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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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Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region
Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept over the world from early 2020 has triggered both health and economic shocks of unprecedented proportions in recent memory. Some estimates suggest that the consequences of these shocks will likely erase most of the progress made in global development over the past two decades. Many countries now risk falling further behind the attainment of national and international development goals, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these shocks due to their persistent higher levels of vulnerability, and the reality that school closures and other COVID-19 containment measures can be more damaging to children. 

This report examines the effect of previous economic crises on children’s well-being in UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Region (WCAR) and makes projections regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19-induced economic crises on priority indicators for the region. 
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.

High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline.

This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children. 
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
Discussions around the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts and costs are moving swiftly from health concerns to economic and social concerns. The ways in which countries are dealing with COVID-19 itself, through social lockdowns and school closures, are expected to have wide-ranging social and economic costs and governments have responded with rapid implementation of fiscal stimulus and social protection reforms.

COVID-19 is a global health crisis, with severe economic consequences, impacting countries and continents in waves, and therefore is – with the exception of the Spanish Flu in 1918 – without a recent comparator. Necessarily this means that experience with, and evidence for, dealing with such a crisis is limited.

Acknowledging that health, economic, and social crises can rapidly become a crisis for children, this paper seeks to contribute evidence to understanding what the crisis means for children and for families with children in the countries of Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In particular, what governments and stakeholders should be looking for when seeking to protect children from the worst outcomes of the crisis. In doing so, this paper asks: Through which mechanisms can COVID-19 affect children in the region? What can we learn from previous crises about the potential effects on children and those who care for children? How is vulnerability to poverty and child well-being likely to be affected? Are initial government responses to the crisis likely to worsen or mitigate risks to children’s well-being? And how might future public policies be optimized in the short and medium term to protect child outcomes?
A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response
A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

This rapid review seeks to inform the initial and long-term public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, by assessing evidence on past economic policy and social protection responses to health and economic crises and their effects on children and families. The review focuses on virus outbreaks/emergencies, economic crises and natural disasters, which, like the COVID-19 pandemic, were 'rapid' in onset, had wide-ranging geographical reach, and resulted in disruption of social services and economic sectors, without affecting governance systems. Evidence is also drawn from the HIV/AIDS pandemic, due to its impacts on adult mortality rates and surviving children.

The available evidence on the effects of economic policy and social protection responses is uneven across outcomes, regions, and type of policy response as a large body of literature focused on social assistance programmes. Future research on the COVID-19 pandemic can prioritize the voices of children and the marginalized, assess the effects of expansionary and austerity measures,  examine the role of design and implementation, social care services, pre-existing macro-level health, demographic and health conditions and the diverse regional health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The paper also provides key lessons for public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries
Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries
Published: 2017 Miscellanea
The 2008 financial crisis triggered the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Many OECD countries responded to the crisis by reducing social spending. Through 11 diverse country case studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States), this volume describes the evolution of child poverty and material well-being during the crisis, and links these outcomes with the responses by governments. The analysis underlines that countries with fragmented social protection systems were less able to protect the incomes of households with children at the time when unemployment soared. In contrast, countries with more comprehensive social protection cushioned the impact of the crisis on households with children, especially if they had implemented fiscal stimulus packages at the onset of the crisis. Although the macroeconomic 'shock' itself and the starting positions differed greatly across countries, while the responses by governments covered a very wide range of policy levers and varied with their circumstances, cuts in social spending and tax increases often played a major role in the impact that the crisis had on the living standards of families and children.
Significant Changes to Family-related Benefits in Rich Countries during the Great Recession
Significant Changes to Family-related Benefits in Rich Countries during the Great Recession
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
To analyse the effect of the economic crisis and the ensuing fiscal stimulus and/or consolidation measures on children’s living conditions across the OECD and/or the EU, this paper investigates changes in disposable incomes of low-wage households with children since 2008, with a particular focus on family-related benefits. It uses the model family method coupled with tax-benefit simulation techniques for the period 2008-2012. The paper also summarises qualitatively significant changes to family-related benefits, some of which are too recent to have been included in the publicly available tax-benefit simulation models.
Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries
Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries

AUTHOR(S)
Gonzalo Fanjul

Published: 2014 Innocenti Report Card
As the data in this new edition of the Innocenti Report Card series show, in the past five years, rising numbers of children and their families have experienced difficulty in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs. Most importantly, the Great Recession is about to trap a generation of educated and capable youth in a limbo of unmet expectations and lasting vulnerability. League Tables, the flagship tool of the Innocenti Report Card series, rank the change, since the onset of the crisis, in the poverty levels of children and the impact of the recession on youth. The Report also explores the effects of the recession on youth seeking to enter or remain in the labour force in the middle of a recession.
Figli della recessione: L'impatto della crisi economica sul benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Figli della recessione: L'impatto della crisi economica sul benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi

