Children and Economic Strengthening Programs: Maximizing Benefits and Minimizing Harm
USAID, Child Protection in Crisis, Women's Refugee Commission, FHI360
This guide is designed for practitioners designing or implementing economic strengthening (ES) programs in low-income settings that are sensitive to the protection needs and well-being of vulnerable children. The guide provides an overview of key learning about how ES can achieve better outcomes and impacts for children aged 0-18, both within and outside of household care, whether the direct program beneficiaries are adults or adolescents (aged 10-18) themselves. It provides guidance on mitigating threats to children’s well-being that may be an unintended consequence of ES interventions and discusses what is currently known about ways to maximize benefits to children from ES interventions.
The evidence base shows that ES interventions can have a variety of positive effects on children, but can also sometimes inadvertently cause harm. In response, this guide will help practitioners be more effective in recognizing, monitoring, and mitigating the major risks to child protection and well-being from ES programs. This guide comes primarily from a child protection orientation, but recognizes that programming must also be consistent with best practices for market-based ES programming in order to achieve sustainable results. ES for child well-being calls for a multi-sectoral approach drawing on a range of practitioner experience.
Recommendations aim to help practitioners have productive conversations within project teams and across programming sectors about child protection and well-being issues relevant to a variety of community ES approaches:
- Skills training
- Loan-led microfinance
- Income-generation schemes
- Savings-led microfinance
- Cash transfers Job development
- Agricultural development
- Small business support
- Financial education
- Value chain development
Orphans & Vulnerable Children