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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT

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

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. 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.
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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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Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Undermining Learning: Multi-Country Longitudinal Evidence on Corporal Punishment in Schools
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Although it is often legally prohibited, the use of physical violence for discipline is a well-established norm in many communities, both at home and at school. Corporal punishment is often part of a wider problem of violence in schools, which includes other forms of humiliating punishment from teachers, peer bullying and gender-based violence. Violence in schools, including physical and verbal abuse by teachers and peers, is the foremost reason children aged 8 give for disliking school.

Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Entraver l’apprentissage : Preuves longitudinales multinationales sur les châtiments corporels dans les écoles
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Bien qu’elle soit souvent légalement interdite, l’utilisation de la violence physique pour faire régner la discipline est une norme bien établie dans de nombreuses communautés, tant à la maison qu’à l’école. Les châtiments corporels font souvent partie d’un problème plus large de violence scolaire, qui comprend d’autres formes de châtiments humiliants infligés par les enseignants, le harcèlement entre condisciples et la violence sexuelle. La violence à l’école, y compris la violence physique et verbale des enseignants et des pairs, constitue la principale raison pour laquelle les enfants âgés de 8 ans n’aiment pas l’école.

Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Debilitamiento de la educación: evidencia longitudinal multinacional sobre el castigo corporal en las escuelas
Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

Aunque a menudo está legalmente prohibido, el uso de la violencia física para inculcar la disciplina es una norma sólidamente establecida en muchas comunidades, tanto en el hogar como en la escuela. A menudo el castigo corporal forma parte de un problema general de violencia en las escuelas, que incluye otras formas de castigos humillantes por parte de los profesores, acoso escolar y violencia por razón de género. La violencia en las escuelas, incluyendo los abusos verbales y físicos por parte de profesores y compañeros, es el motivo principal por el que los niños de 8 años manifiestan no querer asistir a la escuela.

Children and Research at Innocenti: 25 Years of UNICEF Commitment
Children and Research at Innocenti: 25 Years of UNICEF Commitment
Published: 2015 Innocenti Publications
The UNICEF research programmes at Innocenti were established in 1989 with funding from the Government of Italy, a contribution and commitment that continues today. Two broad areas of research were established early on: the impact of socio-economic change on children, and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which had recently come into force. The Centre’s most significant contributions to date have continued to be in these fields, but programmes, projects and plans have grown, developed, evolved and been re-dimensioned over the 25 years of the Centre’s existence, according to global needs and resources. This publication offers a brief history of both the Florentine Ospedale where the UNICEF Office of Research is house and with contributions from former directors and staff members, an overview of successes, opportunities and a look towards the future.
Governance and the Rights of Children: Policy, implementation and monitoring
Governance and the Rights of Children: Policy, implementation and monitoring

AUTHOR(S)
B. Guy Peters

Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Ensuring the proper functioning of public institutions is integral to good governance, yet ensuring and monitoring the requirements of human rights instruments is difficult and measurement of children’s rights even more so. This paper explores some of the factors which impede and promote public sector responsibilities towards children. The purpose of this analysis is to seek methods of assessing the performance of governments in their roles as protectors of the rights of children according to their international commitments. The multiplicity of actors involved in the process is described and the related problems for cooperation and effective implementation considered.
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses. Technical report
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Child Trafficking in the Nordic Countries: Rethinking strategies and national responses
Published: 2012 Innocenti Insights
The study was initiated with twin aims: improving understanding of child trafficking and responses in the region; and contributing to the international discourse on child trafficking by examining the linkages between anti-trafficking responses and child protection systems. Although the study was conceived with a primary focus on trafficking, its scope is much broader. It analyses how the general principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are applied in relation to those children vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The study confirms that the Nordic countries have indeed made significant − and continuously evolving − attempts to address the issue of child trafficking, including through setting up relevant institutions, developing action plans and allocating budgets. However, while this has meant that specialized expertise is available for specific groups of children, it has sometimes also led to fragmentation of services, leaving some children unprotected. The research also finds that many existing gaps may be bridged by consistent and strengthened implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the study highlights that there is a way to achieve a fuller realization of rights for children who are vulnerable.
Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children
Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children

