The research sheds light on life since the beginning of the pandemic and how it has affected children and adolescents. It provides ideas and recommendations on managing similar crises in the future. The project has collected the words, drawings, and photos of more than 1,000 children across 6 different countries between 2021 and 2023.
The research across the different countries sought to answer two questions:
- How do children and youth (aged 10–19 years) perceive and experience the COVID-19 situation? How has it affected them? How have they coped with the health crisis and associated measures to contain the pandemic? What are the key issues from their perspective?
- What are children’s ideas and proposals about: (a) responses to the current situation; and (b) how situations like this could be handled better in the future to ensure that children’s rights are protected?
Children and young people across the world have learnt important life lessons from the COVID-19 experience. These focused country reports give insight into their experiences and perceptions of pandemic.
This report recounts the journeys of a group of adolescents through the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, one of the first countries to be affected by the virus. It is the first product of an in-depth qualitative study that aims to understand the experiences of children and young people from their point of view and through their words.
The data for this project were collected online between February and June 2021 with 114 participants between the ages of 10 and 19, who attended lower and upper secondary schools in 16 regions of Italy, and included children and young people who identify as LGBTQI+, unaccompanied and separated children, and adolescents from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
According to children and youth in Canada, what were the negative and positive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives? How did they experience changes in their relationships; daily schedule; time at home; use of technology; or feelings of anger, worry, loneliness or gratitude? How were these experienced by marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ and Indigenous children and youth?
To date, research on Canadian children’s and youth’s experiences during the pandemic has lacked a broad exploration of their own perspectives. This qualitative study, however, was informed by three child and youth advisory teams with a total of 74 young people aged 10 to 19.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a crisis at multiple levels, putting at risk children's ability to exercise their rights. The objective of this study was to generate evidence on the experiences, perceptions and opinions of children and adolescents about the pandemic and Chile's response to it.
This qualitative study includes the experiences of 102 children from Chile, aged 10 to 17.
Expériences, perceptions et opinions des enfants et des adolescents sur la pandémie de COVID-19 à Madagascar
The consequences of COVID-19 have been far-reaching, and virtually every country in the world has been affected with varying degrees of severity. Madagascar was no exception. The pandemic had major economic and social downturns, with particular consequences to children and adolescents, considered to be more vulnerable to shocks as significant as the coronavirus.
This qualitative study includes the experiences of 665 children from Madagascar, aged 10 to 17.
This participatory study, conducted with youth in Lesotho, provides a profound understanding of their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. It sheds light on how they navigated the challenges and changes brought about by this global crisis, revealing insights into their adaptability, resilience, and the crucial role of community support.
The study highlights how children and adolescents in Lesotho adapted to new governmental regulations and diligently followed preventive measures like mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. Their adherence intensified with direct experiences of the virus within their communities.
Children and adolescents showed remarkable resilience, participating actively in income generation and developing coping strategies for stress and boredom.
This multi-country project followed a qualitative research methodology and was underpinned by a series of principles
This young (COVID) life is a qualitative research project carried out with children and young people in 6 countries. Each individual country project adopted some or all the following participatory methods:
- Focus group discussions
- Individual in-depth interviews
- Asynchronous contributions (children and young people sent their contributions by email)
- Drawings and art-based methods.
In Italy and Canada, the two pilot countries, the research team was supported by young advisory boards of children and young people who collaborated to design the research approach, define the sampling strategy, analyze the data as well as disseminate and communicate the research results (see this brief for more information).
Across contexts, more than 1,000 children and young people were involved in the project. By design the project followed the principle of inclusivity and as possible involved specific groups of children:
Italy: Children in middle and high schools; children with low economic background; unaccompanied and Separated Children (first generation migrants); LGBTQI+ young people.
Canada: Participants identified as girls/women (46%); boys/men (49%); gender neutral, gender fluid or agender (6%); LGBTQ+ (16%); First Nations, Inuit or Métis (5%); racialized (35%); having a disability (7%); and living in residential or foster care settings (8%).
Madagascar: Children in rural, suburban and urban areas involved through schools. A few out-of-school children were also interviewed. A few children with disabilities were involved although the study design did not target them specifically.
Lesotho: Children from ultra-poor households; children with disability. Herd boys and children left behind were involved although the study design did not target them specifically.
Chile: Children and adolescents with disabilities, migrants, children from indigenous peoples, residents in environmental sacrifice zones, water scarcity zones, under State protection in specialized protection residences, and those belonging to the LGBTIQ+ community.
Indonesia: Children in (private and public) institutions; street children; children with disability; orphans; children in conflict with the law.
My (young) COVID life: Noé
Perché è importante ascoltare le voci di bambinə e ragazzə? Tre cose che abbiamo imparato parlando con loro di COVID-19 in Italia
Why we need to champion children’s and young people’s voices: Three things we learned from speaking to them about COVID-19 in Italy