Core to the CPC Learning Network’s ways of operating is its commitment to building the capacity of partners in the global South to conduct research, advocacy and professional training on child protection and family welfare issues. Although the models of engagement vary by country, universities are central to the activities of the CPC Learning Network. In some countries, our activities are housed within universities—from the Center on Child Protection (Pusat Kajian Perlindungan Anak, or PUSKAPA) at the University of Indonesia to the AfriChild Centre of Excellence for the African Child at Makerere University in Uganda to the School of Government at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. In other priority countries, universities play a critical role in setting and pursuing the learning agenda in a rigorous way. These partnerships include: the Université de Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, notably the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population, the University of Liberia and other universities in that country, and the Open University in Sri Lanka.
Developing curricula and coursework around child protection and family welfare is a key activity of the CPC Learning Network and its partners. In Indonesia, a child protection specialization is being developed for the University of Indonesia’s Masters program in criminology while in Uganda, a multi-agency team under the leadership of TPO Uganda and the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development developed a three-level national child protection curriculum that was integrated in several universities’ social work programs. The Sri Lanka PLG collaborated with the Open University, well known for its distance learning capacity, to develop a certificate course on the care and protection of children while a child protection certificate is also in development in Liberia. In collaboration with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, the CPC Learning Network Secretariat is currently compiling all publicly available university-level courses and programs related to child protection and family welfare to share with the broader sector. The CPC Learning Network Secretariat also sits on the advisory board for the development of a Child Protection in Emergencies diploma program that will be housed at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.
In 2009 and 2010, the CPC Learning Network used new technology to host two editions of a “Global Classroom” on the Protection of Children during Disaster and War. The Global Classroom brought together university students at Columbia University and around the globe with NGO child protection practitioners, who learned from each other’s perspectives by working on collaborative assignments and virtually holding class together. In 2009, the Global Classroom was conducted between Columbia University and Gulu University in northern Uganda; the course expanded in 2010 to include the Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the University of Indonesia.
In 2014, the CPC Learning Network will launch a research mentorship program through the AfriChild Centre of Excellence for the African Child at Makerere University in Uganda. By pairing NGO practitioners and junior researchers with established faculty experts on child protection, care, and development, the initiative will bolster research skills across academia and civil society.