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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.
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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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A Lifeline at Risk: COVID-19, Remittances and Children
A Lifeline at Risk: COVID-19, Remittances and Children
Published: 2020 Miscellanea
Millions of children around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, live in households that receive money and other forms of support from a family member who has moved abroad, or to another part of the same country, to work. This form of assistance, or ‘remittances’, can alleviate household poverty and is often a key support for children’s development. In times of global economic uncertainty, however, remittances can be an unstable source of income for families. The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting migrant workers’ job security, making it more difficult to send remittances. At the same time, families receiving remittances are facing their own economic and health challenges, meaning that the continuation of remittances is vital to keep them from slipping into poverty. This briefing paper outlines the potential risks of reduction in remittances due to the pandemic for children in households receiving remittances and what can be done to minimize these risks.
How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
Shocks can pressure families into negative coping strategies with significant drawbacks for children’s lives and development, particularly for children living in disadvantaged households who are at greater risk of falling into a poverty trap. This paper investigates if unconditional cash transfers can be effective in protecting children against unexpected negative life events. Using two waves of data, we found that the Lesotho Child Grant Programme reduced the incidence and intensity of multidimensional deprivation for children living in labour-constrained female-headed households that experienced negative economic or demographic shocks. Programme design in shock-prone contexts should seek to reinforce and widen the protective effect of the cash transfer for the most vulnerable.
The Difference a Dollar a Day Can Make: Lessons from UNICEF Jordan's Hajati cash transfer programme
The Difference a Dollar a Day Can Make: Lessons from UNICEF Jordan's Hajati cash transfer programme
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
What difference does a dollar a day make? For the poorest households in Jordan, many of whom escaped conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF Jordan’s Hajati humanitarian cash transfer programme helps them keep their children in school, fed and clothed – all for less than one dollar per day. In fact, cash transfers have the potential to touch on myriad of child and household well-being outcomes beyond food security and schooling.
Multidimensional child poverty measurement in Sierra Leone and Lao PDR: Contrasting individual- and household-based approaches
Multidimensional child poverty measurement in Sierra Leone and Lao PDR: Contrasting individual- and household-based approaches
Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
This research brief compares the properties of individual- and household-based multidimensional child poverty approaches. Specifically, it contrasts UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) with the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. MODA focuses on children and is rooted in the child rights approach, while MPI has been developed for households and follows Sen’s (1985) capabilities approach. We demonstrate their similarities and differences using two recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys: Sierra Leone and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The analysis suggests that MODA tends to produce higher multidimensional child poverty headcount rates than MPI, both because of the differences in the survey items used to construct the indicators of deprivation and because of how the indicators are aggregated and weighted.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 21 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, households, measurement, SDGs
2018 Results Report
2018 Results Report
Published: 2019 Innocenti Publications
In 2018, significant gains were made in generating evidence to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged children, build organizational capacity to conduct and use quality, ethical research on children, and set a foundation as an important convening centre for expert consultation on next-generation ideas on children. 2018 marks the first year the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti is reporting on the progress of research under the new UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2021). This plan is the first to clearly delineate the role of research and evidence as one of the eight priority change strategies for children. This report therefore is an account of the first year of work to generate critical evidence to inform programmes, policies and advocacy for children and young people around the world.
Child Poverty in Mozambique – Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis
Child Poverty in Mozambique – Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis
Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
In this paper, we provide estimates and analysis of child multidimensional poverty in Mozambique. Drawing on data from the Mozambique Household Budget Survey of 2014/15 (IOF), we define child multidimensional poverty using the Multiple Overlapping Analysis (MODA). We define three age groups of children, and a total of seven dimensions of deprivation: Family, Nutrition, Education, Child  labour, Health, WASH, Participation, and Housing. Results show that 81 per cent of children are deprived in at least two dimensions. Children are especially vulnerable in rural areas, where deprivation rates reach 95 per cent, and in the provinces of Niassa, Zambezia, and Cabo Delgado. The dimensions that more frequently overlap in Mozambique are Housing, Health, and WASH, with one third of children being deprived in these three dimensions at the same time. The data also allow the analysis of the interplay between monetary and multidimensional child poverty: 46 per cent of children suffer both forms of poverty. Children who are poor and deprived are children who live in rural areas, in more remote provinces; they live in households whose heads are less educated and whose main activity is agriculture. Finally, there is a direct correlation with shocks affecting the household and multidimensional poverty, with children of families who experienced weather shocks being more likely to be poor, deprived, or both.
2017 Results Report
2017 Results Report
Published: 2018 Innocenti Publications

Our latest annual Results Report presents a review of the Office of Research - Innocenti’s top-line results delivered in 2017. It contains an excellent summary of how our research contributes to impact for children. Selected key results are highlighted for all research and capacity-building areas, while ‘deeper dive’ case studies provide in-depth narratives. The report also highlights capacity building, promotion of ethical research, and communications and operations milestones in 2017. Importantly, the report describes the Office of Research’s expanding role as a physical and virtual convening space for dialogue and critical thinking on issues concerning children and adolescents, in support of UNICEF’s new global Strategic Plan.

Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries
Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries
Published: 2017 Miscellanea
The 2008 financial crisis triggered the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Many OECD countries responded to the crisis by reducing social spending. Through 11 diverse country case studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States), this volume describes the evolution of child poverty and material well-being during the crisis, and links these outcomes with the responses by governments. The analysis underlines that countries with fragmented social protection systems were less able to protect the incomes of households with children at the time when unemployment soared. In contrast, countries with more comprehensive social protection cushioned the impact of the crisis on households with children, especially if they had implemented fiscal stimulus packages at the onset of the crisis. Although the macroeconomic 'shock' itself and the starting positions differed greatly across countries, while the responses by governments covered a very wide range of policy levers and varied with their circumstances, cuts in social spending and tax increases often played a major role in the impact that the crisis had on the living standards of families and children.
Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries
Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries
Published: 2017 Innocenti Report Card

This Report Card offers an assessment of child well-being in the context of sustainable development across 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Specifically, this report seeks to bring the SDG targets for children in high-income countries into meaningful operation (while staying true to the ambitions of the global agenda) and to establish a point of departure for reviewing the SDG framework in these contexts. It focuses on those goals and targets with most direct relevance to the well-being of children in high-income settings. Where appropriate, it adapts the agreed SDG indicator, the better to reflect the problems facing children in such countries. The results therefore highlight the new challenges set by the SDGs.

Construire l’avenir : Les enfants et les objectifs de développement durable dans les pays riches
Construire l’avenir : Les enfants et les objectifs de développement durable dans les pays riches
Published: 2017 Innocenti Report Card
Le présent Bilan propose une évaluation du bien-être des enfants dans une perspective de développement durable dans 41 pays de l’Union européenne (UE) et de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE). Le rapport cherche notamment à exploiter de façon pertinente les cibles des objectifs de développement durable (ODD) visant les enfants des pays à revenu élevé (tout en restant fidèle aux ambitions du programme mondial) et à établir un postulat pour la révision du cadre des ODD dans ces pays. Il s’attache essentiellement aux objectifs et cibles touchant directement au bien-être des enfants dans les milieux à revenu élevé. Le cas échéant, il adapte l’indicateur relatif aux ODD convenu afin de mieux rendre compte des problèmes rencontrés par les enfants dans ces pays. Ces résultats mettent donc en évidence les nouveaux défis posés par les ODD.
Costruire il futuro: I bambini e gli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile nei paesi ricchi
Costruire il futuro: I bambini e gli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile nei paesi ricchi
Published: 2017 Innocenti Report Card
Questa Report Card offre una valutazione del benessere dei bambini nel contesto dello sviluppo sostenibile in 41 paesi dell’Unione europea (UE) e dell’Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE). Nello specifico, il rapporto si propone di rendere operativi i traguardi Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile (SDG) per i bambini dei paesi ad alto reddito (senza tradire le ambizioni del programma globale) e di stabilire un punto di partenza per rivedere il quadro SDG in tali contesti. Il rapporto si focalizza quindi sugli obiettivi e i traguardi più direttamente rilevanti per il benessere dei bambini nelle realtà ad alto reddito, modificando laddove appropriato l’indicatore SDG convenuto per rispecchiare al meglio i problemi che i bambini in questi paesi si trovano a dover affrontare. I risultati evidenziano pertanto le nuove sfide poste dagli SDG.
Sustainable Development Goal 1.2: Multidimensional child poverty in the European Union
Sustainable Development Goal 1.2: Multidimensional child poverty in the European Union
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

The new universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for “reducing at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” by 2030. Since few European Union (EU) countries have an official national multidimensional poverty measure for monitoring progress towards the SDGs, this paper proposes and evaluates a child-specific multidimensional poverty measure using data from ad hoc material deprivation modules of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) 2009 and 2014. The proposed measure can be used both for national and EU-wide SDG monitoring without replacing either national or EU-wide indices of material deprivation. Comparing child multidimensional poverty rates between 2009 and 2014, the paper ranks EU countries based on the 2014 headcount rates and changes over time.

A revised version of this working paper has been published in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice

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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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.

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