We thought the overall issue after listening to Professor Ager’s lecture, and the discussion framed by Ananda, was both the need to insure accurate data vs (easy to collect but inaccurate data), and the principle of “do no harm” a potentially critical issue given the urgency and the availablility of untrained social workers as opposed to people trained in child protection issues. The concept of the “tyranny of the popular”, and Ananda’s plea to not just look on the community level, but through and beyond this, resonated with us. With this is mind, we thought a desk review to understand the composition of the population, i.e. ethnic, religious, and cultural groupings, along with the history and political issues and formations at hand in the country must be a starting point, in order to figure out how to sample. Is this a heterogenous popoulation? If so, what are its varying concerns and vulnerabilities, especially the children? Who can we speak with that will give us different opinions, and how will we situate ourselves in this period to make use of informally collecting information from what we see and hear around us, and informal discussions we might have? This would inform to what extent , and what methodology we employed with vulnerable youth, and how we choose to set up our sampling methods.

The goal is to identify child protection issues at the family, community, camp, and population level, as well as individual level, including vulnerable groups within the child context. What are particular risks for girls in this country, and the camps. Is there an issue with child recruitment, or trafficking? Our unit of measurement would hopefully include a random sampling of the camps, as well as key community leaders identified through desk research, our social workers opinions, and data from initial discussions and observations as mentioned. Purposeful sampling, i.e. in order to understand what needs to be done to protect kids, and who the vulnerable kids are, and what is existed in the community prior to displacement that served to protect children would be the focus of the interview questions, and would direct which groups we chose to interview. Camp sampling would be based on family units, and if our research assessed that in the camps people were organized through identifiable categories, such as political or religious affiliation, key informant interviews representing these community level groupings could be helpful. If possible, separate focus group discussions with the children should be done as long as the assessment is that this could be done in a way that did not put children in a vulnerable position, which we could assess based on desk review, and initial discussions with community leaders and family unit sampling. Because focus groups with children can potentially have a lot of problems, such as kids withholding information to protect caregivers or other children, not feeling able to vocalize their reality, or feelings because of fear, or embarrassment in front of other kids, if we are to do focus groups meetings with children, they must be supplemented with individual followup meetings with kids in order to validate the information we get from the focus group.

Given that the emergency has been occurring for 3 weeks, we have a limited period of time of 4-6 weeks to complete an emergency assessment of child protection issues, and while remembering the principles of do not harm and collect only data that will be useful and can acted upon, it seems that several days of training in child protection principles and methods with the social workers is all that can be done. In this period, collecting data from them, will also give us a sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and we can further assess how useful they will be . In the initial planning however, it would seem that those of us with experience in child protection issues should be involved in the data collection with the social worksers, both on the individual, family, and community levels.

Data collection, and then analyzing what we have cannot wait until we are finished with our entire assessment, because we will want to maintain flexibility to change in midstream if we are not collecting useful data, or we feel it is not accurate due to sampling errors or poor methodology for the circumstances. So, constantly tabulating data, and discussing the work and results each day should be key. Information should be shared almost on a daily if not weekly basis with other cluster groups involved in the situation, as this will help everyone. we should not wait until we are finishedd to share our results, indicating these are initial findings. The separate teams doing assessment and programming respectively should have daily information sharing processes in place. This would allow for more timely efforts to put in place protective elements, should immediate child protection threats or gaps be identified in the assessment process that allows for daily review and reflection. The validity would rely on getting a representative sample in purposive sampling, which we will seek to do.