Aims, ethos and strategic approach
The Childwatch International Research Network is a global, non-profit, nongovernmental network of institutions that collaborate in child research for the purpose of promoting child rights and improving children’s well-being around the world. It was founded in 1993 as a response from the research community to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention is the basis for the Network’s common agenda.
Aims and Ethos
Childwatch links local, regional and national research efforts to an international research based knowledge, practice and policy on children’s issues. It seeks a more effective and strategic approach to child research globally. Childwatch has unique potential to harness the collective capacity of international child researchers to identify and investigate major questions of global significance in the lives of children.
The Network focuses on critical issues in the lives of children and youth, and their families. It seeks to encourage multi-disciplinary research, policy development and training that promote the well being, rights, civic and social participation and the full development of children. Childwatch values research about effective and appropriate practices to achieve these goals and research that describes the current condition of children and youth. The Network celebrates children's capacity to negotiate the realities of their lives in the diverse and often challenging social, political and cultural contexts in which they are growing up. Childwatch promotes understanding of and respect for differences in cultural norms and values, priorities and challenges in every day life.
Childwatch understands “child research” as:
- concerning children and young people up to the age of 18 years;
- reflecting all the phases and facets of the research process from the formulation of research questions to the dissemination and implementation of findings;
- being child centred, entailing a focus on the child, a holistic view of the child and research approaches that emphasises the participation of children and young people;
- being rigorous. It acknowledges the necessary relationship and tension between action and science. Child research must touch closely on children’s lives while also living up to the standards of good science;
- being inclusive in approach. Child research must oppose all form of discrimination against children, on gender, ethnic, religious and other grounds.
Childwatch prioritizes children in adversity:
Childwatch gives special emphasis to research about children experiencing extreme adversity, including poverty, civil conflict and war, community and family violence, AIDS, trafficking in children, physical displacement and forced migration wherever these problems exist.
Childwatch aims at:
Promoting Child Rights through Child Research
Through efforts to:
- Raise the profile of Child Research
- Improve resources for child research
Building the Capacity of Child Research Institutions
- Collaborative research
- Research relevant to local contexts
1. Promoting Child Rights through Child Research
Childwatch works to demonstrate the potential of child research to those in a position to fund such research and make use of its findings. Childwatch supports efforts to communicate the realities of children's lives to policy makers, to professionals working on children’s issues, other researchers, and to the public. It argues that sound strategic research can help to improve the condition of children in their homes, communities and countries in a globalizing world.
Raise the Profile of Child Research
Childwatch supports efforts to raise the profile of child research by demonstrating how research can contribute to better understanding of, and improvement in policies that impact directly on children’s lives.
In order to raise the profile of Child Research, Childwatch collaborate actively with:
- Major international bodies
- Key stakeholders in research
- Organise consultancies, conferences, seminars, workshops and training that facilitates dialogue between representatives from research, policy and practice professions
- Promote interdisciplinary child research
- Document and disseminate good practices based on child research
- Coordinate international research projects on children
- Disseminate information through publications, the media and the Internet
- Promote child research in disciplines where a child perspective is weak of lacking
Improve resources for Child Research
Childwatch advocates that more resources be devoted to child research, particularly in developing countries. It works to place increased funding higher on the agendas of relevant local, national and international bodies. Childwatch prioritises nurturing the emerging capacity for child research where little exists.
In order to secure improved resources for Child Research in countries or regions where little exists, Childwatch will:
- Support the coordination of the regional and international development activities of existing associations and institutions involved in child research
- Document the potential and importance of improved child research capacity both nationally and internationally
- Support efforts to secure funding to support collaborative research on a programme of research addressing issues of global significance for children
2. Building the Capacity of Child Research Institutions
Childwatch works to build capacity in the field of child research including improved conceptualization of issues, methodology, dissemination, training, and management. It especially supports increased research capacity of Key Institutions. Building capacity in Child Research in developing countries will be given priority.
Childwatch encourages collaborative projects among Key Institutions. It seeks to build bridges between organizations, researchers and practitioners. Childwatch works in collaboration with governments, non government agencies and international agencies and other bodies that share a commitment to generating, exchanging and applying systematic knowledge about children. Network activities seek to achieve exchange of ideas, experiences and practices between KIs, and are based on reciprocity between researchers with different resources and professional and cultural backgrounds.
- Assist the development and strengthening of regional and national child research centres, study groups and networks
- Help to identify and promote a research agenda on critical issues of global significance in children's lives
- Organize workshops where experts on selected themes are brought together to analyze existing knowledge for action, and/or define new areas for urgent development
- Facilitate sharing of information related to research development and monitoring of indicators
- Establish and support partnerships between Key Institutions
- Organize training for staff of Key Institutions and participants in study groups and networks
- Support initiatives for exchange of data and joint research
- Support documentation about the situation of children and demonstrate the importance of child research
- Organize and support consultancies where participants in the network can draw on experiences from other members of the network
- Facilitate exchange programmes for scholars and students within the network
- Initiate and support events where Child Research is on the agenda
Research relevant to local contexts
Childwatch promotes research and policy development that speak to the realities of local contexts. It supports efforts to develop models of research that respects diversity, are culturally relevant and scientifically competent. Among other goals, it seeks to enhance child research in developing countries.
Childwatch will support the development of research models that:
- are relevant to the local context
- reflect good research practise
- connect to holistic practices
Whenever relevant, Childwatch activities will be organised in a way that includes several network partners in the planning and conduct of each activity, and make the experience and results available to other partners of the network, as well as external partners and the public.
Childwatch is a network governed by a culture of reciprocity and interest in learning from differences.