Newsletter from the desk of Clare Hanbury
Hello readers! Happy New Year!
Here is an update from the desk of Clare Hanbury to summarise key events from April to December 2010. I am sending it to all who have signed up to my websites www.clarehanbury.com www.lifeskillshandbooks.com or www.youngsolutionsinternational.com
In this e-newsletter I describe:
1. Work completed April 2010 – December 2010
- A new toolkit on Child Participation in Child Protection for the Keeping Children Safe Coalition
- Guidelines on Monitoring and Evaluating Life Skills for Youth Development for the Jacobs Foundation
2. Work in progress
- A chapter on Child Participation for the UNICEF publication and global Child Friendly Schools initiative
- The Child-to-Child Getting Ready for School project
- The 100 project (HELP!)
3. Sources of inspiration
- The Durban Declaration
- Judy Reith, her new website, Parenting People and book, Be a Great Mum
- Tony, Nicola and Abraham – kids I taught in Hong Kong when they were 10 and now gorgeous young men
4. Suggested actions and my questions to you…
Two projects look sparse to occupy a consultant for the last 8 months but these have been mega projects and great ones too – mostly because of the wonderful people I have worked with: Constanze, Corrine, Tricia, Mariama to name but a few. On the face of it consultancy work is a lonely business but there have been many times when the communication has been such fun, so deep and so interesting that I have felt totally alongside my colleagues – despite the often huge physical distance.
A new toolkit on Child Participation in Child Protection for the Keeping Children Safe Coalition
Developing this publication has been a necessarily long and complex process that involved a workshop in Freetown, Sierra Leone with 16 colleagues from many parts Africa and a further revision workshop in London – again with many people coming in from the field to guide and direct the development of the final draft. See my article on the Sierra Leone trip in the latest Child-to-Child Newsletter available from their website www.child-to-child.org
The idea behind the toolkit is to equip adults with the knowledge, skills and confidence to work with children and young people to make their families, schools, communities and projects as safe as possible. In the course of the project we really got deep with what is really meant by ‘children’s participation’ and what is meant by ‘child abuse’. Those practitioners involved in the field testing are saying that the use of the toolkit will go far beyond those involved in child protection.
A big grey area that emerged is the approach to physical punishment used in schools and families and even child protection officers involved in this project have had pause to reflect on their own attitudes and behaviour toward the children they know and love. We all agreed that the biggest challenge is to transform people’s attitudes and behaviour deeply enough for them to rise above the default position that is so often about replicating the way we were treated as children.
Guidelines on Monitoring and Evaluating Life Skills for Youth Development for the Jacobs Foundation
This was the other mega project keeping me busy and has involved many steps:
- Researching existing effective monitoring and evaluation methods and tools for development;
- Collecting tools that are being used by Jacobs Foundation operational partners;
- Creating a booklet of monitoring and evaluation tools;
- Testing some of these in a number of different countries and settings;
- Coming together in a workshop to discuss the best framework for the guidelines, the key concepts for inclusion, tools and data analysis methods;
- Drafting the guidelines for review;
- Conducting a field review involving projects in 10 countries; and
- Finalising the first edition.
The monitoring and evaluation guidelines are a co-creation between myself, The Jacobs Foundation and its operational partners.
The aim of these guidelines is for practitioners who do not have scientific training in evaluation and provide skills and the confidence to evaluate their work efficiently and effectively. The guidelines are a collaborative ‘work in progress’ as our understanding develops with its use. We expect to reach other practitioners working in the field of children and youth development.
The objectives of the guidelines are to:
- Clarify what is meant by life skills;
- Define and distinguish monitoring and evaluation activities;
- Introduce a 12-step planning process for evaluation;
- Suggest lists of indicators for evaluating life skills;
- Provide a toolkit of activities for evaluating life skills with ideas and case studies for recording and analysing information generated using these tools; and
- Point to other tools, on line links and free resources for further reading.
Many people feel afraid of evaluation, especially those working at project level. There are good reasons for this. A key purpose of evaluation is to check that projects are being done well. As a result of evaluation, donors can stop or change the projects they fund and staff may lose or be asked to change their role. For those at the centre of the changes, this can be frightening! But another, higher purpose of evaluation is learning. When individuals or organisations become self-reflective, succeed at their job, spend money wisely and help young people effect positive change in their lives, this is ultimately what good development projects aim for.
It is complex to pin down the ever shifting sands of development and evaluating development projects is as much an art as a science. These guidelines aim to walk readers between the two and, above all develop a stronger instinct for, a confidence in and improved skills to practice and share an ability in evaluative thinking.
