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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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A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries
A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries
Published: 2018 Innocenti Working Papers

There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV); however, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries. Fourteen quantitative and nine qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and six respectively demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: 1) Economic security and emotional wellbeing, 2) intra-household conflict, and 3) women’s empowerment. The economic security and wellbeing pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioural responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts.

Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental Evidence from East and Southern Africa
Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental Evidence from East and Southern Africa
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Sexual violence against women and girls is widespread globally. In their lifetime, one in three women will experience intimate partner physical or sexual violence and 7 per cent will experience forced sex by someone other than an intimate partner. This study finds protective effects of educational attainment against lifetime experience of sexual violence among women in Uganda, but not in Malawi. Further, in our pathway analyses, we find large impacts on delaying marriage in both countries. These results suggest that policies aimed at increasing educational attainment among girls may have broad-ranging long-term benefits.

Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam
Experiences of Peer Bullying among Adolescents and Associated Effects on Young Adult Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam
Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Being bullied has been found to have a significant impact on children’s physical and mental health, psychosocial well-being and educational performance, with lasting effects into adulthood on health, well-being and lifetime earnings. Little is known about bullying in low- and middle-income countries, however. This study uses a mixed methods approach combining survey analysis of the predictors and associations with being bullied, with qualitative data to explore the context in which bullying occurs and the social processes that underpin it. Findings show that better data collection and increased resource allocation to bullying prevention are needed. The development and evaluation of different types of effective, sustainable and scalable bullying prevention models in low- and middle-income country contexts are priorities for programming and research.

Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India: Evidence from Young Lives
Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India: Evidence from Young Lives
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper explores children’s accounts of violence in Andhra Pradesh, India, and the ways in which factors at the individual, family, community, institutional and society levels affect children’s experiences of violence. The paper analyses cross-sectional survey data and case studies from longitudinal qualitative data gathered over a seven-year period, from Young Lives. The paper is divided into four sections – a brief background section, study design and methods, findings from the survey, and findings from case studies. Large proportions of children experience violence (mostly physical punishment and emotional abuse) within their families, at school and, to some extent, within their communities. The findings demonstrate how children’s experiences of violence change with age and that gender differences within this dynamic process are very distinct. The paper reveals that a child’s disapproval of violence does not necessarily influence behaviour in later life, confirming the need for interventions to prevent and tackle violence as children grow up.
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Le dinamiche del cambiamento sociale: verso l'abbandono dell'escissione/mutilazione dei genitali femminili in cinque paesi africani
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
La pratica dell'E/MGF è a tutti gli effetti un atto di violenza, anche quando non è intesa come tale; è una manifestazione di disuguaglianze di genere profondamente radicate e ha natura discriminatoria. Essa si fonda su concezioni culturali della differenza di genere, della sessualità, del matrimonio e della famiglia che influenzano il modo in cui viene percepita e tollerata in contesti diversi. Nonostante le notevoli differenze riscontrate tra i cinque paesi analizzati come pure al loro interno, le esperienze confermano che, nelle comunità in cui viene perpetrata, l’E/MGF è vista come un passo necessario per crescere e proteggere una bambina e, spesso, per renderla adatta al matrimonio. L’escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile opera come una convenzione e una norma sociale perpetuata dalle aspettative reciproche all’interno di queste comunità.
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five African countries
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
This Innocenti Insight examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and the Sudan - and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented in this Innocenti Insight provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. This publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
La dynamique du changement social: vers l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale fémine dans cinq pays africains
Published: 2010 Innocenti Insights
Après avoir procédé à l’analyse de la dynamique sociale qui sous-tend l’éradication de l’excision et mutilation génitale féminine (E/MGF) dans cinq pays - l’Égypte, l’Éthiopie, le Kenya, le Sénégal et le Soudan - cet Innocenti Insight se propose de promouvoir l’élaboration de mesures politiques et de programmes de lutte contre ces coutumes. Les expériences menées dans ces cinq pays et rapportées dans cet Innocenti Insight apportent la preuve qu’il est possible de mettre fin à l’E/MGF si les programmes et les politiques s’intéressent à la dynamique sociale complexe associée à ces pratiques et remettent en question les relations hommes/femmes, les stéréotypes et les préjugés existants. Dans ses conclusions, la publication propose des réflexions sur les derniers obstacles à l’abandon de l’E/MGF et formule des recommandations pour les futurs programmes de recherche et d’intervention.
Piattaforma d'azione. Verso l'abbandono della escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile (E/MGF)
Piattaforma d'azione. Verso l'abbandono della escissione/mutilazione genitale femminile (E/MGF)
Published: 2010 Innocenti Publications
L’UNICEF ha stimato che, in un arco temporale di 10 anni, con un costo annuale di circa 24 milioni di dollari, i programmi rivolti alle comunità locali potranno portare a riduzioni sostanziali nella pratica della E/MGF in 16 paesi dell’Africa subsahariana, dove la prevalenza attuale raggiunge livelli elevati o medi. La Piattaforma d’azione sintetizza gli elementi principali di un approccio programmatico comune per promuovere l’abbandono di tale pratica e per suscitare un drastico cambiamento nella vita di donne e bambine in tutto il mondo.
Plate-forme d'action pour l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale féminine (E/MGF)
Plate-forme d'action pour l'abandon de l'excision/mutilation génitale féminine (E/MGF)
Published: 2009 Innocenti Publications
L’UNICEF a estimé que des programmes visant à sensibiliser les communautés, pour un coût de 24 millions de dollars des États-Unis par an sur une période de 10 ans, peuvent conduire à une réduction importante de la prévalence de l’E/MGF dans 16 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne à taux de prévalence moyen ou élevé. Cette plate-forme d’action en résume les éléments constitutifs un consensus sur une approche programmatique commune pour appuyer l’abandon de cette pratique et changer substantiellement la vie des filles et des femmes à travers le monde.
Platform for Action. Towards the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)
Platform for Action. Towards the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)
Published: 2008 Innocenti Publications
UNICEF has estimated that community oriented programmes costing about US$24 million each year over the next 10 years can lead to major reductions in the prevalence of FGM/C in 16 sub-Saharan African countries with high or medium prevalence. This Platform for Action summarizes the elements of a a common programmatic approach to support the abandonment of the practice and make a major difference for girls and women worldwide.
Platform for Action. Towards the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) (Arabic)
Platform for Action. Towards the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) (Arabic)
Published: 2008 Innocenti Publications
UNICEF has estimated that community oriented programmes costing about US$24 million each year over the next 10 years can lead to major reductions in the prevalence of FGM/C in 16 sub-Saharan African countries with high or medium prevalence. This Platform for Action summarizes the elements of a a common programmatic approach to support the abandonment of the practice and make a major difference for girls and women worldwide.
Toward a Common Framework for the Abandonment of FGM/C
Toward a Common Framework for the Abandonment of FGM/C
Published: 2007 Innocenti Publications
UNICEF has estimated that community-oriented programmes costing about US$24 million each year over the next 10 years can lead to major reductions in the prevalence of FGM/C in 126 sub-Saharan African countries with high or medium prevalence. This 'Platform for Action' summarizes the elements of a common programmatic approach to support the abandonment of the practice and make a difference for girls and women worldwide. The Donors Working Group on FGM/C has, since 2001, brought together key governmental and intergovernmental organizations and foundations committed to supporting the abandonment of FGM/C.
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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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