Pakistan floods: innovations and guidance for the response.

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For over 25 years child friendly spaces (CFS) have been at the forefront of humanitarian response. Initially there was a weak evidence-base informing this approach, but the last 10 years have seen a substantial increase in research and evaluation in this area. This accumulating evidence has informed the evolution of guidance and training on implementing effective CFS interventions, but there remains uncertainty about the key messages emerging from studies.

This commentary summarises the key findings of CFS-related research over the last decade and identifies key implications for policy and practice. There is no basis for discarding the approach, but nor is there for using it as a ubiquitous, prolonged response to diverse needs. The key imperatives are to:

  • mainstream quality and contextualisation in the implementation of CFS as a mechanism for emergency response;
  • structure CFS within a phased intervention strategy incorporating education and community-based approaches;
  • further develop resources to support quality, contextualised and phased provision for children.
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