QF member DIFI is at the center of producing vital evidence about child well-being in Qatar
One of the challenges institutions face is understanding the impact of their actions, and being able to use that understanding to augment action in the future. At a governmental level, information – in the form of comprehensive and comprehensible data – drives policy and legislative considerations, so it is imperative for it to not only be collated in a systematic and consistent fashion, but to be made available to policy-makers in the way that best aligns with what they require.
As a contribution to achieve the goals of the Qatar National Development Strategy 2018-2022, which emphasizes the importance of promoting child wellbeing and family cohesion within the country, Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), a member of Qatar Foundation, has been working with its partners and key national stakeholders to provide evidence on child wellbeing in Qatar.
As Dr Anis Ben Brik, Director of Family Policy at DIFI, explained about the report that DIFI presented at the Family Policy Symposium: Child Well-being in Qatar: “The challenge when developing management information systems or decision-making tools is the availability and quality of the data as well as the maintenance of the data, because it’s no use just having information relevant to this year – you need to make sure that you’re obtaining real-time, continuous, and contiguous data sets, or they are valueless.”
Any understanding of child well-being needs to be combined with an equally weighted understanding of child development and rights.
In its report ‘Child Well-Being in the Gulf Countries’, published in 2018, DIFI illustrated how assessing children’s physical health, behavioral adjustment, psychological well-being, social relationships, safety, and cognitive well-being would allow Qatar to establish whether they were being given every possible advantage and opportunity to prosper in their formative years.
The use of indicators like these in other parts of the world offers Qatar the opportunity to measure itself against an equitable peer group that, despite some regional and culturally driven variances, provides an overall assessment that is credible and informative.
A child’s well-being determines much of their lives as an adult which, on a macro scale, has wider, societal impacts.
“Any understanding of child well-being needs to be combined with an equally weighted understanding of child development and rights,” Dr Anis said, “as many aspects of both are influenced by the same forces families, peers, communities, schools, programs and policies. A child’s well-being determines much of their lives as an adult which, on a macro scale, has wider, societal impacts.”
Studies have indicated that countries that fail to invest in the well-being of children face losing billions of dollars because of the lower economic productivity and higher healthcare costs that result. Qatar believes that the best way for a country to ensure its prosperity is to provide its future generations with their best possible outcomes, and that this is only possible if children are provided with every opportunity to thrive in environments where their weaknesses are strengthened, and their strengths are focused through sensible, appropriate and comprehensive government policies on health, education and security.
“Evidence-based policy-making”, says Dr Brik, “has overwhelmingly proven to deliver more effective, more appropriate and more cost-efficient returns to countries. The frameworks being put in place in Qatar will, quite rightly, deliver equally effective benefits for all of us in the future.”