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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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Making Philippine Cities Child Friendly: Voices of children in poor communities
Making Philippine Cities Child Friendly: Voices of children in poor communities
Published: 2006 Innocenti Insights
The study analyses how the Philippines’ national Child Friendly Movement, which has engaged government, NGOs, civil society, children and UNICEF, has enhanced the capacity of local governments, communities and young people to fulfil the rights of the poorest children. The study uses participatory methodologies and reflects the viewpoint of children and the community. It reveals that in areas where the Child Friendly Cities strategy was adopted, greater attention is paid to the most excluded and vulnerable groups and interventions are developed on a wider spectrum of children’s rights. Beyond providing insights on concrete ways in which child rights are bring promoted at local level, it provides recommendations on how the fulfilment of child rights can be further enhanced by municipal governments.
Pobreza y exclusión entre niños urbanos
Pobreza y exclusión entre niños urbanos
Published: 2005 Innocenti Digest
Las ciudades del mundo a menudo son consideradas como centros privilegiados y de riqueza pero también acogen a cientos de millones de niños para quienes la pobreza y la exclusión son una realidad cotidiana. Algunos de estos niños viven en la calle; muchos más viven en casas peligrosas e insana que a veces carecen de las necesidades más básicas, como el agua potable y el saneamiento. Estos niños urbanos raras veces tienen acceso a servicios adecuados como alfabetización o espacios seguros para jugar. El imperativo de la supervivencia económica puede suponer no sólo que los padres sean incapaces de dedicar tiempo suficiente para el cuidado de los niños, sino que también los niños se vean obligados a tabajar, a menudo en condiciones peligrosas. Esto no debería ser así: este Digest examina el potencial del buen gobierno urbano fundado en los principios de uno derechos humanos que promuevan un cambio positivo para y con la infancia.
Building Child Friendly Cities: A framework for action
Building Child Friendly Cities: A framework for action
Published: 2004 Innocenti Publications
This document provides a framework for defining and developing a Child Friendly City. It identifies the steps to build a local system of governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights. The framework translates the process needed to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by national governments into a local government process. The concept of Child Friendly Cities is equally applicable to governance of all communities which include children, large and small, urban and rural. The framework is intended to provide a foundation for adaptation to suit all localities. The Child Friendly Cities Initiative emerged in recognition of several important trends: the rapid transformation and urbanisation of global societies; the growing responsibilities of municipalities and communities for their populations in the context of decentralisation; and consequently, the increasing importance of cities and towns within national political and economic systems. The initiative represents a strategy for promoting the highest quality of life for all citizens.
Poverty and Exclusion among Urban Children
Poverty and Exclusion among Urban Children
Published: 2003 Innocenti Digest
The cities of the world are often regarded as hubs of wealth and privilege, but they are also home to hundreds of millions of children for whom poverty and exclusion are a daily reality. Some of these children live on the street; many more live in dangerous, insanitary housing which often lacks the most basic amenities, including clean water and satisfactory sanitation. These urban children rarely have access to adequate services, including schooling, or to safe areas for play and recreation. The imperative of economic survival can mean not only that parents are unable to dedicate sufficient time to childcare, but also that children themselves are forced to work, often in hazardous conditions. Yet all this need not be the case: this Digest examines the potential of good urban governance founded upon human rights principles to promote positive change for and with children. The key to eradicating urban poverty and exclusion lies in the development of child-friendly cities where children’s rights are made a priority in budgeting, planning and resource allocation and where children’s voices inform the democratic process.
L'infanzia urbana tra povertà ed esclusione sociale
L'infanzia urbana tra povertà ed esclusione sociale
Published: 2003 Innocenti Digest
Le città del mondo sono spesso considerate luoghi in cui abbonda la ricchezza e il privilegio. Esse ospitano però centinaia di milioni di bambini per i quali la povertà e l'esclusione sono una realtà quotidiana. Alcuni di questi bambini vivono nelle strade; molti altri vivono in alloggi pericolosi e insalubri che spesso sono privi dei più basilari servizi igienici, come una fonte di acqua pulita. I bambini urbani hanno raramente accesso a strutture adeguate, come scuole o luoghi sicuri dove giocare. L'imperativo della sopravvivenza economica può significare non solo che i genitori non sono in grado di dedicare loro il tempo sufficiente, ma anche che gli stessi bambini sono costretti a lavorare, spesso in condizioni pericolose. Eppure tutto questo sarebbe evitabile: questo Digest prende in esame le potenzialità di un buon governo, fondato sui princìpi dei diritti umani, nel promuovere un cambiamento positivo per e con i bambini. La povertà e l'esclusione urbana possono essere eliminate in città che siano amiche dei bambini, dove i diritti dell’infanzia siano una priorità nella pianificazione di bilancio, nella progettazione e nell'attribuzione delle risorse, e dove i bambini possano far sentire la loro voce nel processo democratico.
Poverty and Exclusion among Urban Children - Arabic version
Poverty and Exclusion among Urban Children - Arabic version
Published: 2003 Innocenti Digest
The cities of the world are often regarded as hubs of wealth and privilege, but they are also home to hundreds of millions of children for whom poverty and exclusion are a daily reality. Some of these children live on the street; many more live in dangerous, insanitary housing which often lacks the most basic amenities, including clean water and satisfactory sanitation. These urban children rarely have access to adequate services, including schooling, or to safe areas for play and recreation. The imperative of economic survival can mean not only that parents are unable to dedicate sufficient time to childcare, but also that children themselves are forced to work, often in hazardous conditions. Yet all this need not be the case: this Digest examines the potential of good urban governance founded upon human rights principles to promote positive change for and with children. The key to eradicating urban poverty and exclusion lies in the development of child-friendly cities where children’s rights are made a priority in budgeting, planning and resource allocation and where children’s voices inform the democratic process.
Urban Children in Distress: Global predicaments and innovative strategies

