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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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Reimagining Migration Responses in Somaliland and Puntland: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report
Reimagining Migration Responses in Somaliland and Puntland: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Migration is a regular feature of life in the Horn of Africa. It takes multiple forms and is driven by numerous factors, including personal aspirations, economic exclusion and forced displacement as a consequence of inter-ethnic communal violence or natural disasters.

As part of a regional research series and based specifically on 418 quantitative interviews carried out in 2019, with children and young people in Somaliland and Puntland, this report provides a deeper understanding of their perceptions and feelings around safety, well-being and their protective environments. It also provides a snapshot of their access to services and resources, and their trust in authorities and other service providers.

The report concludes by offering policy and programme recommendations that can help rethink child protection approaches for migrant children and young people.


Reimagining Migration Responses in Sudan: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report
Reimagining Migration Responses in Sudan: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Migration is a regular feature of life in Sudan and the broader region. It takes multiple forms and is driven by numerous factors, including personal aspirations, curiosity, problems accessing a livelihood in the context of poverty and economic exclusion, and forced displacement stemming from political persecution, armed conflict, or natural disasters.

Children and young people make up a significant portion of the upwards of 3 million migrants in Sudan. Yet there is limited understanding of the ways in which children and young people view migration, or of the opportunities and risks that it poses for them.

As part of a regional research series, 467 quantitative interviews were conducted with children and young people in Sudan. The data from these interviews provide insights from children and young people themselves. Building on the findings, the research suggests a number of principles and concrete actions to create a more protective environment for children and young people on their migration journeys.


Reimagining Migration Responses in Ethiopia: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report.
Reimagining Migration Responses in Ethiopia: Learning from migrant children and young people’s experiences. Summary Report.
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
Migration is a regular feature of life in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region. It takes multiple forms and is driven by numerous factors, including personal aspirations, economic exclusion and forced displacement as a consequence of inter-ethnic communal violence or natural disasters. 

As part of a regional research series and based specifically on interviews carried out in 2019 with 405 migrant children and young people in Ethiopia, this report provides a deeper understanding of their perceptions and feelings around safety, well-being and their protective environments. It also provides a snapshot of their access to services and resources, and their trust in authorities and other service providers in Ethiopia. 

The report concludes by offering policy and programme recommendations that can help rethink child protection approaches for migrant children and young people in Ethiopia.
Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa
Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

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.

The Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children: Migration
The Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children: Migration
Published: 2020 Miscellanea

36.1 million children were international migrants in 2018 alone, often forced to move for a range of reasons, with or without families. Children who are migrating, especially if unaccompanied, face increased risk of being subjected to violence, including sexual violence, exploitation, and human trafficking. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by limited access to safe migration pathways, services, and justice. When they reach a destination country, they may encounter other difficulties, such as discrimination and limited access to basic services, making them extremely vulnerable to sale and sexual exploitation.

Migrant children face harsh realities that are characterized by multiple intersecting and overlapping issues. Even though they may show resilience and agency in dealing with difficult circumstances, the emotional, mental, and physical toll of uncertain and often arduous journeys may undermine their ability to protect themselves, making them even more vulnerable to violence, abuse, and exploitation.

Children left behind when families, especially one or both parents, migrate also face additional (and often hidden) vulnerabilities, and need to be included in research, policies and actions.

While various Conventions, Protocols, and Compacts offer some protection to migrant children, more needs to be done, including: an integrated approach to complex vulnerabilities; improved access to information and education for children; risk mitigation through awareness campaigns and prevention mechanisms; adequate access to resources; and expanding national child protection measures to include children on the move and those left behind in the context of migration and displacement.

For every child answers: 30 years of research for children at UNICEF Innocenti
For every child answers: 30 years of research for children at UNICEF Innocenti
Published: 2019 Miscellanea
The 30 narratives in this publication showcase the range and depth of the work UNICEF Innocenti has undertaken over three decades of existence. In everything we do, our overarching objective is to seek answers to the most pressing challenges for children, and to make the Convention of the Rights of the Child a living reality for every child.
Towards a Child Rights-based Assessment Tool to Evaluate National Responses to Migrant and Refugee Children
Towards a Child Rights-based Assessment Tool to Evaluate National Responses to Migrant and Refugee Children

AUTHOR(S)
Kevin Byrne

Published: 2018 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper examines a range of tools, guidelines and formats available to monitor and evaluate various aspects of national responses to migrant children and argues for the need to integrate them into a single coherent, child focused, rights-based framework. Their current disparate application leaves gaps in the child’s protective environment and is not consistent with a holistic, child rights-based approach. Building on an analytical framework adopted by the Council of Europe in March 2018 to support a child-rights based approach by local and regional authorities to migrant and asylum-seeking children, the paper puts forward for consideration an integrated evaluation framework that incorporates and links existing practice models in order to ensure quality child-centred monitoring at each and every stage of the migration process.
Migration and Inequality: Making policies inclusive for every child
Migration and Inequality: Making policies inclusive for every child
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
Drawing on Europe’s experience, this brief provides a cross-country comparative overview of inequality affecting children in the migration pathway, who are often described as 'children on the move'. Following a brief overview of the policy and practice in relation to various categories of refugee and migration children in Europe, it reflects on the performance of the countries with regard to Target 10.7 of the SDG.
Not Refugee Children, Not Migrant Children, But Children First: Lack of a systematic and integrated approach
Not Refugee Children, Not Migrant Children, But Children First: Lack of a systematic and integrated approach
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs
This brief takes a deep dive in the semantics and conceptual issues in the children and migration discourse, and highlights some of the key implementation gaps. It offers a summary of the risks, vulnerabilities and protection needs of children as refugees and migration in Europe. Using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the normative frameworks, this brief also emphasizes how the voices of children in migration pathway must be heard and respected.
Strengthening Child Protection Systems for Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Mozambique: A case study of the border town of Ressano Garcia
Strengthening Child Protection Systems for Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Mozambique: A case study of the border town of Ressano Garcia

AUTHOR(S)
Andrea Verdasco

Published: 2013 Innocenti Working Papers
This research sets out to understand the why, how and with whom of rural-urban internal migration of children to the Mozambique border town of Ressano Garcia. In doing so, it aims to address the overarching research question of how to strengthen child protection systems for unaccompanied migrant children. Research took place at the border town of Ressano Garcia and in the Mozambican capital city of Maputo, between July and September 2012. Following a thorough analysis of the qualitative data, engaging with the current debate on migration and child protection issues, this paper critically assesses the current interconnected ‘protective actors’ and protection mechanisms and provides recommendations. Under a qualitative child participatory approach, children and their views are placed at the centre of the research. Research participants also include protective actors that are the cornerstone of child protection mechanisms, including: civil society organizations (CSOs) in both Ressano Garcia and Maputo, and government officials at local, district, provincial and central level, thus allowing for a triangulation of sources.
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.
Review of the Circumstances among Children in Iimmigrant Families in Australia
Review of the Circumstances among Children in Iimmigrant Families in Australia
Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
Special Series on the Situation of Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

There were about 1.5 million children 0 to 17 years of age in immigrant families in Australia in 2001. This represented almost 33 per cent of all children. More than a quarter of these children were in families from the most consistent countries of immigrant origin, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Another 17 per cent were in families from other parts of Europe, while 10 per cent were in families from New Zealand, and 3 per cent were in families from other countries in Oceania.
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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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