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understanding pathways of VAC 2 The siblings of Alexis, 18, in his room at home in Omoa, Honduras. Alexis, his mother, and five siblings live in extreme poverty, in a wood and corrugated iron shack built on a slope that turns into mud every time it rains.

(4 April 2017) As the first stage of the Multi-Country Study of the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children draws to a close an important consultation has been organized by UNICEF Innocenti and Save the Children to review current findings and chart the next stage of the study. The Understanding Pathways workshop in Bangkok, Thailand brings together leading researchers from the four focus countries of the Multi-Country Study (Italy, Peru, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe); additional research partners from Cambodia, Indonesia, Tanzania, Paraguay, the Philippines and Serbia (where ‘Research to Policy and Practice Processes,’ informed by the Innocenti study have been launched); UNICEF country level child protection specialists and key government and research partners who have gained a better understanding what drives childhood violence and what can be done about it.

The first stage of the Multi-Country Study focused on grounding the research through systematic literature reviews and secondary data analysis to understand what is currently known about sexual, physical and emotional violence affecting children in their homes, schools and communities. Each country underwent an ‘action analysis’ process to prioritize one entry point (homes, schools or communities) in which to reduce a specific type of violence (emotional, physical or sexual). The study's second stage will now focus on testing potential or current interventions.

Save the Children has recently launched a new strategic initiative: Violence is No Longer Tolerated, and has expressed interest in collaborating on the second stage of the study, with focus on identifying effective country strategies to protect children from violence. Save the Children programme specialists from each of the ten participating countries are now engaged in inter-agency learning and action planning to ensure that global work to end violence benefits from the complementary initiatives.

UNICEF and Save the Children child protection staff in a working session at the Understanding Pathways workshop on the drivers of violence affecting children, Bangkok, Thailand (April 2017)

"When researchers meet practitioners and work together to question evidence and move it into action, social change is inevitable," said Mary Catherine Maternowska, research lead on violence affecting children at UNICEF Innocenti. "Partnerships have formed, collaborations and co-discovery continues. The process brings out the best of both agencies."

Save the Children’s contribution within the framework of the Multi-Country Study includes strengthening the child participation component of the research methodology, to ensure children’s voice and perspectives are incorporated in an ethical manner. Save the Children will offer existing materials, experience, knowledge and learning around Pathways to Change.

Through co-learning and co-creation processes, UNICEF and Save the Children technical specialists, as well as external experts, will lead country teams through a process of developing theoretical and practical frameworks to guide future intervention research. The overall goal is to strengthen the evidence base for effective, adaptive violence prevention programming. Opportunities for collaborating in the next stage of research and testing of interventions will also be planned.

Working session on the first day of the Understanding Pathways workshop on the drivers of violence affecting children, Bangkok, Thailand (April 2017)

By the end of the Understanding Pathways workshop country teams will have developed: 1) a draft theory of change for priority areas for violence affecting children and related program logic, and 2) a draft applied research concept note needed for improved intervention design and testing to occur during the next phase. Interventions proposed will build on evidence of what works to prevent violence among, especially vulnerable groups.