Projects

While Maestral engages on a diverse range of programs and projects, we always focus on one question—what is the ultimate impact on children? Please review some of our recent work below. A full capabilities statement can be found here.

Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children)

Maestral International is a member of a consortium led by Catholic Relief Services for the Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) project. 4Children is a five-year, USAID-funded project addressing the need for improved health and well-being outcomes for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) affected by HIV/AIDS and other adversities. 4Children aims to identify and promote appropriate, effective practices in child welfare and protection. The project is designed to provide capacity building and system strengthening support for national and local governments and civil society organizations to foster country ownership. Other members include IntraHealth, Pact, Plan, and Westat with collaborating partners African Child Policy Forum, Parenting Africa Network (PAN), and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI). More info can be found here.

Performance Evaluation of the Child Care Reform Project in Uganda

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Uganda

Maestral is supporting the JSI Research and Training Institute and Advancing Partners and Communities to conduct an independent performance evaluation of a child care reform project that will be implemented in Uganda. The performance evaluation will be designed to measure the performance and sustainability of the project activities and will identify broader lessons related to preventing unnecessary separation of children from families and facilitating family reintegration.

Support for the Next Phase of the Better Volunteering, Better Care Initiative

Maestral, in coordination with the Better Care Network, Save the Children, BVBC co-chairs and global working group members, supported the development of a comprehensive strategic plan and proposal for the next phase of the BVBC initiative. The consultancy included the evaluation of the current strategy and activities to develop a concept note outlining a clear strategic direction toward global behavior change aiming to shift the story around orphanages and volunteering. With the ultimate goal to end current practice and promote ethical volunteering alternatives that protect children.

Social Service Workforce Legislative Review

In collaboration with the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, Maestral provided an in-depth analysis of the social service workforce-supportive policies and legislation in order to promote the importance of this type of legislation, provide specific examples that feature the workforce and profile strategies implemented by countries that have effectively prepared and enacted legislation. The availability of (or gaps in) policies and legislation that provide a mandate for and definition of the social service workforce has a profound impact on the development and sustainability of social services in a particular country. The prepared report provides a glimpse into the momentum that is building around policy development in support of the workforce.

Social Service Workforce Strengthening Evidence Review

This project, building on the work of the Building Evidence for Social Service Workforce Strengthening Interest Group (BEIG), assessed gaps in research and recommended a future research agenda and structure to inform workforce strengthening strategies. The Maestral consultant took the lead in analyzing gaps and enhancing the current evidence matrix. The final report consolidated information and provided recommendations for addressing any gaps in research.

The Mapping and Formative Evaluation of the Child Protection System in Comoros

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Comoros

Maestral International conducted a mapping and formative evaluation of the protection system of Comoros. This mapping and assessment is to contribute to the development of a national policy and action plan for protection of children in the Comoros. Through a formative and advisory approach, the team aimed to strengthen national capacities and ensure that the findings and recommendations of the mapping and assessment are appropriate by the Government of the Union of the Comoros and its stakeholders. The development process was conducted with multi-sectoral consensus on an action plan to strengthen the child protection system.

End Phase Review of the Safeguard Young People Programme

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Malawi

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Namibia

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Swaziland

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Zambia

Maestral conducted an end of phase review that assessed the extent to which SYP is achieving progress, relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability towards reaching its mandated strategic objectives. The Safeguard Young People Programme aims to empower adolescents and young people aged 10-24, with a special focus on adolescent girls, to protect themselves from STIs including HIV, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, early marriages, harmful cultural practices, gender based violence and to promote equitable gender norms in eight Southern African countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Reviewing and Developing Magomero College Social Work Diploma and Certificate Curriculum and Costed Delivery System

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Malawi

Maestral and Rutger’s University are working to review and develop a two-year social work diploma program and a one-year social work certificate program in Malawi, in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare and Magomero College. The overall goal of this consultancy is to improve the quality of the workforce through an established competency-based social work education curriculum – integrating knowledge (theory), values, and practice skills through academic instruction and a structured field practicum or internship. In order to adequately prepare students and those already employed, it is important that educational competencies and outcomes are culturally relevant and closely linked with policies and requisite job functions for respective professional and paraprofessional positions to ensure implementation of the National Child Protection System at the district and community level.

Discussion Paper on Violence Against Children

Maestral, with the Better Care Network, is developing a discussion paper on violence against children in all care settings in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa, including an analysis of the links between violence against children and placement in alternative care, as well as violence against children in the alternative care settings. The document will include a review of findings from the literature, case studies of promising practices in the region, and key recommendations for the regional consultation.

