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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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Does Market Access Mitigate the Impact of Seasonality on Child Growth? Panel data evidence from northern Ethiopia
Does Market Access Mitigate the Impact of Seasonality on Child Growth? Panel data evidence from northern Ethiopia

AUTHOR(S)
Kibrewossen Abay; Kalle Hirvonen

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Seasonality in agricultural production continues to shape intra-annual food availability and prices in low-income countries. Using high-frequency panel data from northern Ethiopia, this study attempts to quantify seasonal fluctuations in children's weights. In line with earlier studies, we document considerable seasonality in children’s age and height adjusted weights. While children located closer to local food markets are better nourished compared to their counterparts residing in more remote areas, their weights are also subject to considerable seasonality. Further analysis provides evidence that children located closer to food markets consume more diverse diets than those located farther away. This leads us to conclude that households located near these food markets are not able to insulate their children from seasonal weight fluctuations.

Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents
Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
The ability to correct childhood malnutrition, or for children to display ‘catch-up growth’, has important population-level implications for economic and social development. According to most recent estimates, over one third of all children under the age of five in developing countries suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency, with approximately 27% classified as underweight, 31% exhibiting stunting and 10% exhibiting wasting. We contribute to the catch-up growth debate by presenting results from three widely varying population based samples using identical statistical techniques, controlling for endogeneity of lagged health in several different ways, and measuring height in z-scores. Our estimates for these three different populations indicate that while previous health does not track future health perfectly, there is still significant persistence in health status for young children. These estimates do not account for household health-related behaviour.
The Measurement of Food Insecurity among Children: Review of literature and concept note
The Measurement of Food Insecurity among Children: Review of literature and concept note

AUTHOR(S)
Maryah S. Fram; Jennifer Bernal; Edward A. Frongillo

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Child food insecurity is associated with a range of negative developmental consequences, including behaviour problems. While research shows that the phenomenon is both common and consequential, there is a lack of consistency in what is being measured and how. This results in incomplete information affecting our ability to effectively address child food insecurity, its causes and consequences. We present a review of the literature, and advocate for a global system to measure and monitor individual children’s experiences of food insecurity. The conceptual and practical challenges for developing an effective, efficient, and feasible system for global monitoring of child food insecurity are discussed and alternatives are suggested.
The Challenges of Climate Change: Children on the front line
The Challenges of Climate Change: Children on the front line

AUTHOR(S)
Patrizia Faustini

Published: 2014 Innocenti Insights
Children and young people represent 30 per cent of the world’s population. Not only do they represent the largest group of people currently affected by climate change, but they are also more vulnerable than adults to its harmful effects. Children and young people also constitute the generation that will be required to deal with the future impacts of climate change and that will have to deliver the very deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that will be essential in the coming decades. This book is an attempt to redress the balance. It brings together the knowledge and opinions of 40 contributors - scientists, development workers, and experts in health, nutrition and children’s rights - in an attempt to build up a clear picture of what climate change means for the children of today and tomorrow.
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Sanfilippo; Bruno Martorano; Chris De Neubourg

Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Social protection is particularly important for children, in view of their higher levels of vulnerability compared to adults, and the role that social protection can play in ensuring adequate nutrition, access to and utilization of social services. While existing evidence shows that social protection programmes successfully address several dimensions of child well-being -often in an indirect way - a move towards a more "child sensitive" approach to social protection has recently been advocated at the highest level in the international development community.
Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia
Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Michael (et al.) Linnan

Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Drowning is a leading cause of death among children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia, but current data greatly underestimate mortality due to drowning. This is due to the way drowning data is collected, classified and reported as well as the difficulty in correcting and adjusting the data. The sum of all the biases and uncertainties has masked the fact that drowning is a leading cause of child death in LMICs in Asia. Cost-effective, affordable and sustainable interventions appropriate for LMICs are available to address this newly recognized and significant killer of children. Large numbers of these deaths could be prevented annually if these drowning interventions were included in current country programmes. When implemented at national scale and as an integral part of country programmes, the prevention of these drowning deaths, which mostly occur in early childhood, would result in a rapid decrease in early childhood mortality.
Simulation of the Effects of the Economic Crisis and Response Policies on Children in West and Central Africa: The Case of Burkina Faso
Simulation of the Effects of the Economic Crisis and Response Policies on Children in West and Central Africa: The Case of Burkina Faso

AUTHOR(S)
Lacina Balma; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana; Samuel Kaboré; Luca Tiberti

