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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school
Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Valenza; Cirenia Chávez; Annika Rigole; Andrea Clemons; Alvaro Fortin; Erica Mattellone

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Malagasy adolescents face severe challenges in accessing and completing basic education. Among those students who complete the primary cycle, one in four does not transition into lower secondary school. Economic constraints among vulnerable households coupled with low-quality education result in widespread dropout and poor learning outcomes.

Acknowledging these multidimensional barriers, UNICEF Madagascar leveraged funds from the Let us Learn (LUL) programme to implement a two-pronged strategy to support Malagasy children in accessing and continuing lower secondary school. The Catch-up Classes provide out-of-school adolescents with a learning pathway to build the foundational literacy and numeracy skills they need to resume studying in formal school. Conditional cash transfers target families with children who are at risk of abandoning school after completing the primary cycle.

This brief builds on programme monitoring data, impact evaluations and qualitative insights from the field to highlight lessons learnt and actionable recommendations for accessing and continuing vulnerable children’s secondary education.

Mind Matters: Lessons from past crises for child and adolescent mental health during COVID-19
Mind Matters: Lessons from past crises for child and adolescent mental health during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Lorraine Sherr; Lucie Cluver; Mark Tomlinson; Priscilla Idele; Prerna Banati; David Anthony; Kathryn Roberts; Katharina Haag; Xanthe Hunt

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

COVID-19 is a crisis like no other in modern times. It has reached every population and community. While the evidence base is still nascent, this report looks at the impacts of disasters and past epidemics – such as Ebola, HIV, SARS/MERS and Zika – on child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and examines how these insights can guide policies and progammes to support children, their families and communities during the current pandemic.

COVID-19 – its associated public health responses and social and economic impacts – is likely to have multiple deleterious effects on mental health, including elevated risks of anxiety and depression, trauma, loss of family and friends, violence, loneliness and social isolation. However, this pandemic also offers opportunities for positive coping and resilience.

While there is no magic formula to address the mental health and psychosocial impacts of crises, there are proven and promising interventions from past experiences to mitigate the impact today – especially for the most vulnerable children and adolescents. These include social protection, caregiver skills and support, community and social support, life skills and school based programmes, and specialized care, to name a few.



Cite this publication | No. of pages: 70 | Thematic area: Mental Health | Tags: mental health
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

AUTHOR(S)
Olivia Bueno; Mark Gill; Lucy Hovil; Iolanda Genovese; Tahani Elmobasher

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.


Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

While there has been a global rush to generate rapid evidence on COVID-19 mental health impacts among adults, limited evidence exists on the potential impacts on children.

This is the protocol for our rapid review that seeks to (i) understand the immediate impact of COVID-19’s first wave on the mental health of children and adolescents (0–19 years); and (ii) apply lessons learned from this pandemic to mitigate the impacts of future health crises.

The key research questions of this review are: 

  • What has been the immediate impact of COVID-19 and associated containment measures on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents?
  • How and which risk and protective factors have affected mental health during COVID-19 and have they varied across subgroups of children and adolescents?

It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19
It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Dita Nugroho; Youngkwang Jeon; Akito Kamei; Florencia Lopez Boo

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

This paper presents a new estimate that pre-primary school closures in 2020 may cost today’s young children US$1.6 trillion in lost earnings over their lifetimes. Children in middle-income countries will be most greatly affected. However, most low- and middle- income countries are leaving pre-primary education out of their responses to COVID-19. This paper also draws lessons from evaluations of accelerated, bridging and remedial programmes on how introducing or expanding these transition programmes in the early years can mitigate the long-term impact on learning from pre-primary school closures.

 What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic
What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Mathieu Brossard; Thomas Dreesen; Radhika Nagesh; Dita Nugroho; Rafael Pontuschka

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have collaborated in the third round of the Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures, administered by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and OECD to Ministry of Education officials. The questions covered four levels of education: preprimary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary. While the first two rounds of the survey were implemented during the periods May–June and July–October 2020, respectively, the third round was implemented during the period February–June 2021. In total, 143 countries responded to the questionnaire. Thirty-one countries submitted responses to the OECD (“OECD survey”) and 112 countries responded to the UIS (“UIS survey”). Seven countries responded to both surveys. In these instances, the more complete set responses were used in analysis.
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

AUTHOR(S)
Cirenia Chávez; Marco Valenza; Annika Rigole; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of society. In mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed their schools, putting 9 out of 10 enrolled children out of school.

These closures disproportionately affected marginalized children, worsening existing inequities across education systems worldwide.

This brief draws on the experience of five UNICEF education country programmes supported by the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, to document tangible lessons in adapting education programmes to support the most marginalized children during school and learning centre closures.

The evidence in this brief stems from a series of semi-structured interviews with Education and Child Protection specialists, as well as a document review of available COVID-19 response studies, in the five LUL-supported UNICEF Country Offices.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 12 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: COVID-19, education, educational programmes
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Mozambique
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Mozambique

AUTHOR(S)
Dita Nugroho; Despina Karamperidou

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Teacher attendance is one of the prerequisites on the path toward universal learning in developing countries. Over the past decades, however, studies from across the developing world have found national rates of teacher absenteeism that range from 3 to 27 per cent. Therefore, enhancing teachers’ presence in the classroom and ensuring that class time is spent teaching, can contribute significantly to the productivity and inclusive prosperity of a country.

