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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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Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: An overview
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: An overview
Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no. 1.

This paper presents an overview of the IRC Child Injury Series, a working paper series on child injury that has its first focus on injury in developing countries. The series summarizes the findings of 6 national and sub-national surveys in Asia, in Bangladesh, China, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Undertaken using a new methodology resembling a census, the surveys found that injury is the leading cause of death after infancy in children through 17 years of age in all five countries reviewed. The methodology involved creating a very large, representative sample of households in each national/sub-national survey and directly counting all mortality events in the previous three years and all morbidity events that required missing work, school, or being hospitalized from injury in the previous year. The results show that current estimates of child mortality miss most injury deaths in early childhood. Current estimates do not include children five years and over. As a result, injury, which is a leading cause of death in children under five, and the leading cause of death in children five years and over, is currently invisible to policymakers and is not included in child health programmes.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey methods
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey methods
Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no.2

This paper presents a more detailed description of the survey methodology for technical specialists interested in understanding the major differences between the surveys and the methods previously used to estimate child deaths. A detailed description is provided for survey governance, sampling design, survey instruments, the classification scheme for mortality and morbidity measured in the surveys, the fieldwork procedure, the analytic framework, weighting and adjustments, and survey costs. Following this, a number of methodological lessons are addressed, such as: the need to count all children and not only those under five years of age; the need to count all clearly identifiable causes of death in those same groups; the need to count morbidity as well as mortality; and the need to count the deaths in the community where they occur to avoid the various biases associated with facility-based counting. A number of examples from the surveys are shown to illuminate the issues so that they are clear to non-technical readers.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey results and evidence
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Survey results and evidence
Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no.3

This paper presents a detailed description of the survey results which were introduced in the Overview Paper. Detailed results are presented first for proportional mortality in children by age group for a population-weighted composite of the surveys, and then for the individual surveys. Following this, detailed results are presented for fatal injury by national or sub-national area, region (urban/rural), and gender for the 0-17 age group. After this the types of fatal injury that occur in the different stages of childhood are presented. The second part of the paper presents both fatal and nonfatal injury by type of injury for the composite of the surveys as well as the individual surveys themselves. The results show that the leading causes of nonfatal injury differ from those of fatal injury, and the greatest burden is caused by the more serious categories of nonfatal injury. Finally, the ratio of the two leading causes of fatal injury in children, drowning and road accidents, are presented for each of the surveys. Drowning is shown to be the leading cause of fatal childhood injury in each survey. The paper concludes with a discussion of the major issues highlighted by the results of the surveys.
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Policy and programme implications
Child Mortality and Injury in Asia: Policy and programme implications
Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Child Injury no.4

This paper presents a summary of the findings of the national and sub-national surveys and discusses the implications of the results on child health policy and programmes.The principal finding is that injury has generally been unrecognized as a leading cause of child death. This is largely because the previous estimates of child mortality causality were unable to include injury due to technical issues. The surveys provide convincing evidence that injury is a leading cause of child death after infancy and the types of injury vary with the age group of the child. Similar convincing evidence shows that it is a leading cause of serious morbidity and permanent disability in children The implications discussed are 1) the need to develop an effective measure of child mortality that includes all ages of childhood; 2) prevention of mortality and serious morbidity from injury in children will require a life-cycle approach; 3) continued progress on child survival programming in children under five years of age will require injury reductions; 4) that drowning is the single injury cause responsible for about half of all injury deaths and targeting it for reduction would be an efficient strategy; and 5) there are efficient strategies for targeting other sub-types of child injury as well.
Demographic Challenges and the Implications for Children in CEE/CIS
Demographic Challenges and the Implications for Children in CEE/CIS
Published: 2007 Innocenti Working Papers
The first part of this paper documents the striking changes in population size and structures which have occurred since the beginning of transition, and which have led to a substantial reduction in the child population. It is argued that they have been mainly driven by the drop in birth rates which has characterised the whole region, but which has been most dramatic in the CEE and Western CIS. Some countries in these subregions now rank among those with the lowest levels of fertility in the world, and the shrinking cohorts of children in these countries face the prospect of a growing old-age dependency burden. The second part of the paper discusses recent data on infant and under-five mortality, which are direct measures of child well-being, and of the success of policy measures aimed at improving child survival and development. The paper highlights the marked differences not only in levels, but also in progress in reducing mortality rates across the CEE/CIS.
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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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