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
Burkina Faso’s hard earned economic gains in recent years have been eroded by the 2008-09 world financial and economic crisis. The country will particularly feel the effects of the world economic crisis due to its close links with the world economy. Most of the adverse effects are transmitted to households then passed onto children. The situation of children principally depends on the monetary and non-monetary wellbeing of their household. This, together with their greater vulnerability, means that children are at risk of suffering more, and for longer, from the impacts of the crisis. It is therefore crucial to understand and anticipate the effects that the crisis may have on children in Burkina Faso and to propose options for social protection to counter these effects. To this end, we propose a macro-micro economic approach. Macro-micro economic analysis uses a general calculable equilibrium (CGE) model to simulate the impacts of various transmission channels of the crisis to the Burkinabe economy. The results of these simulations are then used for the micro-econometric analysis, which integrates individual and household economic behaviour to evaluate the impact of the crisis on child welfare. A monetary transfer policy targeting poor children appears to be the most effective at reversing the negative effects of the crisis and returning to the trend that would have existed without the crisis. Such a policy, financed by external aid and with a budget of 1% of GDP, re-establishes the trend that monetary poverty would have followed in the absence of a crisis and even leads to a reduction in hunger. It also limits the crisis’ adverse effects on school enrolment, child labour and sick children’s access to modern health care services. A universal (non-targeted) variant of this transfer policy for 0-5 year-olds has similar results and is easier to enact. Policies which subsidize food and cereals, as well as monetary transfer policies for the Centre and Mouhoun regions (the areas most affected by the August-September 2009 floods) were also analyzed.
Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis on Child Poverty in Cameroon and Options for a Policy Response
Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis on Child Poverty in Cameroon and Options for a Policy Response

AUTHOR(S)
Sami Bibi; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana; Luca Tiberti; Paul Ningaye; Christian Arnault Emini

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This study aims to evaluate the potential impacts of the 2008/09 global economic crisis on child poverty in Cameroon. It also explores the potential effects that policy responses to such a crisis could have on children. In order to do this, the study uses a macro-micro methodology. A dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model is used to simulate various scenarios of the economic crisis together with policies which respond to the crisis, taking into account the different transmission channels of the global crisis to the Cameroonian economy. The results of the CGE model are then used in a micro-econometric module in order to evaluate the impacts of the simulated shocks on households in general and children in particular. Five dimensions of child poverty are examined: monetary poverty, caloric poverty, child school participation and child labour, and children’s access to health care services. The study shows that the crisis is projected to lower the real GDP growth rate by 1.3 percentage points in 2009, 0.9 in 2010 and 0.8 in 2011. Four alternative policy responses to the crisis are simulated: a reduction in the VAT levied on the sale of food products; elimination of customs tariffs applied on imports of food products; free access to school canteens for children under the age of 15 in districts where monetary poverty is higher than the national average; and granting cash transfers to poor children.
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Monitoring of health services can serve two major functions: providing information for performance management as well as for evidence-based policy-making. The means by which monitoring is carried out and the balance that is struck between these functions vary according to the situation of different countries. This paper reviews monitoring processes and the availability of data relating to early childhood development in the cases of Germany and the United Kingdom. The discussion centres on pre-requisites for successful routine data collection: a national framework, a national database and making data available publicly.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: An overview
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: An overview

AUTHOR(S)
Michael (et al.) Linnan

Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no. 1.

This paper presents an overview of the IRC Child Injury Series, a working paper series on child injury that has its first focus on injury in developing countries. The series summarizes the findings of 6 national and sub-national surveys in Asia, in Bangladesh, China, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Undertaken using a new methodology resembling a census, the surveys found that injury is the leading cause of death after infancy in children through 17 years of age in all five countries reviewed. The methodology involved creating a very large, representative sample of households in each national/sub-national survey and directly counting all mortality events in the previous three years and all morbidity events that required missing work, school, or being hospitalized from injury in the previous year. The results show that current estimates of child mortality miss most injury deaths in early childhood. Current estimates do not include children five years and over. As a result, injury, which is a leading cause of death in children under five, and the leading cause of death in children five years and over, is currently invisible to policymakers and is not included in child health programmes.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey methods
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey methods

AUTHOR(S)
Michael (et al.) Linnan

Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no.2

This paper presents a more detailed description of the survey methodology for technical specialists interested in understanding the major differences between the surveys and the methods previously used to estimate child deaths. A detailed description is provided for survey governance, sampling design, survey instruments, the classification scheme for mortality and morbidity measured in the surveys, the fieldwork procedure, the analytic framework, weighting and adjustments, and survey costs. Following this, a number of methodological lessons are addressed, such as: the need to count all children and not only those under five years of age; the need to count all clearly identifiable causes of death in those same groups; the need to count morbidity as well as mortality; and the need to count the deaths in the community where they occur to avoid the various biases associated with facility-based counting. A number of examples from the surveys are shown to illuminate the issues so that they are clear to non-technical readers.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey results and evidence
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey results and evidence

AUTHOR(S)
Michael (et al.) Linnan

Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no.3

This paper presents a detailed description of the survey results which were introduced in the Overview Paper. Detailed results are presented first for proportional mortality in children by age group for a population-weighted composite of the surveys, and then for the individual surveys. Following this, detailed results are presented for fatal injury by national or sub-national area, region (urban/rural), and gender for the 0-17 age group. After this the types of fatal injury that occur in the different stages of childhood are presented. The second part of the paper presents both fatal and nonfatal injury by type of injury for the composite of the surveys as well as the individual surveys themselves. The results show that the leading causes of nonfatal injury differ from those of fatal injury, and the greatest burden is caused by the more serious categories of nonfatal injury. Finally, the ratio of the two leading causes of fatal injury in children, drowning and road accidents, are presented for each of the surveys. Drowning is shown to be the leading cause of fatal childhood injury in each survey. The paper concludes with a discussion of the major issues highlighted by the results of the surveys.
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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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