Five years on: Sarah Lilley reflects on what we have learned about community action to protect children.

Sarah Lilley is Deputy Head of Child Protection, Save the Children UK and Coordinator for the Inter-Agency Learning Initiative on Community-Based Child Protection Mechanisms and Child Protection Systems.

Five years ago: a weak evidence base and an emerging consensus on the need to strengthen community-based child protection mechanisms and child protection systems

Five years ago, community-based child protection mechanisms – such as child protection committees, child welfare committees and child protection focal points – were already well established as the main community-level mechanisms supported by many international child protection agencies and donors. Despite the widespread nature of this model, it was also generally recognised that programming using this approach was drawing from a very limited and somewhat disparate evidence base. So whilst community-based initiatives and efforts to keep children safe were considered to be key in children’s improved protection, it was not well understood exactly if, how or why these mechanisms were effective.

Around this time, strengthening national child protection systems was still a relatively new concept, but starting to gain ground, with a small number of countries in Asia and Africa undertaking national child protection systems mapping exercises. This new focus on approaching child protection systemically also emphasised the key role which communitie,consensn >

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