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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
SPOTLIGHT

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.
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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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Exploring Women's Empowerment through Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence
Exploring Women's Empowerment through Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread globally, with an estimated one-third of women aged 15 years and over experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetimes. Economic empowerment, or the financial standing of women, is often thought to protect against IPV, signalling sufficient economic autonomy to leave abusive situations or to prevent abuse. Asset ownership is one measure of economic empowerment, and can convey substantial agency as a wealth store, especially for large productive assets, such as agricultural land or home ownership. Despite the important implications of IPV reduction for policy and programming, evidence of this relationship is scarce.We hope this research will advance our global understanding of this potential.

Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. The study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions, although impacts translated into relatively modest increases.

Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia
Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Savings play a crucial role in faciliating investment in income-generating activities and the pathway out of poverty for low-income households in developing settings. Yet, there is little evidence of successful programmes that increase savings, particularly those that are simultaneously cost effective, scaleable and  address gender inequalities. This paper examines the impact of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer targeted to women in households with young children, on women’s savings and participation in non-farm enterprises.

Findings show that the CGP enabled poor women to save more cash and that the impact is larger for women who had lower decision-making power at baseline. The results support the proposition that cash transfers have the potential for long-term sustainable improvements in women’s financial position and household well-being by promoting savings and facilitating productive investments among low-income rural households.

Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

In 2010, the Zambian Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health began implementation of the Child Grant Programme with the goals of reducing extreme poverty and breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. The impact of the grant was explored across a range of outcomes for women over the medium term (two to four years).

One of the difficult aspects of assessing this evidence is the myriad of indicators used to measure ‘empowerment’. For example, researchers have used indicators ranging from women’s intra-household decision-making to social networks, land or asset ownership, and interpret all these as ‘empowerment’, making it difficult to draw conclusions. The analysis is complemented with qualitative data to understand the meaning women and men place on empowerment in the rural communities. Although more evidence is needed to understand how cash transfers can empower women in Africa, women’s savings and participation in small businesses were seen to have increased, giving them more autonomy over cash and improving their financial standing.

Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
La pratica dell'E/MGF è a tutti gli effetti un atto di violenza, anche quando non è intesa come tale; è una manifestazione di disuguaglianze di genere profondamente radicate e ha natura discriminatoria. Essa si fonda su concezioni culturali della differenza di genere, della sessualità, del matrimonio e della famiglia che influenzano il modo in cui viene percepita e tollerata in contesti diversi. Nonostante le notevoli differenze riscontrate tra i cinque paesi analizzati come pure al loro interno, le esperienze confermano che, nelle comunità in cui viene perpetrata, l’E/MGF è vista come un passo necessario per crescere e proteggere una bambina e, spesso, per renderla adatta al matrimonio. L’escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile opera come una convenzione e una norma sociale perpetuata dalle aspettative reciproche all’interno di queste comunità.
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
This Innocenti Insight examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and the Sudan - and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented in this Innocenti Insight provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. This publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
Après avoir procédé à l’analyse de la dynamique sociale qui sous-tend l’éradication de l’excision et mutilation génitale féminine (E/MGF) dans cinq pays - l’Égypte, l’Éthiopie, le Kenya, le Sénégal et le Soudan - cet Innocenti Insight se propose de promouvoir l’élaboration de mesures politiques et de programmes de lutte contre ces coutumes. Les expériences menées dans ces cinq pays et rapportées dans cet Innocenti Insight apportent la preuve qu’il est possible de mettre fin à l’E/MGF si les programmes et les politiques s’intéressent à la dynamique sociale complexe associée à ces pratiques et remettent en question les relations hommes/femmes, les stéréotypes et les préjugés existants. Dans ses conclusions, la publication propose des réflexions sur les derniers obstacles à l’abandon de l’E/MGF et formule des recommandations pour les futurs programmes de recherche et d’intervention.
Le donne e la transizione: una sintesi
Published: 1999 Regional Monitoring Report
Il Rapporto evidenzia il fallimento del comunismo nella promozione di una reale cultura dell’uguaglianza, risulta anche evidente che il sistema ha prodotto alcune positive eredità per le donne. Un forte investimento nei servizi sociali di base ha significato un alto grado di istruzione tra le donne e buoni livelli di assistenza sanitaria; le donne avevano ottime prospettive di lavoro, un livello alto di assistenza all’infanzia, possibilità di guadagnare e di curare i familiari. Anche dieci anni dopo l’inizio del processo di transizione, in termini di sviluppo umano, la differenza tra uomini e donne è minore rispetto a molti altri paesi con livelli simili di reddito.
Women in Transition: A summary
Women in Transition: A summary
Published: 1999 Regional Monitoring Report
The 1999 Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States Regional Monitoring Report focuses on the experiences of girls and women during the transition, highlighting their role in regional progress and the obstacles they face. The Report covers a broad range of issues, including women’s participation in the emerging market economy and democratic governments, female access to health and education, trends in family formation and violence against women and girls. The Report calls for the full implementation of existing human rights agreements and emphasizes the importance and benefits of integrating gender equality into the foundations of these new societies. The MONEE project is a unique source of information on the social side of the transition taking place in the CEE CIS Region. Each year's Report contains an update on the social and economic trends affecting children and families in the region, in-depth analysis of a particular theme and a detailed Statistical Annex.
Women in Transition
Women in Transition
Published: 1999 Regional Monitoring Report
The 1999 Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States Regional Monitoring Report focuses on the experiences of girls and women during the transition, highlighting their role in regional progress and the obstacles they face. The Report covers a broad range of issues, including women’s participation in the emerging market economy and democratic governments, female access to health and education, trends in family formation and violence against women and girls. The Report calls for the full implementation of existing human rights agreements and emphasizes the importance and benefits of integrating gender equality into the foundations of these new societies. The MONEE project is a unique source of information on the social side of the transition taking place in the CEE CIS Region. Each year's Report contains an update on the social and economic trends affecting children and families in the region, in-depth analysis of a particular theme and a detailed Statistical Annex.
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
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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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