How to mainstream child protection into programme and operations: Step by step guidance (September 2021)



Given the high proportion of children targeted and supported through WFP programmes and operations and the fact that girls and boys with and without disabilities face unique protection risks, responding to their specific needs is a key priority for WFP. A recent internal mixed-methods review – conducted through a proxy population method – estimated that, across 63 countries and all WFP’s activity portfolios, adolescents represent an average of 27% of all WFP’s beneficiaries, ranging from 3% to 60% depending on the country. This proportion represents approximately 15 million adolescents reached in 2018. In most cases, WFP reached them via school feeding and general food assistance, suggesting that the organization has enormous potential for leveraging its platforms to more appropriately and comprehensively address the needs or children (WFP, 2020).

WFP does not have a specific Child Protection Policy. However, considerations for child protection are included in the WFP Protection and Accountability Policy (2020) and in the ED Circular on Child Safeguarding (forthcoming 2021).

Furthermore, WFP recognizes that children’s rights are enshrined in international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In particular the provision that states all children have the right to be protected, nurtured and free from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation.

This guidance aims to provide WFP and partners with practical information on how to implement actions and decisions that respect the best interests of the child.. It is advised that the guidance is considered at the design stage of an activity but certain components such as the safe and meaningful consultation of children and the identification of child safeguarding violations should be considered throughout the project implementation. Section 5 includes useful tools and templates that can be easily adapted to a given context.

WFP documents that integrate child protection principles include:

  • WFP Protection and Accountability Policy (2020)
  • Protection and Accountability Handbook (2021)
  • Guidance Note to Prevent the Use of Child Labour in WFP Operations and Programmes (2017)
  • WFP Accountability to Affected Populations Guidance Manual (2017)
  • WFP Gender-Based Violence Manual (2017)
  • WFP Guide to Personal Data Protection and Privacy (2016)
  • ED Circular on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (2014)
  • WFP Beneficiary Identity Management Guide (2019) (section on children’s biometrics)
  • Practical note: For WFP and Partners on Preventing and Responding to Child Labour (forthcoming 2021)