AUTHOR(S)
Jaap Doek

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
This working paper addresses the role, contribution and impact of independent human rights institutions for children (IHRICs), also referred to as children’s ombudspersons or children’s commissioners. It looks at these institutions from the perspective and jurisprudence of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) and the global perspective on the perception of the child and childhood resulting from contributions of these institutions to the process of implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Les institutions independantes des droits de l'homme pour les enfants en Afrique francophone : la situation au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Sénégal
Les institutions independantes des droits de l'homme pour les enfants en Afrique francophone : la situation au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Sénégal
Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
Tous les Etats francophones de l’Afrique de l’Ouest sont parties à la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant (CDE) ainsi qu’à la Charte africaine des droits et du bien-être de l’enfant (CADBE) et ont donc l’obligation de les mettre en œuvre, en particulier en suivant les indications des organes chargés du contrôle de leur application. Le Comité des droits de l’enfant a identifié les mesures générales essentielles à la mise en œuvre de la CDE. Parmi elles, figure l’établissement d’institutions indépendantes de défense des droits de l’enfant. Ces institutions ont généralement pour mandat de contrôler les activités de divers acteurs – publics et privés – au regard des droits des enfants, de promouvoir les droits des enfants en émettant des recommandations et en éduquant le public, et d’examiner des plaintes individuelles concernant des violations de ces droits. Le présent document fait l’état des avancées pour l’établissement d’institutions indépendantes de défense des droits de l’enfant à la lumière des standards internationaux et africains, en particulier au Burkina Faso, Mali et Sénégal.
Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children and the Committee on the Rights of the Child Reporting Process
Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children and the Committee on the Rights of the Child Reporting Process

AUTHOR(S)
Rébecca Steward

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has been one of the main instigators for the development of independent human rights institutions for the promotion and protection of children’s rights. Relying on article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it adopted a general comment on this issue in 2002, and now consistently encourages State parties to establish or strengthen such institutions in its concluding observations. Efforts have been made recently with human rights treaty bodies to enhance the involvement of independent institutions at each stage of the reporting process. For independent institutions specifically in charge of monitoring children’s rights, this implies an important contribution to the work of the Committee. Their status of independence from their government in the reporting process has been emphasized and some institutions submit a separate report to the Committee.
Child Participation and Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children in Europe
Child Participation and Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children in Europe

AUTHOR(S)
Rébecca Steward

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
Child participation is closely linked and interdependent with civil and political rights and with the fundamental perceived concepts of childhood, evolving capacity and autonomy. The right of children to express their views freely and to have them taken into account is both a substantive right and a general principle relevant to all aspects of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The degree of children’s participation within a society and the ways of involving children and adolescents in all matters affecting them depend on various factors, including the perceptions of childhood and adults’ views about children’s capacity to participate. Independent human rights institutions for children promote, protect and monitor progress in the realization of children’s rights.
The Establishment Process for a Separate Child Ombudsman in Turkey: A case study
The Establishment Process for a Separate Child Ombudsman in Turkey: A case study

AUTHOR(S)
Vanessa Sedletzki

Published: 2011 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper provides an overview and analysis of the initial steps for the establishment process of a separate children’s ombudsman in Turkey. It examines the legal, political and social reasons why an ombudsman for children would be needed in the country. Specifically, it analyses Turkey’s legal framework and international obligations, concluding that lack of implementation of the law and monitoring of children’s rights are the main challenges. Children have disproportionately high rates of poverty, and are often victims of various forms of violence, in particular girls. The political structure of the country is affected by significant tensions, especially with regard to the place of religion in the public sphere. The paper analyses the possible reasons for the stalemate and looks at the text of the law from a child rights perspective.
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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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