Communities in the Driver’s Seat

Lead Organization: War Child Holland
Partners: War Child Holland, Save the Children, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO-Uganda), Ten Have Change Management, The Nomad Coach, Stichting Elva, Vandejong Creative Agency
Duration: November 1, 2019 – December 31, 2021
Goal: This project tests the feasibility of one bottom-up approach to child protection with two applications 1) community-driven child protection and 2) stigma.
Highlight: The two applications are tested in two contexts, allowing for cross-learning, comparison and alignment.

Systematic and enduring child protection challenges demand new and effective approaches, particularly in volatile humanitarian contexts. Building on evidence that community-owned and community-driven approaches bring about improved outcomes, this consortium aims to produce evidence on standard community-driven approaches to child protection that are easy to understand and implement, and yet adaptable to any humanitarian context. This allows for scale-up and dissemination among the wider humanitarian community which will bring about increased relevance, impact and sustainability in the field of child protection.

Underlying research questions are:

  • Acceptability: How do targeted individuals – humanitarian actors, community agents of change and community members – react to the approach?
  • Implementation: Can the intervention be fully implemented as planned and proposed?
  • Practicality: Which resources and competencies are required for delivery of the approach? This will be linked to the Business Model Canvas (BMC) or similar tool.
  • Unanticipated consequences: What positive or negative consequences may emerge?
  • Outcome measurement: What instruments exist to measure change at various target groups? What are local perceptions on outcome?
  • Adaptation: Which elements need modification prior to outcome evaluation?
  • Comparison: What cross-learnings will emerge? What are future alignment possibilities?


Update: The two applications, community driven child protection and stigma, were initially planned to be tested in two contexts, allowing for cross-learning, comparison and alignment. The first approach is piloted in Colombia, with urban communities in Bogota. The second approach was intended to be piloted in Uganda, in refugee/host settings. However, due to Covid-19, no research was possible.

Covid-19 challenged the testing of the two applications, as they both require implementation on-site and not on-line, due to content and context. Despite these challenges and delays, the community driven child protection approach named Seeds is being implemented in two neighbourhoods of Bogota. The communities identified community facilitators who implement the phases included in the Seeds approach with the guidance of a child protection coach. The first phase of Seeds, a learning phase, was completed. The community facilitators used participatory methods to engage various community members in discussions on risks facing children and existing protective factors in the community. The information collected in this first phase is being transferred into a community-led action plan which will be implemented by the community. Data collection on the feasibility of the intervention has been ongoing. This valuable information shared by the community will be used to make adaptations in the intervention manual.

While preparing the stigma reduction application called STRETCH for on-site testing, the Covid-19 pandemic had another wave. To continue feasibility testing, an on-line stakeholder assessment was conducted to solicit feedback from humanitarian and academic stigma reduction practitioners. Based on this, the intervention was adapted, ready for on-site testing. As non-essential research was not allowed during Uganda’s last lock-down, the decision was made to use some of the application’s content for programmatic stigma reduction; this will be conducted until the end of 2021. One element of the application is a board game called ‘Community Tales’; to facilitate humanitarian workers and community members alike to reflect on stigmatisation, its consequences and what can be done about it locally.


Contact lead organization War Child Holland
Cibelle Chaocheva