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This rapid review seeks to inform 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, similar to 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. Lessons are also drawn from the HIV/AIDS pandemic due to its impact on adult mortality rates and surviving children.

This report explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the key role that both families and family policies have in determining social progress, and the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of the publication is opportune. The report summarizes reviews of evidence across six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence to highlight some important issues that policymakers might consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. A key contribution of the work, given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, has been to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have also been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other goal areas.

AUTHOR(S)

Dominic Richardson; Esuna Dugarova; Daryl Higgins; Keiko Hirao; Despina Karamperidou; Zitha Mokomane; Mihaela Robila
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This research brief is one of a series that explores the impact of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on the potential parental role in learning and its association with foundational reading and numeracy skills. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In low-income countries, the learning crisis is even more acute, with the ‘learning poverty’ rate reaching 90 per cent. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 191 countries have implemented countrywide school closures, affecting 1.6 billion learners worldwide. In India alone, 320 million students from pre-primary to tertiary level are affected by school closures. In sub-Saharan Africa, 240 million are affected. With children currently not able to study in classrooms, the importance of learning at home is amplified and the task of supporting children’s learning has fallen on parents at a much larger rate. This is a significant burden, particularly for those who are also teleworking and those with limited schooling themselves.

AUTHOR(S)

Mathieu Brossard; Manuel Cardoso; Akito Kamei; Sakshi Mishra; Suguru Mizunoya; Nicolas Reuge
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Global Kids Online is a research network initiative led by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti (UNICEF – Innocenti). It was launched in 2016 with the purpose of building on the experience of the highly successful EU Kids Online programme and further promoting research on children’s online rights on a global scale, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. In order to understand ways in which the research has been taken up and used in partner countries and internationally, this study was commissioned in 2019 by UNICEF – Innocenti and The London School of Economics, and undertaken by an independent team at Matter of Focus. It uses an approach that allows for the broad capture of impacts internationally as well as the specific impacts in partner countries, with more detailed focus on three case study countries (Uruguay, Bulgaria and Ghana), selected by the Global Kids Online management team.

AUTHOR(S)

Sarah Morton; Amy Grant; Ailsa Cook; Helen Berry; Christina McMellon; Melvina Robbin; Alessandra Ipince
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This brief discusses findings from Plan International UK’s ‘Real Choices, Real Lives’ report, which explores factors in adolescent girls’ lives across Benin, Togo and Uganda that may influence them to ‘accept’ or ‘disrupt’ the gender socialization process. The brief focuses on one of a handful of qualitative longitudinal studies addressing the challenges of gender norms in low- and middle-income country settings, providing crucial evidence in these countries to address Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality.

AUTHOR(S)

Lilli Loveday; Jenny Rivett; Prerna Banati
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I bambini hanno migliori prospettive di vita e i genitori sono in grado di bilanciare meglio il lavoro e gli altri impegni in paesi che hanno delle politiche a sostegno delle famiglie. Queste includono il congedo parentale retribuito, il sostegno per l’allattamento al seno, l’assistenza all’infanzia e l’educazione prescolare a prezzi accessibili e di alta qualità. Il presente rapporto esamina le politiche favorevoli alla famiglia di 41 paesi ad alto e medio reddito attraverso quattro indicatori a livello nazionale: la durata delle ferie retribuite a disposizione delle madri, la durata delle ferie retribuite riservata specificamente ai padri, la quota di bambini sotto i tre anni nei nidi e centri per l’infanzia e la quota di bambini tra i tre anni e l’età dell’obbligo scolastico nei centri e scuole per l’infanzia. Svezia, Norvegia e Islanda sono i tre paesi che più sostengono le famiglie per i quali disponiamo di dati completi. Cipro, Grecia e Svizzera occupano gli ultimi tre posti. Dieci dei 41 paesi non dispongono di dati sufficienti sull’infanzia per essere inseriti nella nostra classifica. Non abbiamo a disposizione abbastanza informazioni aggiornate per mettere a confronto i diversi paesi sulla qualità dei centri per l’infanzia o sulle tariffe e le politiche per l’allattamento al seno. Per i paesi più ricchi esiste un margine per migliorare le loro politiche familiari e per raccogliere dati più accurati. Parole chiave congedo parentale, allattamento, centri per l’infanzia, politiche per le famiglie, paesi OCSE/UE. Ringraziamenti Vorremmo

AUTHOR(S)

Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada
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Children get a better start in life and parents are better able to balance work and home commitments in countries that have family-friendly policies. These include paid parental leave, support for breastfeeding and affordable, high-quality childcare and preschool education. This report looks at family-friendly policies in 41 high- and middle-income countries using four country-level indicators: the duration of paid leave available to mothers; the duration of paid leave reserved specifically for fathers; the share of children below the age of three in childcare centres; and the share of children between the age of three and compulsory school age in childcare or preschool centres. Sweden, Norway and Iceland are the three most family-friendly countries for which we have complete data. Cyprus, Greece and Switzerland occupy the bottom three places. Ten of the 41 countries do not have sufficient data on childcare enrolment to be ranked in our league table. There is not enough up-to-date information available for us to compare across countries the quality of childcare centres or breastfeeding rates and policies. There is scope for the world’s richest countries to improve their family policies and collect better data.

