Analysis Action 1: Identify child deprivations, aspirations, and context

Project teams should identify and assess the issues that affect children’s lives. This helps teams determine the extent to which PA programmes can address children’s problems and needs; support them in realizing their aspirations; and positively influence their economic situation and that of their HHs (reference).

Project teams need a clear understanding of the problems, needs and barriers (cultural, social, structural, economic) that children and HHs face in order to design programmes that maximize positive benefits to children (and minimize negative consequences). Understanding the existing opportunities, as expressed by children and adults, also helps project teams ensure that interventions maintain and build on positive influences (reference).

Figure 1. provides an overview of the key dimensions for consideration in a child-sensitive assessment.Figure 1. provides an overview of the key dimensions for consideration in a child-sensitive assessment.

Key dimensions of analysis

Children’s key deprivations, needs, risks and opportunities

  • Deprivations (e.g. poverty, poor nutrition, inability to attend school) 
  • Risks (e.g. danger travelling to and from markets, health risks due to food availability) 
  • Primary deprivations and needs (e.g. education, health, nutrition) 
  • Children’s actual and perceived risks and safety concerns 
  • Identification of duty bearers and their roles in promoting child rights 

Children’s aspirations

  • Children’s thoughts, ideas and wishes for the future
  • Factors that contribute to children’s feelings of wellbeing 
  • Children’s self-concept (e.g. self-esteem, efficacy) 

Intra-household factors:

  • Bargaining and decision-making power of each HH member (adults and children) 
  • Access and control of resource allocation (e.g. income, assets, natural resources) 
  • Chore and task allocation of productive and non-productive (e.g. HH chores) activities 
  • Caregiving responsibilities 
  • Attitudes, beliefs and practices that affect children 
  • Gender norms 

Extra-household factors and norms

  • Community-resource allocation
  • Cultural views about children (e.g. perceived role of children in the community, role of children in HH chores, perceptions about children’s school attendance, role of children in paid/unpaid work)
  • Safety in the community 
  • Economic factors including availability of natural resources 
  • Gender norms 
  • Age discrimination 
  • Structural discrimination against and exclusion of certain groups 
  • Existence and role of key stakeholders in decision-making around children 

Existing policies and services:

  • Child protection systems and regulations 
  • Road and transport infrastructure 
  • Quality of health, education, water and sanitation facilities and services 
  • Existence of child-sensitive social protection programs/safety nets 
  • Children’s and caregivers’ perceived quality of the services 
  • Accessibility of services and related vulnerabilities of children (e.g. violence on the way to facilities)
  • Costs of transport to and from facilities 
  • Quality of services 
  • Adults’ values and attitudes regarding children’s health care needs

Geographic Location

  • Distance and ability of children to access public services (e.g. health clinics, schools) 
  • Distance and ability of children and HHs to access markets/food 

Seasonal Variations

  • Seasonal availability of food 
  • Seasonal food price fluctuations 
  • Seasonal changes in the availability of labour (and wage rates) 
  • Climatic shocks (e.g. impact on agriculture, shelter) 
  • Seasonal disease outbreaks 
  • Seasonal fluctuations in school attendance 
  • Seasonal migration for work 

Project teams should consider these dimensions as a first step in developing effective PA programmes that address children’s needs. For example, project teams should understand through assessments that an increase in HH income or a school stipend may not necessarily translate to children’s increased school attendance because low attendance may be due to poor school sanitation facilities, poor teaching quality, gender norms that keep girls from going to school, or other factors. Alternatively, the child or HH’s aspirations may be the key determinants of school attendance. These are all aspects that proper, child-sensitive assessments will reveal.  

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