Review of Child Participation in Save the Children Norway’s programmes
Background This report provides a review of Norad-supported child participation programming across the portfolio of Save the Children Norway. The report has a threefold purpose; to identify strengths and weaknesses in SCN approaches to child participation, to assess how child participation aligns with SCN programme goals, and to measure the impact of SCN’s work with children and youth. Methodology This review has used a mix of secondary evidence and primary data. Secondary evidence provided by SCN covered a wide tranche of its activities, including work in 16 different countries. Primary data was collected in three countries; Iraq, South Sudan, and Cambodia. Methods include document and data reviews, along with focus groups, key informant interviews, and surveys conducted with various actors, including beneficiary children, beneficiaries’ parents, stakeholders, and SC staff at various multiple levels. Key Findings Concepts and guidance are not adequately or evenly understood across Save the Children globally, and there are shortcomings in how SC articulate child participation and the mainstreaming of it Ensuring child participation approaches are well targeted to the context, particularly to account for distinctions between development and humanitarian contexts, was highlighted as important to ensure success of initiatives. There are shortcomings in how Save the Children manage expectations and proper stakeholder mapping is missing The review found shortcomings in how child participation interventions are tailored according to children’s unique needs at varying levels and cognitive abilities The review found shortcomings in how Save the Children capture results and evidence of what works/why, and how evidence is being applied The report mentions some key elements that are critical to child participation: country office buy-in, having a long-term perspective, capacity building of staff, and having a strong relationship with partners School improvement plans and child-centred teching methodologies have positive outcomes on child participation Elite capture was noted as a frequent characteristic of programmes, where projects attracted particularly bright and engaged pupils, whilst others potentially missed out. This was not, however, seen as a necessarily negative aspect of programming, but rather one that could be leveraged for improved impact. Recommendations Undertaking detailed stakeholder mapping, with a focus on right-holders with influence and power, prior to programme design is a key recommendation Guidance, sensitizations, and long-term capacity building for child participation: undertaking a detailed review, synthesis, and targeting exercise of guidance notes and capacity building plans and material is recommended Strengthening M&E systems with articulable linkages to outcomes/output indicators and child participation through capacity building. Need for flexible and evidence-based programme design Focusing on Child-Centered Teaching methodologies to promote child participation Tailoring to children’s unique needs at varying levels and cognitive abilities - ensuring children of varied levels and cognitive abilities can substantively engage with child participation Strengthening mentorship of Save the Children staff and stakeholders Comments from the organisation Save the Children Norway commissioned an internal review of child participation in Mozambique to complement this external review. The findings from this review will be presented to Norad as part of the 2019 end-line reporting.