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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
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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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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.

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.
Does Market Access Mitigate the Impact of Seasonality on Child Growth? Panel data evidence from northern Ethiopia
Does Market Access Mitigate the Impact of Seasonality on Child Growth? Panel data evidence from northern Ethiopia

AUTHOR(S)
Kibrewossen Abay; Kalle Hirvonen

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Seasonality in agricultural production continues to shape intra-annual food availability and prices in low-income countries. Using high-frequency panel data from northern Ethiopia, this study attempts to quantify seasonal fluctuations in children's weights. In line with earlier studies, we document considerable seasonality in children’s age and height adjusted weights. While children located closer to local food markets are better nourished compared to their counterparts residing in more remote areas, their weights are also subject to considerable seasonality. Further analysis provides evidence that children located closer to food markets consume more diverse diets than those located farther away. This leads us to conclude that households located near these food markets are not able to insulate their children from seasonal weight fluctuations.

Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme

AUTHOR(S)
Kathleen Lawlor; Sudhanshu Handa; David Seidenfeld; Zambia Cash Transfer Evaluation Team

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This study investigates whether cash transfers enable households facing weather and other negative income shocks to avoid adverse coping strategies that can lead to poverty traps. While cash transfers are not routinely considered in the policy discourse concerning climate adaptation programming, because ex-ante transfers enable households to avoid negative coping strategies and even increase food consumption in the face of covariate weather shocks, cash transfers offer a sound approach for building climate-resilience amongst the world’s most vulnerable and facilitating their “autonomous adaptation” to a changing environment. Cash also enables households to productively cope with the many other idiosyncratic shocks the rural poor routinely face.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot; Tia Palermo; Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman; Luigi Peter Ragno

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of cash transfer programmes on the immediate and underlying determinants of child nutrition, including the most recent evidence from impact evaluations across sub-Saharan Africa. It adopts the UNICEF extended model of care conceptual framework of child nutrition and highlights evidence on the main elements of the framework – food security, care and health care. It finds that several key gaps should be addressed in future including cash transfer impacts on more proximate nutrition-related outcomes such as children’s dietary diversity, as well as caregiver behaviours, intra-household violence, and stress, all of which have implications for child health and well-being.
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition
Published: 1994 Regional Monitoring Report
After the collapse of the communist system in 1989, most Eastern European countries experienced a mortality and health crisis. However, this did not hit the traditionally most vulnerable groups - children, adolescents, women and the elderly - but male adults in the 20-59 age group. The Report indicates that the surge is largely dependent on three transition-related factors: widespread impoverishment, erosion of preventive health services, sanitary and medical services and social stress. Although infants, children and young adolescents have not been greatly or directly affected by the mortality crisis, the Report points out that their situation has been severely threatened by more frequent sickness and greater nutritional imbalances, while the upturn in adult deaths is leading to a considerably heightened risk of poverty, abandonment or orphanhood.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 110 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child health, child mortality, child nutrition, economic transition, social services, vulnerable groups | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition (Russian version)
Crisis in Mortality, Health and Nutrition (Russian version)
Published: 1994 Regional Monitoring Report
After the collapse of the communist system in 1989, most Eastern European countries experienced a mortality and health crisis. However, this did not hit the traditionally most vulnerable groups - children, adolescents, women and the elderly - but male adults in the 20-59 age group. The Report indicates that the surge is largely dependent on three transition-related factors: widespread impoverishment, erosion of preventive health services, sanitary and medical services and social stress. Although infants, children and young adolescents have not been greatly or directly affected by the mortality crisis, the Report points out that their situation has been severely threatened by more frequent sickness and greater nutritional imbalances, while the upturn in adult deaths is leading to a considerably heightened risk of poverty, abandonment or orphanhood.
Nutrition and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Nutrition and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

AUTHOR(S)
Urban Jonsson

Nutrition is mentioned specifically only three times in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, through its emphasis upon food, health, and care, the Convention makes it clear that good nutrition should be regarded as a fundamental human right. This study reviews the progress that governments have made in implementing this aspect of the Convention, providing ‘status reports’ on the inclusion of nutrition goals in individual ‘National Programmes of Action’. The paper includes a background overview of the development of human nutrition as a science, together with a survey of current trends in thinking on the subject.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Rights of the Child | Tags: child nutrition, children's rights, implementation of the crc, nutrition, right to food | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Historical Perspectives on Breastfeeding: Two essays
Historical Perspectives on Breastfeeding: Two essays

AUTHOR(S)
Sara Matthews Grieco; Carlo A. Corsini

Published: 1991 Historical Perspectives
The first wave of historical studies of breastfeeding was instrumental in allowing economists, social scientists and decision-makers to guage the order of magnitude of the potantial demographic effects of changing infant feeding patterns that were apparantly underway in many third world countries. In the past 20 years much more information has become available on the effects of feeding patterns on infant mortality in developing countries, yet there are still interesting lessons to be learnt from the past. A blending of quantitative and qualitative evidence can contribute to a better understanding of behavioural dilemmas and can also help us to assess the impact of innovation and official intervention on the survival chances of infants and young children.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 96 | Thematic area: Early Childhood | Tags: breastfeeding, child nutrition, early childhood development, historical analysis | Publisher: Istituto degli Innocenti, Florence; UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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