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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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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.

Child Poverty in Armenia: National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis
Child Poverty in Armenia: National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Lucia Ferrone; Yekaterina Chzhen

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

This report provides the first comprehensive national estimates of multidimensional child poverty in Armenia, measured using UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology. Dimensions and indicators for three age groups (0-5, 6-14 and 15-17) were selected as the result of a broad consultative process with key stakeholders convened by UNICEF Armenia. Based on nationally representative data from the Armenian Integrated Living Conditions Survey 2013/14, the study finds that 64 per cent of children under 18 are deprived in 2 or more dimensions, with a substantially higher rate in rural than in urban areas. The highest rates of deprivation are in access to utilities, quality housing and leisure activities. More than one in four children are both multidimensionally deprived and live in consumption-poor households, while more than one in three are deprived but do not live in poor households. The findings suggest that to target the most vulnerable children, policies should concentrate on closing the rural/urban divide in infrastructure and on strengthening social safety nets, especially in rural areas.

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.
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Paul Dornan; Martin Woodhead

Published: 2015 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper contributes longitudinal research evidence on these issues, notably: the impact of structural inequalities on children’s development within households and communities; the ways access to health, education and other key services may reduce or amplify inequalities; and especially evidence on the ways that children’s developmental trajectories diverge from early in life, through to early adulthood.
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.
Best of UNICEF Research 2015
Best of UNICEF Research 2015
Published: 2015 Innocenti Publications
In addition to recognizing high quality research, the Best of UNICEF Research process aims to share findings with UNICEF colleagues and with the wider community concerned with achieving child rights. This year the competition received 99 applications With global reach, the 12 projects in the final selection cover many of the ‘traditional’ areas of UNICEF work (health, nutrition, sanitation and education), while also highlighting issues that have more recently gained prominence within the global policy agenda, such as social transfers, violence against children and school bullying, and various forms of inequality or exclusion. This publication provides summaries of these research projects, including methodology and results.
Heterogeneous impacts of an unconditioal cash transfer programme on schooling: evidence from the Ghana LEAP programme
Heterogeneous impacts of an unconditioal cash transfer programme on schooling: evidence from the Ghana LEAP programme

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot; Sudhanshu Handa; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto; Luigi Peter Ragno; Garima Bhalla

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper uses data from a quasi-experimental evaluation to estimate the impact of the Ghanaian Government’s unconditional cash transfer programme on schooling outcomes. It analyses the impacts for children by various subgroups – age, gender, cognitive ability – and finds consistent impacts. There are differences across gender, especially on secondary schooling, with enrolment significantly higher for boys 13 years or older. For girls, the effect of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme is to improve current attendance among those who are already enrolled in school (across all age groups). The authors found a significant effect on the expenditure on schooling items such as uniforms and stationary for these groups, which helps to explain the pathway of impact because these out-of-pocket costs are typically important barriers to schooling in rural Ghana and most of Africa.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 33 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: cash transfers, ghana, schooling
Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes
Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot

Published: 2015 Innocenti Research Briefs
This Brief summarizes findings from the impact evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme on schooling outcomes overall and for various subgroups: by sex, age group and cognitive ability.The findings underscore the importance of going beyond average treatment effects to analyse impacts by subgroup in order to unpack the programme effect
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 3 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: cash transfers, schooling
CC-MODA - Cross Country Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis: Analysing Child Poverty and Deprivation in sub-Saharan Africa
CC-MODA - Cross Country Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis: Analysing Child Poverty and Deprivation in sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Marlous de Milliano; Ilze Plavgo

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Child poverty is defined as non-fulfilment of children’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation, anchored in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. DHS and MICS household survey data is used, taking the child as unit of analysis and applying a life-cycle approach when selecting dimensions and indicators to capture the different deprivations children experience at different stages of their life. The paper goes beyond mere deprivation rates and identifies the depth of child poverty by analysing the extent to which the different deprivations are experienced simultaneously. The analysis is done across thirty countries in sub-Saharan Africa that together represent 78% of the region’s total population. The findings show that 67% of all the children in the thirty countries suffer from two to five deprivations crucial to their survival and development, corresponding to 247 million out of a total of 368 million children below the age of 18 living in these thirty countries.
Pauvreté et privation des enfants au Mali : les premières estimations nationales
Pauvreté et privation des enfants au Mali : les premières estimations nationales

AUTHOR(S)
Marlous de Milliano; Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Le chevauchement entre la pauvreté et les privations touche au total 29 % des enfants, ce qui signifie que les enfants victimes de privations ne vivent pas tous dans des ménages pauvres, c’est-à-dire aux revenus inférieurs au seuil national de pauvreté. C’est dans les zones rurales que la privation et la pauvreté monétaire sont le plus étroitement liées, et ce, pour tous les groupes d’âge. Une augmentation du revenu de 1 dollar par personne et par jour permettrait de réduire de 25 points la probabilité de privations dans les zones rurales.
Understanding Child Deprivation in the European Union: The Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (EU-Moda) Approach
Understanding Child Deprivation in the European Union: The Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (EU-Moda) Approach

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Chris De Neubourg; Ilze Plavgo; Marlous de Milliano

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Poverty has serious consequences for children’s well-being as well as for their achievements in adult life. The Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis for the European Union (EU-MODA) compares the living conditions of children across the EU member states, plus Iceland and Norway. Rooted in the established multidimensional poverty measurement tradition, EU-MODA uses the international framework of child rights to inform the construction of indicators and dimensions essential to children’s material well-being, taking into account the needs of children at various stages of their life cycle. The study contributes to the literature on monetary child poverty and material deprivation in the EU by analysing several dimensions of child deprivation individually and simultaneously, constructing multidimensional deprivation indices, and studying the overlaps between monetary poverty and multidimensional deprivation.
Best of UNICEF Research 2014
Best of UNICEF Research 2014
Published: 2014 Innocenti Publications
Each year the Office of Research-Innocenti reviews submissions for the best research being published across all UNICEF offices: country programmes, National Committees, Regional Offices and headquarters divisions. The purpose of this activity is to showcase and recognize high-quality, high-impact research being done in the organization. At the end of the process each year the Office of Research-Innocenti issues a publication containing summaries of the papers considered to be of particular merit. In 2014, the summaries cover issues concerning child protection, cash transfers, ECD, maternal health, inclusive education, and WASH.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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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