Protection of Children in War & Disaster
Case Study: Assessment--USA Group 8
Dana Barakat, Xheni Shehu and Ayman Yassa

I. Methodology and Tools:
With 200,000 individuals displaced after a natural emergency, we think it is in the best interest of the community to perform a Rapid Assessment, which would include three modules of operation: a Desk Review, Key Informant Interviews and Direct Observation. The decision to perform a Rapid Assessment was based on two critical factors. First, the displaced individuals have been living in temporary housing camps for 3 weeks since the disaster occurred, which means they have been struggling for some time and need effective support quickly. The assessment would be performed and completed in approximately one month which seems to be a reasonable amount of time to gain necessary insight into needs of the individuals. Second, we are not confident that we have the capacity to perform PRM which, although may yield more conclusive results, it requires more resources and more time. Our human resource capacity is 10 social works with limited experience on child protection issues. This appears to be a small number of staff to cover a significantly large displaced population of 200,000. In addition, PRM requires rigorous training in facilitating the methodology with communities, which could further delay the assessment.
Prior to finalizing the assessment tools and undertaking a What We Need to Know review, it would be prudent to conduct a desk review (DR). The value of a DR is twofold. First, The DR could provide valuable information on where the communities are coming from, what is the gender and ethnic composition of the communities, what was their prior socio-economic environment, what was the situation of children prior to their displacement, etc. And second, the DR could help inform our WWNK process and be used for triangulation in the analysis stage.
Our third, and final, tool would be Direct Observations (DO). This will allow us to gain important insights about the communities and their daily reality. Both before and during the analysis, DO could help us validate the data and/or identify gaps and potential errors in collection or analysis. In other words, DOs would aid in the triangulation process.
II. Unit of Measurement and Sampling
The unit of measurement that we would use to assess the disaster is Community. By using purposive sampling, we would separate the population into various communities (or sites) based on a number of factors, including geographical location (village versus camp site), impact of the disaster (direct versus indirect effect), ethnicity or tribal affiliation, gender, status of children (separate versus not), language and place of origin (assuming that we have or can learn this information in advance). After determining the various possible scenarios of sites, we would then purposefully select two or three sites per each scenario. If the number of sites would be unreasonably demanding on our resources and time, we would then consider prioritizing the sites based on accessibility and gap in existing knowledge. It is unclear from our guides how many sites can an assessor undertake.
The sampling will then target some sites in the 150 UN camps and some in the villages and key Informant Interviews (KIIs) will be used as our primary mode of gathering information. Again by using purposive sampling, we would identify a number of KIs from each site on the basis of certain criteria, including gender (men/women), caretakers (parents, grandparents, and extended family), children (ages 8-17), status of children, teachers and community leaders. Ideally we would conduct separate interviews with each of the KIs, but if time and resources do not allow we may opt to conduct some group interviews for those KIs where bias and peer pressure would be minimal. All children would be interviewed individually.
III. Research Objectives and Data Collection and Analysis
The primary objective of the research would be to identify and understand the protection needs of children in order to devise appropriate response mechanisms and programs. Numerous sub-objectives would be identified and prioritized. This would, at the very least, include what are most pertinent risks and dangers to children in their current environment (is there a landmine field nearby?), what are the patterns of separation and arrangements, what is the capacity of community to respond to these risks and issues, what are the coping mechanisms, what kind of violence do children experience in the community, and what are the risks of GBV. These objectives will be framed into specific, close-ended questions (both multiple choice and coded-category) and used to conduct KIIs. While open-ended questions are not recommended for a rapid assessment, it may be prudent to ask a few open-ended questions that try to solicit information that is less biased by the assessor’s purposeful design and answers.
Data will be collected in a “sweeping manner.” All of our teams will focus on one community/site and will complete the collection of data for that site before moving on. Once the data is collected it will be cleaned both at the point of data collection in the field but also at the point of data entry. We will record our data in hard copy and the data will then be entered in MS Excel for analysis. The data will be analyzed via descriptive analysis with cross tabulation. This will allow us to gain an understanding of the child protection environment/concerns for various ethnic and linguistic groups. We will use frequency tables across the various sites and will conduct triangulation on data collected to increase our confidence in our results. Once the data is compiled digitally and analyzed, it will be shared with individuals in the Child Protection working group. In addition, we plan to conduct a briefing for all other interested humanitarian actors.
IV. Timeline and Conclusion
The overall timeline will be 4-5 weeks. Week one will be reserved for coordination and planning Week 2 will be used to complete the DR and to finalize our sampling methodology and frame as well as beginning the recruitment and training of assessment teams. Week 3 we will also finalize our data collection tools. Week 4 data collection will be conducted; data will be entered and cleaned. Data will be analyzed and disseminated on week 5.
We are confident in the methodology to obtain an overview of the Child protection concerns in our various sites. We feel it will give us insight into the differing concerns that affect the various ethnic and linguistic groups in our area. While we feel that we can have a significant collection of data in one month we realize that one of the limitations is that the data, while broad in scope does not delve deeply into any concerns raised. Additionally, since we are compiling data from individuals we must be prepared to refer to existing services if indicated while we are in the process of collecting data.