Coram International has recently been asked to support the UNICEF Field Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) of the Philippines to review the regions social service provision. The team will complete a review the five Social Services programs in BARMM, in order to inform the development of the child protection system. Additionally, the team will be undertaking of a review of the current child protection legal framework and system performance including the Justice and Welfare System for Children and to make recommendations on adjustments to the legal framework, systems, staffing and budgets, including a comprehensive review of the social service workforce in the region.  It is anticipated that this research will feed into the BARMM Social Services Sector Plan for 2022-2035 and help inform the development of the child protection system in the newly autonomous region.  Additionally, UNICEF has asked Coram International to provide support in the re-drafting, reviewing and finalising of the BARMM Children’s Code. This includes looking at important provisions to address child protection, juvenile justice and the case management process.

Coram International has recently been selected by UNICEF Philippines as the institutional consultant to carry out an evaluation of UNICEF Philippines’ Child Protection Programme 2017-2020. The evaluation aims to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the programme and to identify lessons learned to help inform future child protection interventions in the country. The evaluation will also inform the mid-term review of the Government of Philippines-UNICEF 8th Country Programme. The evaluation will adopt a theory-based, non-experimental design, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection to ensure validity of results through triangulation. Due to COVID-19 related constraints, data collection will be conducted remotely.

Coram International has recently been awarded a large-scale institutional contract to carry out a Situation Analysis (SitAn) of Children Affected by Migration in Southeast Asia on behalf of UNICEF EAPRO. The consultancy falls under a wider EU-funded programme to protect children affected by migration in Southeast, South and Central Asia between 2018 and 2021. The SitAn aims to contribute to the evidence base on ‘children affected by migration’ in the region, including migrant children, internally forcibly displaced children, cross-border migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and ‘children left behind’, as well as undocumented, stateless, smuggled and trafficked children. The research will investigate the protection risks facing these populations of children, including new risks emerging in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the scale and drivers of child migration in the region, with a particular focus on Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The study will employ a mixed-methods approach to data collection. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders at the regional and national level, as well as community members, children and families in each of the focus countries, in order to gather in-depth contextual information on the realities of child migration in the region. Quantitative methods will be employed in order to elaborate upon and quantify the drivers, risks and experiences identified by the qualitative research. Primary data collection will be preceded by an in-depth literature review and legislative analysis of regional, bilateral and national laws relevant to children affected by migration in the 10 ASEAN states.

In 2020, Coram International was awarded a grant from the Chubb Rule of Law Fund for a project to strengthen the use and quality of diversion for children in conflict with the law in the Philippines, with a particular focus on building the capacity of the National Police and National Prosecution Service. The project will focus on addressing a core barrier to diversion that is not currently being addressed by development partners, namely, the limited ‘buy in’ of juvenile justice professionals (police and prosecutors in particular) to diversion. Given that development partners are currently focusing their resources on building the capacity of the Family Courts and barangays, the project will focus on the building the capacity of police and prosecutors to utilise diversion for children in conflict with the law. This project is being implemented in close partnership with Chubb, including through the technical assistance and support of Chubb’s legal team in Philippines.

In 2019, Coram International supported UNICEF Philippines by conducting a rapid assessment of key social service programmes in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The consultancy’s aims were to assess the relevance and effectiveness of five BARMM-initiated programmes of the Ministry of Social Services; make recommendations to guide 2020 programmatic adjustment and budgeting decisions; and to make recommendations for further in-depth evaluations of both BARMM-initiated programmes and those emanating from the central national authority but implemented in BARMM. Both desk based and in-country data collection methods were used, with in-country field research and consultations carried out by Coram International’s international and national consultants. These activities were conducted within an overall qualitative approach, involving consultation with relevant stakeholders and key informant interviews, as well as review of the literature and available reports, to draw out key themes and inform the final report and recommendations.

In 2019 Coram International was contracted to conduct a situation analysis of children in the ten ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam). The analysis and report first considers progress in the region in the 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the child across health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, child protection and social protection. It then moves on to consider remaining challenges, emerging issues and opportunities in the early years (early moments matter), in the context of environment (safe and sustainable environment) and in adolescence (adolescent potential unleashed), particularly in light of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The report concludes with recommendations for future action. The final report is available via this link.

In 2017-18, Coram International carried out a situation analysis of women and children for UNICEF Philippines. The consultancy included the development of a national situation analysis and a separate report on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The situation analyses provide a comprehensive assessment of the situation of children in the Philippines and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao covering nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, child poverty and inequality, and child protection, along with an analysis of the causes of key rights deprivations and core barriers and bottlenecks to the full realisation of children’s rights. The study involved an analysis of existing quantitative data, laws, policies, reports and other literature and in-country qualitative data collection in Manila and Cotobato City, through a series of key informant interviews and workshops with key stakeholders. The reports aim to support national planning and development processes and to contribute to building an evidence base on disadvantaged boys and girls. The reports developed implications for policy and programming based on the key findings.

In 2016/17, Coram International was contracted by Plan France to undertake a study into ‘Gender, Youth Economic Empowerment and Internal Economic Migration in Vietnam and Philippines’. The study investigated the experiences of young women (and men) who migrate internally in Vietnam and the Philippines, to uncover the key push and pull factors that are driving youth internal migration, to identify problems and risks faced by young migrants, and to analyse the potential for law, policy and programming to mitigate the challenges faced by migrating youth in both countries. The study addressed these overall objectives by drawing on secondary analyses of existing evidence (desk review) and by conducting qualitative primary data collection in Vietnam and the Philippines. In-country primary data collection methods included focus group discussions with young migrants in ‘source’ and ‘destination’ communities of internal migration, as well as individual in-depth interviews with key stakeholders (i.e. policy-makers, experts, NGO staff, intermediaries, and community leaders). The report is available via this link.

In 2016, Coram International completed a study on the influence of the law on young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services in the Philippines. This study is part of a larger multi-country project for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNFPA in South and South East Asia, with previous and on-going studies conducted in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Nepal. The Philippines study explores legal and policy barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, using qualitative and quantitative methods, and provides recommendations for legal and policy reform. The study followed a previous multi-country pilot study for IPPF carried out in five case study countries: El Salvador, Senegal, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The final report on the Philippines study can be found here

In 2013, Professor Carolyn Hamilton and Coram International conducted a mapping and analysis of national legislation related to violence against children in each of the ten ASEAN Member States (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). This mapping and analysis compared national legislation to international laws, standards and best practices, including the recommendations and findings from UNICEF’s Violence Against Children Study. The project included a detailed comparison across the ten ASEAN Member States, highlighting common issues, concerns, or successes and making recommendations for legislative reform.