NGOs and other civil society groups are crucial to the successful implementation of the MRM. Through existing programs and an extensive presence in communities, NGOs often have enhanced access to information about violations of children’s rights. NGOs support the MRM in a number of ways: submitting information about violations to MRM Taskforces; providing information to MRM Taskforces to help verify cases; providing a programmatic response to reported violations; helping to design and implement advocacy strategies; assisting in decision-making. NGOs face however a number of challenges:
- Risk factor: in some countries, NGOs are reluctant to monitor and report on abuses out of a legitimate fear of retaliation by armed parties or to avoid any adverse impact on other programs they may be implementing in the region.
- Capacity gap: NGOs may have lack technical capacity within their teams to monitor and report on grave violations against children and to liaise with UN counterparts in-country to feed this information safely into the MRM.
- Expectation factor: the MRM is easily perceived as a data collection mechanism only, involving high risks and little return in terms of response on the ground, which in turns discourages civil society engagement.
Drawing on field experience and research, Watchlist has identified five key factors that help address these challenges and improve the participation of NGOs in the MRM: clarity, transparency, good coordination, good communication, and capacity building.[section title=”Key Watchlist/partner publications”]