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AIDS, public policy and child well-being

This study addresses one of the greatest challenges of our time: the damage caused by HIV and AIDS to the well-being of children and families. With 38.6 million people affected by HIV in 2006, with HIV prevalence at antenatal clinics exceeding 40 per cent in areas of Botswana and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), with nationwide adult prevalence in excess of the critical threshold of 20 per cent in several countries, and with the prospect of a rapid spread of the disease in large swathes of India, China and the Russian Federation, the future of child well-being is seriously threatened. Certainly, in the 50 or so countries affected by the disease, the Millennium Development Goals in the field of child survival, education, poverty and basic rights will be missed, often by a large margin.

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Climate change and children: a human security challenge

The study reviews the implications of climate change for children and future generations, drawing on relevant experiences in different sectors and countries of promoting child rights and well-being. It traces in considerable detail the pathways through which shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns create serious additional barriers to the achievement of the child survival, development and protection goals embraced by the international community. The role of children as vital participants and agents of change emerges as a key theme.

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Intersectional discrimination against children

This paper adds a perspective to existing research on child protection by engaging in a debate on intersectional discrimination and its relationship to child protection. The paper has a two-fold objective: (1) to further establish intersectionality as a concept to address discrimination against children; and (2) to illustrate the importance of addressing intersectionality within rights-based programmes of child protection.

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Global climate change and child health: a review of pathways, impacts and measures to improve the evidence base

This paper reviews the published evidence of pathways and impacts of global climate change on child health. The review was occasioned by the recognition that most of the work to date on climate change and health lacks clear focus on the children's dimension, while the climate change and children literature tends to be brief or imprecise on the complex health aspects. Based upon scientific and policy research conducted to date there is found to be substantial evidence of disproportionate vulnerability of children in response to climate change. The diseases likely to be potentiated by climate change are already the primary causes of child morbidity and mortality, including vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases and air-borne diseases. For this reason further research, assessment and monitoring of child health in respect to climate change is critical. Proposals are made for governments to integrate environmental health indicators into data collection in order to accurately assess the state of child health in relation to other age groups and its sensitivity to climate change.

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The dynamics of social change: towards the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting in five African countries

This UNICEF-Innocenti Insight examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and the Sudan - and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented in this Innocenti Insight provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. This publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.

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Best of UNICEF research 2014

Each year the Office of Research-Innocenti reviews submissions for the best research being published across all UNICEF offices: country programmes, National Committees, Regional Offices and headquarters divisions. The purpose of this activity is to showcase and recognize high-quality, high-impact research being done in the organization. At the end of the process each year the Office of Research-Innocenti issues a publication containing summaries of the papers considered to be of particular merit. In 2014, the summaries cover issues concerning child protection, cash transfers, ECD, maternal health, inclusive education, and WASH.

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Best of UNICEF research 2015

In addition to recognizing high quality research, the Best of UNICEF Research process aims to share findings with UNICEF colleagues and with the wider community concerned with achieving child rights. This year the competition received 99 applications With global reach, the 12 projects in the final selection cover many of the ‘traditional’ areas of UNICEF work (health, nutrition, sanitation and education), while also highlighting issues that have more recently gained prominence within the global policy agenda, such as social transfers, violence against children and school bullying, and various forms of inequality or exclusion. This publication provides summaries of these research projects, including methodology and results.

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Best of UNICEF research 2016

The Best of UNICEF competition identifies a number of studies that are assessed to be of particular merit on a number of criteria: in terms of the relevance and interest of the topic and findings; the rigour of their methodology; and the potential for impact, including lessons that could inform programmes elsewhere, or the capacity for replication or scaling up. Issues covered include health, education, WASH, child protection and social inclusion. There was also a strong emphasis on qualitative and mixed methods research, demonstrating the value of rigorous qualitative studies. A number of studies selected as of special merit in 2016 involved research directly with children and there is an increasing recognition that children’s perspectives are of primary importance. There was also a welcome attention to gender in some of the studies, including research with both adolescent boys and girls.

