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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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Prosecuting International Crimes against Children: The legal framework
Prosecuting International Crimes against Children: The legal framework

AUTHOR(S)
Christine Bakker

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
States in post-conflict situations are faced with extremely difficult choices as they try to find the right balance between judicial and non-judicial means to improve accountability for crimes committed during the conflict and to contribute to national reconciliation. These choices are made on the basis of the specific circumstances of each state. Nevertheless, due consideration should be given to the duties imposed on states by international law. This paper presents a short overview of the obligations of states under international law to prosecute persons accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and enforced disappearances, specifically focusing on crimes against children. It also reviews international norms regarding children who may be accused of having participated in the commission of such crimes themselves - for example, as child soldiers - and identifies some outstanding questions regarding their criminal responsibility for such acts.
Psychosocial Support for Children: Protecting the rights of child victims and witnesses in transitional justice processes
Psychosocial Support for Children: Protecting the rights of child victims and witnesses in transitional justice processes

AUTHOR(S)
An Michels

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper first looks at psychosocial factors that affect children's participation in transitional justice mechanisms. These factors largely determine children's need for protection and support and can reflect children's responses to their involvement in transitional justice processes. A distinction has to be made between psychosocial factors related to the child and his or her experiences during the conflict on the one side, and factors determined by the type of transitional mechanism on the other. Children's participation in transitional justice processes is influenced significantly by their personal experiences during the conflict; cognitive, social and emotional development; coping skills and social support. These factors influence children's capacity to give an accurate statement, cope with the stress of testifying, be confronted with the accused and deal with cross-examination. These have important implications for the choice of support strategies.
Restorative Justice after Mass Violence: Opportunities and risks for children and youth
Restorative Justice after Mass Violence: Opportunities and risks for children and youth
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
There is growing interest in the role that restorative justice can play in addressing mass atrocities. This paper describes the associated principles and practices within juvenile justice systems and in societies emerging from mass violence. It also examines the meaning, opportunities and limitations of restorative justice in transitional societies, particularly in relation to the needs of young victims and offenders. We argue that procedural forms of restorative justice, involving redress by offenders, face considerable challenges because communities and governments often lack the coercive capacity or will to hold offenders accountable. In contexts where accountability is lacking we argue that pressuring victims to meet with, and forgive, those who harmed them may be inappropriate. Such encounters should only occur where victims see them as necessary to their own healing. Despite the procedural limitations of restorative justice, this perspective (ontology) helps us analyse the route to reconciliation in different conflict contexts and reveals opportunities and challenges for justice and reconciliation in each case. This ontology reveals that intra-communal and inter-communal (ethnic/religious) conflicts have dramatically different justice and reconciliation challenges. In an intra-communal conflict, such as in Sierra Leone, offenders need to reintegrate into communities that they or their factions harmed. The desire to reintegrate into communities that condemn their crimes while accepting them provides opportunities for young offenders to address their crimes. In ethnically divided societies, offenders are often seen as heroes in their communities and may not have to address their crimes until the communities themselves condemn them. This makes restorative justice and reconciliation much more difficult, as communities do not take on the role of promoting accountability for their own members. In such cases, restorative justice efforts must promote social trust between groups. In both intra-communal and inter-communal conflicts, victims are often marginalized by their own communities and receive inadequate assistance. Restorative justice shows us that much can be done to help young victims, and this should become an explicit part of the justice picture. Finally, we argue that traditional justice is not synonymous with restorative justice. While traditional justice is community based and often meaningful to people, many of its forms are retributive; deny a voice to children, youth and other disadvantaged groups; or place community reconciliation above individual justice. Therefore, traditional justice practices should be assessed case by case if they are to be claimed as restorative justice equivalents.
Transitional Justice and the Situation of Children in Colombia and Peru
Transitional Justice and the Situation of Children in Colombia and Peru
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This working paper provides an overview of the transitional process in Colombia and Peru, focusing on the situation of children. The adoption of judicial and administrative measures to deal with human rights violations from the past (Peru) and the present (Colombia) is a tool towards the consolidation of democratic institutions. While individual initiatives have been undertaken in both countries, addressing the situation of children in an integrated, comprehensive way is a persistent challenge, as is the exploration of legal tools as a means to demand responsibility.
Transitional Justice and Youth Formerly Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups: Acceptance, marginalization and psychosocial adjustment
Transitional Justice and Youth Formerly Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups: Acceptance, marginalization and psychosocial adjustment
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
To support true healing of war-affected populations, including children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups, transitional justice efforts must attend to the often lasting psychosocial consequences of war in the post-conflict environment. We use key informant and focus group interviews (2002, 2004) to examine the war and post-war experiences of youth, with particular attention to the reintegration experiences of former child soldiers. We found that war-affected youth continued to struggle with a number of issues that thwart their desires and efforts to fulfil their life ambitions, including limited school access, economic instability, social isolation and stigma. Young people were better able to navigate daily stressors when endowed with individual agency and perseverance and surrounded by robust family and community supports. Our findings support the need to adopt a broader view of transitional justice to meet the needs of war-affected children and families, particularly former child soldiers. A developmental view of the impact of war experiences on children is needed that includes advocacy for investments in social services to monitor and support healthy family and community reintegration over time.
The Right of Children to be Heard: Children's rights to have their views taken into account and to participate in legal and administrative proceedings
The Right of Children to be Heard: Children's rights to have their views taken into account and to participate in legal and administrative proceedings

