Introduction to CPRA

This pre-arrival e-learning course is an introduction to the Child Protection Rapid Assessment (CPRA) Toolkit. This e-learning course will prepare you for the 3-day, face-to-face training and correct any mis-understandings you may have of this training.
The overall objective of the training is to provide participants with an in-depth introduction to the components of CPRA Toolkit and guidance on the steps required to roll out the CPRA process. The training will include a focus on the CPRA methodology, the data collection tools and how to adapt these to the context, managing assessment data and a review of the lessons that have been learned from past child protection rapid assessments.

An Brief Introduction

The CPRA Toolkit

What is a Child Protection Rapid Assessment (CPRA)?

A CPRA is a rapid assessment tool for use in emergency contexts by a child protection (CP) coordination group, typically a CP sub-Cluster. It is meant to build on the initial Multi-cluster/sector initial rapid assessment(s) and other phase II assessments. It provides a snapshot of urgent CP-related needs amongst the affected population in the immediate aftermath of the emergency (3+ weeks). Here is an example of a CPRA Report from Gaza (2014).

It can also act as a stepping-stone for a more comprehensive process of assessing the impacts of the emergency on children, as well as situation monitoring. This rapid assessment should not be confused with, nor take the place of more comprehensive assessments or a surveillance system.

The CPRA is not a case management tool, nor does it directly involve children.

Objectives of a CPRA

A CPRA provides a basis for defining CP needs and existing support mechanisms in the immediate aftermath of a rapid-onset emergency. The objectives of a CPRA are to determine:

  •  the SCALE of  CP needs and risks
  • the PRIORITIES for the required CP response – including geographical and programmatic areas of priority, from which funding priorities can be agreed
  • HOW the response should be configured – including what existing capacities the response can build on.​

Depending on the context, CPRA may also be useful for other purposes, such as:

  • creating an evidence-base for advocacy with stakeholders (armed groups, government etc.)

  • providing some knowledge of where the main information gaps are.

When should the CPRA happen?

An inter-agency CPRA typically takes between 3-5 weeks to complete, usually falling within phase III of the IASC Needs Assessment Framework (+3 weeks from the onset of an emergency). However, where preparedness measures have reduced the post-emergency preparation time, CPRA can be completed in about 3 weeks.

The CPRA Toolkit can be used to add a child protection component to other coordinated multi-sectorial rapid assessment. It can also be the basis for a multi-sectorial rapid assessment with other sectors adding their respective questions. However, CPRA is best suited for a stand-alone process in the absence of any other humanitarian assessments.

The short timeframe of the CPRA ensures that priority sector-specific information is available rapidly to inform preliminary response. Following this rapid assessment phase, a more comprehensive and in-depth CP assessment may be necessary. The existing Inter-Agency Child Protection Assessment Resource Kit is the primary resource for a more comprehensive CP assessment process.

When a CPRA may not be appropriate

A CPRA is not appropriate for situations where many different humanitarian agencies are already working on the ground with affected communities. It is also not best suited for delivering in-depth information about specific areas of CP. However, the CPRA can be a good starting point in developing more appropriate assessment methodology and tools.

CPRA Methodology

There are three core methodologies to a CPRA:

1. Desk Review

2. Direct Observation

3. Key Informant Interviews

Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) are not part of the core methodologies for a CPRA. However, if technical expertise and time allows, the CPRA data can be complemented by data from FGDs or other qualitative methods of inquiry. 

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  • The CPRA provides a snapshot of urgent child protection related needs among the affected population within the immediate aftermath of the emergency.

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  • The CPRA is a comprehensive process of assessing the impacts of the emergency on children, as well as situation monitoring.

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  • The CPRA can show the scale of needs and protection risks

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  • CPRA can be completed in about 2 weeks from start to finish.

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  • The CPRA is appropriate when many different humanitarian agencies are already working on the ground with affected communities.

What are the core data collection methodologies recommended for a CPRA?

  • Key Informant Interviews
  • Desk Review
  • Focus Group Discussion
  • Direct Observation

Part 1: A Guide to CPRA

Short Guide to CPRA

The CPRA Toolkit has three main parts:

  1. Short Guide: which explains the CPRA process,
  2. Sample CPRA Tools
  3. Data Management Tool

In what follows we will outline key parts of the Short Guide to the CPRA.

Coordination and Planning of a CPRA

  • Experience shows that the CPRA is best suited for use in an inter-agency manner.
  • A CPRA task force should be set up to coordinate the activities throughout the assessment process.
  • Roles and responsibilities of different participating agencies should be defined prior to data collection.
  • Participating agencies should be asked to contribute logistical, human and financial resources.

What We Need to Know (WWNK)

  • The basis of any needs assessment is a series of unknowns and/or little-knowns that we wish to learn about. These are called: What We Need to Know, or the “WWNKs”.
  • The entire CPRA tool is designed to inform WWNKs.
  • It is imperative that the list of WWNKs are revised based on the local context, as the first step in adapting the assessment tools.