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Understanding governance of early childhood development and education systems and services in low-income countries

Over the past decade, early childhood development and education (ECDE) has received increasing attention. This has led to an influx of scientific, macroeconomic, and rights-based evidence, supporting the importance of equitably implementing quality ECDE programmes and services. Despite the increase in evidence, young children in the developing world still bear the greatest burden of poverty, disease, violence, and risk factors. Recent research suggests that equitable access to quality early childhood services (ECS) can reduce the impact of risk factors and improve outcomes.

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Children, ICT and development: capturing the potential, meeting the challenges

ICTs are not a technical sphere detached from the complex realities of children’s lives. They are increasingly woven into the very fabric of life, in income-rich and increasingly in income-poor countries. It is clear that if there is no targeted engagement with these socio-technical innovations, they are likely to reinforce existing inequalities. It follows that a focus on children and on greater equity leads to an active and reflective engagement with the potential and challenges of ICT for development, targeting in particular marginalized children. This report serves as a key contribution on which to build informed dialogue and decision making, developed jointly between research, policy and practice.

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Cash transfers and child nutrition: what we know and what we need to know

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of cash transfer programmes on the immediate and underlying determinants of child nutrition, including the most recent evidence from impact evaluations across sub-Saharan Africa. It adopts the UNICEF extended model of care conceptual framework of child nutrition and highlights evidence on the main elements of the framework – food security, care and health care. It finds that several key gaps should be addressed in future including cash transfer impacts on more proximate nutrition-related outcomes such as children’s dietary diversity, as well as caregiver behaviours, intra-household violence, and stress, all of which have implications for child health and well-being.

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The Millennium Development Goals report 2015

This report presents data and analysis evaluating the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It proves that, with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest countries can make dramatic and unprecedented progress. The report also acknowledges uneven achievements and shortfalls in many areas. The work is not complete, and it must continue in the new development era.

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Socio-economic impact of Ebola virus disease in West African countries

This report undertakes an assessment of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) for each of the 15 West African countries, breaking away from the tradition of focusing on the three epicentre countries. It assesses the impact of EVD on poverty incidence and food security in both the three epicentre countries and other non-West African countries. The report concludes by offering a set of policy recommendations.

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The effect of gender equality programming on humanitarian outcomes

Despite a number of developments in policy and practice aimed at integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into humanitarian action, what remains missing is a strong evidence base that demonstrates just how gender equality programming is essential to ensuring an effective, inclusive, rights-based humanitarian response. To address this gap, UN Women—on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action and with co-funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada—in 2013 commissioned the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex to undertake a research study, titled “The Effect of Gender Equality Programming on Humanitarian Outcomes”. Its aim was to assess whether or not such programming has improved humanitarian outcomes and, if so, why. This report presents the findings of this research, based on interviews with more than 2,000 crisis-affected households gathered for four case studies conducted in Kenya (the Dadaab refugee camps and the county of Turkana), Nepal and the Philippines. Drawing on both the qualitative and quantitative data collected, researchers were able to develop a unique new methodology for assessing the degree to which gender equality and women's empowerment has been integrated into humanitarian programmes, using inputs from the beneficiaries themselves. The report presents overall findings, draws comparative conclusions across the four case studies and discusses practical recommendations for integrating gender equality programming in future humanitarian interventions in ways that strengthen effectiveness and inclusiveness.

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Hearts and minds: women of India speak

This report acknowledges the “lived experiences” of women and girls in India at the grassroots level and ensures that the voices of those who remain socially, economically and geographically marginalized are meaningfully reflected in the emerging post-2015 development discourse and agenda. The analysis contained in this report is based on in-depth interviews with women and focus-group discussions with almost 200 elected women representatives. The report addresses issues that resonate with women all over the globe, such as women's empowerment, poverty, employment, health and education. The key findings from this report can be used to influence the global agenda setting, ensuring that the post-2015 framework does not make the same mistakes that the MDGs did.

