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Has research improved the human rights of children? Or have the information needs of the CRC improved data about children? 19 September 2008, University.

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Presentation on theme: "Has research improved the human rights of children? Or have the information needs of the CRC improved data about children? 19 September 2008, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Has research improved the human rights of children? Or have the information needs of the CRC improved data about children? 19 September 2008, University of Swansea Judith Ennew ©

2 Timor-Leste ‘research evaluation’ of UNICEF partnerships Imposition of ‘conflict resolution’ in a world of ghosts Imposition of ‘conflict resolution’ in a world of ghosts UNICEF definition of ‘child protection’ UNICEF definition of ‘child protection’ –Protection from abuse, exploitation and violence Partners’ definition Partners’ definition –Protection from malnutrition and illiteracy UN Peacekeeping force and poverty UN Peacekeeping force and poverty November 2007

3 What is social research? Systematic curiosity Systematic curiosity –About social life –To answer ‘research questions/problems’ –For good governance (statistics/monitoring)

4 Two propositions Social research has improved the human rights of children – independent of the CRC? Social research has improved the human rights of children – independent of the CRC? CRC reporting has improved data about children? CRC reporting has improved data about children? Or both?

5 Structure Child research Child research CRC and data on/about children CRC and data on/about children –Monitoring the CRC –Data on ‘child protection’ –Rights or wellbeing? Rights-based research with children Rights-based research with children –Welsh national data on children –Rights-based role of academic researchers

6 Child research

7 1979 Health Health Psychology Psychology Education Education Information from and by adults Information from and by adults

8 1980s Ethnography of childhood Ethnography of childhood New sociology of childhood New sociology of childhood CRC drafting CRC drafting

9 New sociology of childhood Helping Helping Hindering Hindering Have no effect Have no effect On the implementation of children’s rights On the implementation of children’s rights

10 Childhood or children? Sociology of childhood Sociology of childhood Rehashing childhood Rehashing childhood Childhood counts Childhood counts Research on/for/about/with children Research on/for/about/with children No normal childhoods No normal childhoods

11 CRC and data on/about children Data on children or national data? Data on children or national data? 1990 Summit goals 1990 Summit goals Indicators for monitoring children’s rights Indicators for monitoring children’s rights Information on ‘child protection’ Information on ‘child protection’

12 Governments report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child Committee role and composition Committee role and composition Country reports from 1992 Country reports from 1992 –Not about children –Little data beyond health and education –Not children-centred statistics –Not rights-based information Monitoring children’s rights – an unsolved issue Monitoring children’s rights – an unsolved issue

13 Children discriminated against in data

14 Beyond nationality All children, everywhere, without exception All children, everywhere, without exception Living? Living? Or existing? Or existing?

15 …. Monitoring the CRC Monitoring the CRC Number games Number games ILO IPEC SIMPOC ILO IPEC SIMPOC AIDS orphans AIDS orphans

16 Inadequate definitions Inadequate definitions Misunderstandings about children Misunderstandings about children Misunderstandings about research Misunderstandings about research No sharing of concepts No sharing of concepts Policy-driven research Policy-driven research Muddled methods and models Muddled methods and models And too many of them (PARC, Sm,art thisthat and other) And too many of them (PARC, Sm,art thisthat and other) Fashions Fashions Political and economic interests Political and economic interests

17 ‘Quantitative and qualitative’ research and children Quantitative Quantitative Questionnaires Questionnaires Parents and teachers Parents and teachers Psychometric tests Psychometric tests Qualitative ‘Case studies’ in ‘boxes’ ‘Case studies’ in ‘boxes’ Drawings used as report illustrations Drawings used as report illustrations

18 Data quality Depends on conditions at the point of data collection Which is ‘best’? Qualitative or quantitative?

19 Low birth weight

20 Quantitative information is essential Policy makers and planners need numbers Policy makers and planners need numbers Impact monitoring needs numbers Impact monitoring needs numbers Children have the right to be properly researched Children have the right to be properly researched Children ’ s ‘ voices ’ and drawings are worth more than anecdotes and illustrations Children ’ s ‘ voices ’ and drawings are worth more than anecdotes and illustrations But But Without words, numbers mean nothing

