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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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Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020
Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020
Published: 2020 Miscellanea

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

Protected on Paper? An analysis of Nordic country responses to asylum-seeking children
Protected on Paper? An analysis of Nordic country responses to asylum-seeking children
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report

This research, commissioned by the Nordic National Committees for UNICEF, examines to what extent the rights of asylum-seeking children are respected and protected in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The report reviews relevant national legislative and policy frameworks; examines how these are implemented; documents good practices; and highlights gaps in national standards and their compliance to international standards. It makes some broad recommendations on how to strengthen and extend legal, policy and practice frameworks to ensure the full realization and protection of child asylum seekers’ rights and entitlements in the Nordic region. It further provides country-specific detailed, practical recommendations on how to ensure protection and welfare for asylum-seeking children. It makes country-specific recommendations on how legal, policy and practice frameworks can be strengthened to ensure full protection of children’s rights and entitlements.

Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
Child Migrants with and without Parents: Census-based estimates of scale and characteristics in Argentina, Chile and South Africa
Child Migrants with and without Parents: Census-based estimates of scale and characteristics in Argentina, Chile and South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Shahin Yaqub

Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper studies child migration in Argentina, Chile and South Africa. It defines child migrants as under 18 year olds whose usual residence was in a different country or province five years prior to census. The paper estimates the scale of child migration; compares relative magnitudes of internal and international migration; and considers sensitivity to alternative definitions of migration. Second, it examines family structures within which migrant children live at destinations, defining children who are co-resident with adult parents and siblings as dependent, and those outside of these close family members, as independent. Third, the internal/international and in/dependent distinctions are analysed jointly to describe some social-economic characteristics of the four sub-groups of migrant children.
Independent Child Migrants in Developing Countries: Unexplored links in migration and development
Independent Child Migrants in Developing Countries: Unexplored links in migration and development

AUTHOR(S)
Shahin Yaqub

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper focuses on independent migrant children, defined as below 18 years old, who choose to move from home and live at destinations without a parent or adult guardian. It summarises quantitative and qualitative research, and uses this to reflect on research agendas and global debates towards linking migration and development. The paper surveys historical evidence on linkages between children’s migration and societal development in earlier periods of modernisation, and identifies parallels to contemporary developing countries. The contemporary situation in developing countries is described in terms of: (1) numerical scale; (2) individual and family characteristics of the children involved; (3) decision-makers and decision-making processes in children’s movements; (4) why it happens, including from children’s viewpoints; (5) modes of movements; and (6) situations of children at destinations. The paper considers the extent to which children may demand migration opportunities, and how this demand may be met partly with forms of movement specific to children. Research strategies are discussed to provide a bridge to development issues, including conceptualization of children’s independent movements, children’s labour migration, migration statistics and selection of who migrates. A final section draws on the review to reflect on global debates in child development and societal development.
Literature Review on Qualitative Methods and Standards for Engaging and Studying Independent Children in the Developing World
Literature Review on Qualitative Methods and Standards for Engaging and Studying Independent Children in the Developing World

AUTHOR(S)
Stuart C. Aitken; Thomas Herman

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper identifies and evaluates qualitative methods appropriate for use in conducting policy-relevant research on the experiences, motivations, agency and life histories of autonomous and semi-autonomous children and adolescents, including those who migrate independently of parents and adult guardians. First, the paper presents an overview of qualitative research practice and its potential to extend and deepen knowledge of children’s varied and independently negotiated life circumstances. It is argued that qualitative approaches are necessary to understand and meaningfully respond to the experiences of diverse physical, social and cultural environments. The second, longer section of the paper presents illustrative examples of qualitative research techniques. An illustrated inventory of research tools is presented with seven categories: surveys; interviews and focus groups; observation and participant observation; life histories and biographical methods; visual and textual methods; performance, play and arts-based methods; and virtual and computer-aided methods. The concluding section synthesizes the information presented and provides guidance on how to incorporate qualitative methods, and qualitative methodologies, into research on children who live independently of parents and adult guardians or who exercise autonomy in more limited contexts.
Children's Work and Independent Child Migration: A critical review
Children's Work and Independent Child Migration: A critical review

AUTHOR(S)
Eric Edmonds; Maheshwor Shrestha

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
This review considers the evidence from child labour research that is relevant to understanding independent child migration for work. Three factors are relevant: first, migration for work is one of the many possible alternatives for child time allocation. The methodological and analytical tools used in the study of child labour are thus applicable to this study. Second,independent child migration for work will be reduced by factors that improve alternatives to migration. Child labour at home is one possible alternative to migrating. Thus, influences on child labour will affect independent child migration by altering the pressures that push children into migration. Third, the issues that arise in understanding why employers use children are also relevant to understanding what factors pull children into migration. In existing data resources, two methods are used to identify independent child migrants: the roster method and the fertility survey method. The roster approach identifies migrants by enumerating residents in sampled households. As such, it measures migrants in destination areas and misses children that are difficult to locate, especially those who migrate out of country. In the fertility survey method mothers account for the status of all of their children. This is useful for identifying origin areas for the migrants but is uninformative about the current condition of the child migrant. Stronger data collection efforts are necessary to better measure the extent of working independent child migrants and understand both the source and the living conditions of independent child migrants.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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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