Protecting Children from Exploitation and Trafficking: Using the positive deviance approach in Uganda and Indonesia

The positive deviance (PD) approach is an assets-based approach to social and behavior change that identifies solutions to community problems within the community. Its premise is that in every community there are individuals or families whose practices and behaviors enable them to find better solutions to problems than their neighbors who have access to the same resources. In this approach, facilitators work with people to identify a common problem, find the individuals or families who practice uncommon but effective behaviors—the “positive deviants”—that enable them to overcome the
common problem, and promote those behaviors in the community.

This monograph contributes to the knowledge base about the use of the approach in child protection programming. It analyzes two projects funded by the Oak Foundation and implemented by Save the Children that used the approach to address child protection issues: a project in Uganda to reintegrate girls who had been abducted by the Lords Resistance Army and girl mothers into their communities, and a project in Indonesia to reduce the incidence of girl trafficking.

The analysis synthesizes several lessons on the use of the approach to address child protection issues. The monograph also presents implications for scaling up pilot projects and the conditions under which the PD approach can be most effective.

Published 2018-12-01