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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
SPOTLIGHT

Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
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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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Research with Disadvantaged, Vulnerable and/or Marginalized Adolescents
Research with Disadvantaged, Vulnerable and/or Marginalized Adolescents
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalized adolescents (DVMAs) are individuals aged 10–19, who are excluded from social, economic and/or educational opportunities enjoyed by other adolescents in their community due to numerous factors beyond their control. This brief summarizes the health and well-being inequities experienced by DVMAs and the need for research with this group. It reviews the challenges and barriers to their inclusion in research; shares practical implications and best practices for their inclusion in research; and addresses ethical challenges and approaches to research with DVMAs.

The brief is one of seven on research methodologies designed to expand and improve the conduct and interpretation of research on adolescent health and well-being in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Building on the recent Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these briefs provide an overview of the methodological quality of research on adolescents. They cover topics including: indicators and data sources; research ethics; research with disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalized populations; participatory research; measuring enabling and protective systems for adolescent health; and economic strengthening interventions for improving adolescent well-being.

Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

AUTHOR(S)
Audrey Pereira

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Approximately half of all mental health disorders begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. Among adolescents, depression is one of the leading contributors to morbidity, while suicide and interpersonal violence are among the leading causes of mortality. Mental ill-health also reinforces poverty through decreased productivity and loss of earnings, increased health expenditures, and social stigma. Since the evidence on the effects of poverty-alleviation programmes on mental health have been inconclusive, there is a need for research on specific poverty-alleviation interventions for vulnerable groups who are more at risk for poor mental well-being.

The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

We study the impact of the Zimbabwe Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) on household food security after 12 months of implementation. The programme has had a strong impact on a well-known food security scale – the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) – but muted impacts on food consumption expenditure. However aggregate food consumption hides dynamic activity taking place within the household where the cash is used to obtain more food from the market and rely less on food received as gifts. The cash in turn gives them greater choice in their food basket which improves diet diversity. Further investigation of the determinants of food consumption and the HFIAS shows that several dimensions of household vulnerability correlate more strongly with the HFIAS than food consumption. Labour constraints, which is a key vulnerability criterion used by the HSCT to target households, is an important predictor of the HFIAS but not food expenditure, and its effect on food security is even larger during the lean season.

Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia
Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia
Published: 2013 Innocenti Working Papers
Social protection can be defined as the ‘set of public and private policies and programmes aimed at preventing, reducing and eliminating economic and social vulnerabilities to poverty and deprivation’. It comprises various types of instruments, and includes social insurance systems, labour market policies, and other social transfers. The focus in this paper is on non-contributory social transfers which are considered to be the main social protection instruments targeted specifically at poor and vulnerable households, and which are financed from general government revenues.
Income Inequality and Mobility in Hungary 1992-96
Income Inequality and Mobility in Hungary 1992-96

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Galasi

The first half of the 1990s brought major changes to Hungary. The positive sides of the transformation in the Hungarian economy and society were accompanied by less welcome aspects - a sharp fall in GDP, double-digit unemployment and falling real incomes. How have children fared in these circumstances? This paper considers the changing position of children in the Hungarian income distribution, comparing it to that of the elderly - another potentially vulnerable group whose incomes, like those of households with children, are a concern for policymakers.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 34 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child welfare, economic transition, income distribution, vulnerable groups | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition
Published: 1994 Regional Monitoring Report
After the collapse of the communist system in 1989, most Eastern European countries experienced a mortality and health crisis. However, this did not hit the traditionally most vulnerable groups - children, adolescents, women and the elderly - but male adults in the 20-59 age group. The Report indicates that the surge is largely dependent on three transition-related factors: widespread impoverishment, erosion of preventive health services, sanitary and medical services and social stress. Although infants, children and young adolescents have not been greatly or directly affected by the mortality crisis, the Report points out that their situation has been severely threatened by more frequent sickness and greater nutritional imbalances, while the upturn in adult deaths is leading to a considerably heightened risk of poverty, abandonment or orphanhood.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 110 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child health, child mortality, child nutrition, economic transition, social services, vulnerable groups | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition (Russian version)
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition (Russian version)
Published: 1994 Regional Monitoring Report
After the collapse of the communist system in 1989, most Eastern European countries experienced a mortality and health crisis. However, this did not hit the traditionally most vulnerable groups - children, adolescents, women and the elderly - but male adults in the 20-59 age group. The Report indicates that the surge is largely dependent on three transition-related factors: widespread impoverishment, erosion of preventive health services, sanitary and medical services and social stress. Although infants, children and young adolescents have not been greatly or directly affected by the mortality crisis, the Report points out that their situation has been severely threatened by more frequent sickness and greater nutritional imbalances, while the upturn in adult deaths is leading to a considerably heightened risk of poverty, abandonment or orphanhood.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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