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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa
SPOTLIGHT

Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa

The number of international migrants under 18 is rising, accelerated by complex and fast-evolving economic, demographic, security and environmental drivers. Based on interviews carried out with 1,290 migrant children and young people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, this report helps address the evidence gap on children and young people migrating in the Horn of Africa by providing a better understanding of their protective environments; their access to services and resources; and their perceptions of safety, well-being and trust in authorities and other providers. It concludes by offering policy and programme recommendations to rethink child protection approaches for migrants in the region.
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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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Impact of the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net on Child Labour and Education
Impact of the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net on Child Labour and Education
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs
In the United Republic of Tanzania, nearly 30 per cent of children engage in child labour.1 About 30 per cent of children do not attend school and another 20 per cent combine school and work. Although state schools do not charge fees, households still face schooling costs, including for uniforms, shoes, books and school materials. With funding from the United States Department of Labor, researchers at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti examined whether the PSSN leads to improved schooling and reduced engagement in child labour.2 To do so, the research team combined a quantitative impact evaluation with a qualitative study involving children and caregivers.
Cash Transfers, Public Works and Child Activities: Mixed Methods Evidence from the United Republic of Tanzania
Cash Transfers, Public Works and Child Activities: Mixed Methods Evidence from the United Republic of Tanzania
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines the impact of the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) on child work and education. Targeting extremely poor households, the programme provides cash transfers that are partly conditional on the use of health and education services, along with a public works component. We relied on a cluster-randomized evaluation design, assigning villages to one of three study arms: cash transfers only; cash transfers combined with public works (i.e., the joint programme); and control. We complemented the quantitative analysis with findings from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with children and caregivers, involving a subsample of participants from all three study arms. Due to household investment of PSSN benefits in livestock, the programme caused a shift from work for pay outside the household to work within the household,
mostly in livestock herding. The programme improved child education outcomes. These findings were echoed in the qualitative data – participants referred to working on family farms as being both safer for children and more beneficial for the family. Participants further discussed the importance of PSSN funds in paying for schooling costs. Impacts were generally no different for communities that received cash only and communities that received both cash and public works components. School dropout, however, decreased in villages where the joint programme was implemented but remained unchanged in villages receiving cash only.
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.

 

Commercial Pressures on Land and Their Impact on Child Rights: A review of the literature
Commercial Pressures on Land and Their Impact on Child Rights: A review of the literature
Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the political economy of CPLs with the specific intention of mapping the relevant channels of impact on the rights and well-being of children living in rural areas where CPLs are fast-proliferating. Although there are some documented benefits, according to the large majority of the literature reviewed, the twin outcomes of displacement and dispossession are found to be critical negative socio-economic changes resulting from CPLs. In conjunction with a pervasive lack of transparency in the land transfer negotiation and implementation processes, the twin outcomes are in turn associated with a number of transmission channels that can impact the rights and well-being of children in affected rural communities.
The Subterranean Child Labour Force: Subcontracted home-based manufacturing in Asia
The Subterranean Child Labour Force: Subcontracted home-based manufacturing in Asia
Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
Child labour is widespread in home based manufacturing activities in the informal sector in most developing countries. This form of child labour will not attract the penal provisions of a country’s laws banning child labour. This paper draws on surveys carried out in five Asian countries – two low-income (India, Pakistan) and three middle-income countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) – where production of manufactured goods is subcontracted to home based workers widely. It examines the incidence of child work in such households, the child’s schooling, reasons why children are working, their work conditions, their health, and gender issues.
Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia
Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia
Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
Home based work has a dual and contradictory character: on the one hand, as a source of income diversification for poor workers and the emergence of micro-enterprises, yet on the other, it is a source of exploitation of vulnerable workers as firms attempt to contain costs. This paper examines the social protection needs of women workers in this sector, and also argues for public action to promote such work as a possible new labour intensive growth strategy in these and other developing countries.
What is the Effect of Child Labour on Learning Achievement? Evidence from Ghana
What is the Effect of Child Labour on Learning Achievement? Evidence from Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Christopher Heady

