Effects on children: internal monitoring and evaluation
War Child measures the outcomes of its projects with scorecards and outcome indicators. Outcomes refer to the effects War Child projects want to achieve in the lives of children and adults. In 2011 a new system of outcome monitoring was implemented and baseline measurements were done in Colombia, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Baseline measurements give a picture of the situation at the start of a project. In 2012 mid-term and/or end measurements were done in Burundi, Sudan and Uganda.
Progress was analysed, which resulted in outcome reports. Below are two examples of results that War Child realised in Uganda and Burundi, taken from their outcome reports published in 2012.
As a consequence of war, children can become fearful and withdrawn or rebellious and aggressive. Building children’s confidence and self-esteem is an important outcome of War Child’s psychosocial support projects, more specifically of our DEALs life skills courses. By ‘confidence’ we mean belief in oneself and the feeling of trust in one’s abilities. By ‘self-esteem’ we mean how a person views himself/herself and feels about his/her own worth. This is shown through positive statements such as “I believe I am a good person” or in feelings such as pride or shame.
In Uganda, at the beginning of the project, all children demonstrated a low level of confidence and self-esteem. This is understandable since the children who participated were selected because of their difficult situation. At the end of 21 life skills courses in Lira, Abim and Pader, 70% of children and young people demonstrated a fair level of confidence and self-esteem (the outcome scores increased 2.5 steps on average). These children believe they are now capable of doing new, difficult and significant things. They express themselves with little shyness or shame. The evidence for these findings comes from monitoring and evaluation exercises during the life skills courses such as impact mapping, personal goal exercises and observations.
The protection of children affected by armed conflict is crucial in War Child’s programming. Children need to be safe to be able to start rebuilding their future. In Burundi, the protection of children in twelve communities in Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces has clearly improved one year after the start of the project. More community members have had the courage to report cases of abuse and maltreatment. Also, more families made other families aware of major problems. Children and young people report those who commit abuse. They also manage to convince their peers facing abuse to report the abusers and go back to their school, families and community. Youth club members are more aware of violations of children’s rights and act to further raise awareness, even outside the communities where War Child is active.
In Burundi War Child measured the extent to which children and young people participated in services that protect children in their community. At the start of the project hardly any children or young people played a role in existing protection services like the Child Protection Committee or the School Administration Committee. After one year 50% of the children in the project indicated there are more possibilities for them to be involved in these services (the outcome scores on average increased 2 steps). More children take part in meetings. But, given the culture of Burundi, they are reluctant to express any ideas that go against those of adults for fear of being hit or called troublemakers. So, their participation still is passive. It also should be noted that only about 20% of the members of these structures are children. The advice that they give, as well as the activities that they organise, are limited to their peers. They can express their opinions in meetings, but since children are considered to be ‘young’ and ‘immature’, adults do not necessarily take these opinions into consideration. Most of the children express a desire to have their messages and opinions taken seriously by adults.
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