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Visiting Researcher Shares Findings on NGOs and Rights-Based Approaches to Working with Street Children

Atty. Emily Cheesman, a Ph.D. candidate at the Melbourne Law School of the University of Melbourne, shared the preliminary findings of her dissertation with researchers, students, and members of a local NGO during a dissemination held last January 17 at the DLSU Faculty Center. A visiting researcher of the DLSU-Social Development Research Center, she discussed her study on NGOs and children’s rights-based approaches to working with street children in Manila, citing as her premise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the lack of research done on how and why NGOs may conceptualise and use children’s rights to guide their work.

In approaching her subject matter, Atty. Cheesman employs exploratory, qualitative and socio-legal approaches, and seeks to support NGOs by documenting their initiatives. She is utilizing the methodology known as “Grounded Theory,” which focuses on every day experiences of NGOs and is also defined by the on-going data analysis conducted throughout the research. Data for her study is being gathered through interviews with NGO staff, observation sessions, and interviews with other sector experts.

In the open forum that followed, members of the group expressed interest in, among other aspects, whether special programs were conducted for girls (who are sometimes perceived to be more vulnerable to perpetrators on the street); whether there is a difference between NGOs focused on specific needs and those involved in more general programs; who composed the study’s sample population; how adversarial attitudes toward street children were dealt with; which, if any, children’s rights were prioritized by the NGOs; how the NGOs may involve and deal with the families of the children in their programs; and whether the study considered the structure and composition of the NGOs.

The dissemination was attended by members of a local NGO; students in the Masters in Health Social Science (MAHESOS) program of the Behavioral Sciences Department; and SDRC researchers and staff.






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