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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
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Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes
Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone; Rana Khazbak

Published: 2021 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Children’s lives are increasingly mediated by digital technologies. Yet, when it comes to understanding the long-term effects of internet use and online experiences on their well-being, mental health or resilience, the best we can do is make an educated guess. Our need for this knowledge has become even more acute as internet use rises during COVID-19.

This report explores what has been learned from the latest research about children’s experiences and outcomes relating to the internet and digital technologies. It aims to inform policy-makers, educators, child-protection specialists, industry and parents on the best evidence, and it proposes a future research agenda.

What is encryption and why does it matter for children?
What is encryption and why does it matter for children?

AUTHOR(S)
UNICEF’s Cross-divisional Working Group on Child Online Protection

Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

Encryption encodes information so that it can only be read by certain people. ‘End-to-end’ is a robust form of encryption where only the users communicating can read the information. In other words, third parties – such as service providers – cannot decrypt the information.

It matters for children because while it protects their data and right to privacy and freedom of expression, it also impedes efforts to monitor and remove child sexual abuse materials and to identify offenders attempting to exploit children online.

UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival. Growing up. Stories from all over the world
UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival. Growing up. Stories from all over the world
Published: 2019 Miscellanea
2019 is a year of three important anniversaries for children. The world is marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the  child (1989 – 2019) - the global human rights treaty which guides all nations’ actions for children. The city of Florence is commemorating the 600th  anniversary of the founding of the Ospedale Degli Innocenti (1419 – 2019), the world’s oldest centre of care for vulnerable children. And UNICEF is marking the 30th year since it established its global research centre in Florence, known today as the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. In celebration of these three anniversaries, UNICEF Innocenti has decided to expand upon its traditional role generating evidence for advocacy and  action for children, to inaugurate an international film festival focusing on narratives of childhood from all regions of the world. We are delighted to have forged a partnership with Fondazione Sistema Toscana, Cinema La Compagnia, the Region of Tuscany, the Municipality of Florence and Istituto Degli Innocenti, bringing you the first UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Rights of the Child | Tags: children's rights
Care Work and Children: An Expert Roundtable
Care Work and Children: An Expert Roundtable

AUTHOR(S)
Prerna Banati; Elena Camilletti; Sarah Cook

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

A first roundtable to explore the issues regarding care work and children was hosted in Florence by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti from 6 to 7 December 2016. Unpaid care and domestic work have often been neglected in both research and policymaking, being viewed as lying within the domestic sphere of decisions and responsibilities, rather than as a public issue. However, over recent decades, researchers across a range of disciplines have strived to fill the evidence, data and research gaps by exploring the unpaid care and domestic work provided particularly by women within the household, and uncovering the entrenched social and gender norms and inequalities.

Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries
Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries

AUTHOR(S)
Suguru Mizunoya; Sophie Mitra; Izumi Yamasaki

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper aims to reduce the global knowledge gap pertaining to the impact of disability on school attendance, using cross-nationally comparable and nationally representative data from 18 surveys in 15 countries that are selected among 2,500 surveys and censuses. These selected surveys administered the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of disability-screening questions, covering five functional domains of seeing, hearing, mobility, self-care, and remembering, and collected information on educational status. The paper finds that (i) the average disability gap in school attendance stands at 30% in primary and secondary schools in 15 countries; (ii) more than 85% of disabled primary-age children who are out of school have never attended school; (iii) the average marginal effect of disability on primary and secondary school attendance is negative and significant (-30%), and (iv) countries that have reached close to universal primary education report high ratios of disabled to non-disabled out-of-school children and (v) disabled children confront the same difficulties in participating in education, regardless of their individual and socio-economic characteristics.
Global Kids Online Research Synthesis, 2015-2016
Global Kids Online Research Synthesis, 2015-2016

AUTHOR(S)
Jasmina Byrne; Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Sonia Livingstone; Mariya Stoilova

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Report

With children making up an estimated one third of internet users worldwide, living in the ‘digital age’ can have important implications for children’s lives. Currently, close to 80 per cent of people in Europe, North America and Australia have internet access, compared with less than 25 per cent in some parts of Africa and South Asia. The international community has recognized the importance of internet access for development, economic growth and the realization of civil rights and is actively seeking ways to ensure universal internet access to all segments of society. Children should be an important part of this process, not only because they represent a substantial percentage of internet users but also because they play an important part in shaping the internet. The internet in turn plays an important part in shaping children’s lives, culture and identities.

