Monitoring Child Rights
In almost all countries around the world, the social and economic gaps between wealthy and poor have widened considerably over the last 30 years, despite the fact that during this period all countries signed at least one human rights treaty prohibiting discrimination on any grounds, including social and economic status.
Signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child have agreed to take positive measures to end social exclusion and invest in children who do not hold economic, political, cultural, or social power. Signatories have also agreed to report comprehensively on their action in support of the Convention. Many have largely failed in both of these undertakings.
A proposed mechanism to shift countries towards improved action and reporting would be a coherent monitoring system for measuring policies and programs that exist to protect and enhance child development.
An Indicators Framework
In 2006, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) invited HELP to act as the secretariat for an ad hoc group of international agencies to develop a framework of indicators that could be used to operationalize General Comment No.7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The ad hoc group became the GC7 Indicators Group, which acted as a reference group in the creation of an Indicator Framework. The intention of the Framework is to provide countries that have signed the Convention, with a tool for regular internal monitoring and external reporting on policies, programs, and outcomes in early childhood.
The Framework provides a structure for assessing the quality of the environments in which children grow up, and the degree to which they are consistent with children's rights (rights to Protection, Participation and Provision of services - the 3 Ps of child rights) in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner.
The Indicator Framework was completed in 2008 and a Manual for Early Childhood Rights Indicators was presented to the UNCRC. The Framework captures information on procedural rights - those that are connected to specific policies or programs mediated by a single and identifiable person or authority, and which can be realized at a single point in time - and substantive rights - those that are realized through the achievement of certain economic, social or cultural conditions. Substantive rights are not controlled by a single person or authority, but are deeply embedded in the fabric of society. Such rights must be realized progressively, over time, as complex and interdependent outcomes of long-term social change.
Piloting the Framework
The Indicator Framework was piloted in the United Republic of Tanzania from September 2009 to April 2010. This pilot demonstrated that the Indicator Framework could work as a method for national, inter-sectoral self-study to identify policies, programs, and outcomes in early childhood; it also proved valuable as a tool to assess the degree to which the conditions conducive to fulfilling child rights were in place. The Tanzania experience made clear that an electronic version of the Indicator Framework would enhance the efficiency of the data collection process and on completion of that pilot, HELP created a prototype electronic version (E-version) of the Indicator Framework and translated it into Spanish. In May 2011, a second pilot was launched in Chile using the prototype Spanish E-version of the Framework. These two pilots give us strong reason to believe that the process of implementing the Indicator Framework more widely could have a significant impact on social awareness and building child rights capacity as a precondition to improving ECD outcomes.
On November 20, 2012, in celebration of Universal Children's Day, the Human Early Learning Partnership, along with our national and international partners, launched the newest version of the Framework - the Early Childhood Rights Indicators survey tool. The tool - designed as an easy to navigate website, will assist States parties in monitoring advances made in implementing child rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Please visit the Early Childhood Rights Indicators website to learn more.