000. Quantitative measures will indicate if LEAP 1000 reduces child poverty, stunting and other measures of well-being, while qualitative research explores in more depth the reasons why and how this may or may not be happening.

Initial Research Findings on Adolescent Well-being from the Office of Research – Innocenti
Initial Research Findings on Adolescent Well-being from the Office of Research – Innocenti

AUTHOR(S)
Prerna Banati

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

This research programme aims to advance global understanding of social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being. The multi-donor research programme on social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being is working with national government partners, academics, think tanks, and institutions to improve understanding of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives. The programme is producing cutting-edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents. Quality evidence can then inform effective policy and interventions for young people.

Measuring Adolescent Well-being: National Adolescent Assessment Cards (NAACs)
Measuring Adolescent Well-being: National Adolescent Assessment Cards (NAACs)
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Advocacy and action for adolescents have been hampered by the lack of a concrete results framework that can be used to describe the state of the world’s adolescents and serve as a basis for goals and targets. In order to fill this gap, UNICEF, in collaboration with key partners, is facilitating the development of an outcome-based framework that incorporates the key dimensions of an adolescent’s life and a proposed set of globally comparable indicators that will provide a common platform to track the progress of adolescent development and well-being. The domains that have been selected for measurement are: health and well-being, education and learning, safety and protection, participation, transition to work.

How Much Do Programmes Pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa
How Much Do Programmes Pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa
Published: 2015 Innocenti Research Briefs
Over the past decade, more than a dozen government-run cash transfer programmes have been launched in sub-Saharan Africa, and there is growing evidence of their ability to improve a range of development outcomes. However, setting the size of such transfers is possibly the most important programming decision to be made. This Brief highlights some of the issues to consider.
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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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