Objective 5: Promote Evidence-Based Policies and Programs

Ongoing measurement activities identify and assess the characteristics of at-risk children (and their families) and those in need of immediate response.

Such data are required for tracking trends and effectively uncovering the root causes of children’s vulnerability. They also inform the design of meaningful interventions and impact evaluations and help highlight lessons learned, which programs use to make them more responsive and efficient. Common approaches and consistent measurement variables – coupled with high-level core indicators that cut across projects and are tracked over time (e.g., reduction in child-family separation and increased number of children placed in appropriate, protective, and permanent family care) – will enable data comparisons and potentially produce more broadly applicable results.

The Violence against Children Study in Tanzania: A Powerful Catalyst for Action

Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Violence Experienced in ChildhoodThe United Nation’s World Report on Violence against Children, completed in 2006, was the first global study on all forms of violence against children. The report made it clear that the drivers of violence are culturally and locally constructed and placed responsibility on individual states to develop appropriate strategies of response, including ”to develop and implement systematic national data collection and research.” Swaziland was the first country to respond with a national study on violence against children, the first population-based survey of its kind measuring sexual violence against girls. Tanzania was the second country to conduct such a survey, expanding the scope of violence to physical and emotional and including boys (TVACS 2009). Main findings from the Tanzania study are shown in the figure above.

Tanzania’s national survey has made it painfully visible that violence against girls and boys is a significant threat to the nation’s health and well-being. Young adults in the survey, aged between 18 and 24, clearly indicated that their experience of sexual abuse as a child had an impact on their emotional and physical well-beings as adults. The survey demonstrated that young adults who had experienced sexual violence were more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior in relation to HIV: having multiple partners, not using condoms, and engaging in commercial sex work. The findings are remarkably similar to those found in Swaziland 2 years prior, providing the first indications of what experts suggest may be a global trend. The single most important outcome of this research is the evidence it produced to stimulate the action. 

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