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Transforming the national AIDS response

Statistics on HIV and AIDS present a stark reality. Today, after over 25 years of working to combat this pandemic, over 30 million people are living with HIV, half of them women. Women’s infection rates are rising, often dramatically, outpacing those of men in many countries particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The single most important strategy in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS is empowering women and girls and guaranteeing their rights to prevention, treatment, care and support. But there are other important strategies and actions that can be taken, at different levels, to eliminate the myriad barriers that keep them from exercising these rights. This resource guide provides examples of national strategies, from transforming national and local institutions in order to break through the silence and stigma that surround AIDS and HIV, to working with communities to change attitudes and behaviours that facilitate its spread. They show what can be done when women and men living with HIV are engaged and empowered to make their needs heard and to help design solutions.

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Exploring the dynamics and vulnerabilities of HIV transmission amongst sex workers in the Palestinian context

This publication aims to emphasize the importance of strengthening the current national HIV and AIDS policy in the oPt, dispel stigmas attached to sex work and call for greater efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and support reintegration. The operational research publication features inputs and testimonies collated from 243 respondents (28 sex workers, 63 key informants, 64 clients, and 88 university students) during face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions from March to June 2010. It provides a formative look into sex work in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). Through the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data from individuals with primary or secondary knowledge on sex work, the research serves to address the protection gaps pertaining to this issue and associated vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS in the oPt.

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Final external evaluation report:“Dalit women’s livelihoods accountability initiative” in India

This publication provides findings from the recent evaluation of the 'Dalit Women's Livelihood Accountability Initiative' supported by the UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality and illustrates how the programme contributed to changing the lives of marginalised Dalit women in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in India. As a result of this programme thousands of Dalit women are more socially, economically and politically empowered and are now benefiting from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The report also details the strategies used and outlines the lessons learned and recommendations that can support similar initiatives to hold governments to account for their commitments to gender equality around the world.

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Women out loud: How women living with HIV will help the world end AIDS

Half of all people living with HIV are women, yet many are under served or do not know their status. Despite the many successes we have seen, women still face inequalities that will keep the AIDS response from reaching its full potential. 'Women out loud' amplifies the voices of women living with HIV so that their knowledge is shared and acted upon. This is essential to achieve the 10 targets of the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. As this report testifies, women’s leadership, resilience and good practices to transform societies are widespread. What is needed now is stronger support for women’s full participation in the response to HIV, and better data to track progress as it relates to women. This requires a concerted effort to promote and protect the rights of women and of all people living with HIV. When women speak out, we must listen carefully, and act with solidarity and commitment to transform words into action.

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Towards gender equality in humanitarian response: addressing the needs of women and men in Gaza

The already grave humanitarian situation caused by the 18-month-long blockade of the Gaza Strip was compounded by Israel's 23-day military offensive in December 2008 and January 2009. The social and economic repercussions spread across all sectors of Gazan society, but were also mediated by men's and women's gender roles and identities. Ignoring the different needs, capacities and contributions of women, girls, boys and men can mean that some segments of the population are overlooked, sometimes with destructive consequences. In the rush to provide humanitarian assistance, the appeal to pay attention to gender issues may seem irrelevant. However, it is crucial to ensure that the most necessary and appropriate assistance is offered to the population as a whole. This guidebook sets forth standards for the integration of gender issues from the outset of a complex emergency, aiming to enable humanitarian services to reach their target audience with the maximum positive effect. The main framework for this guidebook is based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) handbook on gender and humanitarian action, and it builds on the gender needs assessment survey conducted by the UN Inter-Agency Gender Task Force in March 2009. Main issues that arose from that survey were subsequently discussed in focus groups in various communities in Gaza in April and May 2009, organized by UNIFEM.The findings of the focus groups form the core of the data used in this guidebook.

