On 5 April 2022 the Secretariat of the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration (ADFM) was pleased to co-convene a virtual workshop with the International Detention Coalition (IDC) as part of our ongoing Regional Peer-Learning Platform and Program of Learning and Action on Alternatives to Detention of Children.
The workshop was the fourth virtual regional workshop convened as part of the Platform, since the impacts of the pandemic have prevented meeting in person since the kick-off event in November 2019.
Around 60 people came together from operational and policy agencies in governments in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand, as well as national and international civil society groups. Although participating countries all have unique national contexts, the discussions found many opportunities to learn from each other.
The theme of the workshop – what makes government and civil society partnerships effective – was the most popular theme proposed by participants for discussion. Partnerships between government and civil society are critical for the effective development and implementation of alternatives to child detention. No one stakeholder can do it alone, nor should they. Experience from around the world has shown that where different levels of government and civil society work together in genuine partnership, approaches are more effective, innovative and sustainable.
During the workshop in both small groups and plenary, participants shared examples of partnerships they had been involved in and elements that made them effective. These included open and honest communication, clarity of roles and responsibilities, appointing a designated coordinator, having a whole of government approach and collaborating in both the design of the program as well as its implementation.
We look forward to continuing to build the Regional Peer-Learning Platform alongside the IDC, and hope to be in a position to bring participants together in person again before too long.
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