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1-113 - What Matters for Children’s Development in Low-income Settings? Learning from the Young Lives Study

Thu, March 21, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 310

Session Type: Invited Address

Integrative Statement

This presentation shares key findings from 17 years of mixed-methods, cohort-sequential, longitudinal research with 12,000 children and their families in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. It highlights significant achievements in child nutrition and education access, some surprising evidence around gender and major challenges in relation to socio-economic inequality and service quality, also noting the emergence of ‘new’ developmental risks for children due to rising overweight and obesity. The presentation makes the case that, contrary to the assumptions of much research and many interventions, adolescence is a time of extraordinary responsibility in low-income settings, with young people struggling to meet competing gendered expectations with regard to education, productive and reproductive work, marriage and parenthood. It calls for far greater policy attention to the second decade of life, also arguing for integrated approaches that are effectively grounded in local cultural and political-economic realities and take full account of young people’s perspectives.

Sub Unit




Jo Boyden is a social anthropologist and Professor of International Development at the University of Oxford, where she directs Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Her research has centred on children’s education and work and the association with aspirations and social mobility, as well as young people’s experiences of and responses to poverty, armed conflict and forced migration, specifically the developmental and wellbeing outcomes of risk exposure and the factors that contribute to vulnerability and resilience. She has many years of experience working with diverse stakeholders (governments, IGOs, INGOs, CSOs, research institutes, communities and young people) across a wide range of countries in the use of research evidence in designing appropriate policies and programmes for children and young people living in situations of adversity.