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Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Happiness and Alleviation of Income Poverty: Impacts of an unconditional cash transfer programme using a subjective well-being approach
Happiness and Alleviation of Income Poverty: Impacts of an unconditional cash transfer programme using a subjective well-being approach

AUTHOR(S)
Kelly Kilburn; Sudhanshu Handa; Gustavo Angeles; Peter Mvula; Maxton Tsoka

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

This study analyzes the impact of an exogenous, positive income shock on caregivers’ subjective well-being in Malawi using panel data from 3,365 households targeted to receive Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme that provides unconditional cash to ultra-poor, labour-constrained households. The study consists of a cluster-randomized, longitudinal design. After the baseline survey, half of these village clusters were randomly selected to receive the transfer and a follow-up survey was conducted 17 months later. Utilizing econometric analysis and panel data methods, we find that household income increases from the cash transfer can have substantial subjective well-being gains among caregivers. Households use the cash to improve their families’ livelihoods, ensuring provision of their basic needs including food, shelter, and clothing. Reduction of these daily stresses makes caregivers happier about their current situations and gives them hope that the future will continue to get better.

The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe

AUTHOR(S)
Garima Bhalla; Sudhanshu Handa; Gustavo Angeles; David Seidenfeld

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

We study the impact of the Zimbabwe Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) on household food security after 12 months of implementation. The programme has had a strong impact on a well-known food security scale – the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) – but muted impacts on food consumption expenditure. However aggregate food consumption hides dynamic activity taking place within the household where the cash is used to obtain more food from the market and rely less on food received as gifts. The cash in turn gives them greater choice in their food basket which improves diet diversity. Further investigation of the determinants of food consumption and the HFIAS shows that several dimensions of household vulnerability correlate more strongly with the HFIAS than food consumption. Labour constraints, which is a key vulnerability criterion used by the HSCT to target households, is an important predictor of the HFIAS but not food expenditure, and its effect on food security is even larger during the lean season.

Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam
Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam

AUTHOR(S)
Kirrily Pells; Maria José Ogando Portela; Patricia Espinoza Revollo

Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Being bullied has been found to have a significant impact on children’s physical and mental health, psychosocial well-being and educational performance, with lasting effects into adulthood on health, well-being and lifetime earnings. Little is known about bullying in low- and middle-income countries, however. This study uses a mixed methods approach combining survey analysis of the predictors and associations with being bullied, with qualitative data to explore the context in which bullying occurs and the social processes that underpin it. Findings show that better data collection and increased resource allocation to bullying prevention are needed. The development and evaluation of different types of effective, sustainable and scalable bullying prevention models in low- and middle-income country contexts are priorities for programming and research.

Global Kids Online, Research Synthesis 2015–2016: Summary
Global Kids Online, Research Synthesis 2015–2016: Summary
Published: 2016 Miscellanea

The many stakeholders responsible for children’s safe and positive use of the internet (governments, civil society and the private sector alike) have an important task to formulate policies that are inclusive, balanced and based on solid evidence. But at present, the evidence on which such policies can rely is very scarce, especially in the global South. Research is also invaluable for contextualising online experiences in relation to children’s and families’ lives and the wider cultural or national circumstances. At the global level, evidence is needed to help build a consensus among international actors on international standards, agreements, protocols and investments in order to make the internet a safer and better place for children. Responding to evidence gaps, the GKO research project (www.globalkidsonline.net) was developed as a collaborative initiative between the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and EU Kids Online. Global Kids Online (GKO) follows a child rights framework, as this offers a unifying approach to children’s everyday experiences online, as well as offline, while also recognising the diverse contexts in which children live. The project aims to connect evidence with the ongoing international dialogue regarding policy and practical solutions for children’s well-being and rights in the digital age, especially in countries where the internet is only recently reaching the mass market.

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.

Factors Associated with Good and Harsh Parenting of Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents in Southern Africa
Factors Associated with Good and Harsh Parenting of Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents in Southern Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Sachin De Stone; Franziska Meinck; Lorraine Sherr; Lucie Cluver; Jenny Doubt; Frederick Mark Orkin; Caroline Kuo; Amogh Sharma; Imca Hensels; Sarah Skeen; Alice Redfern; Mark Tomlinson

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

This working paper presents findings from the analyses of two different observational studies of caregiver-pre-adolescent (4-13 years, referred to as the ‘pre-adolescent study’) and caregiver-adolescent (10-17 years, referred to as the ‘adolescent study’) dyads. Regression and structural equation modelling techniques are used to identify practices constituting good and harsh parenting, factors associated with these parenting behaviours and child and adolescent outcomes. Good parenting in pre-adolescents was associated with fewer educational risks and behavioural problems as well as increased self-esteem, mediated by child trauma and depression. In adolescents, family disadvantage (poverty, AIDS-ill caregiver and caregiver disability) were found to be associated with an increase in harsh parenting and poor caregiver mental health, both of which were associated with increased adolescent health risks.

