The first time the UN published a global report on violence against children in 2006, it was littered with commentary about how much we don’t know. This sits in contrast to fields like health (where we have fairly reliable data on child mortality since the early 1960s) and education (for which there has been a global movement monitoring progress since 1990). The UN report found clear evidence that violence is a major global problem. For example, an estimated 275 million children suffer from domestic violence, while 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. These statistics represent only a few of the many forms of violence children experience.
The Children and Violence Evaluation Challenge Fund is a response to this situation. It is ultimately about protecting children living in low-income countries from violence. In order for that to occur, we require better understanding about what violence prevention and child protection interventions work in under-resourced conditions. Current projects rely largely on conclusions drawn from studies in industrialized countries and anecdotal evidence. It is this gap that the Evaluation Challenge Fund would like to help fill.
In 2010, the Oak Foundation and the Bernard van Leer Foundation came together to set up the fund, and it was accepted by the NEF Assembly in December. During the next four years, the fund will provide financial resources and research support for evaluations of violence prevention and child protection programmes in low-income countries; convene expertise to vet the findings and methods of the evaluations; and communicate these findings to people who influence the design of policies and programmes for children in low-income countries.
The fund will be advised by a group of international experts and will progressively bring in new funding partners, from among NEF members and elsewhere, to expand the scope of its work. Our hope is that at the end of this initial phase we can offer a critical mass of evaluations of programmes addressing often-forgotten issues, and that this new knowledge can serve to inform both our own programming and that of others with an interest in these issues.
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