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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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For every child answers: 30 years of research for children at UNICEF Innocenti
For every child answers: 30 years of research for children at UNICEF Innocenti
Published: 2019 Miscellanea
The 30 narratives in this publication showcase the range and depth of the work UNICEF Innocenti has undertaken over three decades of existence. In everything we do, our overarching objective is to seek answers to the most pressing challenges for children, and to make the Convention of the Rights of the Child a living reality for every child.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition in Zambia
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition in Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Averi Chakrabarti; Sudhanshu Handa; Luisa Natali; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo

Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
We examine the effect of the Zambia Child Grant Programme – an unconditional cash transfer (CT) targeted to rural families with children under age five – on height-for-age four years after programme initiation. The CT scheme had large positive effects on several nutritional inputs including food expenditure and meal frequency. However, there was no effect on height-for-age. Production function estimates indicate that food carries little weight in the production of child height. Health knowledge of mothers and health infrastructure in the study sites are also very poor. These factors plus the harsh disease environment are too onerous to be overcome by the increases in food intake generated by the CT. In such settings, a stand-alone CT, even when it has large positive effects on food security, is unlikely to have an impact on long-term chronic malnutrition unless accompanied by complementary interventions.
Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2019
Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2019

AUTHOR(S)
Michelle Mills

Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
Celebrating ten years of building evidence for action on cash transfers in Africa, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) organized the seventh regional Transfer Project workshop on “Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction”* in Arusha, Tanzania from 2 to 4 April 2019. Over 130 social  protection experts and stakeholders from 20 African countries attended, including government officials, UNICEF and FAO staff, academics, NGOs and other development partners.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 5 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: cash transfers, SDGs, social protection
Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia
Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Luisa Natali; Fidelia Dake

Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
There is increasing interest in the potential of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood among vulnerable youth in low-income settings. However, little evidence exists that analyses these linkages from at-scale government-run programmes. This brief summarizes the impacts of two government-run large-scale unconditional cash transfers on outcomes of early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia after approximately three years. Results indicate limited impacts on safe transitions for both males and females. However, the programmes were successful in reducing poverty and improving schooling outcomes—two main pathways for safe transitions as reported in the literature. Research implications include the need to study transitions over longer time periods, including tracking of youth as they transition out of study households. If reducing early marriage and pregnancy is among policy makers’ primary priorities, then dedicated programming via cash plus or services specifically targeted at addressing the needs of adolescents and youth should be considered.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 3 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: cash transfers, early marriage, pregnancy, youth
“Min Ila” Cash Transfer Programme for Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon (UNICEF and WFP) Impact Evaluation Endline Report
“Min Ila” Cash Transfer Programme for Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon (UNICEF and WFP) Impact Evaluation Endline Report

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop; Mitchell Morey; Hannah Ring; Victoria Rothbard; David Seidenfeld

Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Report
In the 2016–17 school year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in Lebanon, started to pilot a child-focused cash transfer programme for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. The programme, known as the No Lost Generation (NLG) or “Min Ila” (meaning “from/to”) was designed to reduce negative coping strategies harmful to children and reduce barriers to children’s school attendance, including financial barriers and reliance on child labour. UNICEF Lebanon contracted the American Institute for Research (AIR) to help UNICEF Office of Research (OoR) design and implement an impact evaluation of the programme. The purpose of the impact evaluation, one of the first rigorous studies of a social protection programme supporting children in a complex displacement setting, is to monitor the programme’s effects on recipients and provide evidence to UNICEF, WFP, and MEHE for decisions regarding the programme’s future. This report investigates and discusses the programme’s impacts on child well-being outcomes, including food security, health, child work, child subjective well-being, enrollment, and attendance, after 1 year of programme implementation.
‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors

AUTHOR(S)
Keetie Roelen; Tia Palermo; Leah Prencipe

Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

Cash transfers have been successful in reducing food insecurity, increasing consumption, building resiliency against economic shocks, improving productivity and increasing school enrolment. Despite the many successes of cash transfer programmes, they can also fall short of achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning and health outcomes. A recent study highlights how so-called ‘Cash Plus’ programmes, which offer additional components or linkages to existing services on top of regular cash payments, may help address such shortcomings.