AUTHOR(S)
Gonzalo Fanjul

Published: 2014 Innocenti Report Card
Come dimostrano i dati riportati in questa nuova edizione della Innocenti Report Card, negli ultimi cinque anni è aumentato il numero di bambini e di famiglie che incontrano difficoltà a soddisfare le più fondamentali esigenze materiali ed educative. Cosa ancor più importante, la Grande Recessione sta per intrappolare una generazione di giovani istruiti e capaci in un limbo di aspettative insoddisfatte e di perdurante vulnerabilità. Delle classifiche forniscono una "graduatoria del benessere". Tali classifiche valutano infatti le variazioni, dall'inizio della crisi, dei livelli di povertà dei bambini e l'impatto della recessione sui giovani. Il rapporto esplore inoltre gli effetti della recessione sui giovani che cercano di entrare, o di rimanere, nel mondo del lavoro nel bel mezzo di una recessione.
Les enfants de la récession : Impact de la crise économique sur le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches
Les enfants de la récession : Impact de la crise économique sur le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches

AUTHOR(S)
Gonzalo Fanjul

Published: 2014 Innocenti Report Card
Comme le montrent les données de ce nouveau numéro de la série des Bilans Innocenti, de plus en plus d’enfants et de familles ont eu des difficultés à répondre à leurs besoins matériels et éducatifs les plus essentiels ces cinq dernières années. Plus inquiétant encore, la Grande Récession est sur le point de plonger une génération de jeunes instruits et compétents dans les limbes d’attentes non satisfaites et dans une vulnérabilité durable. Des tableaux de classement indiquent l’évolution du niveau de pauvreté des enfants depuis le début de la crise et l’impact de la récession sur les jeunes. Le rapport étudie également les effets de la récession sur les jeunes qui cherchent à entrer ou à rester sur le marché du travail malgré la récession.
Los niños de la recesión: El impacto de la crisis económica en el bienestar infantil en los países ricos
Los niños de la recesión: El impacto de la crisis económica en el bienestar infantil en los países ricos

AUTHOR(S)
Gonzalo Fanjul

Published: 2014 Innocenti Report Card
Los datos que se exponen en esta nueva edición de la serie Report Card de Innocenti demuestran que, en los últimos cinco años, un número creciente de niños y familias han tenido dificultades para satisfacer sus necesidades materiales y educativas más fundamentales. Lo que es más importante, la Gran Recesión está a punto de atrapar a una generación de jóvenes formados y capaces en un limbo de expectativas insatisfechas y vulnerabilidad duradera. Una serie de tablas clasificatorias reflejan los cambios experimentados desde el inicio de la crisis en el nivel de pobreza de los niños, y la incidencia de la recesión entre los jóvenes. También el informe examina las consecuencias de la recesión para los jóvenes que tratan de introducirse en el mercado laboral o intentan mantenerse en él en plena recesión.
Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis using Gallup World Poll Data
Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis using Gallup World Poll Data
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper explores the use of Gallup World Poll Data to assess the impact of the Great Recession on various dimensions of well-being in 41 OECD and/or EU countries from 2007 up until 2013. It should be read as a complementary background paper to the UNICEF Report Card which explores trends in child well-being in EU/OECD countries since 2007/8. Overall the findings provide clear indications that the crisis has had an impact across a number of self-reported dimensions of well-being. Indeed, a strong correlation between the intensity of the recession and the worsening of people’s perceptions about their own life is recorded since 2007. Data also indicate that the impact has still not peaked in a number of countries where indicators were still deteriorating as late as 2013. A “League Table” is also presented where countries are ranked in terms of change between 2007 and 2013 for four selected Gallup World Poll indicators related material well-being, perceptions of how society treats its children, health and subjective well-being.
Changes in Child Poverty in the OECD/EU during the Great Recession: An initial view
Changes in Child Poverty in the OECD/EU during the Great Recession: An initial view
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Though not a measure of direct child well-being, the strong association between child development and household income makes income poverty a useful indicator of the trajectory of child well-being both in the short- and medium-term. During the period 2008-2012 child poverty rates increased in 23 of the 41 OECD countries for which we have comparable data; in total, approximately 6.6 million children became poor and 4 million left poverty for a net increase of 2.6 million. Five countries at the bottom of our Child Poverty League Table had child poverty increases that were over 10pp. However, due to their relative size and despite only modest increases in child poverty rates, Mexico and the United States are home to over half of the newly poor children during this period with 2 and 1.7 million respectively.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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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