Enhancing Child Protection with Digital Skills Assessments in Uganda Group work during the USAID D4I Digital Skills Assessment Guide Pilot Workshop Series in Kampala, Uganda in June 2023. © 2023 Scott Isbrandt, Data for Impact October 16, 2023 By Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi and Scott Isbrandt The Digital Skills Assessment Guide The D4I Digital Skills Assessment (DSA) Guide is a five-step guide that informs the development of a customizable assessment of digital skills based on the local context. The DSA Guide is intended for use within the child protection sector workforce; however, it can also be used to assess digital skills and design digital skills-based programming for any technical sector. A team can use the DSA Guide to develop and implement a digital skills assessment. Step 1 is reflecting on an organization’s goals, targets, and digital context to prepare for the actual assessment development, which is Step 2. Step 3 is developing a complementary training program as a counterpart to the assessment. Steps 4 and 5 guide a team through planning and executing a digital skills assessment implementation strategy. Piloting the DSA Guide in Uganda In May and June of 2023, D4I facilitated the DSA Guide pilot workshop series in Kampala, Uganda, to specifically address the critical need to enhance the digital skills of the child protection sector workforce. The objective of the pilot workshop series were to (1) convene a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders from the child protection ecosystem in Uganda to give a comprehensive orientation to the DSA Guide, giving an in-depth overview of how this toolkit could benefit their work; (2) facilitate discussion and hands-on digital skills development activities, producing a custom digital skills assessment instrument based on local needs, data, and context by the close of the workshop; and (3) launch a dynamic, locally-led community of practice that will use the DSA Guide to inform digital skills development based upon action plans co-created during the workshop. The DSA Guide workshop series mobilized 25 participants from the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSD), UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), district local government officials from over 10 districts across Uganda, as well as members of local NGOs who work directly in the child protection sector. This multidisciplinary group was comprised of social workers, MGLSD social welfare officers, district community development officers, researchers, probation officers, and case management specialists. D4I Resident Advisor Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi noted at the opening of the workshop, “This workshop is significant, considering that we are all faced with the need to bridge the digital skills gap in our rapidly evolving world. In today’s digital age, possessing the right set of digital skills is vital for our success, both on an individual level and organizational level, which is crucial as it ensures that we align with the real-world digital skills needs and expectations of stakeholders in the child protection system.” The workshop also featured the use of a custom digital skills assessment framework called the Child Protection DigComp 2.0 Framework – based on DigComp 2.0 produced by the European Commission – to assess digital skill competency areas and then inform the development of relevant digital skills training programs. Participants expressed the need to have tools that allow for flexible digital skills assessment, measurement, and design in the interest of creating digital skills education and training programs that are responsive to local needs and contextual situations such as local digital access, affordability, and digital literacy. Participants appreciated the flexibility of the DSA Guide in supporting the design of an assessment that could be adapted to meet their needs. Learning from and Promoting Use of Digital Skill Assessments in Uganda Participants exchange notes during the USAID D4I Digital Skills Assessment Guide Pilot Workshop Series in Kampala, Uganda in June 2023. © 2023 Scott Isbrandt, Data for Impact As Sande Alex Bashaija, MGLSD Senior Probation and Welfare Officer noted, “The Digital Skills Assessment Guide is going to be very important for us, especially where we are going in terms of the current capacity building with our Ministry staff. We are planning to carry out a digital skills capacity assessment focusing on the ability of district local government officers to collect data for the Child Wellbeing Management Information System (CWMIS). I believe we’ll need to have the digital skills assessment activity alongside as the two activities go hand in hand.” Semmy Angeyo, Planning Officer for Child Protection at UNICEF, added that to advance this digital skills development work, “UNICEF supports MGLSD in the development of the CWMIS. We will need technical support from the D4I team in conducting digital skills assessments for the users and in training and mentoring.” At the conclusion of the DSA Guide pilot workshop series, participants expressed a desire to continue collaborating on digital skills development activities and launched a Digital Skills Community of Practice (COP). The Digital Skills COP will continue to exchange knowledge, share data, and periodically convene. Looking toward the future, participants unanimously indicated their interest in increasing digital skills among their staff and the child protection workforce through ongoing digital skills program efforts that focus on assessment and training development. The D4I DSA Guide was introduced during a webinar from September 2022. Click here to learn more about D4I’s support of the MGLSD in Uganda. Authors: Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi is the D4I Senior Resident Advisor for Palladium in Kampala, Uganda. Scott Isbrandt works on this D4I activity and is a a Senior Technical Advisor on the Palladium Digital Solutions and Transformation Team at Palladium based in Boston, Massachusetts.