Here is what we have been up to as we continue to focus on efforts to establish a vibrant research network dedicated to child welfare in Africa. Our goal is to leverage partnerships to advance research initiatives and enhance the overall well-being of children throughout the continent. Our latest work offer insight our research work, collaborations and strategic programmatic direction. The AfriChild Centre's commitment is to creating a lasting positive impact on the lives of children and the communities they belong to.
RESEARCH AND POLICY
The Good School Toolkit for Secondary Schools (GST-S) Endline Survey
We initiated the Endline survey for The Good School Toolkit for Secondary Schools, which is scheduled to take place in June and July 2023. The process began with training research assistants and consultants. To ensure accuracy, we conducted a pilot trial in eight randomly selected schools, comprising four control schools and four intervention schools. Our study participants encompass teachers, non-teaching staff, students, parents, Raising Voices staff, district education officials, and other stakeholders. We also successfully completed the collection and analysis of the study's baseline and qualitative process data.
Nurturing Children Better Through Research - Kulea Watoto
Our research strategy acknowledged community capacities and indigenous knowledge and therefore we endeavour to centre this knowledge in our research undertakings. In this light, as the research and learning partner on the Kulea Watoto Project - an ECD intervention applying a two-generational model to improve child wellbeing outcomes for refugee and host communities in Kyegegwa, Yumbe and Kampala, we established Community Advisory Boards. During the past quarter, we oriented the community advisory boards in Yumbe and Kyegegwa on their role in the research components of the project. The boards are composed of community members including refugee leaders from diverse backgrounds across gender, age, ethnicity and nationalities.Read more on Kulea Watoto.
Mobilizing a Network of Scholars To Undertake Child-Focused Research
In pursuit of our objective to establish a network of researchers dedicated to conducting rigorous research on child wellbeing, we held an interactive meeting with academics from over 7 universities in Uganda. The purpose of this meeting was to collaboratively reflect on how to develop a framework for future engagement in order to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The Centre continues to identify, engage and retain a pool of multi-disciplinary research associates who lead the bulk of our research work.
Key Discoveries from The Playful Futures Research
We completed the baseline study for the Playful Futures Project. The baseline was conducted in 80 Early Child Care and Education Centers located across six districts in Uganda: Alebtong, Lira, Kamuli, Buyende, Tororo, and Nebbi. Playful Futures is currently in its pilot stage being implemented by Plan International Uganda and its primary objective is to facilitate the development of effective and scalable approaches to engage educators and communities in promoting Learning through Play within the realm of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The study's results highlighted certain constraints on play-based learning, including parents' demanding schedules and the lack of training among caregivers. Consequently, one of the key recommendations put forth emphasised the necessity for increased government investment in ECCE, encompassing both infrastructure improvements and caregiver training.Read more on Playful Futures
EVENTS AND CONFERENCES
Data For Decision Making, with MOE in Uganda
In a bid to foster data use for decision-making, we held meetings with the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda to enable us to understand the data systems in place and to identify entry points for systems strengthening to ultimately improve service delivery using evidence. Our teams aim to do this through the synthesis of administrative data, technical support to Ministry officials and several aspects of knowledge management to promote the utilization of data for decision-making.
Launch of Positive Discipline Coalition to End Violence in Schools, Homes
Together with other civil society organizations and the Ministry of Education & Sports, we collaborated with Raising Voices on 28 April to inaugurate the Positive Discipline Coalition. The coalition aims to promote positive discipline as a substitute for corporal punishment in schools and communities in Uganda. The Positive Discipline Coalition unites individuals and groups dedicated to preventing violence against children. Our main objective is to increase awareness among schools and communities about the harmful effects of corporal punishment, while simultaneously providing an effective solution through the practice of positive discipline. Presentation from our Executive Director
Mobilizing a Network of Scholars to Develop Capacity For Child-Focused Research
In pursuit of our objective to establish a network of researchers dedicated to conducting rigorous research on child wellbeing, we held an interactive meeting with our research associates. The purpose of this meeting was to collaboratively reflect on research associates' experiences and to develop a framework for future engagement in order to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The Centre continues to identify, engage and retain a pool of multi-disciplinary research associates who lead the bulk of our research work.
Child Protection Mapping And Honour Data Analysis Workshop
The AfriChild Centre is part of a research team conducting a multi-country research study to explore the tensions between global narratives of child protection and local perspectives of the same. The study, designed in a youth participatory research framework, is being done in Uganda, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa in collaboration with researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London. A team of four researchers from AfriChild joined the multi-country team in June for a 7 day joint analysis workshop that also resulted in drafting manuscripts. Preliminary findings point towards existing tensions between global child protection and child rights narratives and local perspectives and experiences as expressed by the children and community members interviewed in the study.
Forum On Child And Adolescent Global Health
The AfriChild Centre participated in the celebration of the International Center for Child Health and Development's (ICHAD) tenth anniversary. The 2023 Forum, which lasted from June 19th to June 27th, was centred around the theme "Ten Years of Creating Realistic Hope (Suubi) and Real Impact Through Research." The event aimed to facilitate two-way learning and incorporate innovative training in global child and adolescent health research. Attendees from Uganda, the United States of America, and other Sub-Saharan African countries, including trainees and specially invited guests, were able to actively engage with local scholars, policymakers, and stakeholders during the conference.
Field Trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In April 2023, a team from AfriChild composed of the Executive Director, the Director, Research and Knowledge Development and three research associates travelled to Addis Ababa for several meetings. The purpose of this trip was twofold; to establish contact with potential Ethiopia-based research partners and 2) to re-connect with existing partners in a bid to expand the scope of AfriChild’s work within the region. This visit therefore built on previous discussions held with partners such as the ACPF to explore potential areas for further collaborations across borders. The outcome of the visit was a concrete partnership with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Addis Ababa and clear action points on collaborative work particularly on knowledge management and policy advocacy with the Africa Child Policy Forum.
Equity in Evidence Conference in London
The Centre participated in the Equity in Evidence Conference held from the 20th to the 22nd of June in London. The conference brought together over 80 participants from 30 countries to share learnings and best practices in survivor involvement in research on trafficking and modern slavery. The theme of the conference was, "Fusing lived experiences and community knowledge into research to end human trafficking." AfriChild shared best practices on survivor-led, child-centred approaches to research drawing from previous research studies conducted with children involved in child labour, child domestic workers and children engaged in child sexual exploitation in Uganda. In the conference, a call was made to researchers to value and prioritize the voices and needs of persons with lived experiences as we work towards attaining excellence in research. Here are the key takeaways
2023 Convening Of Hilton Foundation Refugee Grantee Partners
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation convened a meeting for grantees working in refugee settings for a convening on June 21-23rd, 2023 in Kampala, Uganda. The convening was an opportunity to share, learn, and network with various Ugandan and Ethiopian-based partners within the Foundation's Refugees Initiative. The AfriChild Centre is currently implementing a project aimed at strengthening research and evaluation capacity for evidence-driven policies and programmes to improve refugee child well-being in Africa. The convening, therefore, provided a space to reflect on how the field of early childhood care and development has progressed for refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia – specifically around childcare as a business – and what potential opportunities and lessons learned we can collectively leverage going forward.
We have been joined by postgraduate summer interns who have supported our different projects as our research assistants. These are from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Columbia University. This was also facilitated partly by our partnership with the Care and Protection of Children Learning Network (CPC).
Blessing James - MPH student , Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Patrick Fitz - MPH student, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health