Research & advising
Inspiring Children’s Futures in the light of COVID-19


Children are thirty percent of the world’s population. In many countries, over half of the population is under the age of eighteen. Yet, while the sustainable development agenda pledges to leave no one behind, there is a stark gap when it comes to measuring, understanding, and - most critically - fulfilling this global ambition for children.

COVID-19 compounds this gap, which has abruptly thrust the rights and wellbeing of children and families into greater risk around the world. While all are working to manage the impact of COVID-19, in the process we may risk overlooking its impact on children facing the greatest adversities. Minimising the negative impact of the COVID-19 emergency on children will be critical to children’s recovery. More than that, children’s wellbeing will also be essential for the medium and long-term societal and global recovery and resilience.

With a strategic vision that actively puts children at the centre, affirms human rights, and is aligned with the SDG agenda, Inspiring Children’s Futures aims to support progress on SDG 16 by increasing available evidence to inform better policy and practices, and by identifying ways in which authorities can achieve change to strengthen global, national and local responses for children.


Our focus is especially on those children who face adversity, as their rights are most fragile, and they are most likely to be left behind.


The COVID 4P Log Smartphone App gathering ‘real-time’ data

This project is increasing the available ‘on-the-ground’ evidence in this pandemic:

Inspiring Children’s Futures is leading an international partnership project to better understand practitioners’ and policymakers’ experiences of supporting children’s rights and wellbeing in ‘live time’ through this pandemic: framed within a human rights framework, a COVID Smartphone daily question app is for use in fifteen countries across four continents, to inform a growing global understanding of policies and practices to support children’s wellbeing under COVID19, and for future emergencies.

Impact achieved

This is just underway now—stay tuned for more impact! In the meantime, our global engagement is reflected at:

The United Nations High Level Political Forum 2020 Voluntary National Review Lab entitled “Developing A Child-Sensitive And Child-Inclusive SDG Voluntary National Review” in July 2020 (listen at 16:44), the COVID 4P Smartphone App was announced and endorsed by the OECD Deputy Secretary General Ulrik Knudsen.

See announcement

Achieving the wellbeing of children in the post-COVID-19 decade

This project is identifying ways in which authorities can achieve change in the post-COVID recovery.

Looking to 2030, emerging evidence suggests that large challenges lie ahead, from increasing need among children for support, to greater disparities in child outcomes and ultimately higher numbers of children facing adversity. Working together early, developing foresight to effectively address such challenges and maintaining policy effectiveness in this area- within a tight fiscal space- will serve policymakers and children many advantages. 

In response, Inspiring Children’s Futures is working in partnership with international organisations (the OECD and the UN SRSG-VAC) to identify and promote national action focused on policies and initiatives to protect the rights and meet the increasing needs of children facing adversity, and to mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic on children’s development.

To promote this work, the ICF is providing the secretariat support for a high-level international champions group that will advocate for the inclusion of child rights and child protection in the recovery phase from the pandemic and in the longer term.

Impact achieved

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Violence Against Children

2020 Annual Report reasserts her support for the IICF-led Justice for Children, Justice for All project (see para 45 page 10) and her intention to establish a high-level international champions group project (para 93 page 17).

The SRSG-VAC will be presenting this Annual Report at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on 9 Oct (Paper A/75/149)

See annual report

Collaborators & partners

Seventeen UN and international partners support, developed and disseminated this App; their mandates, which range from child wellbeing policy-making, to child rights advocacy; to workforce capacity-building