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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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What is encryption and why does it matter for children?
What is encryption and why does it matter for children?
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

Encryption encodes information so that it can only be read by certain people. ‘End-to-end’ is a robust form of encryption where only the users communicating can read the information. In other words, third parties – such as service providers – cannot decrypt the information.

It matters for children because while it protects their data and right to privacy and freedom of expression, it also impedes efforts to monitor and remove child sexual abuse materials and to identify offenders attempting to exploit children online.

Encryption, Privacy and Children’s Right to Protection from Harm
Encryption, Privacy and Children’s Right to Protection from Harm
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

This working paper provides a short overview of the challenges and opportunities related to child protection and the use of encryption technology. While it does not constitute the UNICEF organizational position on the topic, it is meant to inform UNICEF on the issue and to reach and engage professionals, including nonexperts, within and between the child rights and privacy rights sectors.

This paper will provide an overview of the debate around encryption and its possible impact on children’s right to protection from harm. It also reflects on the pros and cons of some proposed solutions.

How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
Shocks can pressure families into negative coping strategies with significant drawbacks for children’s lives and development, particularly for children living in disadvantaged households who are at greater risk of falling into a poverty trap. This paper investigates if unconditional cash transfers can be effective in protecting children against unexpected negative life events. Using two waves of data, we found that the Lesotho Child Grant Programme reduced the incidence and intensity of multidimensional deprivation for children living in labour-constrained female-headed households that experienced negative economic or demographic shocks. Programme design in shock-prone contexts should seek to reinforce and widen the protective effect of the cash transfer for the most vulnerable.
Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief 1 Overview of findings
Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief 1 Overview of findings
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

The production of evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps exist that need to be addressed when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies. This brief summarizes the key findings from the Evidence Gap Map on interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.

COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper summarizes the recent UNICEF analysis on investing in early childhood education in developing countries. It provides a benefit-cost analysis of investments in pre-primary education in 109 developing low- and middle-income countries and territories, using data from 2008 to 2019.
COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

While remote learning measures are essential for mitigating the short-term and long-term consequences of COVID-19 school closures, little is known about their impact on and effectiveness for learning.

This working paper contributes to filling this gap by: 1. Exploring how disrupted schooling may affect foundational learning skills, using data from MICS6 (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys - round 6) in 2017–2019; 2. Examining how countries are delivering and monitoring remote learning based on data from the UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank’s National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures survey; and 3. Presenting promising key practices for the effective delivery and monitoring of remote learning.

Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries
Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

A new look at children from the world’s richest countries offers a mixed picture of their health, skills and happiness. For far too many, issues such as poverty, exclusion and pollution threaten their mental well-being, physical health and opportunities to develop skills. Even countries with good social, economic and environmental conditions are a long way from meeting the targets set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Focused and accelerated action is needed if these goals are to be met.

The evidence from 41 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) countries tells its own story: from children’s chances of survival, growth and protection, to whether they are learning and feel listened to, to whether their parents have the support and resources to give their children the best chance for a healthy, happy childhood. This report reveals children’s experiences against the backdrop of their country’s policies and social, educational, economic and environmental contexts.

Des Mondes d'Influence: Comprendre ce qui détermine le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches
Des Mondes d'Influence: Comprendre ce qui détermine le bien-être des enfants dans les pays riches
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Analyser la situation des enfants dans les pays les plus riches du monde sous un nouvel angle offre une image mitigée de leur santé, de leurs compétences et de leur bonheur. Pour beaucoup trop d’entre eux, des problèmes tels que la pauvreté, l’exclusion et la pollution font peser une menace sur leur bien-être mental, leur santé physique et leurs chances d’acquérir des compétences. Même des pays qui offrent de bonnes conditions sociales, économiques et environnementales sont loin d’atteindre les objectifs fixés par le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Pour réaliser ces objectifs, des mesures ciblées et accélérées sont nécessaires.

