Child Friendly Spaces Research Collaboration

Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) are used by humanitarian agencies to support and protect children in emergencies. Children are the most vulnerable group during conflict and in the aftermath of a disaster, both emotionally and physically.

CFS provide young people with a safe place to play, participate in activities, learn about their rights to health and protection, and experience healing from trauma they’ve experienced. They also allow children to return to healthy routines and experience a sense of normalcy again.

However, until recently there had been little research or evidence of the impact of CFS. World Vision and Columbia University are in the process of conducting a series of structured evaluations of CFS programmes. These are being conducted in various contexts, to document evidence of protective and restorative effectiveness of CFS, to identify good practice in their design and implementation, and to contribute to the development of better monitoring and evaluation tools for this type of programming.

Since the initial studies, the project has evolved into a multi-agency collaboration to further ensure research findings and implications will benefit the broader humanitarian community, notably through the Child Protection Working Group of the Global Protection Cluster. The initial project partners have been joined by several implementing and supporting agencies: UNICEF, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and AVSI.

Review of Evidence

The first piece of research produced by World Vision and Columbia University presents a structured review of the current evidence-base for CFS, including published and ‘grey’ literature. Read Child Friendly Spaces: A Structured Review of the Evidence Base

Ethiopia Field Study

The second study reports findings from an evaluation of a CFS implementation for Somali refugees in Buramino Camp in southern Ethiopia. Read Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces: Ethiopia Field Study Report.

Uganda Field Study 

This report presents findings from an evaluation of a CFS implementation for Congolese refugees in Rwamwanja Camp in western Uganda. Read Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces: Uganda Field Study Summary Report.

Iraq Field Study

Findings from an evaluation of a CFS implementation for Syrian refugees in Domiz Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. Read Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces: Iraq Field Study Report.