Despite great strides in improving overall child well-being, progress has been slower in key areas of adolescent vulnerability, including exposure to violence, early marriage and school completion, especially among adolescent girls. The Lancet Commission ‘Our Future’ (2016) has examined the rapidly changing social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being and their implications on health promotion and prevention work. It stresses the importance of adolescence as a critical period of formative growth that affects well-being across the life course. Although evidence is building in some domains of adolescent’s lives, greater understanding of the transition to adulthood and how different underlying factors interact is needed in order to inform the basis for effective programming and policy. The need to incorporate consideration of different structural factors into programme design is gaining support, yet there is still little guidance on systematic evidence-based approaches to employ in practice.
The Adolescent Research Programme is advancing global understandings of adolescent well-being in selected countries and themes by defining the drivers of well-being outcomes (‘causes and consequences’) and examining effective policy and programme interventions (‘what works’).
Research Priorities 2014 – 2018
• Rigorous evidence generation on structural and social determinants of adolescent wellbeing across sectors and throughout the life course.
• Understanding formal institutions, systems and policy processes as well as social and cultural norms affecting behaviours and policy implementation.
• Analytical focus on age and gender gaps to shed light on the main drivers of adolescent vulnerability.
Global Research Partnership
Together with UK Department of International Development, Italy, SIDA, UNICEF as well as US Department of Labour, the Oak Foundation, and others, the global research partnership is working with multiple national governments and institutions to improve understandings of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives.
The programme is linked to the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence initiative. It leverages UNICEF’s programme technical capacity as well as networks of regional and country offices and implementing partners in low and middle income countries.
Drawing on multi –disciplinary research expertise, the UNICEF programme has produced cutting edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents.
Quality evidence is having impact - informing effective policy and interventions in focus countries and beyond.