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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
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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

AUTHOR(S)
Shivit Bakrania; Cirenia Chávez; Alessandra Ipince; Matilde Rocca; Sandy Oliver; Claire Stansfield; Ramya Subrahmanian

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

AUTHOR(S)
Prerna Banati; Elena Camilletti; Sarah Cook

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

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Laura Deotti

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

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanni Andrea Cornia

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

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Sheldon Danziger

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.
Bambini a rischio in Europa centrale ed orientale: pericoli e prospettive - sintesi
Bambini a rischio in Europa centrale ed orientale: pericoli e prospettive - sintesi
Published: 1997 Regional Monitoring Report
Questa pubblicazione è una sintesi del quarto Regional Monitoring Report che copre 18 paesi dell'Europa Centrale ed Orientale e dell'ex Unione Sovietica. Il quarto rapporto contiene: un aggiornamento sui cambiamenti nelle condizioni di vita delle famiglie e dell'infanzia; un indagine sui fattori di rischio per l'infanzia durante la transizione; un'analisi speciale sui bambini affidati alle cure pubbliche.
Enfants au risque en Europe centrale et orientale: périls et promesses - résumé
Enfants au risque en Europe centrale et orientale: périls et promesses - résumé
Published: 1997 Regional Monitoring Report
Le rapport prend en considération un éventail d'indicateurs non économiques parmi lesquels diverses mesures de transformations démographiques, telles que les tendances de la mortalité, de la fécondité, du mariage et du divorce. Ces changements peuvent présenter de l'intérêt par eux-mêmes, mais aussi être un indicateur de tendances économiques et sociales sous-jacentes difficiles à mesurer directement.
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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