Why Assist People Living in Poverty? The ethics of poverty reduction
Why Assist People Living in Poverty? The ethics of poverty reduction

AUTHOR(S)
Armando Barrientos; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Daisy Demirag; Richard de Groot; Luigi Peter Ragno

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper provides an examination of the relevance of ethics to poverty reduction. It argues that linking the shared values that define the social arrangements and institutions, which we refer to as ‘ethical perspectives’, to the emerging welfare institutions addressing poverty in developing countries provides a window into these processes of justification at a more fundamental level. By ethics of poverty the authors refer to the most basic arguments and processes used to justify how and why we assist people living in poverty. Given the extent to which poverty reflects injustice, they argue it is appropriate to consider poverty in the context of ethics. Drawing on the recent expansion of social assistance in Brazil, South Africa and Ghana, the paper shows that ethical perspectives are relevant to our understanding of the evolution of anti-poverty policy.
Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context
Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context

AUTHOR(S)
Mary Daly; Zlata Bruckhauf; Jasmina Byrne; Ninoslava Pecnik; Maureen Samms-Vaughan; Rachel Bray; Alice Margaria

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.
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme

AUTHOR(S)
Kathleen Lawlor; Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This study investigates whether cash transfers enable households facing weather and other negative income shocks to avoid adverse coping strategies that can lead to poverty traps. While cash transfers are not routinely considered in the policy discourse concerning climate adaptation programming, because ex-ante transfers enable households to avoid negative coping strategies and even increase food consumption in the face of covariate weather shocks, cash transfers offer a sound approach for building climate-resilience amongst the world’s most vulnerable and facilitating their “autonomous adaptation” to a changing environment. Cash also enables households to productively cope with the many other idiosyncratic shocks the rural poor routinely face.
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme

AUTHOR(S)
Silvio Daidone; Sudhanshu Handa; Benjamin Davis; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Understanding how household consumption, investment and saving decisions respond to transfer income is critical to public policy. In developing countries, saving or otherwise investing in the future is difficult for poor households which often struggle to meet basic expenses, while high debt burdens are also obstacles to saving. Poor households in rural areas of developing countries typically manage risk via informal exchanges or transfers among extended family, friends and neighbours. Motivated by the community dynamics observed in the qualitative assessment of LEAP and the unpredictable and lumpy payments made by the programme during the evaluation period, the main interest of this paper is to assess within a quantitative framework the impact of LEAP on household risk reduction strategies via reintegration in, and strengthening of, social networks and reduction of debt exposure.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot; Tia Palermo; Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman; Luigi Peter Ragno

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of cash transfer programmes on the immediate and underlying determinants of child nutrition, including the most recent evidence from impact evaluations across sub-Saharan Africa. It adopts the UNICEF extended model of care conceptual framework of child nutrition and highlights evidence on the main elements of the framework – food security, care and health care. It finds that several key gaps should be addressed in future including cash transfer impacts on more proximate nutrition-related outcomes such as children’s dietary diversity, as well as caregiver behaviours, intra-household violence, and stress, all of which have implications for child health and well-being.
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility

AUTHOR(S)
Tia Palermo; Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman; Leah Prencipe; David Seidenfeld

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
In Africa, one of the key barriers to the scale-up of unconditional cash transfer programmes is the notion held by politicians, and even the general public, that such programmes will induce the poor to have more children. The hard evidence on this question is scanty. The current study uses evaluation data from the Zambian Child Grant Programme (CGP), a large-scale UCT targeted to households with a child under the age of five at programme initiation and evaluates the impact of transfers on fertility and child-fostering decisions. The overall goal of the CGP is to reduce extreme poverty and break the intergenerational transmission of poverty. The results contribute to the small literature that rigorously documents the fertility impacts of unconditional cash transfer programmes in developing countries.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: cash transfers, economic policy, fertility
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence
Publication

Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence

Effective collaboration around knowledge management and organizational learning is a key contributor to improving the impact of international development work for the world’s most vulnerable people. But how can it be proven? With only 10 years from the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, nine of the world’s most influential agencies set out to show to the connection between the use of evidence, knowledge and learning and a better quality of human life. This book – a synthesis of stories, examples and insights that demonstrate where and how these practices have made a positive impact on development programming – is the result of the Multi-Donor Learning Partnership (MDLP), a collective effort to record the ways each of these organizations have leveraged intentional, systematic and resourced approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning in their work.
Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)
Publication

Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)

UNICEF has undertaken hundreds of gender evidence generation activities, supporting programmatic action, advocacy work and policymaking. The Gender Solutions project aims to draw together the knowledge, innovations and impacts of gender evidence work conducted by UNICEF offices since the first UNICEF Gender Action Plan was launched in 2014. A desk review identified over 700 gender-related UNICEF research, evaluation and data evidence generation activities since 2014. Twenty-five outputs were shortlisted because of their high quality and (potential for) impact and three were selected as Gender Evidence Award winners by an external review panel. By capturing the impact of this broad body of work, Gender Solutions aims to showcase UNICEF’s evidence investments, reward excellence and inform the rollout of the UNICEF Gender Policy 2021–2030 and Action Plan 2022–2025.
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.
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.

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