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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

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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Strengthening child protection systems and ending child immigration detention
Strengthening child protection systems and ending child immigration detention
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs

This series of briefs draws on the findings of multi-country research based on first-hand migration experiences of 1,634 children and young people moving between Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt (available at www.unicef-irc.org/child-migration-hoa).

The briefs highlight findings that can inform decision makers when designing child-sensitive solutions for children on the move, in line with relevant objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Access to Basic Services
Access to Basic Services
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs

This series of briefs draws on the findings of multi-country research based on first-hand migration experiences of 1,634 children and young people moving between Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt (available at www.unicef-irc.org/child-migration-hoa).

The briefs highlight findings that can inform decision makers when designing child-sensitive solutions for children on the move, in line with relevant objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Vulnerability, Discrimination and Xenophobia
Vulnerability, Discrimination and Xenophobia
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs

This series of briefs draws on the findings of multi-country research based on first-hand migration experiences of 1,634 children and young people moving between Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt (available at www.unicef-irc.org/child-migration-hoa).

The briefs highlight findings that can inform decision makers when designing child-sensitive solutions for children on the move, in line with relevant objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Strengthening child protection systems and ending child immigration detention (Arabic version)
Strengthening child protection systems and ending child immigration detention (Arabic version)
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs
Access to Basic Services (Arabic Version)
Access to Basic Services (Arabic Version)
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs
Vulnerability, Discrimination and Xenophobia  (Arabic Version)
Vulnerability, Discrimination and Xenophobia (Arabic Version)
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Briefs
Assistive Technology in Humanitarian Settings: Overview of Research Project
Assistive Technology in Humanitarian Settings: Overview of Research Project

AUTHOR(S)
Gavin Wood; Golnaz Whittaker

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

There are 240 million children with disabilities in the world; half of them are out of school. Many are invisible, stigmatized, hidden by their families and abandoned by their governments. Children with disabilities, especially in humanitarian settings, are among the poorest members of the population and one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society.

With only an estimated 1 in 10 children with a need for assistive devices having access, UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti undertook a study to better understand the nature and drivers of Assistive Technology (AT) access in humanitarian settings.

This document provides a synthesis of the project’s various reports and papers: (1) a thematic literature review summarizes the academic evidence base regarding the provision of AT in humanitarian settings, including the nature and scale of provision and barriers and facilitators of access and provision; and (2) three case studies of countries affected by crisis to triangulate the findings of the literature review and fill identified knowledge gaps with real-world examples: Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the State of Palestine.

Shortfalls in Social Spending in Low- and Middle-income Countries: COVID-19 and Shrinking Finance for Social Spending
Shortfalls in Social Spending in Low- and Middle-income Countries: COVID-19 and Shrinking Finance for Social Spending
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Financing quality social services will require increased public investment and greater mobilization of both domestic and international resources in the post-COVID era. Currently, low- and middle-income countries invest, on average, just one third of their total government expenditure in social spending on education, health and social protection. However, the fiscal space to enhance social spending remains constrained in many parts of the world. Given the scale of the challenge facing many countries, a renewed focus on financing social spending is needed to address widening inequalities.

This policy brief is the second in a series that assesses key issues affecting social spending as part of UNICEF’s work on Public Finance for Children. The brief examines how recent trends are impacting on the financing available for, and directed to, social spending in low- and middle-income countries in different regions, using secondary analysis of public expenditure data collected by international organizations. It calculates median spending figures by region and income group, using World Bank regional aggregates for domestic spending.

 

Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in South Sudan
Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in South Sudan

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

South Sudan is in a protracted crisis. Four million people have been displaced and many have been left living with high levels of injury, poverty and food insecurity. The impact of the crisis on children – who make up over 29% of the population – is particularly high, and a large number are at risk of being born with or acquiring a disability.

Assistive technologies (AT) – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by many children in South Sudan with disabilities. There is no reliable data available on disability prevalence or AT needs in South Sudan, though estimates suggest a range between 10% and 15% of the population. This work aims to understand the landscape of AT provision and the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations for priority actions.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Provision of Assistive Technology in the State of Palestine
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Provision of Assistive Technology in the State of Palestine

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Official statistics identify 2% to 7% of the population in the State of Palestine as having a disability. Evidence is limited regarding levels of access to assistive technologies (AT) by people with disabilities in the State of Palestine. However, estimates suggest that there are high levels of unmet need. Less than 10% of children with disabilities received assistive devices in the year of one recent survey. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on a range of such services in many countries, but little information is yet available on the impact on AT provision in humanitarian settings.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation
Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation

AUTHOR(S)
Priscilla Idele; Manasi Sharma; Camila Perera Aladro; Prerna Banati; David Anthony

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Mental health conditions affect about 1 in 7 adolescents globally. In the context of COVID-19, the importance of mental health and psychosocial support for all has been undoubtedly confirmed. Despite the increased attention to mental health issues, there is a dearth of evidence on what determines child and adolescent mental health, who is most at risk, and what works to foster mental health across contexts, cultures and distinct population groups.

This conceptual framework aims to inform research on child and adolescent mental health. It incorporates children’s developmental stages and the dynamic environment in which they live and grow. Informed by a review of existing theoretical frameworks on mental health and child development, this framework integrates elements of the socio-ecological model; the life course approach; the social determinants of health approach; and Innocenti Report Card’s Worlds of Influence Framework. Combining diverse aspects of these frameworks and approaches, we propose an integrated model to guide UNICEF’s research in this area. 

Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan
Barriers and Facilitators to Providing Assistive Technologies to Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan

AUTHOR(S)
Golnaz Whittaker; Gavin Wood

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Due to the impacts of the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan’s child population is at high risk of being born with or acquiring a primary or secondary disability.

According to a recent estimate, up to 17% of Afghanistan’s children live with some form of disability. Assistive Technologies – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by a large proportion of children with disabilities in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes a commitment to provide assistive technologies equitably to all who need it. However, little action has been taken to meet this commitment, and there continues to be a vast gap between need and provision. This work presents the the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations to begin to close the gap.

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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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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