Zimbabwe's Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme Improves Food Security and Reduces Reliance on Food Gifts
Zimbabwe's Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme Improves Food Security and Reduces Reliance on Food Gifts

AUTHOR(S)
Garima Bhalla

Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

In 2016, approximately 815 million people were chronically undernourished globally. In recent years, food security has worsened in some parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. In Zimbabwe, latest estimates show that about 45% of the total population are undernourished1. To address the challenge of growing food insecurity, effective social protection programmes must be implemented and scaled-up. Cash transfers are one such programme, the primary objectives of which often include poverty alleviation and food insecurity reduction. This research study utilized longitudinal data collected for the impact evaluation of Zimbabwe’s Harmonized Social Cash Transfer Programme (HSCT), an unconditional cash transfer that targets ultra- poor, labour-constrained households. It accomplishes two things: It provides evidence on the relative merits of using an aggregate consumption expenditure measure versus a food security scale, to assess household vulnerability and food insecurity; and it contributes to a growing literature on the effects of state-sponsored unconditional cash transfers in Africa on household behaviour and food security.

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report
A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report

This report presents the evaluation design and baseline findings from a 24-month, mixed methods study to provide evidence on the potential for an additional plus component targeted to youth that is layered on top of the Government of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net to improve future economic opportunities for youth and facilitate their safe transitions to adulthood. This pilot study is based on the recognition that cash alone is rarely sufficient to mitigate all risks and vulnerabilities youth face or to overcome structural barriers to education, delayed marriage and pregnancy, and other safe transitions. The model the intervention follows was informed by a workshop held in Tanzania in February 2016 with government, researchers and development partners.

A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries
A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Ana Maria Buller; Amber Peterman; Meghna Ranganathan; Alexandra Bleile; Melissa Hidrobo; Lori Heise

Published: 2018 Innocenti Working Papers

There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV); however, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries. Fourteen quantitative and nine qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and six respectively demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: 1) Economic security and emotional wellbeing, 2) intra-household conflict, and 3) women’s empowerment. The economic security and wellbeing pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioural responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts.

The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief
The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) has been demonstrated to have a wide range of positive effects on beneficiary households, including an expansion of household agricultural business activities. This brief summarizes the results of two studies which examine whether households rely on children to expand their agricultural businesses. The studies confirm that children support the expansion of household agricultural activities and conclude that the SCTP increases overall child engagement in economic activities. However, working hours are generally moderate and other child wellbeing indicators such as school participation and physical health improve. This suggests that the SCTP nevertheless plays a positive role in the lives of children. These findings contribute to our understanding of the impact of cash transfers on children’s wellbeing and highlight the importance of monitoring the possible impact on child labour of programmes – such as graduation strategies – that encourage the expansion of household entrepreneurial activities.

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme Increases Household Resiliency
The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme Increases Household Resiliency
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief provides a summary of the impacts on household resiliency generated over three years by Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme. Results show that beneficiary households increase overall measures of resilience, and have increased ability to positively cope with shocks.
Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts
Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

This brief provides a comprehensive summary of the main impacts and related policy implications generated by Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme between 2013 and 2015, including positive impacts on poverty, income multipliers, food security, productivity, education and health

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Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence
Publication

Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence

Effective collaboration around knowledge management and organizational learning is a key contributor to improving the impact of international development work for the world’s most vulnerable people. But how can it be proven? With only 10 years from the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, nine of the world’s most influential agencies set out to show to the connection between the use of evidence, knowledge and learning and a better quality of human life. This book – a synthesis of stories, examples and insights that demonstrate where and how these practices have made a positive impact on development programming – is the result of the Multi-Donor Learning Partnership (MDLP), a collective effort to record the ways each of these organizations have leveraged intentional, systematic and resourced approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning in their work.
Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)
Publication

Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)

UNICEF has undertaken hundreds of gender evidence generation activities, supporting programmatic action, advocacy work and policymaking. The Gender Solutions project aims to draw together the knowledge, innovations and impacts of gender evidence work conducted by UNICEF offices since the first UNICEF Gender Action Plan was launched in 2014. A desk review identified over 700 gender-related UNICEF research, evaluation and data evidence generation activities since 2014. Twenty-five outputs were shortlisted because of their high quality and (potential for) impact and three were selected as Gender Evidence Award winners by an external review panel. By capturing the impact of this broad body of work, Gender Solutions aims to showcase UNICEF’s evidence investments, reward excellence and inform the rollout of the UNICEF Gender Policy 2021–2030 and Action Plan 2022–2025.
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.
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.

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