Les données de 41 pays de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) et de l’Union européenne (UE) parlent d’elles-mêmes, qu’il s’agisse des chances de survie, de croissance et de protection des enfants, de la question de savoir s’ils apprennent et se sentent écoutés, ou de celle de savoir si leurs parents disposent du soutien et des moyens nécessaires pour donner à leurs enfants toutes les chances de mener une enfance équilibrée et heureuse. Ce rapport révèle l’expérience des enfants face aux politiques publiques et à la conjoncture sociale, éducative, économique et environnementale de leurs pays respectifs.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Mundos de Influencia:¿Cuáles son los determinantes del bienestar infantil en los países ricos?
Mundos de Influencia:¿Cuáles son los determinantes del bienestar infantil en los países ricos?
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Una nueva mirada a los niños de los países más ricos del mundo presenta un panorama heterogéneo en cuando a su salud, aptitudes y felicidad. Demasiados ven amenazados su bienestar mental, salud física y oportunidades para el desarrollo de aptitudes por problemas como la pobreza, la exclusión y la contaminación. Incluso los países que disfrutan de una buena situación social, económica y ambiental están muy lejos de cumplir las metas establecidas en la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible. Para cumplir tales objetivos se requieren medidas específicas y aceleradas.

Las pruebas recabadas en 41 países de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) y la Unión Europea relatan una historia propia: cuáles son las oportunidades de supervivencia, crecimiento y protección de los niños; si están aprendiendo y se los escucha; si sus progenitores cuentan con apoyo y recursos para ofrecer a sus hijos la posibilidad de vivir una infancia sana y feliz. En este informe se plasman experiencias infantiles con el trasfondo de las políticas nacionales y diversos contextos sociales, educativos, económicos y ambientales.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Sfere di Influenza: Un'analisi dei fattori che condizionano il benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Sfere di Influenza: Un'analisi dei fattori che condizionano il benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

Un nuovo sguardo alla situazione dei bambini nei paesi più ricchi del mondo rivela uno scenario misto in termini di salute, competenze e felicità. Troppi problemi, come la povertà, l'esclusione e l'inquinamento, minacciano il loro benessere psicofisico e la possibilità di sviluppare le proprie abilità. Anche i paesi con condizioni sociali, economiche e ambientali favorevoli sono ben lontani dal raggiungere gli obiettivi stabiliti nell'Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile. Per realizzare tali obiettivi, è necessaria un'azione rapida e mirata.

I dati relativi a 41 Paesi dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e l'Unione europea tracciano un quadro chiaro della probabilità di bambini e adolescenti di sopravvivere e crescere, di ricevere tutela, istruzione e ascolto, e della misura in cui i genitori sono in grado di fornire sostegno e risorse per garantire loro le migliori possibilità di vivere un'infanzia sana e felice. Questo studio rivela le esperienze dei bambini alla luce delle politiche e del contesto sociale, educativo, economico e ambientale dei rispettivi paesi.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Child well-being | Tags: child well-being
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
Discussions around the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts and costs are moving swiftly from health concerns to economic and social concerns. The ways in which countries are dealing with COVID-19 itself, through social lockdowns and school closures, are expected to have wide-ranging social and economic costs and governments have responded with rapid implementation of fiscal stimulus and social protection reforms.

COVID-19 is a global health crisis, with severe economic consequences, impacting countries and continents in waves, and therefore is – with the exception of the Spanish Flu in 1918 – without a recent comparator. Necessarily this means that experience with, and evidence for, dealing with such a crisis is limited.

Acknowledging that health, economic, and social crises can rapidly become a crisis for children, this paper seeks to contribute evidence to understanding what the crisis means for children and for families with children in the countries of Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In particular, what governments and stakeholders should be looking for when seeking to protect children from the worst outcomes of the crisis. In doing so, this paper asks: Through which mechanisms can COVID-19 affect children in the region? What can we learn from previous crises about the potential effects on children and those who care for children? How is vulnerability to poverty and child well-being likely to be affected? Are initial government responses to the crisis likely to worsen or mitigate risks to children’s well-being? And how might future public policies be optimized in the short and medium term to protect child outcomes?
COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?
COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series exploring the effects of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on how school closures affect children and the resiliency of education systems to respond to such disruptions and mitigate their effect.
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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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