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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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Playing the Game: A framework and toolkit for successful child focused sport for development programmes
Playing the Game: A framework and toolkit for successful child focused sport for development programmes
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

To identify best practices in S4D programming and achieve a stronger evidence base on how S4D interventions can work effectively, the Playing the Game report and Toolkit draw on ten qualitative in-depth case studies undertaken with S4D organizations operating in different world regions and across various contexts, programme goals and issue areas.

Findings from these ten case studies and the existing literature are brought together to develop an evidence-based guiding framework and Toolkit for S4D programming targeting children and youth.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 134 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: child protection, empowerment, social development, sport
Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused Sport for Development
Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused Sport for Development
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Sport is a powerful means by which to engage all children in activities for personal and social development and to help them achieve their full potential. From an early age, sport provides children – including the most marginalized – with the opportunity to develop their physical abilities and health, to socialize, to build leadership skills, to foster lifelong learning and to learn as well as to have fun. Furthermore, to engage in play and recreational activities is a child’s right: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 31.1) clearly establishes “the right of the child to … leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child…”.

As first of its kind global study, this report aims to address the dearth of evidence on the implementation and impact of S4D policy and programming for children. To do this, the report assesses, systematizes and maps existing evidence on S4D policies and programmes through desk-based research. Quality counts, so each chapter first assesses the evidence for its conceptual coherence, methodological and analytical strength, relevance/generalizability to the S4D field at large, and ethical considerations, before discussing the main messages and recommendations to come out of the evidence.

The key messages and main conclusions have also been developed by seeking programming information from S4D programming both within UNICEF, the Barça Foundation and around the world.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 194 | Tags: sport
The Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children: Sport and Sporting Events
The Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children: Sport and Sporting Events
Published: 2020 Miscellanea

Sport has a powerful effect on children’s well-being and can promote greater physical health, emotional and mental balance, and help children develop important skills. But sport can also expose children to grievous harm and violence.

At the extreme end is the sale of athletes, especially in major sports like football. Child athletes can easily fall victim to human trafficking, sometimes for the purposes of economic or sexual exploitation.

Everyday participation in sport can also expose children to violence and harm. Instructors and coaches typically enjoy substantial impunity due to their authoritative role and the great pressure exerted on children to perform, often with the support of parents who are unaware of the exposure to harm.

The interconnectedness of sport and the sale and sexual exploitation of children is a relatively unexplored issue that deeply affects their life experiences. While Conventions and Optional Protocols provide guidance, not enough research is available to inform actions, and laws are not fully equipped to regulate what is often a lucrative business.

بيع الأطفال واستغلالهم جنسياً في سياق الرياضة والأحداث الرياضية
بيع الأطفال واستغلالهم جنسياً في سياق الرياضة والأحداث الرياضية
Published: 2020 Miscellanea

تُؤثر الرياضة تأثيراً قوياً على رفاه الأطفال، ويمكنها أن تعزز صحتهم البدنية وتوازنهم العاطفي والعقلي، وأن تساعدهم في اكتساب مهارات مهمة في ما يتعلق بالمشاركة وبناء الفريق والتعاون. بيد أن الرياضة قد تعرض الأطفال في الوقت نفسه لضرر وعنف بالغين.