21 Child protection issues… CEDC CEDC Street children Street children Sexual abuse/exploitation Sexual abuse/exploitation Child workers Child workers Child soldiers Child soldiers Still mostly adults Still mostly adults But children-centred But children-centred

22 Muddle 5 Definitions Anything can be measured As long as it is properly described

23 Unscientific method in policy- based research Non replicable ‘ surveys ’ Non replicable ‘ surveys ’ Inappropriate methods for children Inappropriate methods for children Single method Single method No control group No control group Anecdotes Anecdotes ‘ Case studies ’ ‘ Case studies ’ ‘ Rapid ’ assessment ‘ Rapid ’ assessment Feel-good participation Feel-good participation

24 Advocacy data and scientific data Commercial sexual exploitation of children Commercial sexual exploitation of children Numbers games Numbers games Shocking stereotypes Shocking stereotypes Recognition of a problem Recognition of a problem Research Research Skewing the abuse field Skewing the abuse field ‘CSEC’ ‘CSEC’

25 Definitions - for measurement What ‘counts’ as… Childhood Childhood Children with disabilities? Children with disabilities? Child protection? Child protection? Corporal punishment? Corporal punishment? Child/youth/adolescent Child/youth/adolescent Wellbeing? Wellbeing?

26 Rights or wellbeing?

27 ‘UNICEF’ definition of well-being in rich nations Six dimensions used for ranking (40 indicators) Six dimensions used for ranking (40 indicators) –Material wellbeing –Health and safety –Education –Family relationships –Behaviours and risks –Young people’s own subjective sense of well- being –Jobs and income –Health care and injury –Schooling –Family structure –Sex and drugs and rock’n’roll –According to three adult criteria Health rating Liking school Life satisfaction scale

28 Wellbeing = Welfare No mention of Child work/exploitation Child work/exploitation Social justice Social justice Violence against children other than violence between children Violence against children other than violence between children –No violence within the family –No violence by teachers –No abuse……. Unrealistic view of rich countries - irrelevant in poor countries

29 Counting the un-measurable? Claim that the ‘concept of well-being’ is guided by the CRC Claim that the ‘concept of well-being’ is guided by the CRC ‘The implied definition of child well-being that permeates this report is one that wil also correspond to the views and experience of a wide public’ ‘The implied definition of child well-being that permeates this report is one that wil also correspond to the views and experience of a wide public’ Who are the members of this ‘wide public’?

30 Children’s rights to be properly researched

31 The right to be properly researched Article 12: Opinion Article 12: Opinion Article 13: Modes of expression Article 13: Modes of expression Article 3a: Standards Article 3a: Standards Article 36: Other forms of exploitation Article 36: Other forms of exploitation Basic principles of dignity and respect

32 Children ’ s right to be properly researched means Participation of children (including as researchers) Participation of children (including as researchers) Appropriate methods (design and informed consent) Appropriate methods (design and informed consent) Scientific method Scientific method Ethical behaviour of adults (reduce power difference, accept responsibility) Ethical behaviour of adults (reduce power difference, accept responsibility)

33 Violations of same

34 Systematic use of ‘ qualitative ’ methods Can result in scientific numerical information

35 Rights-based, scientific, ethical Local concepts Local concepts Local design Local design Local researchers Local researchers Children’s views and experiences Children’s views and experiences

36 World Vision Laos and local government health department HIV/AIDS and safe migration HIV/AIDS and safe migration Children aged 8-14 years Children aged 8-14 years 20 staff and volunteers with no research experience 20 staff and volunteers with no research experience Five days to train and write researchers’ manual Five days to train and write researchers’ manual Two weeks for data collection in four villages of two districts Two weeks for data collection in four villages of two districts Analysis workshop and on-the- job training in data analysis Analysis workshop and on-the- job training in data analysis Baseline data report two months after commencement Baseline data report two months after commencement

