As a result of Dr. McAlpine’s groundbreaking research into the worldview of Tanzania child protectors CCR has learnt that people who decide to protect children do so because they possess a distinct moral capacity, that she calls the Ujasiri mindset. Ujasiri literally means ‘bravery’ or ‘confidence’ in Swahili. In protectors it manifests as a strong empathetic resonance with others, a belief that children are blameless and are angels, a hope that they will pay forward the help that they receive, and a moral drive to try and do the right thing.
We have also learnt that for those people who lack Ujasiri and instead say, “It’s none of my business” when they see a suffering child, can be reached through the power of story-telling which has the potential to break the psychic distance between people.
Finally, in 2015 it became evident to us that whilst changes to the system, procedures and practices of Government does not automatically result from individuals who change, such change does not happen if a critical mass of individuals do not possess the Ujasiri mindset that primes them to protect children.
As a result of this learning CCR has done five things to change how we operate.
- We have revisited our theory of change and programming and aligned them with the findings from Dr McAlpine’s work. Specifically interventions have been developed that advance her explanatory theory of the basic psychological process of doing the right thing, and her practical theory to enable more and better protection. We have developed an approach to testing the assumptions within these theories for their validity and impact. This uses an Integral Activist framework (Mcalpine, 2014) and tracks change in individuals’ self-concept, their behaviours, the functioning of the system, and social norms. It is an approach that Dr McAlpine has recently tested with success on a piece of work for SIDA.
- We have started to design and prototype different interventions for people who identity as protectors and that build their tools to protect effectively. Different interventions are used for people who say, “Its none of our business” that focus on building their Ujasiri. These are being rolled out in 4 wards of Arusha and potentially in Mwanza.
- Dr. McAlpine has started to articulate how our work fast-tracks peoples’ moral development and equips them to resolve the moral dilemmas that arise when they are faced with when they see a child suffer. This involves her elaborating on the application ofnarrative therapy and integral activism that underpin the design of our interventions.
- CCR has never been a typical NGO making demands on the Government, preferring as we do to work with them where they are at rather than forcing the issue and potentially alienating them. Our research indicates that this has been the right approach and that changes to the system will only occur once the actors within the system are primed to protect a child. As a result CCR’s advocacy work is becoming far more explicit about how we act in service to the government, trying to add value to them, and filling technical and human gaps that they may be facing. This is taking the form of an initiative that helps LGAs to govern in the interests of women and children and that we hope to deliver in both Arusha and Mwanza in the coming year.
- We have been working with the The Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment (WNGE) at Fielding Graduate University to design an intervention for young people that supports young people in Tanzania to find their voice, to navigate the complexities of being a young person in a changing society, and to make healthy choices.
CCR could always be stronger at sharing our learning and research, and is making a commitment to get this right in 2016. We anticipate sharing our analysis of our meta-impact in our annual report, and then submitting that analysis for publishing in the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice as a follow-up to an article that Dr. McAlpine has published on integral activism. We are also trying to get into the routine of writing shorter pieces of analysis about our impact as blog posts on our website.
Dr. McAlpine’s research findings on the significance of Ujasiri are being shared with DFID, at their behest, and potentially with other donor partners. The research will also be presented to the child protection sector at a meeting hosted by UNICEF. Dr. Louise Silverstein is helping Kate to pull the findings together into a piece for publication in a peer reviewed journal. CCR’s research conducted by Hannah McCandless will be presented at the Global Summit on Childhood in March 2016.
Njeri Kagucia, CCR Community Manager has expanded and deepened CCRs use of social media. We use our blog and social media accounts to share a monthly dilemma and to seek ideas from community members about how to resolve it. Similarly we share a monthly case study to illustrate the impact of violence on children and witnesses, and use the online community forum as a place where protectors can problem solve together. Dilemmas, case studies and inspirational messages all come from our interactions with protectors and young people and are curated in such a way that we are building that story bank that is so needed in order to build empathy and ujasiri in service to protecting children from violence.