Leadership development – The key to unlocking multi-sector action to prevent violence against children during and after COVID-19?
- Dr Debi Fry, Co-Director, End Violence Lab
- Dr Catherine Maternowska, Co-Director, End Violence Lab
- Jake Broadhurst, Innovation and Update Director, End Violence Lab
Leaders from five Pathfinding Countries — Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, the Philippines and Uganda have graduated from End Violence Lab’s Leadership Development Programme
2020 was a year of significant challenges for leaders around the world. Our goal was to bring a like-minded cohort of peers together to share common challenges and create innovative solutions to violence prevention during COVID. Tailored around the participants, the LDP offered 10 weeks of bite-sized, peer-supported virtual learning to:
- keep National Action Plans vital and relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond;
- gain expertise in critical skills from using implementation research to inform evidence-based policy, to inclusive leadership; and
- clearly and effectively communicate the importance of violence prevention.
Created by End Violence Lab at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Apolitical, the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) was an interactive, fully online programme focusing on 21st century skills for an exclusive cohort of public servants committed to ending violence against children.
A primary objective was to build participant’s leadership skills and aptitudes through grappling with common challenges that span the very different countries represented including:
- What is one obstacle you face in your work to end violence against children, and how might you overcome it?
- What is one new way of working that you would like to see (in your team or government) after the pandemic?
- How is your country collecting evidence?
- What is the most important action needed to address inequity?
- What is your big goal over the next 6 months?
Overall, 100% of participants were ‘very satisfied with the experience.’ One of our national leaders noting that ‘To participate in the End Violence Leadership Development Programme was a meaningful experience. It helped me to better understand [violence prevention strategies] and how to apply them in my context.’
But the work does not end here. Preventing violence — especially amongst vulnerable populations — is critical in ordinary times, and the extraordinary circumstances created by the pandemic highlighted the urgency. We consider this pilot as a learning experience which we can build upon for the future.
The LDP was funded by the University of Edinburgh ‘Global Challenges Theme Development Fund’ and the End Violence Partnership.
About End Violence Lab
The End Violence Lab at The University of Edinburgh works across four broad areas – co-design, data, evidence and learning – and maintains core values that keep us nimble, people-centred and solution-oriented.