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Background/Rationale for the Assignment
The COVID-19 crisis has huge implications for children’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Although they are the age group least likely to suffer the direct health effects of the virus, it is well established that children are often the worst affected by economic and social shocks. There are three main channels of potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children’s wellbeing:
(a) Health effects. Although they are a low-risk group, some children’s health will be negatively affected either directly through the exposure to the virus or indirectly through a reduced access to regular health services. A much larger group of children will be indirectly affected in terms of care and/or psychosocial wellbeing by health problems and mortality of people close to them.
(b) Effects of immediate COVID mitigation responses (e.g. ‘lockdown’). Children’s lives have been affected in major ways by ‘lockdown’ restrictions, and school closures in particular, introduced to reduce the spread of COVID. Given their economic dependence on adults, some children can also suffer the effects of income insecurity and financial stresses as their parents lose jobs during the pandemic, with negative implications for children’s basic needs for food, schooling etc.
(c) Longer-term repercussions. There will be many medium to longer-term repercussions of the immediate COVID responses, including a likelihood of the economic downturn but also changes to various aspects of life, such as the way education is delivered.
These impacts will not be experienced in the same way by all children. There will be differential impacts according to children’s age, gender, poverty status and social identity. The impacts are also likely to differ, and be stronger, for groups of children who already face potentially overlapping disadvantages – such as children living in poverty; children belonging to minorities; migrant children; children in institutions; children with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions; and homeless children. A key risk of the crisis is that it will widen existing inequalities in society, and it is important that we understand and respond to this risk.
In comparison with adults, children have relatively little direct voice in policy and media environments. But it is vital that children’s perspectives and voices on this key global issue are heard, documented and taken into account in formulating child-focused responses that reflect their needs for support. This includes children having the opportunity to be involved in designing policy responses.
Some important work is already being done in Italy at a broad level to gather children’s views and experiences. This includes the ‘Future We Want’ survey being undertaken by the UNICEF Migrant and Refugee Response team based in Italy.
The proposed research “Children’s experiences and views of COVID-19, and response to it, in Italy” will complement this work by providing a more detailed insight into the experiences and views of a sample of children and adolescents. The research will take a qualitative and participative approach. It will aim to understand each child’s experiences within the broader context of their lives. It will seek to involve children throughout the research process, including in the design of the study, and in the interpretation and dissemination of the findings. The main aim is to inform policy and practice responses to the current crisis and future similar events.
Purpose & Expected Results
The purpose of this consultancy is to support the Refugee & Migrant Response in Italy and UNICEF Office of Research (Innocenti) based in Florence to carry out qualitative research with children and adolescents 19 years old and younger (referred to as ‘children’) in Italy. The research will include children with different background in FGDs, in-depth interviews and sessions within primary schools. These activities can either be performed remotely (through digital platforms) or in-person, depending on how the Covid-19 related restrictions evolve.
How can you make a difference?
The consultant is expected to:
1) Data collection
2) Technical support
To undertake other tasks that may be required and are appropriate to the role and the research project.
Schedule of tasks, deliverables and indicative timelines
Nature of Penalty Clause in Contract
If the final reports and documents are not submitted according to the deliverables stated in this TOR, the payments will be withheld.
UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines (fees reduced due to late submission: 20 days - 10%; 1 month -20%; 2 months -30%; more 2 months – payment withhold). All materials developed will remain the copyright of UNICEF and UNICEF will be free to adapt and modify them in the future.
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Applicants are invited to:
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
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