01 October 2023

Through the eyes of children

Involving children as competent social actors in research is  increasingly acknowledged  as a way of including authentic perspectives on childhood and enhancing our understanding of children’s experiences. Engaging directly with children can inform the development of targeted policies and programs for them.  As part of  UNICEF’s research  on the …, Why visual storytelling?, Visual storytelling overcomes the limitations of focus group discussions (FGDs). Interviewer-driven dialogue can create power asymmetry, which can leave children feeling unheard or undervalued, and cause them to disengage from the conversation. Additionally, reliance on oral communication may exclude specific groups of children, particularly those…,   How does it work? , Preparation and collaboration were key to the workshop's success. The workshop was prepared jointly between UNICEF Innocenti,  UNICEF Europe and Central Asia’s national response office in Italy , school teachers, and an expert in visual storytelling from the University of Bologna. Involving experts who have experience working with newly arrived…,   Exploring deeper meanings , Interpreting children's narratives may pose challenges due to blurred boundaries between fantasy and reality. To gain insight into children's perspectives, we approached their narratives by focusing on their internal logic and meaning, placing less emphasis on strict adherence to factual accuracy. Through narrative analysis, we mapped key elements…, Conclusion  , By allowing children to speak for themselves though creative methods, researchers can unlock new dimensions of data and gain deeper insights into the lived experiences of children. This research is part of a global trend to develop evidence on the use of digital learning on children’s education and wellbeing, especially in low resource and…
30 April 2022

Caregivers’ Guide to Inclusive Education

Parents or caregivers of children with disabilities play a crucial role in supporting their child’s learning. This includes navigating the education system and supporting their child’s participation in an inclusive school. They often face unique challenges and obstacles as they navigate the education system and support their child's participation in an inclusive school. These documents are part of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education, which also includes guides for caregivers, teachers and schools, as well as templates for directories of resources and organizations to be adapted for specific systems. In this series: Original report: This guide for caregivers aims to (1) help them understand their rights and national inclusive education laws; (2) identify challenges and barriers they are facing in supporting their child’s learning needs and (3) find solutions that can help them to overcome these challenges. It is part of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. Shortened version: This shortened and easy to read version of “Caregiver's Guide to Inclusive Education” has been developed by “Building Bridges” with the aim of providing simplified guidance for caregivers. While this version includes all the tools and activities from the original guide, it has been designed to be easier to read and follow. The guide offers practical advice on how caregivers can support their child's learning at home, foster positive relationships with their child's teacher and school, and access specialist service. School guide: This guide aims to help schools to (1) identify specific needs faced by marginalized families of children with disabilities; (2) identify challenges they face to meeting these needs and (3) identify solutions in the form of resources that address these challenges. Teacher guide: Marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities face various challenges in navigating newly-emerging inclusive education settings. Teachers can learn about the specific needs of children from their caregivers and help caregivers to identify the best ways and materials to support their child’s learning. This guide for teachers aims supports them to engage with caregivers in (1) identifying their children’s individualized learning needs; (2) identifying the challenges in meeting these needs and (3) identifying solutions in to address these challenges. Workbook: This workbook contains tools to be used by caregivers, teachers and other school staff to apply and work through the steps presented in the guides. Based on proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, the tools work best when they are used in collaboration between these different stakeholders. Completing the activities in the workbook will help to identify the specific challenges caregivers face as well as to identify solutions to address them.  Directory of resources: An initial set of helpful materials, information and links from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan have been included, with templates to add more local resources within each system. It is designed to be  a useful first place for caregivers, teachers and school staff to search for solutions to challenges they have identified while using guides. Resources to support marginalized caregivers: Presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system. Directory of associations and organizations template: A template to develop a directory of local associations, organizations and networks that exist to connect and support parents and caregivers of children with disabilities.
01 February 2022

Assistive Technology in Humanitarian Settings

There are 240 million children with disabilities in the world; half of them are out of school. Many are invisible, stigmatized, hidden by their families and abandoned by their governments. Children with disabilities, especially in humanitarian settings, are among the poorest members of the population and one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society. With only an estimated 1 in 10 children with a need for assistive devices having access, UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti undertook a study to better understand the nature and drivers of Assistive Technology (AT) access in humanitarian settings. The Overview of research document provides a synthesis of the project’s various reports and papers: (1) a thematic literature review summarizes the academic evidence base regarding the provision of AT in humanitarian settings, including the nature and scale of provision and barriers and facilitators of access and provision; and (2) three case studies of countries affected by crisis to triangulate the findings of the literature review and fill identified knowledge gaps with real-world examples: Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the State of Palestine. The Literature review discusses the barriers to assistive technologies provision in humanitarian settings and considers possible entry points for provision in the future. Recommendations include: coordination platforms for provision; gathering evidence on existing in-country provision and strengthening those systems; designing programmes for provision that account for pre-existing barriers, within-crises barriers including those internal to humanitarian organizations like UNICEF. Afghanistan case study: Due to the impacts of the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan’s child population is at high risk of being born with or acquiring a primary or secondary disability. According to a recent estimate, up to 17 per cent of Afghanistan’s children live with some form of disability. Assistive technologies – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by a large proportion of children with disabilities in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes a commitment to provide assistive technologies equitably to all who need it. However, little action has been taken to meet this commitment, and there continues to be a vast gap between need and provision. This work presents the the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations to begin to close the gap. South Sudan case study: South Sudan is in a protracted crisis. Four million people have been displaced and many have been left living with high levels of injury, poverty and food insecurity. The impact of the crisis on children – who make up over 29 per cent of the population – is particularly high, and a large number are at risk of being born with or acquiring a disability. Assistive technologies (AT) – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by many children in South Sudan with disabilities. There is no reliable data available on disability prevalence or AT needs in South Sudan, though estimates suggest a range between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the population. This work aims to understand the landscape of AT provision and the barriers and facilitators to provision and provides recommendations for priority actions. State of Palestine case study: Official statistics identify 2 per cent to 7 per cent of the population in the State of Palestine as having a disability. Evidence is limited regarding levels of access to assistive technologies (AT) by people with disabilities in the State of Palestine. However, estimates suggest that there are high levels of unmet need. Less than 10 per cent of children with disabilities received assistive devices in the year of one recent survey. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on a range of such services in many countries, but little information is yet available on the impact on AT provision in humanitarian settings.