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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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Des Mondes d'Influence: Comprendre ce qui détermine le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches
Des Mondes d'Influence: Comprendre ce qui détermine le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Analyser la situation des enfants dans les pays les plus riches du monde sous un nouvel angle offre une image mitigée de leur santé, de leurs compétences et de leur bonheur. Pour beaucoup trop d’entre eux, des problèmes tels que la pauvreté, l’exclusion et la pollution font peser une menace sur leur bien-être mental, leur santé physique et leurs chances d’acquérir des compétences. Même des pays qui offrent de bonnes conditions sociales, économiques et environnementales sont loin d’atteindre les objectifs fixés par le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Pour réaliser ces objectifs, des mesures ciblées et accélérées sont nécessaires.

Les données de 41 pays de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) et de l’Union européenne (UE) parlent d’elles-mêmes, qu’il s’agisse des chances de survie, de croissance et de protection des enfants, de la question de savoir s’ils apprennent et se sentent écoutés, ou de celle de savoir si leurs parents disposent du soutien et des moyens nécessaires pour donner à leurs enfants toutes les chances de mener une enfance équilibrée et heureuse. Ce rapport révèle l’expérience des enfants face aux politiques publiques et à la conjoncture sociale, éducative, économique et environnementale de leurs pays respectifs.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Mundos de Influencia:¿Cuáles son los determinantes del bienestar infantil en los países ricos?
Mundos de Influencia:¿Cuáles son los determinantes del bienestar infantil en los países ricos?
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Una nueva mirada a los niños de los países más ricos del mundo presenta un panorama heterogéneo en cuando a su salud, aptitudes y felicidad. Demasiados ven amenazados su bienestar mental, salud física y oportunidades para el desarrollo de aptitudes por problemas como la pobreza, la exclusión y la contaminación. Incluso los países que disfrutan de una buena situación social, económica y ambiental están muy lejos de cumplir las metas establecidas en la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible. Para cumplir tales objetivos se requieren medidas específicas y aceleradas.

Las pruebas recabadas en 41 países de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) y la Unión Europea relatan una historia propia: cuáles son las oportunidades de supervivencia, crecimiento y protección de los niños; si están aprendiendo y se los escucha; si sus progenitores cuentan con apoyo y recursos para ofrecer a sus hijos la posibilidad de vivir una infancia sana y feliz. En este informe se plasman experiencias infantiles con el trasfondo de las políticas nacionales y diversos contextos sociales, educativos, económicos y ambientales.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Sfere di Influenza: Un'analisi dei fattori che condizionano il benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Sfere di Influenza: Un'analisi dei fattori che condizionano il benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Un nuovo sguardo alla situazione dei bambini nei paesi più ricchi del mondo rivela uno scenario misto in termini di salute, competenze e felicità. Troppi problemi, come la povertà, l'esclusione e l'inquinamento, minacciano il loro benessere psicofisico e la possibilità di sviluppare le proprie abilità. Anche i paesi con condizioni sociali, economiche e ambientali favorevoli sono ben lontani dal raggiungere gli obiettivi stabiliti nell'Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile. Per realizzare tali obiettivi, è necessaria un'azione rapida e mirata.

I dati relativi a 41 Paesi dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e l'Unione europea tracciano un quadro chiaro della probabilità di bambini e adolescenti di sopravvivere e crescere, di ricevere tutela, istruzione e ascolto, e della misura in cui i genitori sono in grado di fornire sostegno e risorse per garantire loro le migliori possibilità di vivere un'infanzia sana e felice. Questo studio rivela le esperienze dei bambini alla luce delle politiche e del contesto sociale, educativo, economico e ambientale dei rispettivi paesi.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 5: EVERY CHILD HAS AN EQUITABLE CHANCE IN LIFE
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 5: EVERY CHILD HAS AN EQUITABLE CHANCE IN LIFE
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child has an equitable chance in life.
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to child health and development.
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 2: EVERY CHILD LEARNS
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 2: EVERY CHILD LEARNS
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as  mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child wellbeing space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to education.
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 3: EVERY CHILD IS PROTECTED FROM VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 3: EVERY CHILD IS PROTECTED FROM VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to ensuring that every child is protected from violence and exploitation.
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 4: EVERY CHILD LIVES IN A SAFE AND CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 4: EVERY CHILD LIVES IN A SAFE AND CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child wellbeing space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child lives in a safe and clean environment.
Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a new opportunity to address the key development challenges of our time with the aim to improve the well-being and rights of all people while protecting the natural environment. Children are important agents and beneficiaries in this process: many children are not only among the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change, they are also the generation that will reach adulthood during the realization of the 2030 Agenda. To create the sustainable, long-term transformation ambitiously laid out in Agenda
2030, new transformative approaches to policy must be implemented and applied to children and youth—approaches that target the underlying generative framework of social injustice as opposed to implementing affirmative remedies that simply seek to alleviate the symptoms. The objective of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework to help assess the transformative potential of policies – particularly with regard to their impact on children and youth – and how these are meaningfully integrated and represented in decision-making processes. It will shed light on the policy space for transformative change by analysing a range of relevant factors which present both challenges and opportunities for fostering child rights and well-being through the implementation of Agenda 2030. The paper then applies the framework to a selection of policy areas that are of high relevance for child development, such as social policy and care policy assessing necessary means of implementation such as resource mobilization and governance systems and looking at economic and environmental impacts in a cross-cutting way. The aim is to stretch boundaries and invite new thinking on how to grasp the numerous opportunities offered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to approach development challenges holistically and from a child-centred perspective. This involves integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and fostering cross-sectoral approaches.
How Does the Time Children Spend Using Digital Technology Impact Their Mental Well-being, Social Relationships and Physical Activity? An Evidence-focused Literature Review
How Does the Time Children Spend Using Digital Technology Impact Their Mental Well-being, Social Relationships and Physical Activity? An Evidence-focused Literature Review
Published: 2017 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Based on an evidence-focused literature review, the first part of this paper examines existing knowledge on how the time children spend using digital technology impacts their well-being across three dimensions; mental/psychological, social and physical. The evidence reviewed here is largely inconclusive with respect to impact on children’s physical activity, but indicates that digital technology seems to be beneficial for children’s social relationships. In terms of impact on children’s mental well-being, the most robust studies suggest that the relationship is U-shaped, where no use and excessive use can have a small negative impact on mental well-being, while moderate use can have a small positive impact. In the second part of the paper, the hypothetical idea of addiction to technology is introduced and scrutinized. This is followed by an overview of the hypothetical idea that digital technology might re-wire or hijack children’s brains; an assumption that is challenged by recent neuroscience evidence. In conclusion, considerable methodological limitations exist across the spectrum of research on the impact of digital technology on child well-being, including the majority of the studies on time use reviewed here, and those studies concerned with clinical or brain impacts. This prompts reconsideration of how research in this area is conducted. Finally, recommendations for strengthening research practices are offered.
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

Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being
Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Evidence from national studies in developed and developing countries suggests that girls spend more time on housework. The most common explanation relates to behaviour modelling as a mechanism of gender role reproduction: children form habits based on parental models. This brief shows that participation in household chores is an essential part of children’s lives. There is a common pattern of a gender gap between boys’ and girls’ daily participation in housework across a diverse range of socio-economic and cultural contexts in 12 high-income countries. The persistence of this gap points to gender stereotyping – a form of gender role reproduction within a family that potentially can reinforce inequalities over the life-course.

 

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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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