Setting global research priorities for child protection in humanitarian action: Results from an adapted CHNRI exercise

Bermudez, Laura G.; Williamson, Katharine; Stark, Lindsay B.

Armed conflict, natural disaster, and forced displacement affect millions of children each year. Such humanitarian crises increase the risk of family separation, erode existing support networks, and often result in economic loss, increasing children’s vulnerability to violence, exploitation, neglect, and abuse. Research is needed to understand these risks and vulnerabilities and guide donor investment towards the most effective interventions for improving the well-being of children in humanitarian contexts.

The Assessment, Measurement & Evidence (AME) Working Group of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (ACPHA) identified experts to participate in a research priority setting exercise adapted from the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI). Experts individually identified key areas for research investment which were subsequently ranked by participants using a Likert scale. Research Priority Scores (RPS) and Average Expert Agreement (AEA) were calculated for each identified research topic, the top fifteen of which are presented within this paper.

Intervention research, which aims to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of standard child protection activities in humanitarian settings, ranked highly. Child labor was a key area of sector research with two of the top ten priorities examining the practice. Respondents also prioritized research efforts to understand how best to bridge humanitarian and development efforts for child protection as well as identifying most effective way to build the capacity of local systems in order to sustain child protection gains after a crisis.

Rigorous, scientific research that assesses the scope of child protection risks, examines the effectiveness of interventions to improve child well-being, and translates evidence to practice is critical. Findings from this research priority setting exercise offer guidance for a global research agenda on child protection in humanitarian settings, encouraging cooperation among donors, implementers, and academics to pursue a coordinated approach to evidence generation.


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Social Work
Population and Family Health
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September 20, 2018