What is it you don't know that, if you knew it, you'd be able to make a breakthrough? (Edward Pauly, Director of Research and Evaluation, Wallace Foundation September 2010)
Work in progress
A chapter on Child Participation for the UNICEF Child Friendly Schools global initiative
UNICEF has developed a framework for rights based, child friendly educational systems and schools that are characterised as inclusive, healthy and protective for all children, effective with children and involved with families, communities and children. One of the key principles underpinning the initiate is children's participation.
I have been commissioned to work on a chapter on children’s participation that pulls together current thinking and makes references to the other chapters and supplementary modules in the UNICEF 8-part publication Child Friendly Schools published in March 2009.
More on this initiative at the UNICEF/CFS website
Training to support the Child-to-Child Getting Ready for School project
The original concept of Child-to-Child was about older children supporting the health and wellbeing of younger children. In many ways then, this project gets back to the roots of the work of The Child-to-Child Trust. http://www.child-to-child.org
The UNICEF funded pilot project, Getting Ready for School aims to prepare young children for their first year in primary school. It does this by matching children during which the older children facilitate activities that develop skills such as language and listening, social cooperation, counting, alphabet recognition and writing.
More information on the project and a description of the project in Tajikistan is on the UNICEFWebsite and on the website of the Child-to-Child Trust where you can read further on the project and see a video on the GRS project in the Yemen
In July 2010 I participated in GRS training enabling me to be a master trainer of trainers in future GRS work.
Sources of inspiration
The Durban Declaration
Readers of this newsletter will know that I facilitated the Children’s Rights Conference at the Street Child World Cup (SCWC) in March 2010.
In October, many partners and organisations representing the interests of street children all over the world came together to understand and celebrate the event in March and to launch the Durban Declaration – a distillation of the manifestos produced by each of the football teams at the conference.
The street child work cup is now its own entity and the full text of the declaration can be downloaded from the new website here
Linked to the Durban Declaration is the important, 'Because I am a Girl Report' put together by Plan international. Colleagues from Plan worked alongside us in Durban and generated some wonderful work with the female footballers who participated in the championship. Take a look.
Judy Reith, her new website, Parenting People and book, Be a Great Mum
Judy was one of the key people who dreamed up the SCWC and got the project underway. She came to South Africa in March and worked with me to facilitate the conference. I knew Judy before this and since the SCWC now she has become a friend. She has just launched her new website parenting people and her new book, Be a Great Mum launches on 20th January.
Getting involved in parent coaching with Diana Sterling four years ago was a transformational decision and affects every minute of my day. Coaching skills are what every development professional needs in bucket loads...it has helped me ‘get out of the way’ and understand how people and projects (and not me) are at the centre of their own solutions. This a basic principle of coaching and good teaching of course.
Tony, Nicola and Abraham – kids I taught in Hong Kong when they were 10 and now gorgeous young men in their 30’s
Four days ago, I returned from a week away in Hong Kong to celebrate my birthday, somewhere I lived, loved, and worked from 1986-88. I was a teacher at the wonderful Chinese International School but not when the school was a snazzy as it is now (with 1,400 children!) But when there was a split site, when there were 200 or so children and it was a school best described as ‘tied together with string’. The staff and students alike were pioneers and together building this unique school (bi-lingual curriculum in Mandarin Chinese and English) which increased in size only as the children in the top class got older.
I decided to visit the school during my recent trip and in reminiscing about some of the children I taught, staff there thought it would be fun to tell them I was in Hong Kong and see what happened. I was bowled over when in minutes of the word getting out, I had calls from two of them and later on texts and emails from more. I ended up spending part of my birthday drinking coffee with one who is a newsman now and traces his theatrical leanings to being the Pied Piper of Peking in one of my famed productions. Another two took me out for cocktails at the swankiest bar I’ve been to in years. It was great to swap stories and discover what they had become and to also detect the strengthening of the qualities they had when young. It was a fabulous moment for an ex-school teacher – that my students wanted to see me at all and that we had so much fun and so much to say when we met so many years later. It just gives me pause to reflect on how powerful and privileged educators are, and how we must use this privilege wisely.
Who knows who he is but who will never read this. Old friend, flatmate...and a more generous man never lived. Entirely focused on ensuring friends and family are well, happy and having the best time he can dream up.
Suggested actions, and a question for you…
- Download my 167 page Life Skills Handbook available to you for FREE in January 2011 or tell others you know who may find it useful.
- What is it that about a teacher whose pupils want to drink cocktails with her when they are in their 30's when she taught them for just one year when they were 10?