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Evaluation of UNHCR’s Child Protection Programming (2017–2019) - Final evaluation report January 2021

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Executive summary

This evaluation reviewed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) child protection response in terms of its leadership role, strategies and programme performance with the purpose of informing the future of both UNHCR’s child protection strategy and the implementation of UNHCR child protection programming. Specifically, the findings and recommendations performed a learning function by aiming to:

  • Enhance the protection of forcibly displaced children;

  • Inform the theory and practice of child protection in UNHCR;

  • Influence strategic direction and inform the development of a child protection strategy for UNHCR, global planning (including resourcing) and advocacy, and UNHCR’s country programmes and partnerships; and Highlight how the child protection agenda is or could be central within broader work by UNHCR, authorities and partners on forced displacement.

The evaluation focused primarily on the period 2017–2019, with the rationale being an earlier evaluation in 2017 which included child protection as one of the components. However, experience and practices prior to 2017 were considered to understand changes over time, particularly in relation to the overall strategic direction of UNHCR’s child protection programming. The scope of the evaluation covered global, regional and country-level child protection programming. Extensive consideration was given to identifying a range of operations that reflected some of the diversity of UNHCR operations. In addition to seven operations selected for the study plus the Europe region, the evaluation also included three further regional consultation processes for the Americas, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Asia to expand the participation of UNHCR perspectives. All categories of children affected by forced displacement were relevant to this evaluation, although operations that focused on children affected by statelessness were not prioritized to avoid duplication with a separate ongoing evaluation focused on statelessness.