Institutional or foster homes are places that offer shelter to children and young adults who have lost their biological and/or primary caregivers. These institutions are expected to act as a safe haven for children outside of parental care, providing them with the ideal environment to nurture their growth, and tending to their needs with the help of trained professionals who understand children’s changing requirements as they develop.
Through its institutional development arm, Wataneya helps foster homes take the steps necessary to improve the overall quality of their environment and comply with the national standards for alternative care approved by the government in 2014. By getting to know their specific needs and understanding their existing capacities, Wataneya devises strategies to help institutions manage their resources more efficiently, providing them with detailed plans and timelines to develop the quality of their services, as well as following up on implementation.
Watanaye’s approach to institutional development aims to:
- Enable institutions to implement policies compliant with alternative care standards.
- Foster stronger ties between children and their caregivers.
- Build up staff capacities at institutional homes to ensure the continuity of quality care.
- Connect homes with organizations and individuals with aligned interests.
- Better prepare youth in foster homes for social integration and post-institutional life.
The Stages of Institutional Development
General Partnership Framework
Wataneya determines the scope of its partnership with an institution based on its requirements and available resources, before signing an agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities on either side.
Measuring an institution’s policies and performance against Egypt’s alternative care standards is an important second step in the process, as it allows Wataneya a closer look at policies and innerworkings, as well as requirements for improvement. The evaluation process is split into five stages, with the timeframe for each depending on the size of the institution in terms of both staff and occupants.
Planning & Strategy
During this stage, a team from Wataneya works with an institution’s team (including the children themselves) to draft a detailed plan of action over the course of two or three days. The plan outlines the different activities that will be arranged (workshops, interviews…) and measures that need to be taken over a specific period of time, and additionally sets out each party’s roles and responsibilities (this includes other development partners, such as the Ministry of Social Solidarity, civil society groups, and private companies).
Implementation and follow-up
During the implementation and follow-up phase, Wataneya conducts periodic visits to assess how well an institution is meeting targets such as raising staff aptitude and operational efficiency, introducing more youth and child development activities, and upgrading filing and record-keeping systems. Wataneya also offers consultations to help institutions remain on track to meet national alternative care standards and creates connections between them and benefactors in civil society and the private sector that can help them along the way.
In the final stage of the process, Wataneya conducts a comprehensive review (through interviews, group discussions, evaluation forms, etc.) that measures the overall efficiency of the plan, determines whether an institution has been able to meet national alternative care standards, identifies areas of improvement, and offers recommendations for further development. The field evaluation usually takes from two to four days to complete, while the report takes another week to compile.
How Wataneya Pursues Institutional Development
The Sanad Project is a prime example of Wataneya’s approach to institutional development. Launched in 2015 in partnership with the Drosos Foundation, the three-year program offers grants to institutional homes (renewed annually based on level of commitment to the program) to enable them to improve the quality of the service and care they offer. Ten institutions were selected for the first cycle of the project, five of which qualified for the final round.
How the Sanad Project works:
The Sanad Project concluded in 2017 but Wataneya continues to offer institutional development services on an individual basis.