AUTHOR(S)
Daniel O'Donnell

Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper addresses the right of children to be heard in any judicial or administrative proceeding affecting them. It introduces the subject based on examples from the laws and practices of 52 countries around the world. This paper is addressed primarily to child rights advocates, researchers, legal practitioners and other professionals working in the area of children and the law. Further research is needed to document good practices and to complement this introductory, global overview with studies focusing in more detail on different regions or legal traditions and specific types of proceedings.
Promouvoir la participation des enfants au processus decisionnel democratique
Promouvoir la participation des enfants au processus decisionnel democratique

AUTHOR(S)
Gerison Lansdown

Published: 2001 Innocenti Insights
Dans cet Insight Innocenti, Gerison Lansdown examine l’article 12 de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant, selon lequel les enfants ont le droit de participer aux décisions qui les concernent. Lansdown se livre à une étude approfondie de la signification de cet article en tant qu’instrument au service des enfants pour protester contre les violations de leurs droits et agir pour défendre ces droits. Elle met aussi l’accent sur ce que l’article n’énonce pas, par exemple le fait qu’il ne donne pas aux enfants le droit de fouler aux pieds les droits des autres - en particulier des parents. Elle recommande avec insistance d’écouter les enfants, indique les conséquences d’un manquement en ce sens et récuse un grand nombre des arguments qui ont été émis contre la participation des enfants. L’Insight se veut, avant tout, un guide pratique sur la question, fournissant des listes récapitulatives claires pour la participation des enfants aux conférences, et de nombreux exemples concrets d’initiatives récentes.
Promoting Children's Participation in Democratic Decision-Making
Promoting Children's Participation in Democratic Decision-Making

AUTHOR(S)
Gerison Lansdown

Published: 2001 Innocenti Insights
In this Innocenti Insight, Gerison Lansdown examines the meaning of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that children are entitled to participate in the decisions that affect them. Lansdown takes a close look at the full meaning of this Article as a tool that can help children themselves to challenge abuses of their rights and take action to defend those rights. She also stresses what the Article does not do. It does not, for example, give children the right to ride roughshod over the rights of others, particularly parents. The Insight makes a strong case for listening to children, outlining the implications of failing to do so and challenging many of the arguments that have been levelled against child participation. It is, above all, a practical guide to this issue, with clear checklists for child participation in conferences and many concrete examples of recent initiatives.
Promuovere la partecipazione dei ragazzi per costruire la democrazia
Promuovere la partecipazione dei ragazzi per costruire la democrazia

AUTHOR(S)
Gerison Lansdown

Published: 2001 Innocenti Insights
In questa Indagine Innocenti, Gerison Lansdown prende in esame il significato dell'articolo 12 della Convenzione sui diritti dell'infanzia, nel quale si afferma che i bambini hanno il diritto di partecipare alle decisioni che li riguardano direttamente. Lansdown analizza attentamente il senso profondo di quest'articolo come strumento per aiutare i bambini e gli adolescenti a far fronte alle violazioni dei propri diritti e ad agire in loro tutela.
La participación de los niños: de la participación simbolica a la participación autentica
La participación de los niños: de la participación simbolica a la participación autentica

AUTHOR(S)
Roger A. Hart

Published: 1993 Innocenti Essay
Una nación es democratica en la medida en que sus ciudadanos participan, especialmente a nivel comunitario. La confianza y la competencia para participare deben adquirirse gradualmente con la práctica. Por esta razón debe haber oportunidades crecientes para que los niños participen en cualquier sistema que aspire a ser democrático y particularmente en aquellas naciones que ya creen ser democraticas. Con el creciente reconocimiento de los derechos de los niños estamos comenzando a ver también un mayor reconocimiento de las habilidades de los niños.
Children's Participation: From tokenism to citizenship
Children's Participation: From tokenism to citizenship

AUTHOR(S)
Roger A. Hart

Published: 1992 Innocenti Essay
A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confidence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing recognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous. This Essay is written for people who know that young people have something to say but who would like to reflect further on the process. It is also written for those people who have it in their power to assist children in having a voice, but who, unwittingly or not, trivialize their involvement.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Children's Participation | Tags: children's participation, children's rights, right to be heard | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Participatory Development: Global Seminar Report, 1990
Participatory Development: Global Seminar Report, 1990
Published: 1991 Innocenti Global Seminar
This Report is organized in three main sections: 1) Introduction: Basic concepts and practices of participation.Characteristics and elements of participatory development. 2) Transformation strategies: what can be done to support the practice on a wider scale? 3) Programming, management, and policy issues: recommendations for UNICEF and its partners.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 60 | Thematic area: Children's Participation | Tags: children's participation, participatory development, right to be heard | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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