37 Where am I coming from? Lao PDR May 2008

38 Discrimination in statistics Marginalizing vulnerable children Marginalizing vulnerable children Obstructing adequate mo9nitoring of CRC Obstructing adequate mo9nitoring of CRC

39 UNCRC 1979 to the twenty-first century 1990 Summit UNICEF driven 1990 Summit UNICEF driven –Universal ratification goal –Summit goals 2002 Special Session 2002 Special Session –World fit for children –World fit for us Millennium goals Millennium goals Study on violence Study on violence

40 UNICEF and children’s rights Post World War II ‘Children’s Emergency Fund’ Post World War II ‘Children’s Emergency Fund’ Child Survival Revolution Child Survival Revolution Joined reluctantly in 1988 Joined reluctantly in 1988 Information management: management by goals Information management: management by goals – Universal ratification –Silver bullet statistics –Summit goals, midterm review, Special Session –Almost no child protection information –Child rights: Public Affairs/CEDC (CNSP) –Monitoring – indicators – MICS

41 Millennium stimuli to research on/with/about children Reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child Reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child –Data needed on ‘protection’ issues ‘Rights-based’ programming ‘Rights-based’ programming

42 Rights-based role of academic researchers

43 Millennium stimuli to research on/with/about children Academic progress Academic progress –New sociology of childhood –Children’s geographies –Children are social actors and subjects of research (as well as subjects of rights) –‘Participatory methods’ (‘children’s voices’) –Ethics of research with children

44 21 st century research/policy interface in the Global South characterized by Mutual misunderstanding Mutual misunderstanding Failure to understand rights, Failure to understand rights, Lack of familiarity with CRC Lack of familiarity with CRC Lack of familiarity with advances in theories of childhood and child-research methods Lack of familiarity with advances in theories of childhood and child-research methods Pet consultants and institutes Gender/women/general Pet consultants and institutes Gender/women/general Different organizational goals Different organizational goals Different research goals on both sides (not participatory) Different research goals on both sides (not participatory) How to commission and how to read research? How to commission and how to read research? Donor-driven topics Donor-driven topics

45 Muddle 1 Participation of children in research

46 ‘Participatory methods’? ‘Methods’ and ‘methodology’ ‘Methods’ and ‘methodology’ Participatory approach Participatory approach Basis in practice as well as rights Basis in practice as well as rights Feel-good participation Feel-good participation

47 Muddle 2 Scientific method

48 Note that I do not say ‘methods’ Scientific method implies a systematic approach to Scientific method implies a systematic approach to –Research questions –Research tools –Analysis –Conclusions And scientific research is ethical research And scientific research is ethical research Systematic curiosity

49 Muddle 3 Models of scientific research Children are objects of research Children are objects of research Psy-complex Psy-complex Medical Medical Welfare Welfare Pathology Pathology Mistaken notion of physical sciences Mistaken notion of physical sciences Mistaken distinction qualitative/quantitative Mistaken distinction qualitative/quantitative

50 From rice to rights Service - based Needs- based Rights- based How much rice? How many people? Where? How well? Cost? Basic needs Needs assessment Does the delivery meet the needs? Who is excluded? Who is not protected? What are their perspectives? And solutions? Are children and their dignity respected?

