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The First Steps

The project began in 2009 when a group of researchers, mainly from the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI), held a meeting hosted by UNICEF to discuss the potential need for the survey. The group agreed that such a survey would fill an important gap in knowledge internationally about children’s lives. One of the products of the meeting was an early version of a survey questionnaire. This first draft questionnaire was tested and piloted in the summer and autumn of 2010 in the following countries –

Brazil  |  England  |  Germany  |  Honduras  |  Israel  |  Spain  |

In December 2010, the findings of these pilot surveys were presented and discussed, under the auspice of World Vision – Germany, and this led to a second draft version of the questionnaire which was then piloted in the first half of 2011 in Germany, Romania, South Africa Spain and Turkey. 

In October 2011, members of the research group reviewed the learning from the second pilot and drew up a third set of the survey questionnaires with separate versions for children aged 8, 10 and 12.

The First Wave

These questionnaires were then used in a range of 14 countries for a large-scale deep pilot of the survey (Wave 1). About 34,500 children have participated in this wave of the survey and the data was then gathered into an international database. The countries involved in this stage were –

Algeria  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  Chile  |  England  |  Israel  |  Nepal  |  Romania  |  Rwanda  |  South Africa  |  South Korea  |  Spain  |  Uganda  |  United States  |

Some preliminary findings from this pilot were presented in November 2012 at a meeting hosted by UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre and at the ISCI conference in Seoul in May 2013. See more publications here.


The Second Wave (2013-2014)

The second eave of the project involved representative samples of children aged 8 to 12 in more than 20 counties. 

This survey is the most wide-ranging and diverse study ever conducted internationally on children’s lives from their own perspectives.

The second wave of the survey was funded by the Jacobs Foundation. It has so far been completed with over 56,000 children in three age groups (8, 10 and 12 years old) in 21 countries:

Algeria | Argentina  | Colombia | Estonia | Ethiopia  | Finland | Germany | Israel | Italy  | Malta | Nepal | Norway | Poland |
Portugal | Romania | South Africa |  South Korea | Spain | Turkey | UK  and Wales.    

Each participating country surveyed a large scale representative sample of at least 1,000 children in each of three school year groups – around the ages of 8, 10 and 12.

The full report

Country reports of the second wave 2013-2014

See more publications here.


The Third Wave (2016-2020)

Click here to learn about the current wave of the project.

The Jacobs Foundation

The project is supported by the Jacobs Foundation . The Jacobs Foundation is active worldwide in promoting child and youth development. It was founded in Zurich by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs in 1989.