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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
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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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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion
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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion

UNICEF Innocenti’s new report – Beyond Masks: Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents – offers a comprehensive picture of the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, and its implications for children and adolescents. The report examines evidence from the current crisis, examines past health crises such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola to provide insights into the current one, and proposes proven and promising solutions.
Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence
Blog Blog

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence

Although much of the world is focused on the “silver lining” that COVID-19 does not appear to severely impact children’s health, UNICEF is raising the alarm about the potential damage of the hidden impacts on children’s health as well as the indirect socio-economic effects of the fallout from the pandemic. In response, UNICEF Innocenti is generating evidence to assist and inform UNICEF’s COVID-19 work. This blog is about a research conducted by UNICEF on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection, including topics such as violence against children, child labour and child marriage.
COVID-19 & Children
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COVID-19 & Children

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Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region
Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report

Emerging evidence suggests that social protection programmes can have a positive role in delaying marriage for girls. But the pathways and design features by which programmes may influence child marriage outcomes remain unknown. This mixed-methods study explores whether and how the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Ethiopia, given its national reach and potential to address poverty, can also affect child marriage practice. It draws on descriptive quantitative and qualitative data from an ongoing impact evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Program (ISNP) pilot in the Amhara region. 

It finds that PSNP, through an economic channel, is effective in reducing financial pressures on families to marry off girls and in improving girls’ education opportunities. Income-strengthening measures must, however, be accompanied by complementary efforts – including girls’ empowerment, awareness-raising and legal measures – to transform deep-rooted social and gender norms and attitudes that perpetuate the harmful practice of child marriage.  

Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region – Summary of report findings
Child Marriage and Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program: Analysis of protective pathways in the Amhara region – Summary of report findings
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

Emerging evidence suggests that social protection programmes can have a positive role in delaying marriage for girls. But the pathways and design features by which programmes may influence child marriage outcomes remain unknown. This mixed-methods study explores whether and how the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Ethiopia, given its national reach and potential to address poverty, can also affect child marriage practice. It draws on descriptive quantitative and qualitative data from an ongoing impact evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Program (ISNP) pilot in the Amhara region. 

It finds that PSNP, through an economic channel, is effective in reducing financial pressures on families to marry off girls and in improving girls’ education opportunities. Income-strengthening measures must, however, be accompanied by complementary efforts – including girls’ empowerment, awareness-raising and legal measures – to transform deep-rooted social and gender norms and attitudes that perpetuate the harmful practice of child marriage. 

Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Although it is often legally prohibited, the use of physical violence for discipline is a well-established norm in many communities, both at home and at school. Corporal punishment is often part of a wider problem of violence in schools, which includes other forms of humiliating punishment from teachers, peer bullying and gender-based violence. Violence in schools, including physical and verbal abuse by teachers and peers, is the foremost reason children aged 8 give for disliking school.

Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Bien qu’elle soit souvent légalement interdite, l’utilisation de la violence physique pour faire régner la discipline est une norme bien établie dans de nombreuses communautés, tant à la maison qu’à l’école. Les châtiments corporels font souvent partie d’un problème plus large de violence scolaire, qui comprend d’autres formes de châtiments humiliants infligés par les enseignants, le harcèlement entre condisciples et la violence sexuelle. La violence à l’école, y compris la violence physique et verbale des enseignants et des pairs, constitue la principale raison pour laquelle les enfants âgés de 8 ans n’aiment pas l’école.

Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Aunque a menudo está legalmente prohibido, el uso de la violencia física para inculcar la disciplina es una norma sólidamente establecida en muchas comunidades, tanto en el hogar como en la escuela. A menudo el castigo corporal forma parte de un problema general de violencia en las escuelas, que incluye otras formas de castigos humillantes por parte de los profesores, acoso escolar y violencia por razón de género. La violencia en las escuelas, incluyendo los abusos verbales y físicos por parte de profesores y compañeros, es el motivo principal por el que los niños de 8 años manifiestan no querer asistir a la escuela.

Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
La pratica dell'E/MGF è a tutti gli effetti un atto di violenza, anche quando non è intesa come tale; è una manifestazione di disuguaglianze di genere profondamente radicate e ha natura discriminatoria. Essa si fonda su concezioni culturali della differenza di genere, della sessualità, del matrimonio e della famiglia che influenzano il modo in cui viene percepita e tollerata in contesti diversi. Nonostante le notevoli differenze riscontrate tra i cinque paesi analizzati come pure al loro interno, le esperienze confermano che, nelle comunità in cui viene perpetrata, l’E/MGF è vista come un passo necessario per crescere e proteggere una bambina e, spesso, per renderla adatta al matrimonio. L’escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile opera come una convenzione e una norma sociale perpetuata dalle aspettative reciproche all’interno di queste comunità.
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
This Innocenti Insight examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and the Sudan - and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented in this Innocenti Insight provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. This publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
Après avoir procédé à l’analyse de la dynamique sociale qui sous-tend l’éradication de l’excision et mutilation génitale féminine (E/MGF) dans cinq pays - l’Égypte, l’Éthiopie, le Kenya, le Sénégal et le Soudan - cet Innocenti Insight se propose de promouvoir l’élaboration de mesures politiques et de programmes de lutte contre ces coutumes. Les expériences menées dans ces cinq pays et rapportées dans cet Innocenti Insight apportent la preuve qu’il est possible de mettre fin à l’E/MGF si les programmes et les politiques s’intéressent à la dynamique sociale complexe associée à ces pratiques et remettent en question les relations hommes/femmes, les stéréotypes et les préjugés existants. Dans ses conclusions, la publication propose des réflexions sur les derniers obstacles à l’abandon de l’E/MGF et formule des recommandations pour les futurs programmes de recherche et d’intervention.
Ethiopia: Social dynamics of abandonment of harmful practices. Experiences in four locations
Ethiopia: Social dynamics of abandonment of harmful practices. Experiences in four locations
Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is still a widespread practice in Ethiopia, although important declines in prevalence rates can be observed in some areas of the country. Attitudes towards the practice have drastically changed, evidenced by the fact that overall support for FGM/C has declined and younger mothers are less likely than older mothers to have their daughters cut. This paper provides an analysis of the social dynamics of change in four geographic locations with different ethnic populations in Ethiopia, where interventions were undertaken to support the abandonment of FGM/C and other harmful practices. Each experience used community conversation and dialogue as a tool to promote the abandonment process, although their overall strategies and impact differed. The four experiences together provide a greater understanding of the process of change within communities and the role played by key actors within and outside the community. The study demonstrates that by addressing FGM/C within a human rights context, community members are able to consider not cutting as a possible alternative to the existing convention of cutting. The human rights perspective also encourages reflection on gender roles, generating interest and dialogue about other social practices that harm women and girls, such as marriage by abduction and early marriage.
Sudan: An in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of abandonment of FGM/C
Sudan: An in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of abandonment of FGM/C
Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices

This paper examines the experience of Sudan by analysing the factors that promote and support the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful social practices. FGM/C is still widely practiced in all regions of northern Sudan but today actors are mobilizing across the country to end the practice. This paper analyses programmes that support ending FGM/C in Sudan and highlights the key factors that promote collective abandonment of the practice, including the roles of community dialogue, human rights deliberation, community-led activities, and the powerful force of local rewards and punishment. The Sudan experience demonstrates that social norms can change when a new understanding and appreciation of communities’ traditions and values is introduced. At policy level, the paper describes the adoption of laws and policies that prohibit or criminalize all forms of FGM/C and the introduction of integrated communication campaigns that have mobilized multiple actors to adopt and voice a consistent and clear stance against FGM/C.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda
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Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps
Journal Article Journal Article

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps

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