Children (0-18 years) are a significant part of the refugee population world-wide. Almost 50% of UNHCR’s global caseload is children and children represent the majority of many refugee camp populations. UNHCR has a mandate for the protection of refugees and collaborates with organisations such as GIZ and Save the Children to achieve this. However, evaluations and indicators show that, operationally, the mainstream refugee protection process inadequately engages refugee children or addresses their specific protection concerns.
Children face different protection risks, have different protection needs and communicate differently about their protection concerns to adults. Whilst ‘child friendly spaces’ and complaints reporting mechanisms (CRM) for children exist in some refugee camps, the refugee protection process itself is not necessarily participatory or child friendly in practice. The danger is that child participation takes place ‘in a box’ and refugee children do not feel able to participate or voice their concerns throughout the protection process.
This is an alternative ‘take’ on the refugee protection process from the perspective of children of different ages who have experienced it and suggestions as to how it might work more effectively for refugee children as a whole.
Thinking creatively about child protection in a protracted refugee camp context, this project aims to work with refugee children as innovators in a protracted refugee settlement in Uganda to explore what might constitute a more child-friendly, child specific and participatory refugee protection process for children.
This will be done through participatory workshops with groups of refugee children (aged 6-10 and 11-16) to map out their broad perspectives, as well as focus in on specific points (arrival, registration, best interest determination) and aspects (environment, child/adult interaction, information) of the refugee protection process. Observation of protection interviews with refugee children and interviews with humanitarian practitioners will feed into the innovation process.
The project is still ‘pre-HIF’ in that our HIF funded work will begin in April 2012.View
Child participation is our main route to innovation and we believe children are well placed to be innovators in their own protection.View
Anna Skeels' report on the project is published by UNHCR.View
Anna Skeels and Monika Sandvik-Nylund's paper is featured in Forced Migration Review.View
Research in Kyaka II involved observation of a range of protection interviews with children, including both those attending with their families and unaccompanied and separated children.View
With a relatively small amount of money, a huge amount of work has been possible over the past six-month period.View
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