AUTHOR(S)

Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada
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In this paper, we provide estimates and analysis of child multidimensional poverty in Mozambique. Drawing on data from the Mozambique Household Budget Survey of 2014/15 (IOF), we define child multidimensional poverty using the Multiple Overlapping Analysis (MODA). We define three age groups of children, and a total of seven dimensions of deprivation: Family, Nutrition, Education, Child labour, Health, WASH, Participation, and Housing. Results show that 81 per cent of children are deprived in at least two dimensions. Children are especially vulnerable in rural areas, where deprivation rates reach 95 per cent, and in the provinces of Niassa, Zambezia, and Cabo Delgado. The dimensions that more frequently overlap in Mozambique are Housing, Health, and WASH, with one third of children being deprived in these three dimensions at the same time. The data also allow the analysis of the interplay between monetary and multidimensional child poverty: 46 per cent of children suffer both forms of poverty. Children who are poor and deprived are children who live in rural areas, in more remote provinces; they live in households whose heads are less educated and whose main activity is agriculture. Finally, there is a direct correlation with shocks affecting the household and multidimensional poverty, with children of families who experienced weather shocks being more likely to be poor, deprived, or both.

AUTHOR(S)

Lucia Ferrone; Andrea Rossi; Zlata Bruckauf
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In the 2016–17 school year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in Lebanon, started to pilot a child-focused cash transfer programme for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. The programme, known as the No Lost Generation (NLG) or “Min Ila” (meaning “from/to”) was designed to reduce negative coping strategies harmful to children and reduce barriers to children’s school attendance, including financial barriers and reliance on child labour. UNICEF Lebanon contracted the American Institute for Research (AIR) to help UNICEF Office of Research (OoR) design and implement an impact evaluation of the programme. The purpose of the impact evaluation, one of the first rigorous studies of a social protection programme supporting children in a complex displacement setting, is to monitor the programme’s effects on recipients and provide evidence to UNICEF, WFP, and MEHE for decisions regarding the programme’s future. This report investigates and discusses the programme’s impacts on child well-being outcomes, including food security, health, child work, child subjective well-being, enrollment, and attendance, after 1 year of programme implementation.

AUTHOR(S)

Jacobus de Hoop; Mitchell Morey; Hannah Ring; Victoria Rothbard; David Seidenfeld
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Experience with urban social assistance programmes is still limited. Many of the existing urban programmes are extensions or duplicates of rural programmes, but urban-sensitive social protection needs to reflect the distinct vulnerabilities of the urban poor. Furthermore, applying a child lens requires identifying and addressing the specific risks and multiple deprivations that are experienced by half of urban children in developing countries. As a result, designing social assistance for urban contexts faces challenges such as accurately targeting the poor (given the spatial geography of urban poverty) and setting appropriate payment levels (given the high and variable costs of urban living). Geographic targeting (e.g. informal settlements), proxy means testing (if urban-sensitive) and categorical targeting (e.g. street children) are popular mechanisms in urban areas, but community-based targeting is often inappropriate (because of urban social fragmentation) while self-targeting can be unethical (e.g. where wages below market rates are paid in public works projects) and might contradict rights-based approaches. These are relevant challenges to address when designing urban social protection programmes. We apply these reflections to Ghana. The country is a relevant case study because it is growing and urbanizing rapidly. But as the result of urbanization, urban poverty and deprivations are rising even though national poverty rates have halved. Anti-poverty policies and social protection interventions remain biased towards the rural poor. The ‘urbanization of poverty’ in Ghana has created problems such as overcrowded housing, limited access to sanitation, and outbreaks of communicable diseases. This paper provides guidance on the critical questions to ask to design in Ghana a successful urban social protection programme with a child lens.

AUTHOR(S)

Stephen Devereux; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Jose Cuesta; Jaideep Gupte; Luigi Peter Ragno; Keetie Roelen; Rachel Sabates-Wheeler; Tayllor Spadafora
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72 items found