Child protection capacity building for partners

If you or a local partner organisation are planning to respond to the emergency by working with children, it is critical that you understand basic child protection issues and are able to put in place systems and good practices to make sure that you are keeping children safe to the best of your ability, and know how to identify and respond to protection issues faced by children. An important first step in this is making sure that you have been trained in child protection and safeguarding, and have or are working towards having a child protection policy and procedures in place.

To read about child protection capacity building in action, click the picture below:

Child protection capacity building, Lebanon – LSESD/Viva

When to use a child protection capacity building programme

  • Where you do not have a child protection policy in place, or the policy is in place but is not being used or is not relevant to the current situation
  • Where staff and volunteers have not had training in understanding and recognising child abuse, and/or do not know what they should do if they are concerned that a child may be at risk of abuse or have been abused
  • Where staff and volunteers are working with children for the first time because of the need to respond to the emergency

How to carry out child protection capacity building

Child protection needs assessment

Carry out an assessment to find out what is already in place in terms of child protection and how aware staff, volunteers, and project leaders are of child protection issues and appropriate procedures.

Ask questions to find out about:

  • What is currently in place in terms of a policy or written rules to protect children from harm and how aware people are of this
  • What guidelines are there on acceptable and unacceptable behaviour when working with children, and are these in writing? How aware are staff/volunteers about these?
  • Have staff/volunteers had training in understanding and recognising different kinds of abuse?
  • Are there reporting procedures in place – what would happen if someone was told about an incident of abuse, or had a concern about a child’s safety? Who would they tell, and what would happen?
  • How are incidents and allegations of abuse recorded and monitored

See: Viva, Creating Safe Environments for Children (page 53) for an example child protection self-evaluation tool

Child protection training

If gaps have been identified, carry out a child protection training workshop for all staff and volunteers.

In a basic introduction session to safeguarding and child protection you should aim to cover:

  • An introduction to what it means to be a child/foundations (e.g. children’s rights)
  • Understanding and recognising abuse
  • How to respond to observations, allegations or disclosures of abuse (reporting procedure)
  • Identifying risks in the ways we work with children and developing a code of conduct to mitigate these risks
  • How to work towards a child protection policy/what next for your organisation

Check your plan:

  • Does your plan include a good mixture of learning styles and participatory activities?
  • Do you have a good mix of working in groups and individually and in pairs etc?
  • Have you taken into account the specific context your participants come from – e.g. knowledge of local referral procedures, any difficult cases they are dealing with, developing appropriate case studies?
  • Is it clear how participants can take follow up action after the training?

A sample training schedule with reference to exercises from Viva, Creating Safe Environments for Children is available here 

Connect with national and local child protection actors

Find out who is doing what in your context – which organisations can support you with case management and referrals? Are there ways you can link with these organisations, or with government or social services to receive training, resources or support? Could any of these actors come to give training sessions with staff, or with children?

Support with policy writing

Where possible, work together to develop a child protection policy relevant to the context you’re working in. Tools for this and a sample policy outline are also available in Viva, Creating Safe Environments for Children.

Develop deeper training to address specific situations and needs

After basic child protection systems are in place, develop further training or look for others who can provide training and support on how to address specific child protection concerns you are facing in your context, especially in the context of the emergency.

Monitoring and evaluation

To follow up, find out what is being put into practice as a result of learning and training opportunities, and how the policy is being used. You can also repeat the child protection needs assessment to find out how awareness and action around child protection has changed.

Additional tools and resources 

Additional tools and resources for child protection capacity building are here

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