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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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Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia
Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Luisa Natali; Fidelia Dake

Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
There is increasing interest in the potential of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood among vulnerable youth in low-income settings. However, little evidence exists that analyses these linkages from at-scale government-run programmes. This brief summarizes the impacts of two government-run large-scale unconditional cash transfers on outcomes of early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia after approximately three years. Results indicate limited impacts on safe transitions for both males and females. However, the programmes were successful in reducing poverty and improving schooling outcomes—two main pathways for safe transitions as reported in the literature. Research implications include the need to study transitions over longer time periods, including tracking of youth as they transition out of study households. If reducing early marriage and pregnancy is among policy makers’ primary priorities, then dedicated programming via cash plus or services specifically targeted at addressing the needs of adolescents and youth should be considered.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 3 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: cash transfers, early marriage, pregnancy, youth
Recueil Innocenti de Recherches sur l'Adolescence
Recueil Innocenti de Recherches sur l'Adolescence
Published: 2017 Miscellanea

Ce bulletin trimestriel présente une synthèse des résultats des recherches les plus récentes  menées au cours des trois derniers mois dans le domaine du bien - être des adolescents. Cette édition inclut des recherches intéressantes, des ressources, des nouvelles et des évènements qui s’occupent sous plusieurs perspectives des questions liées au genre.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 14 | Thematic area: Adolescents | Tags: adolescent health, adolescents, early marriage
Resumen Innocenti de Investigación sobre la Adolescencia No. 08
Resumen Innocenti de Investigación sobre la Adolescencia No. 08
Published: 2017 Miscellanea

Este boletín trimestral resume los hallazgos más relevantes de la investigación sobre el bienestar de los adolescentes durante los tres últimos meses.  La presente edición incluye información sobre investigación concluyente, recursos, noticias y eventos sobre el tema del género bajo múltiples enfoques.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 12 | Thematic area: Adolescents | Tags: adolescent health, adolescents, early marriage
Ethiopia: Social dynamics of abandonment of harmful practices. Experiences in four locations
Ethiopia: Social dynamics of abandonment of harmful practices. Experiences in four locations

AUTHOR(S)
Haile Gabriel Dagne

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is still a widespread practice in Ethiopia, although important declines in prevalence rates can be observed in some areas of the country. Attitudes towards the practice have drastically changed, evidenced by the fact that overall support for FGM/C has declined and younger mothers are less likely than older mothers to have their daughters cut. This paper provides an analysis of the social dynamics of change in four geographic locations with different ethnic populations in Ethiopia, where interventions were undertaken to support the abandonment of FGM/C and other harmful practices. Each experience used community conversation and dialogue as a tool to promote the abandonment process, although their overall strategies and impact differed. The four experiences together provide a greater understanding of the process of change within communities and the role played by key actors within and outside the community. The study demonstrates that by addressing FGM/C within a human rights context, community members are able to consider not cutting as a possible alternative to the existing convention of cutting. The human rights perspective also encourages reflection on gender roles, generating interest and dialogue about other social practices that harm women and girls, such as marriage by abduction and early marriage.
Sudan: An in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of abandonment of FGM/C
Sudan: An in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of abandonment of FGM/C

AUTHOR(S)
Samira Ahmed; S. Al Hebshi; B. V. Nylund

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices

This paper examines the experience of Sudan by analysing the factors that promote and support the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful social practices. FGM/C is still widely practiced in all regions of northern Sudan but today actors are mobilizing across the country to end the practice. This paper analyses programmes that support ending FGM/C in Sudan and highlights the key factors that promote collective abandonment of the practice, including the roles of community dialogue, human rights deliberation, community-led activities, and the powerful force of local rewards and punishment. The Sudan experience demonstrates that social norms can change when a new understanding and appreciation of communities’ traditions and values is introduced. At policy level, the paper describes the adoption of laws and policies that prohibit or criminalize all forms of FGM/C and the introduction of integrated communication campaigns that have mobilized multiple actors to adopt and voice a consistent and clear stance against FGM/C.
Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices: A new look at the theory
Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices: A new look at the theory

