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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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Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data
Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data

AUTHOR(S)
Alessandro Carraro

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Does governments’ social spending reduce infant mortality? If so, what are the causal mechanisms behind this effect? Using evidence from 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (1990 to 2017), this paper examines various influences – including decreased income inequality and dependence on natural resources – to determine if and how increased public expenditure in the social sector is causally linked with reduced infant mortality.

Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts
Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts

AUTHOR(S)
Cristina Cirillo; Tia Palermo; Francesca Viola

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Adolescents face unique vulnerabilities related to their health, schooling and the intensification of gender socialization. As the next generation next in line to become adults, their transition has major implications for the future health, economic growth and well-being of nations. Yet, children and adolescents have low rates of social protection coverage globally – a missed opportunity for investment.

This report examines how social protection can promote adolescent well-being and facilitate safe and productive transitions to adulthood in lower- and middle-income countries. Focusing on government, non-contributory programmes, the following questions are examined: 1) whether and how current non-contributory social  protection programmes are adolescent-sensitive and 2) what is the impact of non-contributory social protection programmes on adolescents.

Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries
Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti; Tara Patricia Cookson; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed; Rita Sandoval; Silke Staab; Constanza Tabbush

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

The importance of mainstreaming gender into social protection policies and programmes is increasingly recognized. However, evidence on the extent to which this is actually happening remains limited. This report contributes to filling this evidence gap by drawing on the findings of two complementary research projects undertaken by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and UN Women in 2019.

Using a specifically developed analytical framework, these two projects reviewed 50 national social protection strategies and 40 social protection programmes across a total of 74 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to assess the extent to which they incorporate gender equality concerns.

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries
COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

Impact Evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Programme in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia: Baseline Report
Impact Evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Programme in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia: Baseline Report
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

UNICEF supports the Government of Ethiopia to implement a pilot Integrated Safety Net Programme (ISNP) in the Amhara Region from 2019 to 2023. The objective of the programme is to harness the potential synergies that can be realized by integrating social protection policies and programmes. It seeks to test the efficacy of combining cash and services to improve nutrition and health outcomes for children and their households.

This report describes the conceptual framework and methodology for an impact evaluation of the ISNP intervention and presents findings from a baseline study. The baseline study confirms the low socio-economic status of PSNP households in the domains of housing conditions, sanitation, schooling, health seeking, food security, women’s agency, subjective wellbeing, sexual and reproductive health, access to social services, child nutrition and child protection. The PSNP clients are found to be generally worse off than the entirety of rural Amhara – confirming the targeting effectiveness of the PSNP. The study highlights the gaps that the ISNP interventions are meant to address and provides concrete action points for successful implementation.

Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs
This brief provides midline findings from the impact evaluation of a cash plus model targeting youth in households receiving the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). Implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), with technical assistance of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF Tanzania, the programme aims to improve livelihood opportunities and facilitate a safe transition to adulthood. The 'plus' component included training on livelihoods and sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-HIV, mentoring and productive grants, as well as linkages to youth-friendly health services. The impact evaluation is a longitudinal, mixed methods study. The midline analysis was conducted immediately after training (before mentoring, disbursement of productive grants and health facility strengthening).
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 4 | Thematic area: Social protection | Tags: cash transfers, social protection
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Round 3 Findings
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Round 3 Findings
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

“Ujana Salama” (‘Safe Youth’ in Swahili) is a cash plus programme targeting adolescents in households receiving the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). Implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), with technical assistance of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF Tanzania, the ‘plus’ component includes in-person training, mentoring, grants and health services. The impact evaluation studies the differential impact of the integrated programme (cash plus intervention targeting adolescents) with respect to the PSSN only. It is a mixed methods study, including baseline (2017), Round 2 (2018), Round 3 (2019) and Round 4 (2021) surveys. This brief summarizes findings from the Round 3 survey, which was conducted one year after the training, three months after the mentorship period, and one to two months after grant disbursement. The full report is available here.


 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 6 | Thematic area: Social protection | Tags: cash transfers, social protection
Social Protection and Its Effects on Gender Equality: A literature review
Social Protection and Its Effects on Gender Equality: A literature review

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti

Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

Globally, progress has been made in the fight against both poverty and gender inequality, including through the expansion of social protection programmes. Yet significant gaps remain. Many women and girls remain in poverty and often face different structural constraints and risks across their life course, related to their biological sex as well as entrenched gender norms that discriminate against them in many aspects of their lives. As poverty, risks and vulnerabilities – which social protection aims to minimize, reduce or tackle – are gendered, if the root causes of gender inequality are not investigated in evidence generation and addressed in policy and practice, poverty will not be sustainably eradicated, nor gender equality achieved.

This paper provides an overview of the latest evidence on the effects of social protection on gender equality. It starts by considering how risks and vulnerabilities are gendered, and the implications of their gendered nature for boys’ and girls’, and men’s and women’s well-being throughout the life course. It then reviews and discusses the evidence on the design features of four types of social protection programmes – non-contributory programmes, contributory programmes, labour market programmes, and social care services – and their effects on gender equality, unpacking which design features matter the most to achieve gender equality. Finally, the paper concludes with implications for a future research agenda on gender and social protection.

Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson; Alessandro Carraro; Victor Cebotari; Anna Gromada

Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.

High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline.

This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children. 
A Lifeline at Risk: COVID-19, Remittances and Children
A Lifeline at Risk: COVID-19, Remittances and Children

AUTHOR(S)
Gilmar Zambrana Cruz; Gwyther Rees

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.
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.
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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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