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How can we use research to influence public policies? A case study from Young Lives Conference on Social Mobility, CEEY, Mexico November18 th Santiago Cueto Country Coordinator for Peru

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How can we use research to influence public policies? A case study from Young Lives

Conference on Social Mobility, CEEY, MexicoNovember18th

Santiago CuetoCountry Coordinator for Peru

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Young Lives / Niños del Milenio: A longitudinal study of childhood poverty• Our aim is to shed light on the drivers and impacts of child poverty,

and generate evidence to help policymakers design programmes that make a real difference to poor children and their families.

• We have been following 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam since 2002.

• YL is an international collaborative study coordinated by the University of Oxford and core-funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), with the support of several other donors.

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Study design: ‘From photograph to film strip’

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Themes• Low attrition between 2002 and 2013 (around 5%, excluding

deaths).• Young Lives has aligned research and policy themes to some key

MDGs and EFAs goals, and now to the SDGs to reinforce our main idea: inclusive policies –‘leaving no child behind’– are key to creating healthier, more productive and just societies, and to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

• Our main themes are: Poverty & inequality; Health & nutrition; Education; Gender & youth; and Child protection.

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Theory of change I• Critically analyses whether what we are doing will achieve

the aim we want

By:• Setting out underpinning assumptions and approaches

• Allows an organisation to set out the change that ought to happen and its role within that (and the role of others)

• ToC is complemented/supported by other plans and reporting

• Building on what we have done

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Theory of change II: Our tasks are

• To generate high-quality longitudinal evidence about the correlates and impact of poverty on children’s lives in contexts of economic and social change;

• To disseminate this evidence in accessible ways to global and national stakeholders;

• Look to be used in the improvement of policies of governments and other organizations at all stages of children’s lives;

• We also do advocacy to generate political will and shape policy agendas, accountability and good governance within government and systems; adherence to human rights and observing children’s rights; positive resource allocation by ministries, donors and international organizations; and community change.

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Theory of change III: document published in 2015, includes• The core challenge of childhood poverty: reducing child poverty and inequality; • The dimensions of our work: Features of country contexts in which we work;

stakeholders with whom we work; the barriers to using evidence to tackle child poverty; and the entry points through which Young Lives can deliver change.

• Our strategy, organized into four broad and interconnecting ‘channels’ of activity: building CAPACITY; generating RESEARCH; promoting UPTAKE of findings; and INNOVATION in methodology and knowledge.

• We also identify expected inputs that should occur, as well as outputs and outcomes.

• The expected impact is “policies and programmes to support poor children and young people are based on rigorous evidence about children’s experiences, development and outcomes”.

• http://www.younglives.org.uk/content/young-lives-theory-change-1

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Theory of change V

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Have we made a difference?• Easier to measure inputs and outputs than outcomes

and impact. Difficult to make causal attributions!• We keep records of publications, meetings, downloads

of publications and data bases, visits to web sites, quotes from stakeholders, and participation in national and international boards, meetings and conferences.

• Need a better conceptual model and methodologies to measure impact of research on policies.

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Case studies (1)

Example 1: Creation of Child Research and Policy Forum (CRPF) in Ethiopia, following research project which brought stakeholders together• Benefits: Recognition of importance of face to fact contacts, improving

research quality by peer interaction, and creation of space where researchers could engage with Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs

• Challenges: keeping it going

Example 2: Relationship with UNICEF´s Office of Research to study the drivers of violence. • Benefits: Engagement of national teams (Young Lives and UNICEF

country offices) favoured involvement in national debates; working with partners increases dissemination potential

• Challenges: Managing expectations of partners, reacting quickly

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Case studies (2)

Example 3: Juntos (conditional cash-transfer program) in Peru• We developed a series of studies on this program, focusing on different

aspects and using a variety of designs. • Benefits: the accumulation of YL´s evidence, plus that generated by

others, allowed us to be a powerful partner of this program.• Challenges: continue to be engaged with program officers as they rotate

with some frequency.

Example 4: publicly archived data set and promoting its use• Total external users = 1,300. 1/3 non-OECD. Workshops on data use in

Peru.• Benefits: Stimulate external research potential; high VFM return for initial

investment; YL´s data set becomes increasingly interesting with every round.

• Challenges: Capacity gaps in low-/middle-income countries (researcher and Government); no tradition of using research.

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Case studies (3)Example 5: Education• Oxfam has used the Young Lives book Changing Lives in a

Changing World to develop Everyone Counts, aimed at children ages 9 to 12.

• We encourage the usage of our studies in universities, to help develop the skills of the next generation of policy makers and developers

• Benefits: develop sensitivity and skills among different young audiences

• Challenges: develop skills in the teachers who use these materials

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Meet Seble (From Everyone Counts)“My name is Seble (Seb-lay). I think that I am 12 years old but I’m not quite sure. I live with my family in a village in a rural area of Oromiya state in Ethiopia… I started going to school when I was eight years old. I still go to school but I’m behind for my age… My own health hasn’t been good. I had tuberculosis when I was six and I’m still not completely better. I have also had malaria twice. If I am able to go to secondary school, I will have to go and live with my grandmother in the nearest town. My older sister has already done this.

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SebleI help my mother a lot in the house, cleaning and making coffee, bread and injera. I learnt to make coffee when I was four years old! I also fetch firewood and water. I like collecting firewood. My friends and I talk and tell jokes while we walk to and from the mountain to collect firewood. Since I was 11 I have also been working part-time as a labourer, doing work such as planting or picking vegetables. I work with other girls in a group and how much we get paid depends on the number of lines of vegetables we pick. We work up to eight hours a day. After work we chat together.

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SebleI usually work two or three days a week after school, depending on when work is available. For this I earn 6 birr (about £0.18) a day. Sometimes I also sell bread to earn money for my family. I help on the family farm as well, grinding corn for bread, and weeding teff. I would like to be a teacher when I am older. I don’t want to get married young but I believe that my parents may insist that I do. I would like to wait until I am 19.”

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Looking forward: what does it all add up to?• We have produced summary country reports descrbibing

main trends after every round, one pending for round five.• We are preparing synthesis reports for each country and

thematic cross-country reports in education, educational trajectories, impact of preschool, school effectiveness, adolescence, and tracing the consequences of poverty and inequality for children.

• Seeking opportunities to continue studying both cohorts and YL´s children (the next generation!)

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Find out more

www.younglives.org.uk• methods and research papers• datasets (UK Data Archive)• publications• child profiles and photos• e-newsletter

www.ninosdelmilenio.org (for Peru, in Spanish)

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Our social media

Facebook y Twitter:/YoungLivesStudy

/NinosDelMilenio.org

@Yloxford @NinosdelMilenio