HEARD supported the development of Request for Applications (RFA)-VAC-2020-001, “USAID Child Safeguarding Capacity Strengthening and Implementation Research Efforts”, which was released in August. The RFA solicited a partner institution to support strengthening USAID’s and its partners’ policies, procedures, and practices related to child safeguarding, including available reporting procedures, the quality of investigations stemming from reports, and assessments of new partners child safeguarding policies among all USAID partners. Keeping Children Safe (KCS) submitted an application to the RFA and was selected as the winning applicant. KCS is leading the process to review and support policy and capacity strengthening in child safeguarding. This work involves close engagement with USAID’s Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), and Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) initiatives, and with the USG Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity (APPCA) Interagency Working Group.
KCS began its work to support strengthening USAID’s and its partners’ policies, procedures, and practices related to child safeguarding, including available reporting procedures, the quality of investigations stemming from reports, and assessments of new partners child safeguarding policies among all USAID partners. A preliminary risk assessment report and training materials were developed and will be built on, guided by USAID engagement, in the coming reporting period.
The preliminary risk assessment found that the main child safeguarding risks for USAID include i) safeguarding risks from USAID partners, ii) the absence of child friendly reporting and responding procedures, iii) that some staff appear to be unaware of the USAID procedure for reporting and responding to safeguarding concerns. Further, the assessment identified areas for enhancement, including embedding child safeguarding risk assessment across the Agency, developing child friendly reporting and responding procedures in line with a child victim/survivor centered approach, stepping up safeguarding recruitment requirements, addressing child safeguarding in digital and communications activities and developing a robust and holistic safeguarding strategy and implementation plan in coordination with USAID’s PSEA, and C-TIP initiatives.
The training materials developed provide an introductory training on child safeguarding for use by USG agencies within participating in the Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity (APPCA) Interagency Working Group to support strengthened capacity across agencies to understand and address child safeguarding issues. The training will be refined based on the feedback from USG agencies. Training of trainer materials and other supplementary materials will be developed in the subsequent period of reporting to support uptake of training across agencies.
KCS is also leading a process to provide focused support among Missions and implementing partners in the focus countries, which will include Cambodia and Rwanda, along with others to be determined. Initial conversations with the Cambodia and Rwanda Missions have taken place and a Scope of Work to be carried out for the Cambodia Mission was developed and approved.