Supporting protectors to better protect children

CCR is known for pioneering qualitative research on childhood and violence in Tanzania.

CCR has conducted high quality research to understand children’s changing experience of violence, and the relational and political dynamics that play out in our target areas. This serves as a precursor to taking informed action that is underpinned by an understanding of who has the Ujasiri mindset that we consider to be a precondition for individuals to take action to protect children, and as a way of getting decision-makers and public servants on board as child protection champions. Ujasiri literally translates from Kiswahili as ‘bravery’ or ‘confidence.’ Its enables a person to feel visceral pain when they witness children’s suffering, and this primes them to decide to act. Studies have included

  • A pioneering study of the world-views of Tanzanians who protect children and an associated theory of how to better protect more children This informed the theory of change that underpins CCRs programing. 
    • Protectors hope children are treated fairly and given a chance to thrive. "As a visionary what I see in 2020, I see a world which a child feels to be part of it and the value of the child is observed to be high.”
    • Protectors believe that children are a blessing, and are inherently of value. “… nakuwa na uchungu sana kwa sababu ndio watoto wanaojenga Tanzania ya kesho.”



  • Annual crowd-sourced SMS surveys about the protective actions taken by citizens.
  • Mapping of global and local good practices in child protection professional development. 
  • Literature review about best practices in case management. 
  • Narrative study exploring the experience of childhood in Unga Ltd ward, Arusha. 
  • National consultations of women, children and CSO’s experience of violence and their recommendation for action to inform the development of the national plan of action to address violence.
  • Reflections on Developing a National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children - Intent, Process, and Lessons.
  • A baseline analysis of the situation of child rights governance in Tanzania. 
  • Political economy analysis to understand what frustrates collective action and ward level political economy analyses of 5 target wards to understand relational dynamics and opportunities for action. 

CCR has achieved proof of concept for its face-to-face interventions that transform people who say, “It’s none of my business” into protectors, and build the toolbox of people who are already protecting children. 

  • 3 face-to-face courses have been designed and delivered on child protection basics, child development and facilitating change.  Participants recognized that
    • Parenting is difficult: “There are also young parents like me who are also struggling with a lot of issues with their children.” We need to be intentional as parents. 
    • The heart of the relationship between a parent and child is a consistent, emotional connection. “Be there available to support them. So it is a kind of emotional relationship, it is an intimate emotion relationship between a child and a parent.”
    • Protecting better demands an investment in our own self-development. This is not just something you can just walk out of this building and leave it there its something you should be practicing, daily, daily.”
  • A deliberative dialogue process has been designed and tested in Mvomero and Illemela districts and is now being rolled out in Arusha. The process brings people together in solidarity to widen the circle of care towards children. Citizens in 5 wards per year come together in a forum that is known as “Kesho Cafe.” These are three 3-hour dialogue sessions where citizens, children, facility managers [health clinics, schools and so on], and community leaders [formal and customary] come together to
    • Experience a participatory approach where they find out about the research findings. 
    • Explore citizens’ hopes, beliefs, and moral drives in relation to children and citizenship. 
    • Explore the dilemmas that arise in local planning and child protection, by sharing stories about situations when they have tried to act in the best interests of a child. 
    • Map risk hotspots, and individuals and services in the ward that offer childcare, education and protective services. 
    • Identify the root causes of the problems that children face. 
    • Learn about the Law of the Child and the rules and regulations, what they demand of families and of local government and how to act in situations of abuse. 
    • Identify solutions that they want to invest in as a community. 

In a second stage of the deliberative dialogue process a 2-day planning lab is facilitated with the Councillors, the Ward Development Committee, representatives of key service facilities and the Children’s Council. In this lab, they are supported to:

  • Dig deeper in identifying the root causes of the problems facing children, using the 5 why’s methodology. 
  • Develop a realistic improvement plan that includes agreements about what change they are committed to, formulating specific targets and costing the interventions. 
  • Strategize on how to gain buy-in and address opposition to those solutions within the LGA.

Protectors’ Ujasiri is nurtured and people are transformed.

The 2015/16 analysis of CCRs impact spoke of the following impacts. 

  • 73 protectors built their toolbox so that they can protect better. 460 people experienced CCR events between January 2015 to August 2015. 3,237 Tanzanians publicly identified themselves to CCR as being a protector of children. 
  • Protectors realized that their behavior is fundamental to shifting social norms towards children. 
    • In our culture we are indifferent to those without power. “Violence thrives when the interests of a few prevails over the interests of the many”
    • But, society exists in a state of flux and cultures can change “You see, the way that the world is changing, before the mothers were with their children at home, practicing their traditional ways of parenting. But now is modern, we want all these good things to children, but also we don’t have time to be there, you see the complexity, that’s what I was saying.” 
    • I am a protector “So what struck me was that today I as a child protector have a big task to do in helping the community to define the abuse so we can protect children.”
    • I am growing, “I think the training has made us to see the world on a different angle.”

CCR has grappled with the question of who is best placed to support the development of citizen and professional protectors, and how to do so.

Initially, we considered partnering with academic institutions to deliver child protection courses, but the politics and bureaucracy of these institutions was difficult to navigate and so ultimately we developed our own content and courses. These have been demonstrably powerful for the participants, but have limited reach because CCR is using them as an income generating activity which puts them out of reach for many agencies. In the latter part of this year we plan to develop a similar learning environment in a virtual space which would enable us to market the courses at a lower cost per person.