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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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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
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
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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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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