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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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Jim Grant - UNICEF Visionary
Jim Grant - UNICEF Visionary

AUTHOR(S)
Richard Jolly

Published: 2001 Innocenti Publications
This book glimpses the leadership and achievements of Jim Grant during his period as Executive Director of UNICEF (1980-1995). Each chapter is written by one of his close colleagues - one of those who was privileged to share in the excitement of the efforts and victories for children during those intense years. Jim Grant was a professional and a visionary, an analyst with vast experience and an activist of almost unlimited commitment. At the time of his death it was estimated that, because of his influence, at least 25 million children were alive who would otherwise have died in early life.
The Children Here: Current trends in the decentralization of National Programmes of Action
The Children Here: Current trends in the decentralization of National Programmes of Action
Published: 1995 Innocenti Publications
The 1990 World Summit for Children brought together 71 Heads of State and Government to discuss ways in which to improve the lives of the world's children. The international ‘Plan of Action’ adopted at the summit recognised the importance of grass roots initiatives at the local level. Individual countries have responded to this call for decentralisation in the development and implementation of their ‘National Programmes of Action’. The Children Here represents a part of the research undertaken by UNICEF into different countries’ experience of this process. The aim of this research is an improved understanding of how decentralisation can help countries achieve the Summit’s 29 goals for child protection and development.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 92 | Thematic area: National Development Programmes | Tags: child protection, decentralization, National Programme of Action | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Decentralization and Policies for the Protection of Children and Adolescents in Brazil
Decentralization and Policies for the Protection of Children and Adolescents in Brazil
Brazil has made concrete its commitment to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the creation of a number of State Programmes of Action. This ‘decentralised’ strategy marks an unprecedented step in a country with a strong tradition of ‘top-down’ federal thinking and limited experience of participatory planning. This paper examines the impact this novel approach has had upon the situation of children and adolescents. Recent achievements include the eradication of polio, a significant reduction in the incidence of measles and neonatal tetanus and an improvement in the management of public schools.
The National Programme of Action for Children and Women in Egypt
The National Programme of Action for Children and Women in Egypt

AUTHOR(S)
Nicolas Luginbuhl

The Egyptian government’s approach to internal development issues had traditionally been very much the product of a ‘top-down’ way of thinking. It was widely assumed that local and regional authorities lacked the necessary technical and resource-allocation know-how. All this changed in 1994 with the drawing-up of policies that were to kick-start a drive toward ‘decentralisation’. This paper sought to anticipate the obstacles and opportunities that might emerge in the future of the process.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: National Development Programmes | Tags: decentralization, national policies, National Programme of Action | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
The Philippines: A case study in local planning for children
The Philippines: A case study in local planning for children

AUTHOR(S)
Wilfredo G. Nuqui

The 1990 World Summit for Children set in motion the development of what were called ‘National Programmes of Action’ in a number of countries. In the Philippines the birth of the overall government plan has been accompanied by that of a number of supporting schemes at the provincial level. This paper examines the preparation and content of these local initiatives. It provides, in so doing, a clear picture of the Philippine experience of ‘decentralisation’ - the process whereby emphasis is transferred from large-scale capital development projects to more sustainable, community-based services for children.
The Difficult Road: The case of NPA decentralization in Argentina
The Difficult Road: The case of NPA decentralization in Argentina
The 1990 World Summit for Children set in motion the development of what were called ‘National Programmes of Action’ in a number of countries. The birth of the Argentine NPA took place in a context of profound institutional reform, with the federal government placing responsibility for health care, education and social policy in the hands of the provinces. This paper looks at how this process of ‘decentralisation’ has influenced the NPA’s early development.
The Decentralization of the National Programme of Action: The experience of Mongolia
The Decentralization of the National Programme of Action: The experience of Mongolia
The 1990 World Summit for Children set in motion the development of what were called ‘National Programmes of Action’ in a number of countries. The birth of the Mongolian NPA took place within the context of the profound economic transition that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union. In spite of the difficulties imposed by this widely-felt upheaval, Mongolia has succeeded in laying the foundations for a successful NPA, with initiatives at both Governmental and provincial levels. This paper provides a history of this implementation process.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 36 | Thematic area: National Development Programmes | Tags: child protection, decentralization, National Programme of Action | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
The Decentralization of the National Programme of Action: A case study of Sudan
The Decentralization of the National Programme of Action: A case study of Sudan
The birth of the Sudanese National Programme of Action took place in an adverse context characterised by economic isolation and frequent situations of chronic emergency. This paper chronicles the country’s experience of the subsequent ‘decentralisation’ of the programme - the process by which emphasis is transferred from large-scale capital development projects to more sustainable, community-based services for children. It concludes that the eventual success or otherwise of this ongoing process will depend upon such factors as the country’s ability to raise sufficient domestic and external resources.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 32 | Thematic area: National Development Programmes | Tags: child protection, decentralization, National Programme of Action | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
An Overview of NPA Decentralization in Developing Countries
An Overview of NPA Decentralization in Developing Countries
The 1990 World Summit for Children brought together 71 Heads of State and Government to discuss ways in which to improve the lives of the world’s children. The international ‘Plan of Action’ adopted at the summit recognised the importance of grass-roots initiatives at the local level. Countries have responded to this call for decentralisation in the development and implementation of their individual ‘National Programmes of Action’. Using survey data from 103 UNICEF field offices from across the world, this paper aims to provide a general overview of the NPA decentralisation phenomenon - where and how it is occurring, the roles of the major actors and the results that have been achieved to date.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 76 | Thematic area: National Development Programmes | Tags: decentralization, National Programme of Action | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
A Subnational Outreach Programme: Proposed action steps and training for primary health care implementation
A Subnational Outreach Programme: Proposed action steps and training for primary health care implementation

AUTHOR(S)
James B. Mayfield

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 52 | Thematic area: Health, National Development Programmes | Tags: health policy, implementation programmes, primary health care | Publisher: 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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