La vente et l’exploitation sexuelle d’enfants dans le contexte du sport et des événements sportifs
La vente et l’exploitation sexuelle d’enfants dans le contexte du sport et des événements sportifs
Published: 2020 Miscellanea
Le sport a un effet puissant sur le bien-être des enfants : il favorise une meilleure santé physique, un bon équilibre affectif et mental, et il aide les enfants à acquérir des compétences importantes concernant la participation, l’esprit d’équipe et la collaboration. Cependant, le sport peut également exposer les enfants à de graves préjudices et à la violence, tant dans le cadre d’une pratique quotidienne qu’au niveau de « méga-événements » sportifs.
La tratta e lo sfruttamento sessuale dei bambini nell’ambito delle attività e degli eventi sportivi
La tratta e lo sfruttamento sessuale dei bambini nell’ambito delle attività e degli eventi sportivi
Published: 2020 Miscellanea
Lo sport ha un potente effetto sul benessere infantile: può contribuire a una maggiore salute fisica, all'equilibrio emotivo e mentale, e a sviluppare importanti competenze legate alla partecipazione, al team building e alla collaborazione. Tuttavia, sia nella sua pratica quotidiana che nell'organizzazione di grandi eventi, i cosiddetti mega sporting events (MSE), lo sport può esporre i bambini a gravi pericoli e violenze.
La venta y explotación sexual de los niños en el contexto del deporte y los eventos deportivos
La venta y explotación sexual de los niños en el contexto del deporte y los eventos deportivos
Published: 2020 Miscellanea
El deporte condiciona notablemente el bienestar de los niños, y puede fomentar una mejor salud física, un mayor equilibrio mental y emocional, y ayudar a que los niños desarrollen habilidades importantes para la participación, el espíritu de equipo y la colaboración. No obstante, el deporte puede a su vez exponer a los niños a peligros y violencia graves. Esto incluye tanto la práctica diaria como la organización a gran escala de “grandes acontecimientos deportivos”.
Getting into the Game Report Summary: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development
Getting into the Game Report Summary: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Report
Sport is a powerful tool for involving all children – including the most marginalized and vulnerable – in group activities from an early age (UNHCR, 2013). For this reason, sport for development (S4D) organizations use sport as an inclusive means of helping children to improve their health; to develop their physical abilities; to develop their social, educational and leadership skills; and of course, to play and have fun. S4D initiatives come in various forms – from those that build personal and social programmes around sport, to those that include sport as one of many approaches to achieving social goals. This new UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti summary report analyses available evidence on S4D initiatives for children and youth. The findings cover how the key outcomes of education, social inclusion, protection and empowerment link to sport; what works in practice and how it works; the main challenges for implementation; and recommendations for better policy, practice and research.
Protecting Children from Violence in Sport
Protecting Children from Violence in Sport

AUTHOR(S)
Celia Brackenridge; Kari Fasting; Sandra Kirby; Trisha Leahy

Published: 2010 Innocenti Publications
UNICEF has long recognized that there is great value in children’s sport and play, and has been a consistent proponent of these activities in its international development and child protection work. Health, educational achievement and social benefits are just some of the many desirable outcomes associated with organized physical activity. During recent years, however, it has become evident that sport is not always a safe space for children and that the same types of violence and abuse sometimes found in families and communities can also occur in sport and play programmes. The research presented in this publication shows a lack of data collection and knowledge about violence to children in sport, a need to develop the structures and systems for eliminating and preventing this form of violence, and that ethical guidelines and codes of conduct must be established and promoted as part of the prevention system. By addressing these gaps, significant improvements will be realized for the promotion and protection of the rights of children in sport.
The Place of Sport in the UN Study on Violence against Children
The Place of Sport in the UN Study on Violence against Children

AUTHOR(S)
Celia Brackenridge; Kari Fasting; Sandra Kirby; Trisha Leahy; Sylvie Parent; Trond Svela Sand

Published: 2010 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper presents a secondary analysis of supporting documents from the UN Study on Violence against Children. The purpose of the analysis is to identify sport-related material in the documents, and gaps in research knowledge about the role of sport in both preventing and facilitating violence against children. This is a complementary document to the IRC study ‘Protecting Children from Violence in Sport: A review with a focus on industrialized countries’, developed by the same research team. Content analysis was undertaken on material archived for the UN Study, including submissions by UN agencies and non-governmental organizations on research relating to violence against children, and on the country surveys that had been returned by governments as part of the UN Study consultation. A list of search terms was established and each selected text or survey was searched against them. On the basis of these analyses, several key conclusions emerged. First, there is a marked absence of empirical data about the forms, prevalence and incidence of violence to children in sport and about the best mechanisms for preventing or resolving such problems. Second, there is a lack of coordination between governments and sport NGOs on the subject of violence against children in sport, and there appears to be no evidence of a functional link between the agencies responsible for sport for development and those responsible for prevention of violence to children. The findings point to the need to do more, targeted research on violence against children in sport and to assess the efficacy of sport as a tool of violence prevention. Since countries approach the matter of violence to children in many different ways, the establishment of international standards for safeguarding children and for violence prevention in sport is recommended.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 13 | Thematic area: Child Protection | Tags: child abuse, children's rights, sport, violence
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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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