Our country teams work closely with government ministries at national level as well as regional government officials (in the regions where our study sites are situated) to consult and ensure that we are asking the right questions that will provide policymakers with evidence they can use to improve policies and programmes for children. This involves ongoing dialogue and consultation about the content of our research, as well as regular interaction to discuss our findings and their implications for evidence-based policymaking.
Young Lives policy work in Ethiopia is focusing on six major themes:
- Child development, well-being and social protection
- Global and national crises and the impact of shocks
- Orphans and vulnerable children
- Quality of education
- Drivers of poverty and inequality
- Nutrition and livelihoods.
Current processes that we are able to engage with include the the consultation and design of Ethiopia’s third poverty reduction strategy, the Growth and Transformation Plan (2010-2015). Current reviews of the National Social Protection Policy, the Comprehensive Child Policy (under development by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs) and annual reviews of the Productive Safety Net and Protection of Basic Services programmes (PSNP) also offer important opportunities for Young Lives findings to influence the development of child-sensitive policies.
Our sub-studies on social protection, education, and risk and vulnerability offer further opportunities for informing policy. One outcome of the consultation meetings we set up as part of the Oak-funded study of orphans and vulnerable children was the forming of a Child Research to Practice Network (CRPN) to take forward this work. We are also actively engaging with the Ministry of Education and the government-donor working group on education so that findings from the school survey can be used to inform the General Education Quality Improvement Programme (GEQIP).
Ethiopia Policy Coordinator: Abeyot Nega Bogale (Abeyot.N_at_scuk.org.et)
Andhra Pradesh (India)
In India our policy work is focusing on:
- The impact of the global economic and food prices crisis, along with other household adversities
- Drivers of poverty and inequalities
- Quality of education
- Child development, well-being and social protection.
Round 3 data along with the qualitative research will give Young Lives an opportunity to work alongside other civil society groups to input into India’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012−17) which will be rolled out in 2012. For this, the Government is holding extensive consultations and forming working groups through which we can inform policymaking.
Another significant area is Early Childhood Care and Education. The Young Lives Country Director, Renu Singh is participating in discussions leading up to formulation of the National Policy of Early Childhood Development and Education, to ensure that findings on the importance of early childhood education on long-term cognitive outcomes are incorporated to generate awareness and debate around significance of investing in the early years.
The school survey which is currently underway (Jan to April 2011) will generate information that will be very useful both to the State and Central Education Departments in India. Stakeholders were involved in consultations to ensure the survey would gather information that could answer key policy questions, and the evidence relating to access, equity and quality of education, within government and private schools will be used to inform the implementation of the Right to Education Act in Andhra Pradesh.
Young Lives findings on social protection schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and the Midday Meal Scheme will be used to inform policy on how social security interventions interact with household level poverty dynamics and their contribution in ‘reduction’ of vulnerabilities.
India Policy Coordinator: Vijay Kumar (K.vijay_at_savethechildren.in)
Young Lives policy work in Peru focuses on the following areas:
- Poverty dynamics and inequalities
- Health indicators and inequalities, including malnutrition
- Social protection programmes, such as Juntos and Wawa Wasi
- Education and inequalities, especially bilingual education
- Child development and well-being.
Young Lives is working to inform children’s policies at national and regional levels especially with the process of government decentralisation. Young Lives Peru is a member of a collective of civil society institutions working to improve public policies and programmes for children, including the development of a new National Plan for Action for Children and Adolescents, when the current plan ends in 2010. Young Lives findings have been used to engage with the national strategy to fight poverty called Crecer (to grow) (which includes Juntos, a conditional cash transfer programme), Wawa Wasi (a nutrition and early care programme for children aged 6 to 48 months), DEMUNA (the Ombudsman for children and young people in municipalities) and programmes in health (e.g. health insurance) and education (e.g. bilingual education).
Peru Communications Coordinator: Virginia Rey-Sanchez (vreysanchez_at_grade.org.pe)
In Vietnam policy engagement is focused around:
- Quality of education, including bilingual education and broad-based skills formation
- Poverty dynamics and inequalities
- Health and nutrition
- Child development, well-being and social protection (especially health insurance).
Vietnam is in the process of drafting key planning documents, including the 5-Year Plan of Socio-Economic Development 2011−2015 and the Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2011−2020 which offer key policy opportunities for Young Lives.Our current focus in this area is on broad-based and sustainable skills formation and equal accessibility to the job market for youth.
Young Lives has also given input in the draft National Action Plan for Vietnamese Children 2011−20.
And in education policy, we recently presented a policy paper on quality of education for minority groups to the Ethnic Minority Working Group, consisting of policymakers, researchers and NGO representatives, which is a key forum for informing government debate.
Vietnam Policy Coordinator: Nguyen Thu Huong (huongnt_mi_at_yahoo.com)