2014 Results Report
2014 Results Report
Published: 2015 Innocenti Publications
2014 marked a successful year for the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and included the development of key research outputs, active advocacy for research, successful growth in the research portfolio, and expansion of outreach, tools and products. The Office actively engaged in: generating high-quality research to inform programmes and knowledge about children; strengthening the capacity to improve the quality and use of evidence; convening international events by acting as a catalyst for research globally. In 2014, research activities ranged from multi-disciplinary initiatives to large-scale international collaborative projects. High-calibre, policy-relevant research was conducted in the areas of: equity, poverty and well-being; child rights and governance; child protection and violence against children; social protection systems and cash transfers, among others.
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 Publications

There is universal agreement 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. The implications of this obligation are all the greater in the context of the intercountry form of adoption, since this involves in addition the removal of a child to a new country and, usually, a new culture.

However, there is no universal agreement on who is ultimately responsible for determining what is in a child’s ‘best interests’, nor on what basis the decision should be made 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?

La defensa de los derechos del niño: Informe de síntesis de un estudio global sobre las instituciones independientes de derechos humanos en favor de los niños
La defensa de los derechos del niño: Informe de síntesis de un estudio global sobre las instituciones independientes de derechos humanos en favor de los niños

AUTHOR(S)
Vanessa Sedletzki

Published: 2013 Innocenti Publications
Las instituciones independientes aportan un enfoque claro hacia la infancia en unos sistemas de gobernanza que tradicionalmente se centran en los adultos. Suelen ofrecer mecanismos directos para mejorar la rendición de cuentas del Estado y otros garantes de la protección del menor, palian deficiencias en los mecanismos de control y equilibrio y trabajan para que se comprenda y se reconozca la relevancia de las políticas y prácticas en favor de los derechos de los niños. Cuando las cosas salen mal, o cuando los resultados son insuficientes, apoyan medidas para poner remedio a la situación y reformar el sistema.
Child Well-being in  Rich Countries: Comparing Japan
Child Well-being in Rich Countries: Comparing Japan
Published: 2013 Innocenti Report Card
Using national data sources from Japan and matching them carefully with the data used in the original Report Card 11, this report manages to include Japan in the league table and subsequent ranking in each of five dimensions in order to assess Japan’s performance in child well-being among developed countries. Maintaining as much as possible the original framework of the RC11, the analysis is based on indicators that are strictly comparable between Japan and the other countries.
Approaches towards Inequality and Inequity: Concepts, measures and policies
Approaches towards Inequality and Inequity: Concepts, measures and policies

AUTHOR(S)
Frances Stewart

Published: 2013 Innocenti Discussion Papers
The paper discusses what a fair, or equitable, distribution is, drawing on some contributions of Western philosophers and economists. After reviewing different approaches, it argues that inequality among groups is particularly unjust. The paper argues for a plural perspective on the space in which inequality is assessed, following Sen’s capability approach. It is argued that the assessment should relate to functionings (or outcomes) rather than capabilities (or possibilities), especially for children whose choices are severely constrained.
Tackling Structural and Social Issues to Reduce Inequities in Children’s Outcomes in Low- to Middle-income Countries
Tackling Structural and Social Issues to Reduce Inequities in Children’s Outcomes in Low- to Middle-income Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Marmot; Ruth Bell; Angela Donkin

Published: 2013 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Tackling inequities in children’s outcomes matters both from a moral perspective, and because of persuasive social and economic arguments. Reducing inequity in children’s outcomes requires tackling structural and social issues. The paper provides evidence about how social, economic and environmental conditions shape inequities in children’s outcomes. Building on insights generated through studies on the social determinants of health, the paper provides a framework to inform research and policy to reduce inequities in children’s outcomes, with a specific focus on low- and middle-income countries.
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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