There’s a real appetite to go out and do something practical together now towards integrated Education/ Child Protection programming. Yes, we need frameworks, case studies, guiding documents… But can we collectively agree on 2-3 themes that we’ll work on collaboratively? What will they be? Child labour? Early marriage? There are many options, but if can reach agreement quickly, then we can get to work!
At the final session of the 2018 Alliance-INEE Roundtable, participants came together to summarize their group’s thoughts on where the Child Protection and Education would like to be in 5 years’ time, and how – collectively -- we think we could get there.
While a single shared vision was not easy to reach, there was general agreement that child rights and child wellbeing should be the organizing framework across both education and child protection, with a holistic understanding of the child at the centre.
Practitioners challenged the idea of a defining model for collaboration, insisting that they can work most effectively when the two sectors are able to move between the range of collaborative possibilities: from integrated, joint, mainstreamed and collaborative programming. It would also be helpful to collectively define these various models, to ensure that we are all speaking the same language.
It was emphasized that frameworks exist that can support the transition to a more collaborative approach between the two sectors, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Grand Bargain and the localization agenda, INSPIRE and No Lost Generation.
Developing case studies of effective joint programming and “what works” would support improved collaboration. While the global level Alliance and INEE may be convinced of the value of this initiative, there is a need for the Coordinators to engage in active advocacy on the topic. Shared talking points, branding and high-level endorsement were also suggested.
Participants requested the development of a shared competency framework, eventually leading to joint learning and development. – including community members. Joint education/ child protection staffing should become a systematic option. Joint needs assessments would provide the basis for joint programme cycle management, harmonized data collection and evidence based advocacy.
Both Child Protection and Education have robust minimum standards for their sectors: the CPMS and INEE respectively. Participants suggested taking advantage of the ongoing CPMS revision process and the fact that INEE is likely to start revising and updating their standards in the next 12-24 months. There is a need to sit with the two sets and standards and carefully identify where we overlap, and where there are gaps or opportunities to ensure that frontline workers have clear guidance and indicators across the two areas of work. It is worth noting that the revised CPMS will be guided and informed by frameworks: the social-ecological model and the child’s life cycle. Both sectors’ strategic plans should also be developed with a view to promoting a more collaborative approach.
From a funding perspective, there is a need for cross-sectoral and pooled funding to enable this shift to a more collaborative approach. It was also suggested that both Education and Child Protection could work more strategically with smaller donors. For example, smaller donors could be brought in at the assessment and project development stage, then hand the baton to a larger donor to carry the work forward.
It’s clear that much needs to be done to shift our ways of working and move beyond rigid sectoral boundaries. But in the words of one participant, “with this many child protection and education actors in the room, and this much good will, anything is possible!”