Community Engagement to Strengthen Social Cohesion and Child Protection in Chad and Burundi
"Bottom Up" Participatory Monitoring, Planning and Action
The two year (2014-2016) Child Protection Social Cohesion initiative draws on both existing literature and in-country fieldwork experience supported by UNICEF, government and local partners. These agencies have been collaborating for a number of years on child protection systems strengthening in conflict affected communities, and had decided to strengthen programmatic linkages between child protection and social cohesion. Local partners included FVS Amade and International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Burundi, and in Chad the Association Pour la Recuperation et L'Encadrement des Enfants en Detresse (ARED).
The field visits of the IICRD team to Burundi and Chad took place between February 2015 and May 2016. The initiative built on prior baseline research undertaken by the North-South Institute (NSI) from 2013-2014 (NSI, 2014). Child-centred, participatory action research (PAR) and narrative, ethnographic research methods and local monitoring, planning and action using Outcome Mapping (Early, Carden, Smutylo, 2001) and IICRD's Reflective Action tools, were combined over the two years of the project cycle. The combination of these was designed to leverage local knowledge on the development of, and the actors involved in the creation of social cohesion at the community level was implemented.
The guiding action research question for the work in Burundi and Chad was:
- How do groups at the community level protect children, youth and women/girls while promoting social cohesion, peacebuilding and general human security?
Secondary questions include:
- What are the conflict drivers in each of the settings, and how do these conflict drivers contribute to (child) protection risks and harms?
- Do non-formal and formal groups influence communities differently?
- What group characteristics, activities, functions, processes, and mechanisms actively support or erode social cohesion and child protection in conflict and post-conflict settings?
- What is the agentive role of youth, women's groups and traditional leaders in promoting or hindering community cohesion?