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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.

Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition in Zambia
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition in Zambia
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
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
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
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
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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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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