AUTHOR(S)
Cristina S. Blanc

Published: 1994 Innocenti Publications
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 482 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: child poverty, children in especially difficult circumstances, urban children | Publisher: Gordon and Breach, USA; UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Urban Stress and its Effects on Children's Lifestyles and Health in Industrialized Countries
Urban Stress and its Effects on Children's Lifestyles and Health in Industrialized Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Solvig Ekblad

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 70 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: child welfare, industrialized countries, urban children | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Italy: Too little time and space for childhood
Italy: Too little time and space for childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Ray Lorenzo

Published: 1992 Innocenti Studies
The Urban Child project launched studies in the Philippines, Brazil, India and Kenya. Italy constituted a special challenge because it introduced to the project a North-South dimension. Owing to the rapid industrialization and economic growth of the period 1950-1980, Italian children have certainly fared better. However, severe forms of disaffection and problems among Italian youth have also emerged.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: child-friendly cities, right to adequate standard of living, standard of living, urban children | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Italia: più tempo e spazio ai bambini
Italia: più tempo e spazio ai bambini

AUTHOR(S)
Ray Lorenzo

Published: 1992 Innocenti Studies
Il progetto "Bambino urbano" ha promosso attività di ricerca nelle Filippine, in Brasile, India e Kenya. L'Italia, invece, costituisce una sfida particolare che introduce nel progetto la dimensione Nord-Sud. I bambini italiani vivono sicuramente meglio per la rapida industrializzazione e la crescita economica nel periodo 1950-1980. Nello stesso tempo, tuttavia, emergono fra le giovani generazioni forme anche gravi di disagio e di emarginazione, non sempre adeguatamente compresi e fronteggiati dalla società.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 46 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: child-friendly cities, right to adequate standard of living, standard of living, urban children | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
India: The forgotten children of the cities
India: The forgotten children of the cities

AUTHOR(S)
Amrita Chatterjee

Published: 1992 Innocenti Studies
In India, as in other countries, the rise in the number of street and working children is associated with the phenomenon of rapid urban growth, especially of sprawling slums and shanty towns. The predicament of the urban child "in difficult circumstances" is inextricable from these conditions of urban poverty in which he and she is brought up. The first point of any enquiry into childhood in India's slums and squatter settlements, therefore, has to be the entire living context of poor urban children: physical, environmental, socio-economic, and familial. Unless the child's family is made the target of understanding and improvement, there is not likely to be sustained amelioration of the children's current plight or future prospects.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: abandoned children, children in especially difficult circumstances, street children, urban children | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Kenya: Child newcomers in the urban jungle
Kenya: Child newcomers in the urban jungle

AUTHOR(S)
Dorothy Munyakho

Published: 1992 Innocenti Studies
In order to establish fully the connection between urban children in especially difficult circumstances and the problems their families are encountering, it is also necessary to address the effects of social change on families and individuals. This ranges from understanding the deterioration of family ties in different environments, to identifying changes in expectations, personal roles and atttitudes familiar in many countries. The 'Urban Child' project, furthermore, while not strictly undertaking a comparative analysis, has sought to identify and highlight common problems such as overcrowding, pollution, the growing presence of drugs and AIDS, urban violence, internal and external migration, and the lack of a sense of belonging.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Urban Child | Tags: right to adequate standard of living, standard of living, street children, urban children | 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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