For the Child Abuse Programme, learning is not an isolated function or an end in itself. Learning is one of the strategies through which we can support improvements in programming and policy-making in the field of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Ideally, learning combines evidence from practice and academic research and is enriched by the connection and interplay of both. Combining the rigour of academic thinking with the wisdom and experience of  practitioners, and recognising expertise from both the North and the South, are key for credible, relevant and accessible learning.


What we are learning


1. Learning Action Partnerships


Promoting cooperation and partnerships is clearly not an approach that is limited to Oak Foundation, but we believe that this approach is particularly helpful and relevant to work aimed at preventing child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and other forms of violence. Preventing such violence, particularly primary prevention, is complex, challenging and difficult. Given what we know about the scale of children’s experience of violence, and the intractability of the attitudes and norms that contribute to sexual violence against children in many contexts, it is clear that no one sector or intervention can be effective on its own.



2. Risk and Resilience – Converging Themes from Global Research


Oak’s Child Abuse Programme held a learning event in Tanzania in May 2014. The event focused on an understanding of risk and resilience in children and communities. It also examined implications for practice and policy. The main purpose of the event was to review three global research projects covering more than 20 countries and to determine converging themes emerging from the research. More>>


3. Eastern African Regional Meeting of Partners - putting the protection of children and adolescents from all forms of violence at the heart of communities

The regional meeting of partners of Oak Foundation’s Child Abuse Programme reflected on a number of new initiatives being undertaken to promote the prevention of violence to children, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Four major themes emerged:
1. Understanding the theme
2. Evidence based programming
3. Improving practice
4. Issues for further reflection
More >>
4. The Bamboo Project on Child Resilience

Following consultations with partners and experts in the field, we recognised the need to understand more about practice and approaches that claimed to integrate ideas about resilience. While a great deal has been written on the subject of resilience, much of this work failed to take explicit account of the realities and experience of children and families living in the most difficult environments, including those in which the experience or risks of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation were especially high. Our effort to address some of these gaps in knowledge is the Bamboo initiative. More >>

5. Learning from grant-making

The Child Abuse Programme has invested funding over recent years in generating learning about promising practice and potential solutions that are at the heart of the Programme. In 2008 Oak Foundation hired a Programme Officer to support learning and to help the sector improve the evidence base for successful programmes.

The series of five papers focus on what we are learning about combating the sexual exploitation of children and engaging with men and boys as allies in combating violence against children. They are a reflection on grant-making over the past 5 years and an attempt to share with our partners what we as a team are learning through our work. We hope they are a useful contribution to the sector.

The papers were written by Jane Warburton, an Oak Fellow (until March 2014) based in the International Centre for Research on Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking, University of Bedfordshire, UK, with inputs from the whole Child Abuse Programme team.

Download the learning papers below:


Additional Resources



Engaging men and boys in the elimination of the sexual abuse of children.




Prevention and protection efforts are provided in a comprehensive and coordinated way.