One of UNHCR’s primary objectives is ensuring evidence based programming for the protection of children in refugee settings. In 2012, UNHCR started to roll out newly drafted strategies on child protection, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and education in a selected number of target countries. The 2012 Framework for the Protection of Children articulates the centrality of child protection to UNHCR’s protection mandate, stating that UNHCR will act to promote child protection by “protecting and advocating against all forms of discrimination; preventing and responding to abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation; ensuring immediate access to appropriate services; and ensuring durable solutions in the child’s best interests.”
This baseline study of child protection systems in two refugee settlements in Uganda is a part of a three-year collaboration, between Columbia University’s Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) Learning Network and UNHCR. The goal of this collaboration is to demonstrate ‘proof of concept’ that a well-implementing child protection system can protect refugee children from harm, including SGBV prevention and response. The collaboration between UNHCR and the CPC Learning Network aims to develop innovative assessment tools and methodologies to strengthen the evidence surrounding impact of child protection and SGBV prevention and response interventions. The study uses a novel Child Protection Index [CPI] – an instrument of 48 items, developed for the purposes of this project – to assess the strength of the child protection system. Rather than focusing on specific activities or interventions, the CPI seeks to capture the diverse components of the child protection system for refugee children, based on the speci c benchmarks in the Framework.