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Child Participation Steps Across Child Protection Programmes During COVID-19

Discover the child participation steps across child protection programmes during COVID-19.

Children are experts in their own lives. To develop and adapt child protection prevention and response strategies during COVID-19, we need to understand children’s realities:

  • Children themselves know their situation and their needs intimately. They have critical insights into the actions that can ensure their protection and well-being.
  • Children’s participation is a fundamental part of an effective protective response. It increases children’s self-esteem, reduces isolation and can enhance their protection and well-being.

There are many excellent participatory tools for engaging children in both the development and humanitarian sectors. It is important to be able to use and adapt existing tools for the current COVID-19 context.

As well as adapting approaches to ensure continued meaningful participation, organizations should listen to the messages that children and young people share directly through a variety of means.

Read the brief guide below on contextualizing and adapting child participation during COVID-19.

*A Guide to Contextualizing and Adapting Child Participation during COVID-19

Step 1. Review and consider the series of questions below as a foundation to adapting tools and approaches.

● What phase of the COVID-19 cycle are you currently in?

● What public health measures have been implemented in your context?

● What are the implications of these public health measures on meeting or gathering with children?

Step 2: Select an existing child participation tool that can help you engage children in your context. Ensure that the tool is suitable for your target audience’s age and developmental stage.

Step 3: Tailor the tool for use during COVID-19. Identify what parts of the tool can be used as is and which parts need to be modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decide how you will make these modifications. To help ensure participation from all children, consider any adaptations needed for children of different ages, genders and disabilities.

Work with a diverse group of children to adapt and redesign participatory activities wherever possible.

Step 4: Complete a strengths and risk assessment prior to planning and implementing the activity. See Tool 4: Involving Children in Assessing and Responding to Risks and Resources for guidance.

Considerations for facilitating face-to-face activities (where possible) include providing:

A safe location with space for required social distancing measures.

● Required safety materials, such as masks, hand sanitiser, etc.

Safe pre-packaged refreshments and ways to serve that maintain physical distancing, if required.

● Fun ways to mark social distancing, such as hula-hoops, string or natural objects (rocks, leaves, etc.).

Considerations for adapting methods for remote or online activities include:

● Using online video conferencing, phone calls, text messages, WhatsApp, or other social networking or software applications used by children in your context.

● Using remote approaches such as home-based activities with a drop-off point for sharing outputs in contexts with low levels of technology adoption or limited internet connection (e.g. children produce a body-mapping drawing and then leave it at a drop – off point for a community or staff member to collect).

● Remembering that existing tools can be adapted to work online and remotely.

Next, we will look in detail at adapting a child participation activity for face-to-face or remote implementation during COVID-19.

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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