As part of MANARA Network’s “Promoting child rights in the Arab world and providing children with a protective and supportive environment” project, ALEF implemented its mandated Child Led Data Collection (CLDC) project in 2015 and 2016.
The CLDC research methodology is solely dependent on child volunteers in the various phases of the research study from collection of data, to preparation, analysis and reporting of the research results. This generates better evidence of the everyday needs of children and develops a model that incorporates child participation in the research process, contributing to the creation of an evidence-based advocacy plan. This is an evidence-to-action process that includes both research and advocacy to influence policies and interventions. In other word, the project’s vocabulary can be defines as follows:
- Child Led: an approach that suggests the participation of children in the research and data collection stages. Typically, most research about children is done by adults. In this case, research is led by children.
- Data Collection: is the overall collection and compilation of information to better understand a situation through surveys, questionnaires, interviews and basic research.
ALEF’s child participants for the implemented project are from the different Beirut suburbs, mainly the Chiyah/Ain el-Remmeneh region. This region, once the birth-place of the Lebanese civil war, is known for its socio-political diversity. Taking into consideration the social fabric of the area which is comprised of various social and religious identities, it is natural that the overall socio-economic/ political situation is to have an effect on the overall implementation of the project.
It is necessary for the young researchers to see that the results of the surveys and the findings have an impact on practice, policy, and knowledge. All stakeholders must assist in identifying appropriate methods and audiences to enable the broadening of the impact. For young researchers to remain motivated, it is crucial that they develop confidence that evidence- based advocacy can be used to drive positive change
The end of the 2016 project implementation phase was marked with the publication of the report in both adult and child friendly versions as well as a small booklet with picture illustrations. The illustrations portrayed some of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations to Lebanon in regards to its child rights laws.
It is noteworthy to emphasize that weak execution of the CLDC would jeopardize the overall quality of its findings and have a lasting impact on different stakeholders, hence limit the willingness of civil society organizations, practitioners and even young researchers themselves to take part in any CLDC plan.