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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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How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

The broad-ranging benefits of cash transfers are now widely recognized. However, the evidence base highlights that they often fall short in achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning outcomes and morbidity. In recognition of these limitations, several ‘cash plus’ initiatives have been introduced, whereby cash transfers are combined with one or more types of complementary support. This paper aims to identify key factors for successful implementation of these increasingly popular ‘cash plus’ programmes, based on (i) a review of the emerging evidence base of ‘cash plus’ interventions and (ii) an examination of three case studies, namely, Chile Solidario in Chile, IN-SCT in Ethiopia and LEAP in Ghana. The analysis was guided by a conceptual framework proposing a menu of ‘cash plus’ components. The assessment of three case studies indicated that effective implementation of ‘cash plus’ components has indeed contributed to greater impacts of the respective programmes. Such initiatives have thereby addressed some of the non-financial and structural barriers that poor people face and have reinforced the positive effects of cash transfer programmes. In design of such programmes, further attention should be paid to the constraints faced by the most vulnerable and how such constraints can be overcome. We conclude with recommendations regarding the provision of complementary support and cross-sectoral linkages based on lessons learned from the case studies. More research is still needed on the impact of the many variations of ‘cash plus’ programming, including evidence on the comparative roles of individual ‘plus’ components, as well as the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour pathways which influence these impacts.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 42 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: cash transfers, social protection
Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable
Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

This Brief summarizes the proceedings of the Know Violence Roundtable examining the evidence on the role of social protection in reducing childhood violence hosted by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, 12-13 May, 2016.

Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Understanding how household consumption, investment and saving decisions respond to transfer income is critical to public policy. In developing countries, saving or otherwise investing in the future is difficult for poor households which often struggle to meet basic expenses, while high debt burdens are also obstacles to saving. Poor households in rural areas of developing countries typically manage risk via informal exchanges or transfers among extended family, friends and neighbours. Motivated by the community dynamics observed in the qualitative assessment of LEAP and the unpredictable and lumpy payments made by the programme during the evaluation period, the main interest of this paper is to assess within a quantitative framework the impact of LEAP on household risk reduction strategies via reintegration in, and strengthening of, social networks and reduction of debt exposure.
Pre-crisis Conditions and Government Policy Responses: Chile and Mexico during the Great Recession
Pre-crisis Conditions and Government Policy Responses: Chile and Mexico during the Great Recession

AUTHOR(S)
Bruno Martorano

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Chile and Mexico reacted to the crisis by implementing several policy responses, they achieved different outcomes. In particular, the Chilean economy recovered faster than the Mexican one. However, the main differences are related to social outcomes. On one hand, the Gini coefficient decreased in both countries. On the other hand, both overall and child poverty dropped in Chile while they rose sharply in Mexico. , Chile introduced a stimulus package twice as large the Mexican one. When the financial crisis arrived in late 2008 - Chile and Mexico started from different positions, they generated a different public effort, which in turn led to different economic and social results.
Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia
Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia
Published: 2013 Innocenti Working Papers
Social protection can be defined as the ‘set of public and private policies and programmes aimed at preventing, reducing and eliminating economic and social vulnerabilities to poverty and deprivation’. It comprises various types of instruments, and includes social insurance systems, labour market policies, and other social transfers. The focus in this paper is on non-contributory social transfers which are considered to be the main social protection instruments targeted specifically at poor and vulnerable households, and which are financed from general government revenues.
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature
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.
Innovative Features in Conditional Cash Transfers: An impact evaluation of Chile Solidario on households and children
Innovative Features in Conditional Cash Transfers: An impact evaluation of Chile Solidario on households and children
Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Social protection represents an important tool to mitigate poverty and to promote adequate living standards and conditions. In Latin America social protection has largely taken the form of large scale implementation of conditional cash transfers (CCTs). These transfers have proven successful in combating poverty and inequality across the continent, while facilitating empowerment by increasing access to services and supporting investment in education, health and nutrition. Chile Solidario is an avant garde CCT in the Latin American context, introducing innovative features which are aimed at specifically addressing the multidimensional nature of poverty, considered not only as a consequence of the lack of income, but also as a result of low levels of human and social capital, and the vulnerability of a household to shocks.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 16 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: programme evaluation, social protection
Защита уязвимых семей в Центральной Азии: бедность, уязвимость и воздействие экономического кризиса
Защита уязвимых семей в Центральной Азии: бедность, уязвимость и воздействие экономического кризиса

AUTHOR(S)
Franziska Gassmann

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
С конца 2007 года страны Центральной Азии перенесли два мощных потрясения, следовавших одно за другим: рост цен на продукты питания и топливо в 2007–2008 годах и мировой экономический и финансовый кризис, начавшийся в конце 2008 года. Кризис оказал непосредственное неблагоприятное воздействие на домохозяйства – как бедные, так и состоятельные. Многоаспектность кризиса и постоянно меняющаяся экономическая ситуация ставят под угрозу способность уязвимых домохозяйств справляться с ситуацией и поддерживать свой уровень жизни. Важную роль в реагировании на кризис играют программы социальной защиты.
Protecting Vulnerable Families in Central Asia: Poverty, vulnerability and the impact of the economic crisis
Protecting Vulnerable Families in Central Asia: Poverty, vulnerability and the impact of the economic crisis

AUTHOR(S)
Franziska Gassmann

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper provides an overview of the social and economic vulnerabilities of households with children in the five Central Asian countries, and assesses the ability of national social protection systems to address these, with the main focus on the role of non-contributory cash transfers financed from general government revenues. The paper concludes that the existing social cash transfer systems are not effective in addressing the needs of poor and vulnerable children and families in Central Asia. Limited coverage together with limited funding reduces the potential poverty reduction impact of the programmes.
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
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
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.
Simulation des effets de la crise économique et des politiques de reponse sur les enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre: le cas du Burkina Faso
Simulation des effets de la crise économique et des politiques de reponse sur les enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre: le cas du Burkina Faso
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
Le Burkina Faso à vu ses gains économiques, durement acquis ces dernières années, rongés par la crise financière et économique mondiale du 2008-09. Il subit particulièrement les conséquences de la crise économique mondiale vu le lien étroit qu’il entretient avec l’économie globale. La plupart des effets néfastes sont d’abord transmis aux ménages, puis répercutés aux enfants. Ainsi, la situation des enfants dépend principalement du bien-être monétaire et non monétaire de leurs ménages. Par conséquent et étant donné leur plus grande vulnérabilité, les enfants risquent de souffrir davantage et plus longtemps des impacts de la crise. Il est nécessaire et urgent de comprendre et anticiper les effets potentiels de la crise sur les enfants au Burkina Faso, et ensuite de proposer des options de protection sociale pour les contrer. A cette fin, nous proposons une approche macro-micro économique. L’analyse macro-économique fait recours à un modèle d’équilibre général calculable (MEGC) pour simuler l’impact des divers canaux de transmission du choc de crise à l’économie Burkinabé. Les résultats de ces simulations nourrissent ensuite une analyse micro-économétrique qui intègre les comportements microéconomiques des individus et des ménages pour évaluer l'impact de la crise sur le bien-être des enfants.
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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.
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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