KE Collaborative R&D Case Study

Project title - "Facilitating Children’s Participation in the Niger Delta"

This funding has enabled me to develop critical relationships with NGOs based in the UK and in Nigeria which can provide a foundation for future impact activities as well as research projects for myself and any of my students seeking to work in that context.

Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh

 

Project partners

Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh
Sociological Studies

Stepping Stones Nigeria (now Safe Child Africa)


Overview

Since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, NGOs around the world have increased participatory projects with children. But questions remain about how effective these are at involving the children in promoting their rights and welfare.

A KE Collaborative R&D funding enabled Dr Twum-Danso Imoh to forge a partnership with children’s rights NGO Stepping Stones Nigeria (since renamed Safe Child Africa to reflect its broadening focus). This funding facilitates long-term partnerships through supporting a set piece of collaborative research work – in this case a project in the Niger Delta that explored the concept and experience of children’s participation in NGO projects.

Activities and outputs

A rich array of qualitative research produced many outputs. Questionnaires and focus group discussions involved adult NGO workers. Children’s views were gathered through workshops, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Some children were given disposable cameras to record their lives, and an essay and drawing competition highlighted the challenges they faced.

These produced many useful materials, from a research report and short film seen by the UN Human Rights Council to a poster and a cartoon sketch used in community advocacy work. A training module and manual on child participation developed by the project has so far trained 53 NGO workers in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, as well as 10 Safe Child Africa staff in the UK. It continues to form a key part of the organisation’s five-year strategy.

Impact

Practices have been improved now that Safe Child Africa and other NGOs better understand their attitudes towards children’s participation. Findings from the project also informed social policy at the national and international level, contributing to the debate around what child participation should be.

Next steps

Together, the partners are working hard to find ways to initiate new collaborative projects, such as exploring how sexual abuse is understood and perceived in the Niger Delta. The project has raised the University of Sheffield’s profile within Nigeria, strengthening existing relationships and sparking new ones – a connection with Nigerian NGO Basic Rights Counsel Initiative ensures Dr Twum-Danso Imoh keeps abreast of local children’s rights issues.

Dr Twum-Danso Imoh said: “This funding has enabled me to develop critical relationships with NGOs based in the UK and in Nigeria which can provide a foundation for future impact activities as well as research projects for myself and any of my students seeking to work in that context.”