This paper aims to document the likely direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in developed and developing countries. It also aims to identify potential urgent measures to alleviate such impacts on children. Thirty-three years after the UNICEF report, 'Adjustment with a Human Face', the authors warn of the effects of the pandemic which are likely to be considerable and comparable to the recession and debt crisis of the 1980s. The heavy costs for children can only be avoided with systematic and concerted efforts on the part of governments and the international community, to provide extensive financial and social support for the poor, and to invest in the health and education systems, in order to offset the negative impact of the virus-induced recession.
Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Richard Jolly; Frances Stewart
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.
Sarah Morton; Amy Grant; Ailsa Cook; Helen Berry; Christina McMellon; Melvina Robbin; Alessandra Ipince
We examine the effect of the Zambia Child Grant Programme – an unconditional cash transfer (CT) targeted to rural families with children under age five – on height-for-age four years after programme
initiation. The CT scheme had large positive effects on several nutritional inputs including food expenditure and meal frequency. However, there was no effect on height-for-age. Production function
estimates indicate that food carries little weight in the production of child height. Health knowledge of mothers and health infrastructure in the study sites are also very poor. These factors plus the harsh
disease environment are too onerous to be overcome by the increases in food intake generated by the CT. In such settings, a stand-alone CT, even when it has large positive effects on food security, is
unlikely to have an impact on long-term chronic malnutrition unless accompanied by complementary interventions.
Averi Chakrabarti; Sudhanshu Handa; Luisa Natali; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo
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.
Current times are characterized by unprecedented migration levels: millions of people are on the move worldwide. Thus, understanding why people decide to migrate is a major goal of policymakers and international organizations, and migration has become a prominent issue on the global research agenda. Traditional migration drivers can be divided into reasons to leave (‘push’ factors) and reasons
to migrate (‘pull’ factors), and include income deprivation, dissatisfaction with public services and institutions in the home country, conflict and war, climate change, and social networks abroad. In this
paper, we focus our attention on children’s well-being as a potential migration driver. We investigate it by using the Gallup World Poll, a repeated cross-section dataset of a survey conducted in more than 150 countries from 2006 to 2016. We estimate the association between planned and intended migration and children’s perceived well-being using logit models with standardized coefficients, robust standard errors, and year and country fixed effects. Estimates reveal a positive and statistically significant association between child-related concerns, migration intent and plans. In particular, the probability of individuals having migration intent and plans increases where they report lower levels of satisfaction with child-related issues, as measured by the Youth Development Index, an index driven by indicators of respect for children and satisfaction with the education system. Moreover, children’s well-being affects more individuals living in households with children than those without. Finally, migration is a child- and youth-related phenomenon: young individuals would like to migrate, and plan to do so, more than older individuals.
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.
Stephen Devereux; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Jose Cuesta; Jaideep Gupte; Luigi Peter Ragno; Keetie Roelen; Rachel Sabates-Wheeler; Tayllor Spadafora
En los países más ricos del mundo, a algunos niños les va peor en la escuela que a otros debido a circunstancias que escapan a su control, como el lugar donde nacieron, el idioma que hablan o la profesión que ejercen sus progenitores. Estos niños acceden al sistema educativo en situación de desventaja y pueden quedarse aún más rezagados si las políticas y prácticas educativas refuerzan, en lugar de reducir, la brecha entre ellos y sus compañeros. Esos tipos de desigualdad son injustos. No todos los niños tienen las mismas oportunidades de alcanzar su pleno potencial, de perseguir sus intereses y de desarrollar sus talentos y habilidades, acarreando con ello costos sociales y económicos. Este informe se centra en las desigualdades educativas en 41 de los países más ricos del mundo, todos ellos miembros de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) o de la Unión Europea (UE). A partir de los datos más recientes disponibles, se examinan las desigualdades a lo largo de la infancia —desde el acceso a la educación preescolar hasta las expectativas educativas una vez concluida la enseñanza secundaria— y se analizan en profundidad las relaciones entre la desigualdad educativa y factores como la actividad profesional de los padres, los antecedentes migratorios, el género y las características de las escuelas.
La principal particularidad de este informe es la tabla clasificatoria, donde se resume el calado de la desigualdad educativa en la enseñanza preescolar, primaria y secundaria. El indicador de la desigualdad en la educación preescolar es el porcentaje de alumnos matriculados en centros oficiales un año antes de la edad oficial de ingreso en la escuela primaria. Tanto para la escuela primaria (cuarto curso, alrededor de los 10 años) como para la escuela secundaria (15 años), el indicador muestra la diferencia entre las puntuaciones obtenidas en las pruebas de lectura por los estudiantes que obtienen los mejores y los peores resultados.
The productive impacts of transfer programmes have received increased attention. However, little is known about such effects in emergency and crisis settings. Even less is known about whether transfer type – a food basket or a cash grant – influences the productive potential of such transfers. Theory suggests that, while cash transfers can relieve liquidity constraints associated with investments, subsidized food provision, by acting as a form of insurance, may prevent households from retreating to conservative income-generating strategies during volatile periods. Using a randomized field experiment in Yemen, we contrast the effects of transfer modality. The results demonstrate a modest productive impact of both modalities and suggest a role for both liquidity and price risk channels. Cash transfer recipients invested relatively more in activities with higher liquidity requirements (livestock), while food recipients incorporated higher-return crops into their agricultural portfolios.
Fiscal incidence analysis is the most widely used methodology to assess the distributional effects of fiscal policies. However, for 40 years, it has lacked a child lens. A child focus on the redistributive capacity of fiscal policy is increasingly important due to the disproportionate incidence of poverty among children globally. This paper provides a child-dedicated focus on fiscal incidence analysis by tracking child-relevant benefits, turning children the unit of analysis, and using multidimensional child poverty metrics. The analysis—Commitment to Equity for Children, or CEQ4C—integrates three analytical frameworks, namely, public finance, fiscal incidence analysis, and multidimensional child poverty analysis. The paper develops a proof of concept for Uganda that includes measurement, diagnostics, and a policy simulation package replicable across diverse contexts. The proof of concept confirms that CEQ4C provides a higher-resolution fiscal incidence analysis for children than the traditional fiscal incidence analysis.
Jose Cuesta; Jon Jellema; Yekaterina Chzhen; Lucia Ferrone