The Sampling Approach

  • The recommended sampling approach for the CPRA is “purposive” sampling.
  • Data produced from a CPRA is not statistically representative of the affected population. In other words, CPRA data is indicative.
  • Stratification (scenarios) are used to increase the indicative generalizability of the data.
  • The “unit of measurement” for the CPRA is “community” (also referred to as “site”).
  • In each selected community, at least 3 key informants will be interviewed.
  • Key informants in each community should have diverse backgrounds, but should be able to speak about the children in their community (and not only their own children)

Data Collection Teams

  • Each team should comprise of at least 1 team leader and 2 assessors.
  • Essential requirements for assessors are:
    – knowledge of the local language
    – ability to express oneself clearly and
    – track record of working or interacting responsibly with communities.
  • Everything else, such as knowledge of protection and child protection issues, contextual knowledge, etc. is a plus. If assessors don’t have this kind of knowledge and experience, you can arrange additional training to cover these areas.
  • Team leaders are required to have prior child protection and assessment experience. They manage the relationship with community gatekeepers, deal with “urgent action cases,” coordinate activities of the assessors in the field and give them technical and logistical support. They also conduct assessment interviews themselves if possible.

Analysis and Interpretation

  • Data analysis is the process of making sense of the collected data. In other words, it is bringing together individual data points (e.g. an answer to a question) to tell the ‘story’ of the situation. It is through data analysis that we translate ‘raw’ data from different sources into understandable pieces of information.
  • Through interpretation, generated information will be contextualized with the aim of feeding into programming and advocacy processes.
  • As part of the CPRA process, an interpretation workshop will be organized. The main outcome of the interpretation workshop is concrete programmatic recommendations based on the data.

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  • The CPRA is recommended primarily for use by an NGO to assess the needs of children in their area of operation

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  • WWNKs have to be revised based on the questionnaires

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  • Desk review can be useful in contextualizing WWNKs.

What is the recommended sampling approach for the CPRA?

  • Convenience
  • Simple Random Sampling
  • Purposive

What is the recommended unit of measurement for the CPRA?

  • Individual
  • Community
  • Household

How many team members are typically in one data collection team during a CPRA?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 5

Which statement is incorrect?

  • Assessors for a CPRA are not required to have in-depth knowledge of child protection.
  • Team leaders are not responsible to conduct interviews.
  • Team leaders are responsible to follow up on “urgent action cases".

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  • Interpretation process is an optional step for the CPRA.

Part 2: Sample Tools

Sample Tools

The CPRA Toolkit includes the following five Sample Tools :

  1. Desk Review Tool
  2. Direct Observation Tool
  3. Key Informant Interview Tool
  4. Site Report Tool
  5. Urgent Action Form

Tool 1: Desk Review

Undertaking a Desk Review (DR) is a key and necessary component of the CP Rapid Assessment. Desk Review will help in many ways, including:

1. Collecting information on WWNKs;

2. Revising and adapting the tools to the local context, and

3. Triangulation and interpretation of data during and after analysis.

Tool 2: Key Informant Interviews

Key Informant is anyone who can provide us with information about the population of interest in the community of interest. In choosing the key informants, consider whether:

  • There is reason to believe that they have significant knowledge of the situation of the population of interest (i.e. children);
  • They will be able to understand the questions;
  • Their personal experience is representative of the community, and if not whether this will affect their answers;
  • They might have a dominant agenda. (While everyone might have a personal agenda, such biases should be taken into consideration in the selection and analysis)

Note: A key informant is not necessarily someone in the position of power or authority.

Tool 3: Direct Observation

Large amounts of valuable information may be at our disposal through mere observation. Through “listening” and “seeing,” and without relying on other people’s judgments, we can gain significant insight to the realities of life in a given community.

There are two methods for Direct Observation (DO):

1.Structured Observation (also known as “looking for”), and

2.Unstructured Observation (also known as “looking at”).

During the CPRA, we combine these two methods.

Tool 4: Urgent Action Procedures and Form

Before undertaking the assessment, the Task Force should decide on a Standard Operating Procedure to respond to the urgent action cases encountered during the assessment.

This process should include:

  • Criteria for what constitutes an ‘urgent action’ case – this must be determined by CPWG actors based on the local context/scenario;
  • A clear and simple referral pathway;
  • Roles and responsibilities of the assessment team regarding urgent action cases.

Tool 5: Site Report

Each site will produce a single report that reflects all the data collected in that specific site. This report will be a compilation of information collected through KIIs, DO and informal observation by team members.  The compilation of data into the site report takes place during daily debriefing sessions or after completion of data collection from any given community.

  • Site report is an integral part of the methodology used in CPRA toolkit.
  • Site report is not a repetition of Key Informant Interview questionnaire.

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  • Desk review is an optional methodology for the CPRA.

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  • The CPRA recommends the use of “structured observation” only.

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  • A social worker who works with children in a given community can be a good key informant for the CPRA.

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  • A mother with 5 children in a given community is a good key informant for the CPRA.

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  • Urgent action process should address the need of all children who are affected by psychosocial distress.

Part 3: Data Management Tools

Data Management

Data Management Tool

  • The CPRA toolkit comes with a customized excel database that allows for easy data entry and basic analysis. This is useful if paper-based data collection is opted for.
  • The excel database has to be adapted prior to use based on the adaptations made to data collection tools.
  • The ‘data entry’ sheet allows for easy entry of data from site reports.
  • The ‘analysis’ sheet provides you with basic tabulation and analysis of the data.
  • The ‘graphs’ sheet give you basic visualization of the data.
  • The excel database has built in filtering mechanism that allows for disaggregation of data in many different way.
  • If security and connectivity allows, mobile devices (e.g. tablets or smart phones) can be used to collect data for a CPRA. However, since our unit of analysis is the community (or the site), the site report needs to be programmed into the device.

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  • When questionnaires are adapted, the data management tool (excel database) will be adapted automatically.

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  • If mobile devices are used for data collection, it is enough to program the key informant questionnaire into the device.