This Time to Teach study collates and strengthens the evidence base on primary school teacher absenteeism in Mozambique. The study uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods to provide critical insights into the factors that underpin the multiple forms of teacher absenteeism and time on task. It also examines how factors vary across countries, school types, gender of teacher and other teacher characteristics. Despite high levels of teacher absenteeism, the study shows that teachers are generally committed and that what is needed is education system strengthening. It is hoped that findings will inform workable solutions and policies that will ensure a motivated teaching force, increase opportunities for children to learn at school and, ultimately, improve their life and work opportunities.

Hora de ensinar: Assiduidade dos Professores e Tempo de Trabalho nas Escolas Primárias de Moçambique
Hora de ensinar: Assiduidade dos Professores e Tempo de Trabalho nas Escolas Primárias de Moçambique

AUTHOR(S)
Despina Karamperidou; Dita Nugroho

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Este estudo “Hora de Ensinar” combina e reforça a base de evidências sobre o absentismo dos professores do ensino primário em Moçambique.

A assiduidade dos professores é um dos pré-requisitos indispensáveis à aprendizagem universal nos países em desenvolvimento. Nas últimas décadas, contudo, estudos realizados em todo o mundo em desenvolvimento constataram taxas nacionais de absentismo dos professores que variam entre 3 e 27%. Por conseguinte, reforçar a presença dos professores na sala de aula e assegurar que o tempo de aula é dedicado ao ensino, pode contribuir significativamente para a produtividade e prosperidade inclusiva de um país.  

O estudo utiliza uma mistura de métodos de pesquisa qualitativa e quantitativa para fornecer uma visão crítica dos factores que sustentam as várias formas de absentismo dos professores e o tempo de trabalho. Também examina como os factores variam entre países, tipos de escolas, género do professor e outras características do professor. Apesar dos elevados níveis de absentismo dos professores, o estudo mostra que estes estão geralmente empenhados e que o que é necessário é o reforço do sistema educativo. Espera-se que os resultados informem soluções e políticas viáveis que assegurem uma mão-de-obra docente motivada, aumentem as oportunidades para as crianças aprenderem na escola e, em última análise, melhorem as suas vidas e oportunidades de trabalho.

Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries
Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti; Tara Patricia Cookson; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed; Rita Sandoval; Silke Staab; Constanza Tabbush

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

The importance of mainstreaming gender into social protection policies and programmes is increasingly recognized. However, evidence on the extent to which this is actually happening remains limited. This report contributes to filling this evidence gap by drawing on the findings of two complementary research projects undertaken by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and UN Women in 2019.

Using a specifically developed analytical framework, these two projects reviewed 50 national social protection strategies and 40 social protection programmes across a total of 74 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to assess the extent to which they incorporate gender equality concerns.

Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest Issue 1: Children and youth mental health under COVID-19
Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest Issue 1: Children and youth mental health under COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Priscilla Idele

Published: 2022 Innocenti Digest

The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and youth has been near ubiquitous. Resilience factors are significant in enhancing and supporting mental health in the COVID-19 era. Our first COVID-19 Quarterly Thematic Digest presents research highlights from our growing Children and COVID-19 Research library.  

In this inaugural digest we spotlight 11 studies on mental health that were all generated in the first half of 2021. These research papers address an array of subjects related to the impact of COVID-19 on child and youth mental that include disorders such as anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and compulsive internet gaming, as well as risk factors such as HIV or refugee status, and responses such as art therapy and parenting and caregiver programmes. These studies have been undertaken in a range of countries and regions and include several multi-country analyses.

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.

AUTHOR(S)
Iolanda Genovese; Mark Gill; Lucy Hovil; Tapfumanei Kusemwa; Ruth Regassa; ; Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste

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.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence
Publication

Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence

Effective collaboration around knowledge management and organizational learning is a key contributor to improving the impact of international development work for the world’s most vulnerable people. But how can it be proven? With only 10 years from the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, nine of the world’s most influential agencies set out to show to the connection between the use of evidence, knowledge and learning and a better quality of human life. This book – a synthesis of stories, examples and insights that demonstrate where and how these practices have made a positive impact on development programming – is the result of the Multi-Donor Learning Partnership (MDLP), a collective effort to record the ways each of these organizations have leveraged intentional, systematic and resourced approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning in their work.
Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)
Publication

Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)

UNICEF has undertaken hundreds of gender evidence generation activities, supporting programmatic action, advocacy work and policymaking. The Gender Solutions project aims to draw together the knowledge, innovations and impacts of gender evidence work conducted by UNICEF offices since the first UNICEF Gender Action Plan was launched in 2014. A desk review identified over 700 gender-related UNICEF research, evaluation and data evidence generation activities since 2014. Twenty-five outputs were shortlisted because of their high quality and (potential for) impact and three were selected as Gender Evidence Award winners by an external review panel. By capturing the impact of this broad body of work, Gender Solutions aims to showcase UNICEF’s evidence investments, reward excellence and inform the rollout of the UNICEF Gender Policy 2021–2030 and Action Plan 2022–2025.
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.
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.

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