Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest: October 2021

Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest: October 2021

Published: 2021 Innocenti Digest

Even before COVID-19, over 1 billion children (aged 2–17 years) reported experiencing sexual, physical or emotional violence every year. Across their lifetimes, 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. Violence against children and against women are highly interconnected. Children who witness or experience violence are more likely to perpetrate it or be victimized in adulthood, thus continuing the cycle of violence.

This digest highlights 13 newly curated research papers on the topic of COVID-19 and violence against children, selected based on criteria such as relevance to children's rights; a diversity of research methodology; and insights from low- and middle-income countries.

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

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.

Evidence matters – now more than ever: Results from a review of UNICEF’s evidence on COVID-19 and child protection

Evidence matters – now more than ever: Results from a review of UNICEF’s evidence on COVID-19 and child protection

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the lives and rights of children. Early on, the pandemic rapidly sparked research on child protection across the globe. In the barrage of information on COVID-19, evidence is key to understanding children’s situations and to developing the best solutions. 

This review takes stock of UNICEF’s rapidly evolving evidence base on COVID-19 and child protection and describes what has been learned so far from this evidence base on the impacts of COVID-19 on child protection and the response measures put in place since the pandemic.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 33 | Thematic area: Child Protection | Tags: child protection, COVID-19, research
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures around the world, affecting almost 1.6 billion students. The effects of even short disruptions in a child’s schooling on their learning and well-being have been shown to be acute and long lasting. The capacities of education systems to respond to the crisis by delivering remote learning and support to children and families have been diverse yet uneven.

This report reviews the emerging evidence on remote learning throughout the global school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable, and resilient education systems for current and future crises.

Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region

Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region

AUTHOR(S)
Kaku Attah Damoah; Frank Otchere; Dominic Richardson

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept over the world from early 2020 has triggered both health and economic shocks of unprecedented proportions in recent memory. Some estimates suggest that the consequences of these shocks will likely erase most of the progress made in global development over the past two decades. Many countries now risk falling further behind the attainment of national and international development goals, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these shocks due to their persistent higher levels of vulnerability, and the reality that school closures and other COVID-19 containment measures can be more damaging to children. 

This report examines the effect of previous economic crises on children’s well-being in UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Region (WCAR) and makes projections regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19-induced economic crises on priority indicators for the region. 
Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

While there has been a global rush to generate rapid evidence on COVID-19 mental health impacts among adults, limited evidence exists on the potential impacts on children.

This is the protocol for our rapid review that seeks to (i) understand the immediate impact of COVID-19’s first wave on the mental health of children and adolescents (0–19 years); and (ii) apply lessons learned from this pandemic to mitigate the impacts of future health crises.

The key research questions of this review are: 

  • What has been the immediate impact of COVID-19 and associated containment measures on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents?
  • How and which risk and protective factors have affected mental health during COVID-19 and have they varied across subgroups of children and adolescents?

 What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Mathieu Brossard; Thomas Dreesen; Radhika Nagesh; Dita Nugroho; Rafael Pontuschka

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have collaborated in the third round of the Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures, administered by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and OECD to Ministry of Education officials. The questions covered four levels of education: preprimary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary. While the first two rounds of the survey were implemented during the periods May–June and July–October 2020, respectively, the third round was implemented during the period February–June 2021. In total, 143 countries responded to the questionnaire. Thirty-one countries submitted responses to the OECD (“OECD survey”) and 112 countries responded to the UIS (“UIS survey”). Seven countries responded to both surveys. In these instances, the more complete set responses were used in analysis.
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

AUTHOR(S)
Cirenia Chávez; Marco Valenza; Annika Rigole; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of society. In mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed their schools, putting 9 out of 10 enrolled children out of school.

These closures disproportionately affected marginalized children, worsening existing inequities across education systems worldwide.

This brief draws on the experience of five UNICEF education country programmes supported by the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, to document tangible lessons in adapting education programmes to support the most marginalized children during school and learning centre closures.

The evidence in this brief stems from a series of semi-structured interviews with Education and Child Protection specialists, as well as a document review of available COVID-19 response studies, in the five LUL-supported UNICEF Country Offices.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 12 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: COVID-19, education, educational programmes
Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest Issue 1: Children and youth mental health under COVID-19

Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest Issue 1: Children and youth mental health under COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Priscilla Idele

Published: 2022 Innocenti Digest

The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and youth has been near ubiquitous. Resilience factors are significant in enhancing and supporting mental health in the COVID-19 era. Our first COVID-19 Quarterly Thematic Digest presents research highlights from our growing Children and COVID-19 Research library.  

In this inaugural digest we spotlight 11 studies on mental health that were all generated in the first half of 2021. These research papers address an array of subjects related to the impact of COVID-19 on child and youth mental that include disorders such as anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and compulsive internet gaming, as well as risk factors such as HIV or refugee status, and responses such as art therapy and parenting and caregiver programmes. These studies have been undertaken in a range of countries and regions and include several multi-country analyses.

Leading Minds Online Yearbook 2020

Leading Minds Online Yearbook 2020

Published: 2021 Miscellanea
Leading Minds Online, like many good things, was born out of necessity. After a successful inaugural Leading Minds Conference at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in Florence, Italy in November 2019, the office’s convening team began 2020 gearing up for the second annual conference. 

The COVID pandemic that began in late 2019 put a stop to that. So we took our convening online, convinced that the philosophy that underpinned the Leading Minds convening in 2019 - to bring experts from all walks of life – young people, academics, practitioners, policymakers, businesses, the media, civil society and UNICEF’s own expert staff – around the current and next-generation challenges and opportunities for children could be just as relevant online as it is in person. Hence Leading Minds Online was born on 6 May 2020, with our first webcast series focused on experts' opinions on the implications of COVID-19 on children’s lives and futures. This yearbook summarizes their contributions to each of the webcasts and highlights the recommendations of each virtual event.


COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanna Mascheroni; Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Marium Saeed; Lorenzo Giuseppe Zaffaroni; Davide Cino; Thomas Dreesen; Marco Valenza

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

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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