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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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Children in the Bottom of Income Distribution in Europe: Risks and composition
Children in the Bottom of Income Distribution in Europe: Risks and composition
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
In the context of increasing child poverty, deprivation rates and the relative child income gap, and with the most economically vulnerable children hit extensively by the crisis (Chzhen 2014), this paper sets out to understand who are the most disadvantaged children. Analysis of the composition of the children at the bottom end of the income distribution illustrates that households with a lone parent, at least one migrant member, low work intensity, low education, or in large families are overrepresented in the first decile to different degrees in European countries. The analyses also reveal immense differences in living standards for children across Europe. In European countries included in the analyses, at least 1 in 5 children in the poorest decile lives in a deprived household.  A closer look at the different dimensions of deprivation at the child-specific level, reveals what living in the poorest decile means for children’s everyday life.
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Understanding how household consumption, investment and saving decisions respond to transfer income is critical to public policy. In developing countries, saving or otherwise investing in the future is difficult for poor households which often struggle to meet basic expenses, while high debt burdens are also obstacles to saving. Poor households in rural areas of developing countries typically manage risk via informal exchanges or transfers among extended family, friends and neighbours. Motivated by the community dynamics observed in the qualitative assessment of LEAP and the unpredictable and lumpy payments made by the programme during the evaluation period, the main interest of this paper is to assess within a quantitative framework the impact of LEAP on household risk reduction strategies via reintegration in, and strengthening of, social networks and reduction of debt exposure.
Measuring Household Welfare: Short versus long consumption modules
Measuring Household Welfare: Short versus long consumption modules
Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
The literature review mainly focuses on studies from the 1990s on developing countries. Available evidence seems to indicate that short modules underestimate consumption with respect to longer ones resulting in lower levels of recorded consumption and therefore less accurate estimates and higher poverty rates. However, one of the most complete, recent and authoritative studies in the field (Beegle et al., 2010) finds that short modules may actually result in a smaller downward bias compared to the benchmark than other longer consumption modules.
Relative Income Poverty among Children in Rich Countries
Relative Income Poverty among Children in Rich Countries
Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper presents and discusses child relative income poverty statistics for 35 economically advanced countries, representing all the members of the European Union, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United States. As most of the data refer to the year 2008, the results partly reflect the initial impact of the global economic crisis as well as government responses. According to the data, Nordic countries and the Netherlands present the lowest child relative poverty levels, while Japan, the United States, most of the Southern European countries and some of the new EU member states have among the highest. Several factors are associated with the risk of poverty, such as demographic composition, educational level of household members, labour conditions, but the extent to which these factors influence the risk of poverty vary considerably across countries. Lastly, in several countries the role of government is found to be highly important in reducing child poverty.
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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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