51 From rice to rights – and back Service - based Needs- based Wellbeing- based Rights- based How much rice? How many people? Where? How well? Cost? Basic needs Needs assessment Does the delivery meet the needs? HealthSchoolingSafety Psychosocial measures Who is excluded? Who is not protected? What are their perspectives? And solutions? Are children and their dignity respected? goal-oriented

52 Consequences for children of being improperly researched Nothing happens Nothing happens Worse things happen Worse things happen Disparities enhanced Disparities enhanced Children, families and communities loose faith in both policy and research Children, families and communities loose faith in both policy and research Careers, jobs and status of adults Careers, jobs and status of adults Organizational goals and relative positioning Organizational goals and relative positioning Lurch management because of donor fashions Lurch management because of donor fashions

53 Roles and responsibilities of governments (If they have any role or power at all) (If they have any role or power at all) Build competence in reading and using research Build competence in reading and using research Research ethics (NGOs and tsunami/RERP) Research ethics (NGOs and tsunami/RERP) Monitor researcher behaviour – academics also abuse children Monitor researcher behaviour – academics also abuse children Apply sanctions Apply sanctions

54 Welsh assembly government responsibility Data collection CONCLUDING OBSERVATION para. 19. The Committee recommends that the State party: Establish a nation-wide system such that disaggregated data are collected on all persons under the age of 18 years for all areas covered by the Convention, including the most vulnerable groups, that these data are used to assess progress and design policies to implement the Convention. The Committee encourages development of regular reports in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and for the whole State party and the promotion of wide public and parliamentary debate on them in the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments and Northern Ireland and the Wales Assemblies.

55 Righting wrongs… Key recommendation The Welsh Assembly Government should collate, analyse and publish data on the well-being of children in Wales, monitoring progress across the country in achieving its 7 core aims for children. It should report on an annual basis to the National Assembly on the ‘state of children in Wales’ to enable debate and reflection. The data collected in Wales should be capable of measuring progress over time and allow comparisons with countries within the UK and Europe.

56 Stop, look, listen The Office of National Statistics, the Welsh Assembly Government, the UK Government and others collect a range of data on children but they do not cover all areas of the Convention. The data gathered is rarely used to assess progress and shape strategy and there have been no regular reports on the ‘state of children’ in Wales to promote public debate. Neither the Assembly Government nor the Children’s Commissioner has fulfilled this function. The Welsh Assembly Government embarked on a process to determine a national approach to measuring progress and evaluating outcomes for children and young people with its launch of Rights to Action30 in However, progress has been far too slow and three years later a disappointing framework has just been published which amounts to an ad hoc collection of existing public service performance indicators. Whilst linked to the UNCRC (as reflected in the Assembly Government’s seven core aims for children) the suite of indicators cannot be seen as rights-based. There is no mention of disaggregated data (and no requirement to provide); and few indicators reflect, in any way, children and young people’s subjective views or experiences. The framework is not accompanied by any prescription for local partnerships (or indeed national government) to use the data to assess progress and design policies. Neither is there any reference to the provision of regular reports on Wales’s children, let alone a description of the arrangements for scrutiny and debate. In conclusion, the mechanisms for monitoring outcomes for children in Wales remain woefully inadequate.31 This makes it very difficult to assess progress towards improving children’s well-being and therefore to evaluate the impact of policies. In some areas of children’s lives, the lack of data on children in Wales is particularly acute. For example, there is little Wales-specific data on health and wellbeing, in particular mental health.

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58 Roles and responsibilities of researchers and research bodies? Expand the discourse outside academic circles – and make it intelligible Expand the discourse outside academic circles – and make it intelligible Focus on normal as well as pathological aspects of childhood Focus on normal as well as pathological aspects of childhood Learn to use appropriate, rights-based methods Learn to use appropriate, rights-based methods Recognize that children-led/participatory research must have numbers if it is to be relevant to policies and planning Recognize that children-led/participatory research must have numbers if it is to be relevant to policies and planning Build, maintain and reinforce capacity in both the Global North and South Build, maintain and reinforce capacity in both the Global North and South Address the mutual misunderstandings at the interface between policymakers and researchers Address the mutual misunderstandings at the interface between policymakers and researchers Disseminate publications and reports – including to children Disseminate publications and reports – including to children Be prepared to be whistleblowers – ‘Academic freedom’ Be prepared to be whistleblowers – ‘Academic freedom’ Ongoing monitoring of data quality and research ethics (with sanctions) Ongoing monitoring of data quality and research ethics (with sanctions)


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