Care and Protection of Children in Crisis-Affected Countries (CPC) Learning Network
Goal: To strengthen and systematize child care and protection in crisis-affected settings through the collaborative action of humanitarian organizations, local institutions, and academic partners. The CPC Learning Network aims to inform practice and policy through the use of evidence-based findings.
Faculty: Neil Boothby, Alastair Ager, Mike Wessells, Les Roberts
Program Manager: Paul Kellner
Senior Graduate Research Associate: Lindsay Stark
Columbia University, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children, the Women’s Refugee Commission, UNICEF, ChildFund International, and several local organizations have established an agency Learning Network on the Care and Protection of Children in Crisis-Affected Countries (the CPC Learning Network). The Learning Network is a direct product of the success of the CPC Research Initiative, which strengthened consensus on child care and protection interventions between 2005 and 2008 by piloting new assessment methodologies, consulting with experts on how to build a stronger evidence-base, and performing a structured Delphi review of perceived best practices.
Specific components of the CPC Learning Network’s stated goal include:
- Develop community protection program knowledge. Promote an organized, evidence-based process for examining NGO experience and generating global standards, strategies and practices to guide child care and protection programs.
- Foster organizational collaboration. Facilitate open, inclusive partnerships and collaboration at the global, regional, national and local levels to promote effective, scalable, community-focused care and protection programs.
- Promote effective programming and policies. Identify and disseminate NGO-tested innovations and local experiences to inform program models, and hence influence national, regional and global policy dialogues affecting children and their developmental outcomes in crisis-affected settings.
- Mobilize resources. Mobilize significant public and private financial resources to support child care and protection programs.
The CPC Learning Network’s unique structure, which includes both Program Learning Groups at the local level and Global Technical Groups to assist and synthesize learning across locations, is designed to address the Learning Network’s dual local and global mandate. Along with the Program Learning Groups and Global Technical Groups, the CPC Learning Network consists of a Secretariat at Columbia University, an advisory group, and other member organizations.
Local child protection practitioners, through Program Learning Groups (PLGs), catalyze learning on the ground. PLGs consist of approximately 5 to 10 member organizations, including national organizations, field offices of INGOs, and local universities and research institutions. With support from the Secretariat and the Global Technical Groups, PLGs in Uganda, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Occupied Palestinian Territory are developing interagency learning initiatives and honing their learning agendas. This agenda-setting process includes identifying and prioritizing learning needs, assigning lead agencies to facilitate projects and trainings, and pursuing additional sources of funding for prioritized activities.
Global Technical Groups provide assistance, synthesize learning across locations, and identify proven and promising practice. These entities help to provide necessary technical assistance to the field and disseminate effective program design, evaluation methodologies and lessons learned; and, promote standards, guidelines and practices. Bringing together leading practitioners and academics, these groups leverage existing knowledge to identify proven and promising practice in the field of child protection and collaborate with Learning Network members to implement evidence-supported programs and policies.
The Secretariat, based at the Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, works across all levels of the CPC Learning Network to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing; serve as an arbiter of evidence-based, good practice; disseminate findings to inform the global policy dialogue/debates; and, assist with additional resource mobilization. The Secretariat seeks to ensure communication across the Learning Network, most formally through its role as arbiter of good practice and convener of the Child Protection Action Summit, which was held for the first time in Stockholm, Sweden from November 12th-14th, 2008.
The Advisory Group oversees and advises the development of the CPC Learning Network.
CPC Learning Network members are committed to realizing the child care and protection programming and policy goals set forth a decade ago in Graça Machel’s cornerstone study. Network members were intimately involved in the 10-year Strategic Review of the Machel Study and are uniquely positioned to contribute to community-based approaches that build support for care and protection programs, embrace partnerships, and encourage innovation.