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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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Principles and Practicalities in Measuring Child Poverty for the Rich Countries
Principles and Practicalities in Measuring Child Poverty for the Rich Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Miles Corak

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper has three objectives. The first is to discuss the major issues involved in defining and measuring child poverty. The choices that must be made are clarified and a set of six principles to serve as a guide for public policy is proposed. The second objective is to take stock of child poverty and changes in child poverty in the majority of OECD countries since about 1990 when the Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force. Finally, the third objective is to formulate a number of suggestions for setting credible targets for the elimination of child poverty in the rich countries. This involves the development of appropriate and timely information sources as well as the clarification of feasible targets that may vary across the OECD.
The Rhetoric of International Development Targets and the Reality of Official Development Assistance
The Rhetoric of International Development Targets and the Reality of Official Development Assistance

AUTHOR(S)
Santosh Mehrotra

Published: 2001 Innocenti Working Papers
Within the last decade governments of donors and developing countries have committed themselves to achieving a number of International Development Targets (IDTs) to be reached by 2015. These include halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and ensuring universal primary education. While the bulk of the resources for this task will come from the national budgets of developing countries, without additional official development assistance (ODA) the task is daunting for most of the low-income countries. This paper examines the extent to which poverty alleviation through support for basic social services has become part of the official development assistance strategy of donors. It finds an alarming gap between the rethoric of poverty reduction on the one hand, and the feature of ODA, especially to basic services, on the other.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 62 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: basic services, development aid, economic development, poverty alleviation, poverty reduction | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
From Security to Uncertainty: The impact of economic change on child welfare in central Asia
From Security to Uncertainty: The impact of economic change on child welfare in central Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Jane Falkingham

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper discusses the possible pathways between macroeconomic change and child welfare and develops a typology of the risks that children may face at different stages of the lifecycle. Adopting a multi-dimensional view of child well-being, trends in both economic measures of poverty, based on incomes and expenditures, and in selected capability-based indicators are then examined. The indicators selected reflect the health and survival, education and personal development of children and their social inclusion/exclusion. Not all the news is bad but the data show that the human cost of economic transition has been high and children, far from being protected from its impact, have been amongst those who have suffered the most.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 42 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child education, child survival and development, child welfare, economic development, poverty reduction | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?
How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?
Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
The Labour Government elected in 1997 in Britain made the reduction of child poverty one of its central objectives. This paper describes the specific initiatives involved in Labour’s approach and weighs them up in terms of their potential impact. After setting out the extent of the problem of child poverty, the causes are discussed and Britain's problem is set in international perspective. The impact on child poverty of policies designed to raise incomes directly is analysed using micro-simulation modelling. A major emphasis of the policy was the promotion of paid work, and the potential for poverty reduction of increasing the employment of parents is explored.
Child Poverty across Industrialized Nations
While child poverty is everywhere seen as an important social problem, there is considerable variation in both anti-poverty policies and poverty outcomes across the industrialized nations. In this paper we present new estimates of patterns of child income poverty in 25 nations using data from the Luxembourg Income Study. These estimates are presented using a range of alternative income poverty definitions and describe the correlations of outcomes with different demographic patterns and labour market and social transfer incomes. Evidence on cross-national patterns of non-cash income receipt suggests that more comprehensive measures, which include non-cash benefits, would be unlikely to change the overall pattern of poverty. We then examine the impact of household savings patterns (particularly via house purchase) on child consumption and conclude that this also does not change the picture provided by income measures alone. The paper concludes with an analysis of the sources of the variation in child poverty across nations.
Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Alleviation and Long-term Development: Latin America in the 1990s
Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Alleviation and Long-term Development: Latin America in the 1990s
This Innocenti Occasional Paper examines the social and economic dynamics of poverty in Latin America from the late 1970s onward. The author’s analysis shows clearly the forces at work behind the observed changes in the nature and extent of poverty in the region. He goes on to outline a number of economic and programmatic policy proposals that could help halt the march of mass pauperisation.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 60 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: economic development, poverty, poverty reduction | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Poverty Measurement in Central and Eastern Europe before the Transition to the Market Economy
Poverty Measurement in Central and Eastern Europe before the Transition to the Market Economy

AUTHOR(S)
Sandor Sipos

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 68 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic transition, measurement, poverty reduction | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Causes and Consequences of Child Poverty in the United States
Causes and Consequences of Child Poverty in the United States
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 58 | Thematic area: Industrialized Countries | Tags: child poverty, economic policy, poverty reduction | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Innocenti Social Monitor 2006: Understanding Child Poverty in South-Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russian Version)
Innocenti Social Monitor 2006: Understanding Child Poverty in South-Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russian Version)
This is a study of child poverty in a fast-changing region. Since 1998 almost all countries of the South-Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States region have shown signs of economic recovery. The numbers of people living in income poverty has fallen, living standards have generally improved and opportunities for many children in the region have expanded. This signals a turning point in the dramatic decline in social and economic conditions experienced by most children in the region in the early 1990s. Yet there is a serious risk that a part of the new generations of children born since the start of the transition is being left behind. The study shows that not all children are benefiting from the economic growth and that Governments in the region need to give higher policy priority to tackling disadvantage and deprivation endured by children. Pursuing a child rights perspective, the study set outs to measure and understand better the nature and scale of child poverty, as distinct from adult poverty; it highlights the large disparities in child well-being which have emerged in this period of economic expansion, between countries, between regions within countries, and between families; it points to ways in which governments in the region could more effectively address marginalisation and disparities among children. The Innocenti Social Monitor 2006 provides practical examples of ways in which children can be given distinct attention and visibility in the analysis of poverty and in policy priorities, while also stressing that data collection has to be improved and made more accessible in order to allow the impact of policies on children to be effectively assessed and addressed.
Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia
Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia
In sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region in the world, the number of cash transfer programmes has doubled in the last five years and reaches close to 50 million people. What is the impact of these programmes, and do they offer a sustained pathway out of ultra-poverty? In this paper we examine these questions using experimental data from two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Government of Zambia. We find far-reaching effects of these two programmes, not just on their primary objective, food security and consumption, but also on a range of productive and economic outcomes. After three years, we observe that household spending is 59 per cent larger than the value of the transfer received, implying a sizeable multiplier effect. These multipliers work through increased non-farm business activity and agricultural production.
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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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