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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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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.
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Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and gap map research brief of phase 1 and 2 findings
Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and gap map research brief of phase 1 and 2 findings

AUTHOR(S)
Ashrita Saran; Manahil Siddiqi; Ramya Subrahmanian; Howard White

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps remain when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies.

This brief summarizes the key findings from the Evidence Gap Map on interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. It includes findings from Phase 1 (English-language publications) and Phase 2 (Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish publications).  All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

Impact Evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Programme in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia: Baseline Report
Impact Evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Programme in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia: Baseline Report
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

UNICEF supports the Government of Ethiopia to implement a pilot Integrated Safety Net Programme (ISNP) in the Amhara Region from 2019 to 2023. The objective of the programme is to harness the potential synergies that can be realized by integrating social protection policies and programmes. It seeks to test the efficacy of combining cash and services to improve nutrition and health outcomes for children and their households.

This report describes the conceptual framework and methodology for an impact evaluation of the ISNP intervention and presents findings from a baseline study. The baseline study confirms the low socio-economic status of PSNP households in the domains of housing conditions, sanitation, schooling, health seeking, food security, women’s agency, subjective wellbeing, sexual and reproductive health, access to social services, child nutrition and child protection. The PSNP clients are found to be generally worse off than the entirety of rural Amhara – confirming the targeting effectiveness of the PSNP. The study highlights the gaps that the ISNP interventions are meant to address and provides concrete action points for successful implementation.

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to child health and development.
Best of UNICEF Research Retrospective: Documenting impact and lessons learned
Best of UNICEF Research Retrospective: Documenting impact and lessons learned
Published: 2019 Miscellanea
In this retrospective, we look back at finalist research from six years of the Best of UNICEF Research exercise to gain perspective on its uptake and pathways to longer-term impact. The numerous  examples highlighted here, including six case studies, are drawn from the many interviews conducted in 2018 and 2019 with UNICEF staff, on 37 finalist projects, supplemented by survey responses collected from 410 UNICEF staff, in 2017.
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

Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents
Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
The ability to correct childhood malnutrition, or for children to display ‘catch-up growth’, has important population-level implications for economic and social development. According to most recent estimates, over one third of all children under the age of five in developing countries suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency, with approximately 27% classified as underweight, 31% exhibiting stunting and 10% exhibiting wasting. We contribute to the catch-up growth debate by presenting results from three widely varying population based samples using identical statistical techniques, controlling for endogeneity of lagged health in several different ways, and measuring height in z-scores. Our estimates for these three different populations indicate that while previous health does not track future health perfectly, there is still significant persistence in health status for young children. These estimates do not account for household health-related behaviour.
The Measurement of Food Insecurity among Children: Review of literature and concept note
The Measurement of Food Insecurity among Children: Review of literature and concept note

AUTHOR(S)
Maryah S. Fram; Jennifer Bernal; Edward A. Frongillo

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Child food insecurity is associated with a range of negative developmental consequences, including behaviour problems. While research shows that the phenomenon is both common and consequential, there is a lack of consistency in what is being measured and how. This results in incomplete information affecting our ability to effectively address child food insecurity, its causes and consequences. We present a review of the literature, and advocate for a global system to measure and monitor individual children’s experiences of food insecurity. The conceptual and practical challenges for developing an effective, efficient, and feasible system for global monitoring of child food insecurity are discussed and alternatives are suggested.
Simulating the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Policy Responses on Children in West and Central Africa
Simulating the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Policy Responses on Children in West and Central Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Luca Tiberti; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
The current global financial and economic crisis, which exacerbates the impacts of the energy and food crises that immediately preceded it, has spread to the developing countries endangering recent gains in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction. The effects of the crisis are likely to vary substantially between countries and between individuals within the same country. Children are among the most vulnerable population, particularly in a period of crisis. Especially in least developed countries, where social safety nets programmes are missing or poorly performing and public fiscal space is extremely limited, households with few economic opportunities are at a higher risk of falling into (monetary) poverty, suffering from hunger, removing children from school and into work, and losing access to health services. This study simulates the impacts of the global economic crisis and alternative policy responses on different dimensions of child welfare in Western and Central Africa (WCA) over the period 2009-2011. It is based on country studies for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Ghana, which broadly represent the diversity of economic conditions in WCA countries. In order to capture the complex macro-economic effects of the crisis and the various policy responses - on trade, investment, remittances, aid flows, goods and factor markets - and to then trace their consequences in terms of child welfare - monetary poverty, hunger (caloric poverty), school participation, child labour, and access to health services - a combination of macro- and micro-analysis was adopted. The simulations suggest that the strongest effects are registered in terms of monetary poverty and hunger, although large differences between countries emerge.
Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis on Child Poverty in Cameroon and Options for a Policy Response
Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis on Child Poverty in Cameroon and Options for a Policy Response

AUTHOR(S)
Sami Bibi; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana; Luca Tiberti; Paul Ningaye; Christian Arnault Emini

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This study aims to evaluate the potential impacts of the 2008/09 global economic crisis on child poverty in Cameroon. It also explores the potential effects that policy responses to such a crisis could have on children. In order to do this, the study uses a macro-micro methodology. A dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model is used to simulate various scenarios of the economic crisis together with policies which respond to the crisis, taking into account the different transmission channels of the global crisis to the Cameroonian economy. The results of the CGE model are then used in a micro-econometric module in order to evaluate the impacts of the simulated shocks on households in general and children in particular. Five dimensions of child poverty are examined: monetary poverty, caloric poverty, child school participation and child labour, and children’s access to health care services. The study shows that the crisis is projected to lower the real GDP growth rate by 1.3 percentage points in 2009, 0.9 in 2010 and 0.8 in 2011. Four alternative policy responses to the crisis are simulated: a reduction in the VAT levied on the sale of food products; elimination of customs tariffs applied on imports of food products; free access to school canteens for children under the age of 15 in districts where monetary poverty is higher than the national average; and granting cash transfers to poor children.
Simulation des effets de la crise économique et des politiques de reponse sur les enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre: le cas du Burkina Faso
Simulation des effets de la crise économique et des politiques de reponse sur les enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre: le cas du Burkina Faso

