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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
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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‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors

AUTHOR(S)
Keetie Roelen; Tia Palermo; Leah Prencipe

Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

Cash transfers have been successful in reducing food insecurity, increasing consumption, building resiliency against economic shocks, improving productivity and increasing school enrolment. Despite the many successes of cash transfer programmes, they can also fall short of achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning and health outcomes. A recent study highlights how so-called ‘Cash Plus’ programmes, which offer additional components or linkages to existing services on top of regular cash payments, may help address such shortcomings.

Commitment to Equity for Children, CEQ4C: Fiscal Policy, Multidimensional Poverty, and Equity in Uganda
Commitment to Equity for Children, CEQ4C: Fiscal Policy, Multidimensional Poverty, and Equity in Uganda

AUTHOR(S)
Jose Cuesta; Jon Jellema; Yekaterina Chzhen; Lucia Ferrone

Published: 2018 Innocenti Working Papers

Fiscal incidence analysis is the most widely used methodology to assess the distributional effects of fiscal policies. However, for 40 years, it has lacked a child lens. A child focus on the redistributive capacity of fiscal policy is increasingly important due to the disproportionate incidence of poverty among children globally. This paper provides a child-dedicated focus on fiscal incidence analysis by tracking child-relevant benefits, turning children the unit of analysis, and using multidimensional child poverty metrics. The analysis—Commitment to Equity for Children, or CEQ4C—integrates three analytical frameworks, namely, public finance, fiscal incidence analysis, and multidimensional child poverty analysis. The paper develops a proof of concept for Uganda that includes measurement, diagnostics, and a policy simulation package replicable across diverse contexts. The proof of concept confirms that CEQ4C provides a higher-resolution fiscal incidence analysis for children than the traditional fiscal incidence analysis.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 26 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: child poverty, fiscal policy
Tanzania Youth Study of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Evaluation: Endline Report
Tanzania Youth Study of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Evaluation: Endline Report
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report

This report provides endline findings from an 18-month (2015-2017), mixed methods study to provide evidence on the effects that the Government of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net has had on youth well-being and the transition to adulthood. The study was led by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in collaboration with REPOA. Results of this evaluation can help assess what other measures or interventions are necessary to improve adolescent and youth well-being and how these can complement and provide synergies with the government’s institutionalized social protection strategy.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 136 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: social protection, social safety nets, youth
A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report
A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report

This report presents the evaluation design and baseline findings from a 24-month, mixed methods study to provide evidence on the potential for an additional plus component targeted to youth that is layered on top of the Government of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net to improve future economic opportunities for youth and facilitate their safe transitions to adulthood. This pilot study is based on the recognition that cash alone is rarely sufficient to mitigate all risks and vulnerabilities youth face or to overcome structural barriers to education, delayed marriage and pregnancy, and other safe transitions. The model the intervention follows was informed by a workshop held in Tanzania in February 2016 with government, researchers and development partners.

A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries
A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Ana Maria Buller; Amber Peterman; Meghna Ranganathan; Alexandra Bleile; Melissa Hidrobo; Lori Heise

Published: 2018 Innocenti Working Papers

There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV); however, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries. Fourteen quantitative and nine qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and six respectively demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: 1) Economic security and emotional wellbeing, 2) intra-household conflict, and 3) women’s empowerment. The economic security and wellbeing pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioural responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts.

The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief
The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) has been demonstrated to have a wide range of positive effects on beneficiary households, including an expansion of household agricultural business activities. This brief summarizes the results of two studies which examine whether households rely on children to expand their agricultural businesses. The studies confirm that children support the expansion of household agricultural activities and conclude that the SCTP increases overall child engagement in economic activities. However, working hours are generally moderate and other child wellbeing indicators such as school participation and physical health improve. This suggests that the SCTP nevertheless plays a positive role in the lives of children. These findings contribute to our understanding of the impact of cash transfers on children’s wellbeing and highlight the importance of monitoring the possible impact on child labour of programmes – such as graduation strategies – that encourage the expansion of household entrepreneurial activities.

