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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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Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context
Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context
Published: 2015 Innocenti Insights
Families, parents and caregivers play a central role in child well-being and development. They offer identity, love, care, provision and protection to children and adolescents as well as economic security and stability. In keeping with the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, family and parenting support is increasingly recognized as an important part of national social policies and social investment packages aimed at reducing poverty, decreasing inequality and promoting positive parental and child well-being. This publication seeks to develop a research agenda on family support and parenting support globally.
The Best Interests of the Child in Intercountry Adoption
The Best Interests of the Child in Intercountry Adoption

AUTHOR(S)
Nigel Cantwell

Published: 2014 Innocenti Insights
Publications produced by the Office are contributions to a global debate on children and child rights issues and include a wide range of opinions. The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect UNICEF policies or approaches. There is universal agreement, embedded in international human rights law, that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in any decisions made about a child’s future. In the case of adoption, which represents one of the most far-reaching and definitive decisions that could be made about the future of any child - the selection of their parents - international law qualifies the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. This study responds, in particular, to one key question: what is it that enables a policy, process, decision or practice to be qualified as either respectful or in violation of the best interests of the child in intercountry adoption?
The Challenges of Climate Change: Children on the front line
The Challenges of Climate Change: Children on the front line

AUTHOR(S)
Patrizia Faustini

Published: 2014 Innocenti Insights
Children and young people represent 30 per cent of the world’s population. Not only do they represent the largest group of people currently affected by climate change, but they are also more vulnerable than adults to its harmful effects. Children and young people also constitute the generation that will be required to deal with the future impacts of climate change and that will have to deliver the very deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that will be essential in the coming decades. This book is an attempt to redress the balance. It brings together the knowledge and opinions of 40 contributors - scientists, development workers, and experts in health, nutrition and children’s rights - in an attempt to build up a clear picture of what climate change means for the children of today and tomorrow.
Children, ICT and Development: Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges
Children, ICT and Development: Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges
Published: 2014 Innocenti Insights
ICTs are not a technical sphere detached from the complex realities of children’s lives. They are increasingly woven into the very fabric of life, in income-rich and increasingly in income-poor countries. It is clear that if there is no targeted engagement with these socio-technical innovations, they are likely to reinforce existing inequalities. It follows that a focus on children and on greater equity leads to an active and reflective engagement with the potential and challenges of ICT for development, targeting in particular marginalized children. This report serves as a key contribution on which to build informed dialogue and decision making, developed jointly between research, policy and practice.
La sicurezza dei bambini online: sfide globali e strategie
La sicurezza dei bambini online: sfide globali e strategie
Published: 2013 Innocenti Insights
Negli ultimi vent'anni, Internet è diventata parte integrante della nostra vita. Abbiamo abbracciato con entusiasmo il suo potenziale in termini di comunicazione, intrattenimento e ricerca di informazioni. Per molti bambini di oggi, Internet, telefoni cellulari e tecnologie affini costituiscono una presenza familiare e costante: si muovono agevolmente tra ambiente online e offline, tanto che ai loro occhi la distinzione risulta sempre più irrilevante. La ricerca analizza il comportamento, I rischi e le vulnerabilità dei bambini in Internet e documenta le misure preventive e protettive contro lo sfruttamento e l'abuso di minori online attualmente in vigore.
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
La seguridad de los niños en línea: retos y estrategias mundiales
La seguridad de los niños en línea: retos y estrategias mundiales
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
La mayor accesibilidad a Internet de todos los niños y jóvenes del mundo, sin discriminación ni exclusión alguna, junto con la promoción de la ciudadanía y la responsabilidad digitales, deben ser objetivos fundamentales para los responsables de trazar políticas destinadas a incrementar las oportunidades de los niños y las niñas. El desarrollo de un acceso más seguro a Internet forma parte de este proyecto. El propósito del presente informe es examinar las pruebas disponibles en el plano mundial. El estudio aborda esencialmente dos cuestiones: los abusos sexuales de niños grabados en imágenes y la captación de menores con fines sexuales. El presente informe también aborda una tercera, el ciberacoso, que numerosas investigaciones han puesto de manifiesto como tema de particular importancia para los menores.
La sécurité des enfants en ligne: Défis et stratégies mondiaux
La sécurité des enfants en ligne: Défis et stratégies mondiaux
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
L'expansion de l'accès à Internet pour tous les enfants et les jeunes, sans discrimination ni exclusion, dans toutes les parties du monde, ainsi que la promotion de la citoyenneté et de la responsabilité numériques doivent faire partie des objectifs prioritaires des décideurs politiques soucieux d'accroître les possibilités offertes aux enfants. La construction d'un accès plus sûr à Internet fait partie intégrante de ce projet. Le but du présent rapport consiste à passer en revue les données factuelles disponibles. Dans un premier temps, l'étude s'est penchée sur deux problèmes : la maltraitance sexuelle d'enfants enregistrée en images et la manipulation des jeunes à des fins sexuelles. Une troisième question, le harcèlement en ligne, que de nombreuses recherches s’accordent à qualifier de très important pour les enfants, est également évoqué dans ce rapport.
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
La pratica dell'E/MGF è a tutti gli effetti un atto di violenza, anche quando non è intesa come tale; è una manifestazione di disuguaglianze di genere profondamente radicate e ha natura discriminatoria. Essa si fonda su concezioni culturali della differenza di genere, della sessualità, del matrimonio e della famiglia che influenzano il modo in cui viene percepita e tollerata in contesti diversi. Nonostante le notevoli differenze riscontrate tra i cinque paesi analizzati come pure al loro interno, le esperienze confermano che, nelle comunità in cui viene perpetrata, l’E/MGF è vista come un passo necessario per crescere e proteggere una bambina e, spesso, per renderla adatta al matrimonio. L’escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile opera come una convenzione e una norma sociale perpetuata dalle aspettative reciproche all’interno di queste comunità.
Enfants et commissions vérité
Enfants et commissions vérité
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
L’obligation de poursuivre et de punir les crimes graves stipulée dans le droit international et la volonté d’apporter réparation aux victimes ont conduit à l’élaboration d’approches de justice transitionnelle destinées à sanctionner la violence de masse ou les abus systématiques. Jusqu’à récemment, les violations à l’encontre des enfants n’étaient pas distinguées de la masse d’atrocités commises contre les populations civiles en général. Les commissions vérité constituent l’un des moyens pour commencer à réparer les torts faits aux enfants, aux familles et aux communautés pendant un conflit armé.
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
This Innocenti Insight examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and the Sudan - and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented in this Innocenti Insight provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. This publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.
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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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