Development of Transition Toolkit

Maestral is developing and producing content for a toolkit that will serve as a resource for faith-based organizations seeking to transition from models of institutional/orphanage care to family and community-based care.

Strengthening Case Management Systems in Eastern and Southern Africa

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Kenya

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Mozambique

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Rwanda

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Zimbabwe

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Namibia

The overall goal of this project is to assist ESAR countries in establishing and/or improving and rolling out national frameworks for integrated case management systems. More specifically, to develop a readiness toolkit to support country-level diagnosis of existing system components and overall capability. The team will develop a case management business model that country offices can adapt based on the results of their own situational and needs analyses. Technical support will be provided for the participatory development of national strategies for the implementation and adaptation of four country’s chosen model as well virtual learning with other countries in the region.

Building the Capacity of the Human Rights Commissioner of Azerbaijan on Independent Child Rights Monitoring

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Azerbaijan

Maestral is providing capacity building support and technical assistance to the National Preventive Group on Ill-treatment and Torture of the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of Azerbaijan to better monitor and report on violations of children in justice, social care and special education systems in order to: improve independent child rights monitoring capacity; prevent or reduce cases of child rights violations in closed facilities; and improve coordination, response mechanisms, and reporting on child rights monitoring.

Situation Analysis of Women and Children in The Gambia

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Gambia

Maestral is conducting an analysis to strengthen government capacity to collect, analyze, and use data to inform policy and decision makers and conduct evaluations on policies and programs by 2016. The consultancy is expected to result in a clear and concise Situation Analysis of Women and Children in The Gambia that provides UNICEF Gambia with a high quality report using evidence-based analysis. It is expected to both inform the development of the next UNICEF country program, as well as the UN Development Action Framework.

Map and Assess Child Protection Systems in the State of Tabasco, Mexico

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Mexico

Maestral International with Grupo de Economistas y Asociados (GEA) conducted a rapid assessment of the social assistance system in Tabasco, Mexico between June and December 2014. The findings of the rapid assessment were presented to the government of Tabasco in January 2015.  The rapid assessment contains a framework and recommendations to strengthen the existing social assistance system in Tabasco. The Government of Tabasco has approved the recommendations for implementation. Maestral, in collaboration with the government of the State of Tabasco, will implement the recommendations of the rapid assessment that are identified as priorities by the Government.

Assessment of Adolescents and Youth Development in Malawi

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Malawi

Maestral has conducted an in-depth analysis of adolescent and youth development programming in Malawi. The research is expected to result in a comprehensive report of existing services that support the needs and rights of adolescents and youth aged 10-24, with a clear articulation of gender-specific issues for both adolescent males and females and young men and women. The analysis will explore the gender-specific needs of especially vulnerable groups, such as adolescents without parental care, the disabled, adolescents and young people living with HIV, those in conflict with the law, out-of-school youth, teenage parents and street-involved youth.

Develop Costing Model for Child Protection Component of Ebola Recovery Plans

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Guinea

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Liberia

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Sierra Leone

Maestral assisted UNICEF WCARO Child Protection and Social Policy team to develop a costing model for the child protection component of the Ebola Recovery plans. Activities included rapid assessment of relevant reports and policy documents related to the three affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and develop a model that could be used by all country teams.

Analysis of National Child Protection Systems, in the wider context of Social Protection Systems in Albania

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Albania

Maestral is conducting a mapping and analysis of the child protection systems in Albania to identify major child protection issues and functioning structures of the system. The exercise will analyze groups of children most affected and how all structure elements interact for the protection of children and their families. A comprehensive situation analysis will produce recommendations to strengthen systems and form a basis for a national strategy on child protection as well as the development of a national plan of action.

Literature Review for REPSSI's Strategy Development

Maestral conducted a literature review focusing on the psychosocial care and support landscape in Africa to inform the development of the REPSSI Strategy for the period 2016-2020. The literature review included an extensive search of published materials and existing mapping initiatives addressing the needs of OVCY to identify key areas in PSS programming for REPSSI to consider in its strategy development.

Development of Training Curriculum for the Department of Social Welfare Case Managers and coaching package for newly-assigned DSW Case Managers

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Myanmar

Maestral worked with UNICEF, the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and other Government and non-Government stakeholders to revise relevant training curriculum and materials, assisting the DSW in developing a human resource plan and assisting the DSW in establishing a work plan. We partnered with Boston College School of Social Work and Jini Roby on this initiative.

