Update from UNICEF: Localization - Key to better protecting children in emergencies, January 2020

Published Date

The number and needs of children living through humanitarian crises today are vast. In early December 2019, UNICEF launched its 2020 emergency appeal for US$4.2 billion to reach 59 million children with humanitarian assistance across 64 countries.

Aligned with the commitments made within the Grand Bargain, the appeal recognized the importance of funding that can provide the holistic support needed for children affected by humanitarian crises and called for financial resources that are quickly available, multi-year and not tied to specific countries or issues. This ‘quality funding’ can in-turn provide the most effective and efficient humanitarian preparedness and response at the local level, critical in today’s context of protracted conflicts, complex health emergencies and disasters brought on by extreme weather events.

The Grand Bargain concept is rooted in the goal of improving and making the delivery of humanitarian assistance more effective and efficient to benefit affected populations. That means getting financial and technical resources to the local level where they are needed most to save and protect lives That’s why the Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR), including UNICEF humanitarian partnerships team, Regional Offices, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in association with the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, embarked on a program to focus field support towards local partners.

This was first initiated in 2015 and included a series of regional workshops to improve leadership and collaboration of local actors and enhance coordination of child protection in preparedness and humanitarian responses. The broad aim is to better prepare national systems, to improve coordination across the whole of government and to ensure national child protection programs in emergencies are evidence-based, for maximum quality and impact. The technical support provided to partners also includes advising on global guidelines on child protection and sharing good practices for countries to learn from others. A series of regional workshops were also conducted, including 24 governments from across east, west and central Africa. The next step is the extension of this work into Latin and Central America in 2020. 

To ensure consistent support to national partners, a remote field support system was set up to provide ongoing advice and guidance when the CP AoR team was not on mission. This took the form of helpdesks, which were made even more accessible for local partners by expanding from English to language-specific versions in French, Arabic and Spanish. The now multi-language helpdesks were highlighted as a key resource by national partners and responded to a total of 261 requests for support in the last 12-months.

The Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR) is committed to realizing its localisation goals, with the ultimate goal of improving the protection of every child in emergencies across the world.