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Transforming the national AIDS response: advancing women’s leadership and participation

Despite international commitments, HIV-positive women's participation and voices are largely missing from decision-making in the HIV and AIDS response. With very little and inconsistent monitoring of involvement by key stakeholders at global and national levels, this study, conducted in collaboration with the ATHENA network, sets out to locate where and in what ways, particularly women and those most affected by the epidemic, are participating in the response. It also assesses the opportunities for and challenges to that participation as well as identifies strategies that can be used to advance their full and meaningful participation at all levels. Based primarily on a series of in-depth interviews and consultations carried out with more than 100 key informants, including institutional leaders, women leaders and decision-makers as well as case studies, five key findings emerged from this review that argue for a more dedicated commitment to developing women as agents of change and active partners in defining and implementing solutions from the community to the global levels in order to transform the AIDS response. The study concludes with ten actionable recommendations — aimed at donors, national governments and other institutional leaders in the AIDS response — addressing the various systemic obstacles women face to their participation and the need for longer term commitments to increase resources to reduce women's vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.

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Manual: multi-sectoral approach to women’s rights in Africa

Even though many African governments have ratified international and regional human rights treaties and have made commitments to respect, promote and protect women's rights and to eliminate discrimination against women, the translation of these commitments into national laws, policies and programmes remains a challenge. As a response, UN Women has developed this manual as a methodological tool to promote the adoption and use of a multi-sectoral approach to achieve women's rights. Through practical guidance, the manual aims to support the African Union and its member states to fast track delivery on commitments to women's rights and empowerment. It introduces an implementation framework that promotes the integration of women's rights into all sectors of government and development endeavours. The framework also calls for inter-ministerial coordination to ensure improved efficiency, accountability, and communication across sectors; the establishment of a strong technical and advisory services unit at the regional and national levels; and an important and strengthened role for national machineries for women's affairs. Overall, the manual stresses the important role of government-led partnerships, such as with the African Union, donor countries, the United Nations system, civil society, organizations and unions, to make women's rights a reality.

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The future women want: a vision of sustainable development for all

Twenty years ago in Rio de Janiero, UN Member States unanimously agreed that “women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development. Twenty years later, we still have a long way to go. In this publication UN Women highlights the commitments made on gender equality, and explores women's contributions to sustainable development and policy around the world. Focusing on priority areas—safe drinking water and sanitation; food security and sustainable agriculture; sustainable cities; decent work and the green economy; health and education—it details the actions needed to establish a gender-responsive development framework, and ensure an enabling environment for women's full participation in sustainable development.

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Essential services package for women and girls subject to violence

The United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence, a partnership by UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, UNDP and UNODC, aims to provide greater access to a coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services for all women and girls who have experienced gender based violence. The Programme identifies the essential services to be provided by the health, social services, police and justice sectors as well as guidelines for the coordination of essential services and the governance of coordination processes and mechanisms. Service delivery guidelines for the core elements of each essential service have been identified to ensure the delivery of high-quality services, particularly for low- and middle-income countries, for women and girls experiencing violence. Taken together, these elements comprise the “Essential services package”.

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A framework to underpin action to prevent violence against women

Violence against women is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world, rooted in gender inequality, discrimination and harmful cultural and social norms. It is also increasingly recognized as a public health issue that adversely affects the health of women. Due to sustained efforts by the women’s movement, governments and other stakeholders, the issue of violence against women is now positioned as a priority on global human rights, health and development agendas. Many of the responses to date to violence against women have focused primarily on intervening with affected individuals after the violence has occurred. Such strategies are essential to mitigate the devastating mental, physical, social and economic effects for women experiencing violence, ensure justice and accountability, and prevent its recurrence. It is important to continue to improve these responses. At the same time, there is also an increasing need to address the broader factors that contribute to prevalence at a population level, and to implement programmes that prevent such violence from occurring in the first place.

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