Guidelines on Alternative Care of Children in Nepal

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Nepal

Provide Support in the Finalization of the draft Guidelines on Alternative Care of Children in Nepal and developing an implementation plan with costed interventions. Maestral is working with stakeholders to develop guidelines to ensure that children in need of care and protection benefit from care and protection decisions in their best interests and from quality prorgrammes and services which will contribute to the fulfillment of their right to protection, as well as survival, development and participation.

Supporting the Development of a National Social Protection Strategy in Myanmar

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Myanmar

From 2013 – 2014, Maestral’s president provided qualified technical assistance to the Ministry of Social Welfare to develop a multi-sectoral national Social Protection Strategy. His work included technical expertise and guidance for the overall process involving the contribution of a critical mass of stakeholders at national and sub-national level. In December 2014, a major decision was made by the President of Myanmar to approve and launch the country’s first ever Social Protection Strategy.

Map the Child Protection System, Assess the Capacity of the Department of Social Welfare and Develop a National Child Protection Strategy Plan of Action for the Republic of The Gambia

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Gambia

Maestral supported the Government of The Gambia in assessing, designing and implementing a comprehensive Child Protection System, including assessing and strengthening the capacity of the Department of Social Welfare to effectively lead its implementation, coordination and monitoring and evaluation. The second phase of the project included building on the mapping and assessment to facilitate a consultative and participatory process to deliver a comprehensive strategy and costed plan of action.

Mapping and Assessment of the Child Protection System and Development of a Child Protection System Strengthening Orientation Paper for Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso

Maestral supported the Government of Burkina Faso and its partners in carrying out a mapping and assessment of the current child protection system which should lead to the development of a strategic plan for  strengthening the system at national and sub-national levels. A call to action from the report included immediate follow-up on the exercise and intensive efforts to disseminate the mapping results to ensure that child protection problems become widely known and understood at national and regional levels.

Technical Assistance for the Development of Alternative Care System for Children without Appropriate Care in Liberia

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Liberia

Maestral will clarify the Department of Social Welfare’s legally-mandated roles and responsibilities regarding the identification, placement and care of Children Without Appropriate Care, develop a framework through which the DSW intakes, processes and provides solutions and monitoring for Children Without Appropriate Care under its jurisdiction, develop the institutional capacities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare/Department of Social Welfare to execute that framework.

Mapping and Assessment of Existing Child Protection System and Design of Strategy and Plan of Action to Strengthen the System

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Lesotho

Maestral provided technical assistance to the Government of Lesotho to map and assess the existing child protection system  in 2013 which led to the development of a child protection strategy and plan of action for 2014-2017. The strategy is aligned to an expanded program of social protection for all, with a strong focus on vulnerable children and families.

Mapping and Assessing the Child Protection System in Six Selected States in Nigeria

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Nigeria

Maestral was engaged by Capacity Plus/USAID to conduct a comprehensive mapping, assessment and programming exercise on the child protection systems of six states of Nigeria. This was the first time so many mapping and assessments had been completed in one country.

Develop a National Child Protection Strategy and Action Plan

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Mauritius

Maestral provided qualified technical assistance to the Government of Mauritius, specifically the Ministry of Gender, Child Development and Family Welfare. A functional audit of the Child Development Unit was performed in view of strengthening the gatekeeping of the child protection system as well as a Situation Analysis on Child Protection. Based on a consultative process, the National Strategy on Child Protection and its accompanying Action Plan were prepared.

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The Partnership for Children: A Donors’ Collaborative

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Azerbaijan

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Guatemala

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Kenya

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Nepal

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Ukraine

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Vietnam

In 2010, Maestral (in cooperation with the Fund for Social Change) worked with the Oak Foundation to assist with the design of The Partnership for Children, a donors’ collaborative that will aim to prevent separation of children from their parents and to transform the lives of children who are living in residential institutions. Maestral prepared the initial concept paper for the collaborative and supported related consultations with the Foundation and interested donors in May and June 2010.

Global Toolkit to Map and Assess Child Protection Systems

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In 2009 and 2010, Maestral developed a Toolkit to map and assess child protection systems, supporting the implementation of UNICEF’s 2008 Child Protection Strategy and helping countries and communities to develop, prioritize, cost and implement programs to develop and strengthen systems. The Toolkit draws on best practices in child protection, is Excel based and fully customizable and includes links to an extensive array of resources. It was field tested in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia. The mapping and assessment process covers the country’s risk profile, the global context, the legal and policy context, data for decision-making, system structures / functions / capacities, ministry mapping, children and justice, community structures, functions and capacities, civil society and public accountability, the continuum of care, the future strategy and costing and resource mobilization. A copy of the toolkit can be found here.

