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Annual Report 21: Accountability in 2021

29 June 2022, Research and Reports

Addressing gender inequalities in programs 

A focus on gender in the wake of COVID-19 

As the global pandemic continued in 2021, Save the Children kept an eye towards its varying effects on girls. Girls are known to be among the most vulnerable groups in times of crisis due to the double bind of discrimination based on age and gender.   

On October 11, the International Day of the Girl, Save the Children released its Global Girlhood Report which gathered evidence, although still limited, on the threat that COVID-19 poses to girls’ rights. The report found that girls in low income countries have missed out on 22% more days in school than boys and that girls in our projects were twice as likely as boys to have increased their domestic work during school closures.  

The data also revealed that child marriage is predicted to increase for the first time in 20 years and that violence committed against women and girls in their homes has risen everywhere, as evidenced by the uptick in calls to violence helplines, in some countries up by 400%.

Photo L: The Global Girlhood Report 2021. Photo R: Girls who miss out on education, like 13y/o Muna whose school closed in 2020 due to climate shocks, face a greater risk of exploitation. 
Sacha Myers / Save the Children

Everyone was just speaking about COVID, speaking about awareness, hygiene campaigns...but the priority was not there for stuff related to clinical management of rape or gender-based violence survivors’ care.

A participant in the Global Girlhood 2021 study

The focus for gender at SCA this year was to increase resources dedicated to addressing gender inequalities in all new program designs. 100% of our new projects meet the minimum standard of ‘gender sensitive’ when tested against the gender equality marker. Most new projects have been classified as ‘gender transformative’, the highest level for measuring gender equality integration.  

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Evaluating our programs 

Learning and Evaluation from the Fiji Cash Assistance Project 

As part of Save the Children’s commitment to deliver evidence-based interventions to benefit children, we systematically assess the effectiveness of our programs and their impacts at local, national, regional and global levels.  
In 2021 we evaluated the first Phase of the Fiji Cash Assistance Project. The principal outcome was the provision of cash to 16,772 households, via mobile phones, in response to COVID-19 and cyclones. The total distributed to vulnerable households was equivalent to approximately $AU4.35m.  

Further assessment revealed that the Fiji Cash Assistance Project reached approximately 20% of Fiji’s population at a time when it was most needed. Results of monitoring showed that 85% of recipients used cash to meet basic needs. This included purchasing food and paying for children’s education. Qualitative data showed that cash transfers empowered households to make their own choices according to their own needs: some paid for joint activities such as a community water pipe; others used cash to invest in education or enterprise to shore up their future; and many more used cash to fulfil their own unique priorities. For example, a single father built a toilet for his children and a transgender recipient bought make-up with which they felt comfortable to leave the house.  
As the next phase of the project was prepared, an independent review was commissioned to understand the impact and generate data to improve the program. These lessons were integrated into the second phase of the project. A one-minute video version of the impact narrative was also created to support advocacy efforts among existing and future partners. The review report is available on our website.  

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Listen, learn, improve 

Measuring Impact in Australian Services 

“I just want to thank you all for this wonderful program. My kids and myself are very happy with it.”  
This feedback came through our Client VOICES Survey, one of the many ways we are working to measure the impact of our Australian Services programs.  
We are committed to making sure all children and young people have the skills and confidence to improve their life outcomes. That’s why in 2021 we invested in a new Practice & Impact Measurement team to strengthen our practice, improve outcomes and reshape how we collect, analyse and learn from data and evidence.   
Our commitment to measuring the impact of our Australian Services in 2021 led us to design and implement our Clinical Governance Framework. This framework ensures we remain accountable to children, young people, families, carers and the community for providing services that are safe, effective, high quality and continuously improving.    
To compliment this governance framework, we also developed an outcomes framework that enables us to measure the impact of our work across all our diverse programs and services. Beyond this, we are building a framework that prioritises the voices of children and young people. We undertook our first Australian Services Client Satisfaction Survey of all clients aged 12 years and over. In 2022 we plan to engage with younger children and hear directly from them. Feedback from our clients will inform our service improvement and planning for the coming year. 

Photo L: Play2Learn Bairnsdale, where feedback shows children feel supported and valued. 
Robert McKechnie/Save the Children
Photo R: Results from the 2021 Client Voices Survey

“[Play2Learn] is a very supported and welcome environment, (staff name) listens and makes myself and children feel important and as valued part of our playgroup.

Client VOICES Survey respondent

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Going global with evidence and implementation 

The Centre for Evidence and Implementation 

The Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI) is a mission-driven global advisory organisation and evidence intermediary that works with researchers, policymakers, organisational leaders and practitioners to strengthen policies and services by understanding what works, generating evidence through evaluations, and active implementation support. CEI is a social enterprise subsidiary of Save the Children established in 2015. 

CEI champions evidence-based policies and programs to protect children.
Photos: Unsplash and Pexels

CEI has completed more than 200 projects since inception alongside more than 100 global partner organisations. Working with partners in 2021 allowed CEI to implement evidenced-based policy and programs that protect vulnerable children and youth. For example, CEI continued our work with The Family Preservation and Reunification Response, a Victorian government initiative committed to building system capacity to enable evidence-informed practice to drive better child safety outcomes.  

CEI also worked with Australia’s new independent education evidence body, the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO), to review efforts to cultivate evidence-based practice. CEI sought to understand the successes and failures of evidence institutions and intermediaries. The review identified seven reasons why evidence centres may fail to deliver on their objectives to influence policy and practice, including a lack of focus on implementation. This report provided concrete recommendations to help accelerate evidence into practice. 

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