SPRI Global is currently working with UNICEF Pacific Islands in delivering a Child Sensitive Social Protection training in various Pacific Island countries.

In November 2022, the first two workshops in this series of trainings were held in Cook Islands and Niue. Cook Islands was the first country in the Pacific to receive a child-focused capacity building workshop of this kind. Additional capacity building workshops in this series are to follow in Samoa and Tokelau in the Spring of 2023, with more countries planned for later in the year.

Around 30 participants from various ministries and institutions participated in the workshop on Child Sensitive Social Protection in both Cook Islands and Niue.

The objectives of the training included the following:

  • Provide participants with a broad understanding of social protection and its economic, social and political impacts, and the case for increased investment in social protection and in children;
  • Provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the role of social protection in stimulating children to develop to their full potential and the importance of child-sensitive social protection programming in achieving short-term and long-term economic objectives;
  • Provide insights on the process of designing and delivering social protection programs and discuss possible implications of the different approaches;
  • Initiate sharing of experiences among actors across national institutions and bolster on-going coordination for a more effective and sustainable social protection strategy.

During the presentations and lively discussions, exercises and hands-on sessions, the participants weighed their own experiences in developing social protection in their country against the theoretical notions and international practices shared by the trainers. The participants identified strengths and gaps in existing local approaches to inform how local context can be harnessed to build a comprehensive and sustainable social protection system.

The specific context of small island communities was a challenging issue for all participants, including the facilitators and specialists. The nature of small and remote communities with limited human and financial capacities is unique to this group of small island countries. The mutual learnings from these trainings enriched the experiences of SPRI Global and its partners, and serve as an inspiration for future work in this region.

Through this series of workshops, SPRI Global builds on its specialised experience in the areas of child-sensitive social protection and research on child poverty in unique (small) island contexts. For more information, see our work in support of UNICEF in Maldives, Tokelau, British Virgin Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, among others.

In early 2023, additional trainings on child poverty and deprivation measurement and analysis are planned to take place in Kiribati and Tuvalu, as well as in Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, in support of local governments and UNICEF regional and country offices.