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Protecting children on the move: using endogenous practices in urban Mali

Children driven from their homes — by conflict, poverty or other difficulties — are a particularly vulnerable group, with a range of urgent physical and emotional needs. Our research into protecting children on the move seeks to improve their quality of care in urban environments, particularly in the context of a humanitarian crisis. We suggest this can be achieved by identifying and strengthening ‘endogenous child protection practices’ (PEP): the approaches established and implemented by local people and communities themselves. This briefing summarises research that identified PEP in the cities of Timbuktu and Gao in Mali after the invasion of armed groups in 2012. We analyse how the practices protect children and how international and national humanitarian actors have attempted to strengthen local approaches. We also identify challenges to PEP and good practice for its integration and recognition in future humanitarian responses.

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Urban areas are increasingly the sites of humanitarian crises, from natural disasters to conflict and displacement. Through a programme of research, documenting and learning from experience and development of tools and approaches, IIED is working to build the knowledge and capacity to respond of humanitarian actors working in urban areas, and of urban actors facing humanitarian crises.

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Urban Crises Learning Fund