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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
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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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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion
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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion

UNICEF Innocenti’s new report – Beyond Masks: Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents – offers a comprehensive picture of the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, and its implications for children and adolescents. The report examines evidence from the current crisis, examines past health crises such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola to provide insights into the current one, and proposes proven and promising solutions.
Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence
Blog Blog

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence

Although much of the world is focused on the “silver lining” that COVID-19 does not appear to severely impact children’s health, UNICEF is raising the alarm about the potential damage of the hidden impacts on children’s health as well as the indirect socio-economic effects of the fallout from the pandemic. In response, UNICEF Innocenti is generating evidence to assist and inform UNICEF’s COVID-19 work. This blog is about a research conducted by UNICEF on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection, including topics such as violence against children, child labour and child marriage.
COVID-19 & Children
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COVID-19 & Children

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Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

 

This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

Research Brief: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19
Research Brief: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

 

This research brief summarizes the findings of a rapid review that collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19. is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

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.

 

Care Work and Children: An Expert Roundtable
Care Work and Children: An Expert Roundtable
Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

A first roundtable to explore the issues regarding care work and children was hosted in Florence by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti from 6 to 7 December 2016. Unpaid care and domestic work have often been neglected in both research and policymaking, being viewed as lying within the domestic sphere of decisions and responsibilities, rather than as a public issue. However, over recent decades, researchers across a range of disciplines have strived to fill the evidence, data and research gaps by exploring the unpaid care and domestic work provided particularly by women within the household, and uncovering the entrenched social and gender norms and inequalities.

Millet Prices, Public Policy and Child Malnutrition: The case of Niger in 2005
Millet Prices, Public Policy and Child Malnutrition: The case of Niger in 2005
Published: 2008 Innocenti Working Papers
Severe food crises were common until the middle 1980s. Since then, they have been less frequent and until the sharp rise of food prices in 2007-8 the dominant perception was that, except in areas suffering from political instability, famines were slowly becoming a problem of the past. Niger’s 2005 events suggest it is too soon to claim victory. Indeed, between March and August 2005 the country was hit by a doubling of millet prices, and a sharp rise in the number of severely malnourished children admitted to feeding centres. The extent and causes of such crisis remain controversial. Some argue that these extreme events are part of a normal seasonal cycle while others suggest that in 2005 Niger’s chronic food insecurity turned into a nutritional crisis that in some areas reached near-famine conditions. This paper reviews the evidence in this regard in the light of the main famine theories and against the background of the chronic food insecurity and high child malnutrition characterizing Niger. This study concludes that the decline in food production invoked by many to explain the crisis does not help comprehending a complex crisis that can only be understood by examining the entitlement failures of several socio-economic groups, the malfunctioning of domestic and regional food markets, and policy mistakes in the fields of food security, health financing, and international aid.
AIDS, Public Policy and Child Well-being
AIDS, Public Policy and Child Well-being
Published: 2007 Innocenti Publications
This study addresses one of the greatest challenges of our time: the damage caused by HIV and AIDS to the well-being of children and families. With 38.6 million people affected by HIV in 2006, with HIV prevalence at antenatal clinics exceeding 40 per cent in areas of Botswana and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), with nationwide adult prevalence in excess of the critical threshold of 20 per cent in several countries, and with the prospect of a rapid spread of the disease in large swathes of India, China and the Russian Federation, the future of child well-being is seriously threatened. Certainly, in the 50 or so countries affected by the disease, the Millennium Development Goals in the field of child survival, education, poverty and basic rights will be missed, often by a large margin.
Child Poverty and Deprivation in the Industrialized Countries 1945-1995
Published: 1997 Innocenti Publications
The contributors to this volume use a common analytical framework to evaluate how economic, family structure and public policy changes affected the well-being of children in the industrialized countries in the West and the East from the end of the Second World War to the mid-1990s. Throughout the industrialized world, the living standards and social well-being of children improved remarkably over these five decades. But the quarter-century golden age that followed the war gave way to a period of stagnation after the early 1970s. Many of the negative developments of the past two decades could not have been easily prevented. Nonetheless, adverse or neglectful social policies share some of the blame for recent unfavourable changes in child well-being. The evidence presented suggests that, given current economic prospects and family structures, further weakening of social policies targeted at children could erode much of the progress of the past fifty years.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 444 | Thematic area: Industrialized Countries | Tags: child welfare, family structure, industrialized countries, public policy | Publisher: Oxford University Press, UK; UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Children at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises
Children at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises
Published: 1997 Regional Monitoring Report
This Report looks at the changes in risks facing the 100 million children in the 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Eight types of risk are considered in turn: poverty; war and dislocation; environmental degradation; health and health service deterioration; changes in family formation including rising family-breakdown rates; falling access to education and rising truancy; youth lifestyle and health including an increase in drug abuse and the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases; juvenile crime. The Report also indicates that institutional care, fostering and adoption remain in need of sweeping reform, examines the failure of substitute care and emphasizes the preventive role of family support policies.
Children at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises  - a Summary
Children at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises - a Summary
Published: 1997 Regional Monitoring Report
This Report looks at the changes in risks facing the 100 million children in the 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Eight types of risk are considered in turn: poverty; war and dislocation; environmental degradation; health and health service deterioration; changes in family formation including rising family-breakdown rates; falling access to education and rising truancy; youth lifestyle and health including an increase in drug abuse and the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases; juvenile crime. The Report also indicates that institutional care, fostering and adoption remain in need of sweeping reform, examines the failure of substitute care and emphasizes the preventive role of family support policies.
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Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda
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Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps
Journal Article Journal Article

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps

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