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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
SPOTLIGHT

Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
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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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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