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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Ghana: Summative Evaluation of Ghana’s Child Protection System Strengthening at District Level

Author: Tom Pellens, Daniella Dávila, Ramlatu Attah, Rebecca Davis, Susan Sabaa, and Kobby Optson

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


Policy (J4CP) in 2016, the Government of Ghana in collaboration with UNICEF embarked on a workforce strengthening (WFS) initiative in 20 pilot districts. The Initiative aimed to strengthen the capacity of the Social Welfare Actors (SWA) to implement the new policies, with a focus on the CFWP, using an innovative problem-driven iterative adaptation approach. During 2017 the SWA and allied actors from the pilot districts attended a series of workshops at district, regional and national level to better understand the Policy and reflect on new actions to address identified local child protection problems. Building on district-level learning, guidelines were developed to offer a framework of reference for continued implementation of the CFWP.


Oxford Policy Management (OPM), under the leadership of a Technical Working Group (TWG) representing various government departments, was contracted by UNICEF Ghana to undertake an evaluation of this Initiative. The objective of the evaluation was to document and assess the capacity of the child protection system—in particular the practices of the SWA—had changed to enable the provision of quality services to children and families with support of the Initiative. The evaluation covered the period from January 2017, when the Initiative started the sensitisation workshops at district-level, until September 2018 by when the guidelines had been finalised and disseminated to a select number of district representatives. The evidence generated through the evaluation is meant to inform scale up beyond the 20 pilot districts as well as document emerging practices.


The evaluation used a qualitative case study approach. Five districts among the 20 pilot districts were purposefully selected to seek an in-depth understanding of whether, how and why change occurred. The case study districts were: Shama, Asokore Mampong, Upper Denkyira West, Lambussie-Karni and Talensi. The findings of this report are based on three research rounds using individual and group interviews with district and national stakeholders, comprehensive document review and observation at some of the initiative’s workshops. To capture the system perspective of child and family welfare, as recognised in the CFWP, the evaluation engaged with multiple perspectives and paid attention to the interrelationships within the child protection system.

Findings and conclusions:

1. Relevance
The Initiative was well aligned with the CFWP in terms of objectives, approach and target population. The new guidelines generated through the Initiative are consistent with the CFWP. However, the Initiative only partially addressed the workforce’s capacity needs to implement the Policy. The Initiative was able to engage a wide range of relevant, local stakeholders, but involvement became inconsistent, particularly the involvement of the district administration leadership.
2. Effectiveness
The Initiative was effective in building knowledge and change attitudes about the core tenets of the CFWP, although there is still some room for further capacity building particularly among informal actors. The primary change related to child protection practices occurred in the area of prevention, through a reinforcement of sensitisation about child and family welfare issues. Evidence of any significant change in practices other than sensitisation as a prevention approach is limited. However, the Initiative has been an effective starting point for emerging collaboration among SWAs, and improved their understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, particularly the role of informal actors in child and family welfare.
3. Sustainability
A supportive authorising environment is an important factor for change in practice to take place as well for it to be sustained. While the Initiative made efforts to involve these district administration authorities their support for the Initiative was not sufficiently institutionalised. Furthermore, sustained change in collaboration, coordination, learning, adaptation and other practices promoted by the Initiative was influenced by SWA’s access to resources and complementary CFW skills, such as planning, facilitation and reporting skills. The replication of the Initiative is meant to occur through the dissemination of the guidelines, which is yet to be effective.


UNICEF Ghana should:
• Advocate for and support the further development, implementation and monitoring of strategies to institutionalise support and accountability among district administration leadership for changes promoted in the guidelines;
• Promote coordination and collaboration among SWAs on CFW through existing and institutionalised district coordination platforms, such as meetings of the District Assembly, the Social Services Sub-committee of the MMDA and heads of MMDA Departments; such platforms need to allow for a wide variety of SWAs to be engaged (and give voice to children and families);
• Promote capacity strengthening among SWAs in the area of monitoring, reporting and information management;
• Advocate for and support the further dissemination of the guidelines;
• Support strengthening the skills of SWAs required to implement the CFWP, as highlighted in the guidelines and this evaluation;
• Promote that districts receive support that helps facilitate and document innovation and adaptability on an ongoing basis as promoted by the guidelines.

Lessons Learned:

• The scale of the Initiative, covering 20 pilot districts, was too large to facilitate an adequate documentation process give the resources available. This is a challenge for both learning and accountability as part of the experimentation process.
• The incorporation of CFW in the districts Medium-Term Development Plans is an effective way to put CFW on the agenda of the District Assembly in an institutionalised way. However, this increased focus on CFW in district plans does not necessarily result into actual change due to funding constraints and prioritisation of release of funding towards traditional ‘visible’ projects.
• The capacity strengthening objectives of the initiative only partially address the workforce’s capacity needs to implement the Policy, and therefore need to be complemented with other capacity building interventions.
• The engagement of multiple agents throughout the sensitisation, experimentation and reflection process is critical to its outcomes.

Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year: 2018

Office/Country: Ghana

Region: WCAR

Type: Evaluation

Theme: Child Protection

Language: English

Sequence #: 2018/001

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