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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa
SPOTLIGHT

Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa

The number of international migrants under 18 is rising, accelerated by complex and fast-evolving economic, demographic, security and environmental drivers. Based on interviews carried out with 1,290 migrant children and young people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, this report helps address the evidence gap on children and young people migrating in the Horn of Africa by providing a better understanding of their protective environments; their access to services and resources; and their perceptions of safety, well-being and trust in authorities and other providers. It concludes by offering policy and programme recommendations to rethink child protection approaches for migrants in the region.
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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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Impacts of the Global Crisis and Policy Responses on Child Well-being: A macro-micro simulation framework
Impacts of the Global Crisis and Policy Responses on Child Well-being: A macro-micro simulation framework
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper outlines the methodology of a UNICEF research project on the impact of the global economic crisis on children in Western and Central Africa, which can also be applied to study the effects of other socio-economic shocks on households and particularly on children in developing countries. To understand the nature and the extent of the effects of a crisis in developing countries requires a rigorous analysis of the transmission mechanisms at both the macro and micro levels. This paper provides a tool to attempt to predict ex ante the impacts of the crisis, and possible policy responses, on households and their children. As timely data monitoring child well-being are not readily available to guide the rapid implementation of policies to protect children, a predictive model was developed that anticipates the impacts of the crisis on various essential dimensions of child wellbeing. Specifically, this paper proposes and discusses a combined macro-micro model following a top-down approach.
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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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

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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