AUTHOR(S)
Gerry Mackie

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices

The essay refines the application of the social convention theory to the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). The theory compares footbinding in China to FGM/C in Africa, explains each practice in terms of simple game theory, and recommends that the methods used to end footbinding be adapted to end FGM/C. It hypothesizes that each practice originated in highly stratified ancient empires, and became an ongoing requirement of marriageability, general and persistent within the intramarrying community because no one family can give it up on its own.
A Study on Violence against Girls: Report on the International Girl Child Conference March 9-10, The Hague
A Study on Violence against Girls: Report on the International Girl Child Conference March 9-10, The Hague
Published: 2009 Innocenti Publications
This publication was jointly developed by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) and the Government of the Netherlands. It includes a background document prepared by IRC and summarizes the discussions and outcomes of the International Conference on Violence against the Girl Child held in The Hague from 9-10 March 2009. The conference addressed gaps in knowledge, research and responses to violence against girls in the home and family, and was a follow-up to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.
Early Marriage: Child Spouses
Early Marriage: Child Spouses
Published: 2001 Innocenti Digest
This Digest focuses on early marriage - the marriage of children and young people under the age of 18 - from a human rights perspective. Research into early marriage has tended to concentrate on its impact on reproductive health, school drop-out and rising population figures, and there has been little examination of the practice as a human rights violation in itself. The Digest examines the scale of early marriage, its context, causes and its impact on every aspect of the lives of those affected - particularly young girls - and on wider society. It outlines strategies to help those who have been married at an early age, and for the prevention of early marriage through education, advocacy and alliance-building. The Digest concludes with a call for more rights-based research on an issue that has far-reaching consequences.
Matrimonios prematuros
Matrimonios prematuros
Published: 2001 Innocenti Digest
Este número del Innocenti Digest se ocupa de los matrimonios prematuros, es decir de los matrimonios de niños y jóvenes menores de 18 años, desde un punto de vista que se basa en el respeto de los derechos humanos. Las investigaciones llevadas a cabo hasta el momento han tendido a concentrarse solamente en ciertos puntos específicos del impacto de los matrimonios prematuros, como los efectos que tienen en la salud reproductiva y en el abandono de la escuela. Se ha prestado poca atención al enfoque que considera dicha práctica de por sí como una violación de los derechos del niño. El presente Digest analiza las dimensiones del fenómeno, su contexto, sus causas y las consecuencias que tiene en todos los aspectos de la vida de las personas afectadas (especialmente en el caso de las niñas pequeñas) y en la sociedad en general. Traza un perfil de las estrategias a seguir para ayudar a quienes se han tenido que casar a edad temprana y para prevenir los matrimonios prematuros mediante la educación, la sensibilización y la construcción de alianzas. El Digest se concluye con una invitación a realizar, desde una perspectiva basada en el respeto de los derechos humanos, más investigaciones sobre la cuestión, que tiene consecuencias de vasta repercusión.
Le mariage précoce
Le mariage précoce
Published: 2001 Innocenti Digest
Ce Digest se penche sur le mariage précoce - le mariage d’enfants et d’adolescents de moins de 18 ans - dans une perspective de droits humains. Les recherches sur le mariage précoce n’ont le plus souvent considéré que certains aspects spécifiques de l’impact du phénomène, comme ses répercussions sur la santé génésique ou l’abandon scolaire, et non sa portée en tant que violation des droits de l’enfant en soi. Le Digest examine l’étendue du mariage précoce, son contexte, ses causes, et ses conséquences sur tous les aspects de la vie de ceux qui le subissent - des filles en particulier - ainsi que sur la société dans son ensemble. Il définit des lignes de conduite pour aider ceux qui ont été mariés trop tôt, et pour prévenir le mariage précoce à travers l’éducation, l’engagement, et l’établissement d’alliances. Il conclut en appelant à une recherche qui tienne beaucoup plus compte de la perspective des droits sur une question qui a de vastes retombées.
Il Matrimonio Precoce
Il Matrimonio Precoce
Published: 2001 Innocenti Digest
Questo numero di Innocenti Digest affronta il tema del matrimonio precoce, la pratica di far sposare bambini ed adolescenti al di sotto dei 18 anni d'età, e ne analizza gli aspetti relativi ai diritti umani. In genere, la ricerca sul matrimonio precoce ha concentrato l'attenzione sulla salute riproduttiva, sull'abbandono scolastico e sulla crescita demografica. La pratica non è stata sufficientemente presa in esame dal punto di vista delle violazioni dei diritti umani dei minori. Il Digest esamina la portata del problema, il contesto in cui si manifesta, le sue cause e le ripercussioni su tutti gli aspetti della vita di coloro che ne sono coinvolti, in particolare le ragazze adolescenti, nonché sull'intera società. Il Digest propone anche alcune strategie per aiutare coloro che sono stati fatti sposare ad un'età troppo giovane, e per prevenire il matrimonio precoce attraverso l'istruzione, la promozione di una cultura di rispetto dei diritti e la costituzione di alleanze. Il Digest si conclude con la raccomandazione di tenere maggiormente conto dell'aspetto dei diritti nella ricerca su di un problema con effetti tanto profondi.
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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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