Eastern and Southern Africa: Child Protection System Strengthening

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Maestral was retained by UNICEF through the end of 2012 to assist Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the mapping, assessment and development of their child protection systems, utilizing the above Toolkit. It provided on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in developing, costing and implementing new child protection systems. Maestral also prepared an investment case for child protection and developed a conceptual framework for the region.

The Children in Families Initiative: Targeting Grants and Utilizing them Effectively

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Azerbaijan

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Guatemala

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Kenya

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Nepal

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Ukraine

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Vietnam

Since 2008, Maestral has been assisting the GHR Foundation with the development, administration, monitoring and evaluation of its Children in Families Initiative, which was operating in Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, Ukraine and Vietnam. The Initiative’s grant-making program aims to strengthen families while supporting gatekeeping to prevent the placement of children in residential institutions and also helping children to be placed out of institutions and into stable family environments.

HIV-Affected Children and Residential Care

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Malawi

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Uganda

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Thailand

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Kenya

The phenomenon of residential care has been growing in recent years and HIV is one of the factors considered to be a cause. UNICEF commissioned research by Maestral and EveryChild to find out the scope of this problem and recommend how to develop family and community-based options for HIV-affected children without parental care. In 2012, a desk review and four country case studies were conducted in Malawi, Uganda, Thailand and Kenya.

Give a Child a Family: Evaluation

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South Africa

Give a Child a Family (GCF) provides family supports and alternative care to vulnerable and orphaned children in KwaZulu Natal South Africa. Its model is being replicated in several countries in Africa. GCF contracted with Maestral to evaluate its foster care and training programs as well as other program components to ensure that they meet international standards.

Early Childhood Development: Developing Global Capacity

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Ukraine

In cooperation with MANNET, Maestral supported an assessment of UNICEF’s capacity to carry out Early Childhood Development programs at the global and country level. The review included development of a strategic framework for UNICEF to move forward on ECD, whereby issues and gaps were identified and resolved, consensus reached on the framework and initiatives developed and tested to address the identified challenges.

Rwanda De-institutionalization and Child Protection Program

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Rwanda

Maestral supported the Government of Rwanda and other in-country stakeholders to develop a program to strengthen its child protection system, building on a new Government policy to place all children currently residing in institutions in families by end-2013. Key activities included development of a funding proposal to support a comprehensive system-wide reform, design of a rapid assessment of children being placed in families to ensure that their best interests are being met and to inform program design and support in developing new and effective national coordination mechanisms for child protection.

UNICEF Ukraine: Strategic and Policy Review

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Ukraine

In 2010, Maestral undertook an overall review of development priorities and UNICEF’s strategic positioning in Ukraine, and assessed the three thematic areas of UNICEF’s Country Programme: Social Policy, Child Care Reform and Early Childhood Development, and in addition, the communications activities which support the programme. The review was based on a comprehensive study of existing programmes and partnerships, accompanied by discussions with UNICEF staff and key partners and a series of thorough field visits. The review resulted in the preparation and submission of findings together with a model for positive change for UNICEF’s operations in the country. The Ukraine office used the review’s findings and recommendations in the design of its downstream country programme.

IntraHealth/Capacity Plus: Technical Brief on Social Service Workforce

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Cape Verde

Maestral developed a technical brief describing and analyzing the different social work cadres involved in the social welfare workforce globally with particular emphasis on PEPFAR targeted countries. The brief included commonalities, differences, typologies, educational requirements, functions and responsibilities.

Develop Multi-country Case Studies Profiling Child Care Reform

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Cape Verde

Maestral documented significant child care reform work being done at the country-level in three African countries on legislation, policies and programmes including service delivery, advocacy and networking in order to promote exchange and learning within the region and reinforce and encourage care reforms in other countries.

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Map and Assess the Child and Adolescent Protection System in Cape Verde

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Cape Verde

Maestral assisted UNICEF Cape Verde with the mapping, assessment and strengthening of their child protection systems, utilizing the above Toolkit. It provided on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in strengthening, costing and implementing new child protection systems.

Map and Assess the Child Protection System in Uganda

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Uganda

Maestral assisted UNICEF Uganda with the mapping, assessment and strengthening of their child protection systems, utilizing the above Toolkit. It provided on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in strengthening, costing and implementing new child protection systems.

Impact Evaluation of the National Plan of Action for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children

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Malawi

Maestral assessed how the implementation of the Malawi National Plan of Action has led to positive outcomes for orphans and vulnerable children and the role of the National Plan of Action in coordinating and guiding Malawi’s national response for orphans and vulnerable children. We partnered with Susan Amoaten, Felix Kakowa and Juliet Kamanga on this initiative.

