BURKINA FASO, 2012. Children playing near silos in the village of Weotenga, Plateau-Central Region. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0266/OLIVIER ASSELIN
BURKINA FASO, 2012. Children playing near silos in the village of Weotenga, Plateau-Central Region. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0266/OLIVIER ASSELIN

The Innovations and Child Protection Initiative, discussed in previous posts, represents a major effort within UNICEF to move past traditional ways of working vertically to working across multiple sectors, leveraging the strengths of each sector. Increasing evidence shows that cross-sectional collaboration contributes to better and more cost-efficient outcomes for children. Reflecting this cross-sectional approach to child protection and innovations, the Steering Committee that was recently launched to provide strategic direction to the initiative includes representatives from not only the Child Protection section, but also from the Health, HIV and Education sectors within UNICEF.

The Initiative is a partnership of the Innovation and Child Protection sections with UNICEF. Spearheaded by the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, with collaboration from the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, the initiative roots itself with the experience of UNICEF’s country offices and building their capacities to analyze and identify how they could strategically use technology.

CÔTE D IVOIRE, 2006. Boys watch their teacher write on the blackboard, during a tutoring session at a primary school in the village of Béoué, near the western town of Man in the rebel-controlled zone. One boy (foreground) wears a T-shirt showing a pink 'X' through the word 'violence' and bearing the ASA (Afrique Secours Assistance) slogan 'Protect our Children' (in French). © UNICEF/NYHQ2006-2801/BRUNO BRIONI
CÔTE D IVOIRE, 2006. Boys watch their teacher write on the blackboard, during a tutoring session at a primary school in the village of Béoué, near the western town of Man in the rebel-controlled zone. One boy (foreground) wears a T-shirt showing a pink ‘X’ through the word ‘violence’ and bearing the ASA (Afrique Secours Assistance) slogan ‘Protect our Children’ (in French). © UNICEF/NYHQ2006-2801/BRUNO BRIONI

A key activity of the Initiative that will inform its strategic direction includes a global mapping and desk review of projects using technological innovations. That global mapping and desk review includes both child protection programs and other sector programs that can be strategically leveraged and/or adapted to improve child protection outcomes. Preliminary results from the global mapping and desk review reveal that many of the successes are associated with cross-sectional collaborations for which technology can serve as a tool. For example, many of the successes in promoting birth registration is very often a result of a working relationship between the civil registration and health sectors (Nigeria, Uganda). In those cases, technology served as a tool to bridge the collaboration between the sectors. The initiative will further explore and identify recommendations on using technology for civil registration (birth and death registration), with particular emphasis on cross sectional collaborations with other sectors.

Interestingly, the global mapping also revealed that UNICEF country offices and child protection specialists most often prioritized case management for future programming using technological innovations. Case management inherently warrants cross-sectional collaboration with implications across all sectors. Identifying what “case management” means and how technological innovations can be used to facilitate effective case management from a child protection perspective may be questions for the initiative to explore within the next few months.

Bill Philbrick
Innovation and Child Protection Project Lead
wphilbrick(at)unicef.org

Read also my other stories:

Reaching the unreached: Innovations and child protection

Adapting child health innovations for the field of child protection

Innovations in partnerships and technology for birth registration

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