Child Undernourishment, Wash and Policy Synergies in Tunisia: Putting Numbers Into UNICEF’s Conceptual Framework of Nutrition
Child Undernourishment, Wash and Policy Synergies in Tunisia: Putting Numbers Into UNICEF’s Conceptual Framework of Nutrition

AUTHOR(S)
Jose Cuesta; Laura Maratou-Kolias

Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

This paper develops an econometric strategy to operationalize the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF’s) conceptual framework for nutrition, estimating the effects on child stunting that additional investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) intervention packages have across population groups (poor and non-poor) and residence (urban and rural). Moving away from estimating single intervention marginal returns, the empirical framework is tested in Tunisia; a country with notable but uneven progress in child nutrition. A successful reduction of stunting will involve mapping the distinctive most effective intervention packages by residence and socioeconomic status, moving away from universal policies.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 26 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: drinking water, hygiene, nutrition, sanitation
Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: The role of rights and accountability in the 'making and 'shaping' of social protection
Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: The role of rights and accountability in the 'making and 'shaping' of social protection

AUTHOR(S)
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Nikhil Wilmink; Richard de Groot; Tayllor Spadafora

Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers
The rise of social protection into the limelight of social policy has opened up space for understanding how it can act as a key interface between states and citizens. This paper rethinks social protection through the lens of citizenship. It considers how the design and implementation of social protection can be shifted away from discretionary and technocratic forms, to forms which stimulate vulnerable citizens to make justice-based claims for their rights and demand accountability for the realization of those rights. It puts forward a conceptual framework for social protection with three modalities through which citizens can be engaged: as shapers and makers; as users and choosers; and as passive consumers.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: citizenship, poverty, social protection
Growing Inequality and Unequal Opportunities in Rich Countries
Growing Inequality and Unequal Opportunities in Rich Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Emilia Toczydlowska; Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
Inequality can have wide-ranging effects on communities, families and children. Income inequality (measured through the Gini index) was found to have an association with higher levels of peer violence in 35 countries (Elgar et al. 2009) and to influence the use of alcohol and drunkenness among 11- and 13-year olds (Elgar et al. 2005). On a macro level, countries with greater income inequality among children have lower levels of child well-being and higher levels of child poverty (Toczydlowska et al. 2016). More worrying still is that growing inequality reinforces the impact of socio-economic status (SES) on children’s outcomes, limiting social mobility. Concern about growing inequality features prominently on the current international development agenda. Goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls specifically to reduce inequality within and among countries, while the concept of ‘leaving no one behind’ reflects the spirit of greater fairness in society. But with a myriad of measures and definitions of inequality used in literature, the focus on children is often diluted. This brief contributes to this debate by presenting child-relevant distributional measures that reflect inequality of outcomes as well as opportunity for children in society, over time.
Exploring Women's Empowerment through Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence
Exploring Women's Empowerment through Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence

AUTHOR(S)
Audrey Pereira; Amber Peterman; Kathryn Yount

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread globally, with an estimated one-third of women aged 15 years and over experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetimes. Economic empowerment, or the financial standing of women, is often thought to protect against IPV, signalling sufficient economic autonomy to leave abusive situations or to prevent abuse. Asset ownership is one measure of economic empowerment, and can convey substantial agency as a wealth store, especially for large productive assets, such as agricultural land or home ownership. Despite the important implications of IPV reduction for policy and programming, evidence of this relationship is scarce.We hope this research will advance our global understanding of this potential.

Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa
Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa; Silvio Daidone; Amber Peterman; Benjamin Davis; Audrey Pereira; Tia Palermo; Jennifer Yablonski

Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

 

In this paper we summarize evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. Specifically, we investigate if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation), and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. We present evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions – insofar as they are utilized in policy debates – undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programmes can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: africa, cash transfers, social safety nets
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.

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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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