Introductory Training on Child Protection Systems Mapping and Assessment Toolkit

Maestral assisted UNICEF Maldives with the mapping, assessment and strengthening of their child protection systems, utilizing the above Toolkit. It provided on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in strengthening, costing and implementing new child protection systems.

Mapping and Assessment of the Child Protection System in The United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates

Maestral is assisting UNICEF UAE with the mapping, assessment and strengthening of their child protection systems. It is providing on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in strengthening, costing and implementing new child protection systems.

Technical Note on Prevention and Response to Violence against Children in Early Childhood

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Swaziland

Maestral developed a comprehensive, synthesized and user-friendly technical note for country offices, regional offices and headquarters to give background and context of the issue of violence, abuse and neglect in early childhood, nature and extent of the problem, different forms of violence in early childhood, the impact on children, families and communities, risks and protective factors. It also included key elements to effective programming in this area from a systems approach at the national and community levels and community-based initiatives, mechanisms and services to strengthen the protective role of families and communities and to promote positive social change.

Joint Inter-Agency Statement on Child Protection Systems Strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa

In early 2013, Philip Goldman of Maestral facilitated the work of a variety of organizations (UNICEF, NGO) working in sub-Saharan Africa to craft, formulate and ultimately endorse a joint statement and call to action to strengthen child protection systems in the region.

Mapping and Assessment of the Child Protection System in Swaziland

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Swaziland

Maestral assisted UNICEF Swaziland with the mapping, assessment and strengthening of their child protection systems, utilizing the above Toolkit. It provided on the ground coordination, technical assistance and training support as well as a help desk function for the key stakeholders engaged in strengthening, costing and implementing new child protection systems.

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Midterm Review for REPSSI

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Azerbaijan

Maestral worked on an independent assessment of the results of the REPSSI programme across the whole organization, with a focus on lessons learned and recommendations, including what has not worked, focusing on the results planned in the organization’s results matrix and key identified strategies.

Capacity Development on Child Protection Systems Mapping and Assessment in South Asia

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Vietnam

In cooperation with Child Frontiers, Maestral facilitated a regional UNICEF workshop in South Asia on the child protection systems agenda in the Region. This workshop was conducted in July 2013.

Strengthening Monitoring, Evaluation, Costing and Budgeting of Child Protection National Programmes in UNICEF ESAR and WCAR Offices

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Azerbaijan

Maestral, with the Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, is supporting UNICEF’s monitoring results for equity systems agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. This work will support strategies towards developing practical, costed national action plans which focus on implementation and contain monitoring systems to enable reporting on progress and to aggregate results. The overarching goal is to provide UNICEF, policy makers, development partners and national stakeholders with a systematic approach to make informed decisions on child protection.

RIATT-ESA Mid Term Review

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Azerbaijan

Maestral conducted a midterm review for Regional Inter Agency Task team on Children and AIDS for Eastern & Southern Africa (RIATT-ESA). The main purpose of the review was to obtain insight on the outcomes and operations of RIATT in contributing towards a scaled up, coordinated and more effective response for children affected by AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa. The recommendations aimed to ensure that RIATT-ESA remains a strategic regional platform for vulnerable children in the region.

Understanding and Improving Informal Alternative Care Mechanisms to Increase the Care and Protection of Children

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Vietnam

Maestral developed and led national workshop on Children without Appropriate Care in Uganda and supported desk review on informal care practices in East and Southern Africa.

Conducting Functional Review of the New Child Care Services in Two Pilot Rayons of Baku City

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Azerbaijan

Maestral reviewed to what extent the pilot project facilitated coordination and cooperation; assessed the level of implementation of responsibilities of each party under the MoU; reviewed laws, policies and regulations developed, analyzed financial allocations made by ministries; measured the impact of activities targeted at children and families; compared and contrasted planned activities vs. activities undertaken; identified major gaps in implementation; provided set of key policy and strategy recommendations for the government and each party of the MoU; assessed quality of newly established child care services and a need for scaling them up at the national level; and advised on the feasibility of scaling up the pilot mechanism in other parts of the country.

Modernizing Social Security: A World Bank Project in Vietnam

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Vietnam

In 2009, Maestral’s President was retained to assist the World Bank to prepare a Social Security Modernization Project on behalf of the Government of Vietnam. Support was provided to identify and confirm project objectives, components and activities, the system’s investment plan and a number of technical areas related to social security administration.

Conduct Research and Design Models for Re-integrating Children that are in Child Care Institutions with their Family Members of Family Care Takers

In partnership with Family for Every Child, Maestral worked with UNICEF to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and conducted research and design models for re-integrating children that are in child care institutions with their family.