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Lessons Learned: Conducting research on community-based child protection mechanisms

The Inter-Agency Learning Initiative launched a learning program in West Africa and East Africa, in Sierra Leone and Kenya, respectively. The initiative used rapid ethnography - an empirically-oriented, bottom-up - approach to learn about community based child protection mechanisms, with the goal of strengthening the links between government and community-based systems of child protection. Building upon this work, the Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network adapted and used the ethnographic approach and tools through work by the Program Learning Groups (PLGs) in Uganda and Liberia. Both these initiatives conducted their work, not as stand-alone research projects, but as part of a collaborative effort to use the learning to strengthen and improve child protection practice.

To facilitate learning and collaboration across the two initiatives, a three-day workshop was convened in Monrovia, Liberia from November 7 – 9, 2012, hosted by Child Fund, Liberia. The participants were members of the PLGs and national research teams from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda; the technical experts on the action research; and monitors from the interagency group overseeing both initiatives. During the workshop, each team shared its methodology, approach, key findings and challenges encountered. Group discussion aimed to identify ways of strengthening the research approach of each team. One third of the workshop was devoted to developing some guiding lessons from the ethnographic research conducted in the three countries.

This guidance is a product of those discussions on lessons learned from the research conducted so far. It compiles insights from the three days of reflection, dialogue and consensus building. It is intended as an aid for other groups and initiatives in the planning and execution of ethnographic research on community-based child protection mechanisms, and to assist the learning of other groups and initiatives that study community-based child protection mechanisms. 

Published 2018-11-16