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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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Why Assist People Living in Poverty? The ethics of poverty reduction
Why Assist People Living in Poverty? The ethics of poverty reduction
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper provides an examination of the relevance of ethics to poverty reduction. It argues that linking the shared values that define the social arrangements and institutions, which we refer to as ‘ethical perspectives’, to the emerging welfare institutions addressing poverty in developing countries provides a window into these processes of justification at a more fundamental level. By ethics of poverty the authors refer to the most basic arguments and processes used to justify how and why we assist people living in poverty. Given the extent to which poverty reflects injustice, they argue it is appropriate to consider poverty in the context of ethics. Drawing on the recent expansion of social assistance in Brazil, South Africa and Ghana, the paper shows that ethical perspectives are relevant to our understanding of the evolution of anti-poverty policy.
Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor
Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor
Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
A combination of economic growth and committed revenue-raising should give most governments in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union considerable scope to devote increased resources to tackling poverty. We review the extent and nature of poverty across the transition countries, emphasising the phenomenon of the working-age poor. We consider governments' fiscal positions and revenue raising tools, including the issue of whether some countries now have levels of external debt servicing that are so high as to hamper social sector expenditures. We analyse whether the introduction of credible unemployment benefit schemes in the CIS would aid labour market reform and hence help solve the problem there of in-work poverty (we first review experience in Central and Eastern Europe). We focus on the case of Russia, and simulate a simple scheme with 2000 household survey data. The paper concludes by considering the role of improved wages for public service workers and the targeting of categorical benefits.
Market Reforms and Social Welfare in the Czech Republic: A true success story?
Market Reforms and Social Welfare in the Czech Republic: A true success story?
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic policy, economic transition, social welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Public Policy and Social Conditions
Public Policy and Social Conditions
Published: 1993 Regional Monitoring Report
In the early 1990s considerable attention was given to the issues of stabilization, privatization, taxation and labour market adjustment in the Eastern Europe transition, but demographic and welfare issues received less attention. While the economic and social reforms undertaken were desirable they faced severe problems of implementation and involved economic, social and political costs far greater than anticipated. This first Report highlights the fact that initial hopes for rapid transformation and economic prosperity were quickly tempered by a considerable decline in output, employment and incomes, a worsening of some social indicators, and the appearance of new welfare problems. The Report warns against neglecting the social costs of transition which affect children and adults, but also threaten the entire reform process.
Public Policy and Social Conditions (Russian version)
Public Policy and Social Conditions (Russian version)
Published: 1993 Regional Monitoring Report
In the early 1990s considerable attention was given to the issues of stabilization, privatization, taxation and labour market adjustment in the Eastern Europe transition, but demographic and welfare issues received less attention. While the economic and social reforms undertaken were desirable they faced severe problems of implementation and involved economic, social and political costs far greater than anticipated. This first Report highlights the fact that initial hopes for rapid transformation and economic prosperity were quickly tempered by a considerable decline in output, employment and incomes, a worsening of some social indicators, and the appearance of new welfare problems. The Report warns against neglecting the social costs of transition which affect children and adults, but also threaten the entire reform process.
Patterns of Government Expenditures in Developing Countries during the 1980s: The impact on social services
Patterns of Government Expenditures in Developing Countries during the 1980s: The impact on social services

AUTHOR(S)
Beth Ebel

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: development planning, public expenditures, social welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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