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Innocenti Research Briefs are a newly-introduced series of short papers intended to provide the latest data, analysis, methods and information on a wide range of issues affecting children. The series addresses various sub-themes in a concise and accessible format, convenient for programme managers and decision makers.

LATEST

Political Connections No Longer Determine Targeting of Social Protection: A successful case study from Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of donor funds for development and emergency interventions. As such, its targeting of social protection has received substantial attention. In particular, concerns have been raised that political connections could play a role in determining the selection of beneficiaries. With the introduction in 2005 of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), Ethiopia implemented various policies aimed at increasing transparency in the targeting of social protection. This case study compares targeting before and during the implementation of PSNP, and shows improvements in targeting for both public works and emergency aid in relation to the dimensions of poverty, food security and political connections. Most notably, political connections are no longer found to determine the receipt of benefits during the implementation of PSNP.
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Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of donor funds for development and emergency interventions. As such, its targeting of social protection has received substantial attention. In particular, concerns have been raised that political connections could play a role in determining the selection of beneficiaries. With the introduction in 2005 of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), Ethiopia implemented various policies aimed at increasing transparency in the targeting of social protection. This case study compares targeting before and during the implementation of PSNP, and shows improvements in targeting for both public works and emergency aid in relation to the dimensions of poverty, food security and political connections. Most notably, political connections are no longer found to determine the receipt of benefits during the implementation of PSNP.

AUTHOR(S)

Elsa Valli
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Rigorous research in humanitarian settings is possible when researchers and programmers work together, particularly in the early stages when responses to humanitarian challenges are designed. Six new rigorous research studies from five countries: Ecuador, Mali, Niger, Lebanon and Yemen illustrate this point.
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Geospatial technologies have transformed the way we visualize and understand situations. They are used to acquire, manipulate, store and visualize geographical information, including information on where individuals, groups and infrastructure are located in time and space. For development and humanitarian based organizations like UNICEF, the value of these technologies includes the ability to collect and process real-time information from places that are hard to reach or navigate such as dense forest, conflict zones, or where environmental disasters are occurring or have occurred. This brief provides an overview of the critical considerations when undertaking evidence generation using geospatial technologies. It is supplemented by a checklist that may be used to support reflection on the ethical use of geospatial technologies. This brief is based on a more in-depth Innocenti Discussion Paper which provides further guidance and tools.

AUTHOR(S)

Gabrielle Berman; Sara de la Rosa; Tanya Accone
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As of January 2017, 2.78 billion people worldwide were classified as active social media users. Of these users, 1.87 billion use Facebook. Thirty-nine per cent of Facebook users are between the ages of 13 and 24 (approximately 729 million young people). Available data also show that in 2014, approximately 31 per cent of users of the top five social media platforms were aged between 16 and 24 years. With the enormity of this coverage as well as over 40 per cent growth in usage from the previous year in countries like India, UNICEF has and continues to look at ways to use these platforms and the data generated to connect with and understand the reality of children today and to ensure more child-centred/user-centred policies and services. This brief provides an overview of the critical ethical considerations when undertaking evidence generation using social media platforms and using third-party data collected and analysed by social media services. It is supplemented by checklists that may be used to support reflection on the ethical use of social media platforms and social media data. This brief is based on a more in-depth Innocenti Discussion Paper which provides further guidance and tools.

AUTHOR(S)

Gabrielle Berman; James Powell; Manuel Garcia Herranz
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Cash transfers have been successful in reducing food insecurity, increasing consumption, building resiliency against economic shocks, improving productivity and increasing school enrolment. Despite the many successes of cash transfer programmes, they can also fall short of achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning and health outcomes. A recent study highlights how so-called ‘Cash Plus’ programmes, which offer additional components or linkages to existing services on top of regular cash payments, may help address such shortcomings.

AUTHOR(S)

Keetie Roelen; Tia Palermo; Leah Prencipe
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In 2016, approximately 815 million people were chronically undernourished globally. In recent years, food security has worsened in some parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. In Zimbabwe, latest estimates show that about 45% of the total population are undernourished1. To address the challenge of growing food insecurity, effective social protection programmes must be implemented and scaled-up. Cash transfers are one such programme, the primary objectives of which often include poverty alleviation and food insecurity reduction. This research study utilized longitudinal data collected for the impact evaluation of Zimbabwe’s Harmonized Social Cash Transfer Programme (HSCT), an unconditional cash transfer that targets ultra- poor, labour-constrained households. It accomplishes two things: It provides evidence on the relative merits of using an aggregate consumption expenditure measure versus a food security scale, to assess household vulnerability and food insecurity; and it contributes to a growing literature on the effects of state-sponsored unconditional cash transfers in Africa on household behaviour and food security.

AUTHOR(S)

Garima Bhalla
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Inequality can have wide-ranging effects on communities, families and children. Income inequality (measured through the Gini index) was found to have an association with higher levels of peer violence in 35 countries (Elgar et al. 2009) and to influence the use of alcohol and drunkenness among 11- and 13-year olds (Elgar et al. 2005). On a macro level, countries with greater income inequality among children have lower levels of child well-being and higher levels of child poverty (Toczydlowska et al. 2016). More worrying still is that growing inequality reinforces the impact of socio-economic status (SES) on children’s outcomes, limiting social mobility. Concern about growing inequality features prominently on the current international development agenda. Goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls specifically to reduce inequality within and among countries, while the concept of ‘leaving no one behind’ reflects the spirit of greater fairness in society. But with a myriad of measures and definitions of inequality used in literature, the focus on children is often diluted. This brief contributes to this debate by presenting child-relevant distributional measures that reflect inequality of outcomes as well as opportunity for children in society, over time.

AUTHOR(S)

Emilia Toczydlowska; Zlata Bruckauf
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