AUTHOR(S)
Luca Tiberti; Ismaël Fofana; John Cockburn; Lacina Balma; Samuel Kaboré

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
Le Burkina Faso à vu ses gains économiques, durement acquis ces dernières années, rongés par la crise financière et économique mondiale du 2008-09. Il subit particulièrement les conséquences de la crise économique mondiale vu le lien étroit qu’il entretient avec l’économie globale. La plupart des effets néfastes sont d’abord transmis aux ménages, puis répercutés aux enfants. Ainsi, la situation des enfants dépend principalement du bien-être monétaire et non monétaire de leurs ménages. Par conséquent et étant donné leur plus grande vulnérabilité, les enfants risquent de souffrir davantage et plus longtemps des impacts de la crise. Il est nécessaire et urgent de comprendre et anticiper les effets potentiels de la crise sur les enfants au Burkina Faso, et ensuite de proposer des options de protection sociale pour les contrer. A cette fin, nous proposons une approche macro-micro économique. L’analyse macro-économique fait recours à un modèle d’équilibre général calculable (MEGC) pour simuler l’impact des divers canaux de transmission du choc de crise à l’économie Burkinabé. Les résultats de ces simulations nourrissent ensuite une analyse micro-économétrique qui intègre les comportements microéconomiques des individus et des ménages pour évaluer l'impact de la crise sur le bien-être des enfants.
Incidences de la crise economique mondiale de 2008/09 et des options de la politique de reponse sur la pauvreté des enfants au Cameroun
Incidences de la crise economique mondiale de 2008/09 et des options de la politique de reponse sur la pauvreté des enfants au Cameroun

AUTHOR(S)
Sami Bibi; John Cockburn; Christian Arnault Emini; Luca Tiberti; Ismaël Fofana; Paul Ningaye

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
Cette étude vise, d’une part, à explorer les effets potentiels de la crise économique mondiale de 2008/09 sur la pauvreté des enfants au Cameroun. D’autre part, elle a pour but d’explorer les effets potentiels, sur cette même population-cible, des politiques qui seraient prises en réponse à ladite crise. Pour ce faire l’étude utilise une approche méthodologique top/down où, dans un premier temps, un modèle d’équilibre général calculable (EGC) de dynamique récursive est employé pour simuler les divers scénarios de crise économique et de politiques de réponse à la crise, en prenant en compte les différents canaux de transmission de la crise mondiale à l’économie camerounaise. Par la suite, les résultats produits par le modèle EGC sont utilisés dans un module micro-économétrique afin d'évaluer l’incidence des chocs simulés, sur les ménages en général et les enfants en particulier. Cinque dimensions de pauvreté des enfants sont examinées: la pauvreté monétaire; la pauvreté calorique; le taux de scolarité et/ou de participation des enfants au travail; enfin, l’accès des enfants aux soins de santé. Quatre politiques alternatives de réponse à cette crise sont simulées: une réduction de la TVA prélevée sur la vente des produits alimentaires; une suppression des droits de douane appliqués sur les importations de produits alimentaires; la gratuité de l’inscription des enfants de moins de 15 ans aux cantines scolaires dans les districts où le taux de pauvreté monétaire est supérieur au taux national; l’octroi de transferts en espèces aux ménages don’t les enfants sont pauvres. L’octroi des transferts en espèces se révèle comme étant la plus efficace des quatre politiques de réponse susmentionnées, bien que cette politique soit la plus inefficace de toutes pour améliorer le taux de croissance du PIB réel. Par ailleurs, les effets des transferts sur le plan de la scolarité, de la participation des enfants au travail et sur l’accès de ces derniers aux soins de santé sont globalement meilleurs bien que légers. Derrière la politique des transferts en espèces, celle de la subvention des cantines scolaires, avec pourtant un coût relativement bas, donne aussi une réponse considérablement bénéfique face à la crise, surtout sur le plan de la pauvreté calorique; tandis que les deux autres politiques s’avèrent inefficaces, quelle que soit la dimension de la pauvreté considérée.
Simulating the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Policy Responses on Children in Ghana
Simulating the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Policy Responses on Children in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Ismaël Fofana; John Cockburn; Luca Tiberti; Edgar A. Cooke; Daniel K. Twerefou; Theodore Antwi-Asare

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana is experiencing the impact of the global crisis and the uncertain economic outlook. Indeed, as Ghana’s economy is among the most open in Africa, it is expected that the country has been and will continue to be severely affected by the crisis, although strong export prices of its main exports (gold and cocoa) may at least partially counteract the effects associated with the crisis. The main goal of this paper is to understand the potential impacts of the 2008/9 global crisis on different dimensions of child poverty (monetary, hunger, school participation, child labour and access to health services) in Ghana and to support the policy-maker in designing the most appropriate policy response to counteract the negative effects of the crisis. As timely data are not available, a combined macro-micro economic model to predict the impact of the global crisis on children was developed. Simulations suggest that the financial crisis would increase monetary poverty and hunger across all regions of Ghana, eroding many of the gains made over the past few years. Indeed, in comparison with the year preceding the crisis, instead of a reduction of four percentage points in child monetary poverty in 2011 predicted in the absence of crisis, the simulations indicate a 6.6 percentage point increase, with a continuous increasing pattern over the period of study.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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