Child protection capacity building, Lebanon – LSESD and Viva

Context: Conflict-induced displacement, local partner response

Objective: Supporting LSESD and its local partner churches and organisations to improve awareness and implementation of good practice in child protection policies and procedures in their response to the needs of displaced Syrian children and families in Lebanon

Why this project?

LSESD partners with more than 20 local churches and organisations to provide support to Syrian refugee families in Lebanon. A child protection needs assessment carried out by Viva in partnership with FH in 2014 revealed that, while many local partners were responding to the needs of children, few had the necessary level of knowledge and experience to deal with the complex risks and difficult situations children were facing.

The project

Viva adapted its existing child protection training materials to create a two-day introductory training in child protection and psychosocial support for children in emergencies, which was then delivered to local partners in clusters around the locations where they worked.

LSESD CP cap build 1

The training took a participatory approach and covered:

  • Foundations in child protection
    • Understanding children and childhood
    • God’s heart for children (for church partners only)
    • Children’s rights
  • Understanding child abuse
    • Definitions of abuse
    • Recognising abuse
    • Attitudes and values towards abuse
  • Developing reporting procedures
    • Case scenarios – what would we do if..?
    • Looking at existing support available from government, social services and NGOs to determine realistic referral pathways and reporting procedures
  • Developing a Code of Conduct
    • Mapping our contact with children
    • What are the risks to children?
    • What guidelines can we put in place to minimise these risks?
  • Steps towards a child protection policy
    • How to use this learning to develop a formal child protection policy

The training also included a one-hour session provided by a national child protection NGO, giving specific information on referrals and reporting in the Lebanese context.

An afternoon on psychosocial support was included in the training, since partners were working with vulnerable children who had been through difficult situations.

Following the initial training, LSESD provided further training and mentoring support specific to the needs of local partners and the child-focused programmes they developed.


All partners trained stated that they were more aware of why it is important to keep children safe, and knew what they needed to do next to improve child protection in their organisation.

Since the initial training, LSESD has been supporting these local partners to develop several child-focused programmes, including child friendly spaces and education programmes, and this initial training helped to initiate a growing focus on providing support specifically for children. LSESD and Viva have also continued to provide child protection mentoring, and have supported several partners to develop their own contextual child protection policies.

Lessons learned

  • Basic information can have a significant impact in increasing partners’ confidence and ability to keep children safe – for example simply by understanding and recognising different kinds of abuse, and being aware of local referral systems and procedures
  • Where partners were churches, an initial session drawing out the Biblical foundations for God’s heart for keeping children safe helped to engage staff and volunteers who may otherwise have seen child protection as a topic outside their scope
  • It is important to ensure that leaders participate in the training to make sure that necessary changes will be put in place
  • Adapting training and advice to the local context, and always relating training to what is possible and realistic in terms of referrals and child protection systems is critical to making sure decisions and procedures developed are appropriate and likely to be truly effective
  • Ongoing mentoring is much more effective than one-off training sessions. As a follow-up from the initial partnership in 2014, Viva provides ongoing training and mentoring support, which has helped local partners to internalise the topics covered and work towards developing child protection policies and procedures, and to develop further child-focused programmes

LSESD and Viva‘s child protection capacity building in Lebanon was supported by Food for the Hungry, Tearfund New Zealand and Transform Aid International 

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