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper analyzes the links between child labour and poor school performance, using data gathered in Ghana in recent years. Author Christopher Heady moves away from conventional studies on child labour and education, which tend to focus on low school enrolment and attendance. He goes further, to examine the day to day impact of child labour on those in school, finding that, as well as leaving children too tired to learn, child labour robs them of their interest in learning. Children who are already contributing economically to their family income may be less interested in academic achievement, resulting in lack of motivation that affects both their learning and their future prospects.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child labour, education, right to education | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Les enfants domestiques
Les enfants domestiques
Published: 1999 Innocenti Digest
Les enfants employés en tant que domestiques constituent sans doute le groupe le plus important de toutes les catégories d'enfants au travail dans le monde. Pourtant, ce n'est que tout récemment que les milieux qui luttent contre le travail des enfants ont commencé à consacrer à ce phénomène toute l'attention qu'il mérite. Dans les pays industrialisés ainsi que dans certains pays émergents, le nombre d'enfants employés de maison a connu une baisse régulière. Dans d'autres régions du monde, en revanche, les forces de l'offre et de la demande qui précipitent femmes et enfants dans des emplois de domestiques semblent pousser en sens contraire. Ce Digest donne des informations sur les différentes formes de travail des enfants employés en tant que domestiques, l'ampleur du phénomène, les effets du travail domestique sur les enfants aussi bien psychologiques que physiques. Faisant le point sur des projets et des actions en faveur de ces enfants, cette publication entame un 'forum' de discussions par un article: Commencer par le commencement. Tout en identifiant les problèmes qui peuvent surgir dans la lutte contre cette forme d'exploitation, cet article souligne qu'il faut réfléchir avec attention aux mesures à entreprendre au nom des enfants domestiques si l'on entend réellement avoir une action efficace plutôt que de provoquer des controverses stériles.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 20 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child abuse, child workers, children's rights, domestic workers | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Trabajo Doméstico Infantil
Trabajo Doméstico Infantil
Published: 1999 Innocenti Digest
El quinto Innocenti Digest se ocupa del grupo de trabajadores infantiles que probablemente sea el más numeroso y también el más desatendido: el de los trabajadores domésticos infantiles. Los escasos estudios disponibles relativos a esta 'mano de obra invisible' indican que en el 90% de los casos se trata de niñas, en su mayor parte de 12 a 17 años de edad, y a veces con jornadas laborales de 15 horas. Además de ser una de las ocupaciones más antiguas del mundo, el trabajo doméstico infantil está volviéndose objeto de un comercio cada vez más vasto; en varias sociedades, aún se considera que los trabajadores domésticos infantiles son beneficiarios de 'cuidados' y no víctimas de explotación. Un comentario de Anti-Slavery International recuerda que en la búsqueda de soluciones "no se puede hacer nada para mejorar la situación de los trabajadores domésticos infantiles a menos que se implique a los empleadores".
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 20 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child abuse, child workers, children's rights, domestic workers | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Child Domestic Work
Child Domestic Work
Published: 1999 Innocenti Digest
The fifth Innocenti Digest looks at what is probably the largest and most ignored group of child workers: child domestic workers. The limited research available on this 'invisible workforce' suggests that 90 per cent are girls, most are 12 to 17 years old, and some work 15-hour days. One of the world's oldest occupations, child domestic work is increasingly becoming a commercialized trade and in many societies child domestics are still considered 'cared for,' and not exploited. A guest commentary by Anti-Slavery International urges that in seeking solutions "nothing can be done to improve the situation of child domestic workers unless employers are involved." The Digest examines challenges for practitioners, reviews national legislation and international standards, describes the work of organizations active in the field, and provides a list of relevant readings.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 20 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child abuse, child workers, children's rights, domestic workers | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Child Work and Education: Five case studies from Latin America
Published: 1998 Innocenti Publications
In recent years research, as well as the results of practical programmes, has lead to a clearer understanding of the relationship between child work and education. It is increasingly evident that child work is not entirely the result of economic need or exploitation. Frequently it is the failure of the educational system to offer adequate, stimulating and affordable schooling that encourages children to drop out in favour of work that appears to offer advantages more relevant to their everyday lives. Parents too may undervalue the role and purpose of schooling and see a job, including home-based work, as more valuable and certainly a more positive alternative to crime, delinquency or begging. Consequently, while a distinction needs to be made between 'formative child work' and 'harmful child work', in certain situations and cultures the phenomenon is not always seen as negative. These five case studies from Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru) all reveal the effects of inappropriate school curricula.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 162 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child workers, education, educational systems, minimum age, right to education | Publisher: Ashgate, UK; UNICEF ICDC, Florence
What Works for Working Children?
Published: 1998 Innocenti Publications
The current upsurge of international concern about exploitative child labour has focused new attention on fundamental questions regarding children's work in general. What is the effect of work on children? When is it positive and when negative? What kinds of work help children develop valuable skills and attitudes and which violate their rights? This book approaches such questions from a rigorously child-centered perspective which constantly asks, "What is in the best interests of the children involved?" From this point of view it examines recent information and thinking about children's work in relation to child health and development, education, child protection laws, the market economy, children's role in society, and other issues of key importance for policy makers, programme planners and children's advocates. It reviews and summarizes recent research and experience regarding not only child work, but also the processes of child development as they relate to work. Many widespread beliefs and assumptions about both work and childhood are shown to be invalid or highly questionable. Alternative concepts and approaches that better reflect empirical evidence are suggested. This book offers a new way of thinking about children's work from a child development perspective. It is based on new ideas from the social sciences and new research findings. It presents an issue-oriented overview from recent literature and experience on how to approach critical concerns in children's work. This books attempts to look at responses to child labour problems that help working children. In doing so, it examines such complex problems as: How can policy makers and programme managers know what kinds of intervention to undertake? How can children be protected against abuse and exploitation in the workplace? What measures will indeed advance the well-being and development of the children involved? How can ineffective and counterproductive measures be avoided?
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 420 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour | Tags: child labour, child workers, education, right to education | Publisher: Rädda Barnen and UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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