Continuing the Journey
We began our journey by clarifying some of the basic ideas the National Coordination Mechanism will encounter when adapting and scaling up activities to meet the government’s goal of ending violence against children. Module 1 also pointed out the importance of highlighting the preconditions and risks that are sometimes hidden in countries’ action plans.
In Module 2, we continue the Guide by asking, “Who will support the scale up of activities?” and, “What activities should we prioritize for adaptation and scale up?” It will be important to establish a team of advocates and experts to support scale up of selected activities to end violence against children. Every country has many activities that have been implemented at one or more sites. Few of these have been strategically scaled up at regional or national levels. How do we choose which activities to adapt and scale up? The answer is not simple. There are many factors and criteria to consider. We explore some of these criteria in this module, as well as additional factors in Module 3.
As the National Coordination Mechanism learns more about each factor, it is likely that priorities in selecting activities will shift. An activity that was a good choice according to one criterion may no longer be a good choice when considering a different criterion. In the end, the National Coordination Mechanism will need to balance many factors to make their decisions.
Establishing a Resource Team
When prioritizing activities for adaptation and scale up, it is important from the start that the National Coordination Mechanism is prepared to support activities across the INSPIRE strategies. While the government-led National Coordination Mechanism is largely responsible for managing the action plan to end violence against children, the group may lack certain skills or experience. For instance, when adapting and scaling up an activity, it may be that experience with social media or legal knowledge will be valuable, but no one has this expertise. Creating a Resource Team can expand the National Coordination Mechanism’s ability to help Implementing Partners participate in the INSPIRE adaptation and scale-up strategy.
Although the National Coordination Mechanism typically includes civil-society representatives and others who work in the area of ending violence against children, inviting others to form a Resource Team is invaluable. Tool 2A is helpful in identifying the current skills and expertise available, as well as for making a plan to recruit new Resource Team members based on any gaps in expertise.
A group of individuals invited by the National Coordination Mechanism to add skills and expertise to the design, implementation, and monitoring of the INSPIRE approach to ending violence against children.
Creating Continuity and Sustainability
Having a strong Resource Team is valuable for a second reason: It can help sustain activities after they have been adapted and scaled up. Most National Coordination Mechanisms have a membership that shifts with reassignment of key actors, retirement, and other normal events. Finding good Resource Team members is a way of spreading the responsibility for adaptation and scale up among more people at different levels and with different skills, so activities can continue, regardless of changes in the National Coordination Mechanism.
Key Considerations When Selecting Activities to Adapt and Scale Up
The Importance of Evidence
The INSPIRE approach is clear that activities for scale up need to have evidence showing that they are effective. When selecting activities for scale up, we’ll need to ask questions such as:
- Do we have evidence that an activity has been effective?
- What kind of evidence do we have, and how credible is it?
- Do we know if this activity works in different local contexts?
- How do the different activities compare in terms of the evidence supporting them?
Like the questions about fidelity we discussed in Module 1, questions about evidence do not always have easy answers. Formal evaluation of activities and programs is not always common. While a local activity may be well-established and well-regarded by stakeholders, it may not have a solid body of evidence behind it.
The INSPIRE approach is clear that activities for scale up need to have evidence showing that they are effective. Guidance on what is an adequate evidence-base for an activity selected for INSPIRE can be found in the following documents:
On the other hand, activities with strong global evidence may not be possible to implement in local settings. Even when an activity is evidence-based and locally evaluated, it may be shown to be effective in some ways, but not in others. Tool 2B is designed to help sort through and assess the evidence-supporting activities, and help to prioritize activities for scale up accordingly.
Standards for Evidence in Different Sectors
The cross-sectoral nature of the action plan to end violence against children makes it difficult to weigh different bodies of evidence. Violence against children is a problem with roots in education, policy, economics, health, parenting, law, and other sectors and standards. Evidence gathered in each of these fields is likely to be somewhat different. In some sectors, it is easy to evaluate activities by conducting a controlled experiment. In other sectors, controlled methods are difficult, and other evaluation approaches are more appropriate. The INSPIRE Handbook and INSPIRE Indicators Guidance and Results Framework offer important tools for exploring the issue of evidence. Ultimately, the National Coordination Mechanism will have to select activities based on their own understanding of the evidence and priorities.
Another key factor to consider when selecting activities for adaptation and scale up is scalability. The idea of scalability is that some activities are more likely to be successfully scaled up and sustained than others. There are many components that make up scalability. We can remember them using the acronym CORRECT:
The idea of scalability is that some activities are more likely to be successfully scaled up and sustained than others.
As these criteria suggest, not all successful pilot programs are scalable. Like evidence, the question of scalability does not always have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Activities may be easily scaled in some ways, but not in others. The National Coordination Mechanism + Resource Team will have to think carefully about scalability when selecting activities for adaptation and scale up. Tool 2C is a resource to help with just that.
2ABuilding a Successful Resource Team
2BEnding Violence Against Children Activity Implementation and Evidence Profile
R1 Insights and Action
Pause and Reflect.
After this second stage of the journey, we hope that you are beginning to see why we said adaptation and scale up is about both new thinking and new action. Thinking about gaps in expertise, evidence, scalability—and acting on what you have learned—takes time and effort.
Questions for consideration….
- Do you see areas where gaps in knowledge, skills or experience are needed to implement the action plan to end violence against children that could be filled by adding new members to either the National Coordination Mechanism or the broader Resource Team?
- Can you find places in the action plan to end violence against children where the concern for evidence-based activities is mentioned?
- After considering the scalability of activities, which seem to be promising candidates for scale up?
When discussing your reflections on this module, did the team have any interesting insights?
It is important to document your learning and the actions you will take, then check back to note when those actions have been completed.
Additional Resources on Making Choices
Evans RE.., Moore G., Movsisyan A. The ADAPT Panel. (2021). How Can We Adapt Complex Population Health Interventions for New Contexts? Progressing Debates and Research Priorities. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 75, 40-45.
Julia E. Moore, Brian K. Bumbarger, & Brittany L. Rhoades. (2013). Examining Adaptations of Evidence-based Programs Under Natural Conditions. The Journal of Primary Prevention 34(3).
Nutley, S., Powell, A. & Davies, H. (2012). What Counts as Good Evidence? White paper. Research Unit for Research Utilisation. University of St. Andrews, UK.
Zamboni,K., Schellenberg, J., Hanson, C., Ana Pilar Betran, AP., & Alexandre Dumont, A. (2019). Assessing Scalability of an Intervention: Why, How, and Who? Health Policy and Planning, 34, 2019, 544–552.