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Developments in Child Protection Programming: From Issues and Needs to Rights and Systems

For a long time, programming for child protection—as in development and humanitarian aid in general— mainly has been conceptualized to tackle specific challenges identified by stakeholders and to meet needs (Jonsson 2003) that are critical for well-being. Such needs, however, were not seen as obligations or rights that individuals can claim. Needs-based interventions prioritize certain needs and neglect others (Krause 2013, 68; Jonsson 2003, 21; Plan 2010, 18) and thus lack overreaching strategies. For this reason, they “were less successful in achieving some goals with more complex causality that require individuals, families, and communities becoming empowered in a way that service delivery-focused basic needs strategies cannot normally achieve” (Jonsson 2003, 10). Although it is undoubtedly necessary in cases of humanitarian emergencies to respond to and to satisfy basic human needs immediately, conditions change and become increasingly complex in protracted refugee situations. Single-issue programming is unable to respond to the multifaceted limitations of children, especially because the precise focus neglects the complexity of interdependent challenges.

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