Working with community-based child protection groups and their role during the COVID-19 pandemic
As we have noted in the previous course steps, community-based child protection groups have a role to play in the protection of children during the COIVD-19 pandemic. UNHCR highlights the importance and benefits of working in partnership with, communities in the identification of child protection issues, and design and implementation of activities to protect children. UNHCR describes a Community Based Child Protection Mechanism as a network or group of individuals at community level who work in a coordinated way toward child protection goals.
These mechanisms can take the form of a focal point or a group or network of community members with a role in child protection. These groups might include social workers, teachers, health staff, police, children, parents and other caregivers, elders, and other community volunteers. This might also be community groups that are established in refugee camps, and other such settings. It also includes working with local focal points such as faith and village leaders. We invite you to read further guidance on working with community based child protection mechanisms found in this UNHCR Child Protection Issue Brief.
ChildFund have produced a reference manual with guidance on community-based child protection groups. The diagram below has been adapted from this manual suggesting some of the different services that might be represented in a group.
Guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action has issued helpful guidance on working with communities to keep children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is easy to read and provides a lot of practical information. You will also find links to other helpful resources in the document.
Please remember, it is important that everyone stays safe. This means everyone involved in responding to child protection concerns in the community having information about COVID-19 and access as needed to hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, and all other personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves masks, etc. based on national health protocols). We will discuss this in more detail later in the course.
Community groups and focal points can also play an important role in identifying ways to share accurate information about child protection and a protective environment with the wider community as well the related risks that COVID-19 can pose for girls and boys - basic facts including symptoms and ways the virus is transmitted. You will find some examples of information materials about COVID-19 that can be shared in the community on course step 20.
The ‘See Also’ section below has links to other reading material that other agencies have produced.