Save the Children: putting children’s interests to the fore
The project in brief
Save the Children International
Across the world, 70.8 million people – 53 per cent of them children – have been forced to leave their homes as a result of conflict and violence. Often their vulnerabilities, and care and development needs, go unmet, unprotected and unreported.
A durable solution is found when a displaced child’s rights are fully reinstated, whether during, and/or after displacement. Re-entering one’s place of origin or integrating into a new country and community after a period of displacement should also mark a return to normality.
Measures aimed at identifying and implementing sustainable solutions must be child-focused and child-sensitive. They should be based on the best interests of the child and on the protection and fulfilment of the rights of the child. Such decisions need to be tailored to suit the individual child.
For this purpose, Save the Children has developed the:
- Durable Solutions for Children Toolkit, and
- an analysis report ‘Achieving Durable Solutions for Returnee Children’
Main activities of the Good Practice
The Durable Solutions for Children Toolkit, is an important resource in helping ensure children are at the heart of future responses and solutions to displacement. The toolkit provides detailed guidance for engaging with displaced children and allows practitioners to build child-focused long-term solutions and advocacy. It outlines options, actions and legal guidance related to local integration and resettlement. It also offers practitioners a new indicator framework designed to measure child-specific gaps in displacement, monitor improvements and increase the accountability of service providers, as well as inform shape policy and programming decisions.
This is a working document and it will seek input and advice from colleagues and counterparts to continue to improve it. It is also a timely opportunity for cross-sector collaboration to build child-sensitive durable solutions good practice.
The report ‘Achieving Durable Solutions for Returnee Children’ offers one of the first comparative child-focused analyses of reintegration conditions. Exploring return conditions facing children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria, the report generates findings and recommendations aimed at improving our collective knowledge base and improving standards of programming, policy and advocacy in support of child returnees and their families. Specific recommendations focus on how best to guarantee minimum standards for the safe and dignified return of children and how to measure the extent to which children have successfully reintegrated into their original communities.
Challenges and how they were overcome
Current responses are limited by specific challenges.
First, available durable solutions tools and guidance are largely child-blind.
Second, there is little data available on the subject of returnee children to guide solutions. Two fundamental questions in particular remain unanswered: How do we guarantee minimum standards for safe and dignified child returns?
How do we measure the extent to which children have successfully reintegrated into their original or new communities?
The Toolkit has been recently developed and we shall embed it in SC’s programme in future years.
Additionally, Save the Children aims to introduce this useful tool to an increasing number of partner organizations and stakeholders.
The toolkit is expected to inform the work of a growing number of agencies looking into child-focused sustainable solutions, including through the work of the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts.
Results of the Good Practice
The Toolkit is being used in a variety of displacement circumstances. It presents concrete actions and guidance (including legal guidance) for local integration and resettlement, both of which are key objectives of the Global Compact. The indicator framework included in the toolkit has been well received for measuring child-specific gaps in displacement settings, monitoring developments and increasing the accountability of service providers, and shaping policy and programming decisions.
The returns report strongly confirms that children’s rights are not currently being met in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. Returned and non-displaced children share many conditions of material and physical safety. However, returnee children and their families face a number of distinct disadvantages compared with host communities, often related to difficulties in accessing housing, land, property, education, legal support and mental health safety. The report offers recommendations in three main categories: (i) Embedding the principles of child-sensitive programming in all returnee contexts; (ii) Establishing minimum standards and guaranteeing the rights of children through the return journey, from preparation through to integration; and (iii) closing the data gap and setting research priorities.
Dr. Josiah Kaplan, Senior Research Adviser, Migration and Displacement Initiative, Save the Children International
Daniela Reale, Lead on Children on the Move, Save the Children