In light of these limitations, it is vital to seek alternatives that complement top-down approaches, offer a stronger way forward, and unleash the full creative power and agency of communities. Since reflection is the key to successful change, please take a moment to reflect quietly on the questions presented in the box below:

Questions for Reflection

Have I or my agency used top-down approaches and CWCs in addressing child protection?

What are some of the limits of this approach that I have seen?

How do I see CWCs?

  • Are they highly effective when it comes to prevention as well as response? Why or why not?
  • Do average community people tend to use and support CWCs?
  • Does the use of CWCs have unintended consequences? What are they?
  • Is the imposition of a CWC a fully respectful way of engaging with community members?
  • Am I open to alternative approaches?

Perhaps the time has come to develop and test alternative approaches that open new possibilities and avoid these limitations. Even if your agency has been invested in top-down approaches, our willingness to innovate and try out new approaches is an important element in being a good humanitarian and achieving accountability to the people we serve.

The new approaches set out in this Guide are best thought of as complements to rather than replacements for top-down approaches. Indeed, a bottom-up approach is not a “silver bullet” solution to be used in all circumstances. A significant challenge in the child protection sector is to find the appropriate balance between the use of different approaches, adapting this balance to fit individual contexts.