We develop tools

To support the healthy psycho-social development of children and young people ICDI develops research tools that can support researchers, practitioners and policymakers in their work with and for children.

Currently we have three such instruments:

  • Universal Psychosocial Indicator for 5 Year Old Boys and Girls (UPSI-5); an easy to use tool to measure the psychosocial well-being of young children
  • Girls QUAT; a participatory tool measure quality of services for girls and young women
  • ECD QUAT; a participatory tool to measure quality of Early Childhood Education and Care services

You will find more information about these instruments below.

If you have questions or you are interested in applying any of these tools, please contact us.



The UPSI-5 is an easy to administer instrument to measure the psychosocial well-being of 5 year old children. The UPSI-5 consists of 29 questions which can be filled in by someone, for example a teacher or a social worker. The UPSI-5 provides an urgently needed counterpart to the strictly physical indicators and mortality indicators commonly used to measure young children’s well-being and survival.

The UPSI-5 can be used for comparative research, programmatic as well as for lobby and advocacy purposes. Specifically, the UPSI-5 might be used:

  • For baseline and evaluation of programmes aimed at improving young children’s (psychosocial) well-being;
  • Comparative research, for instance drawing comparisons between provinces/ regions in a particular country as well as between countries;
  • Longitudinal study, whereby comparisons are made at different points in time over longer periods of time;
  • Analysis of correlations between the UPSI-5 of a population of children and other indicators such as under five mortality rates (U5MR), school enrollment and achievement indicators, socio-economic status, and other relevant social and health related indicators. In a similar vein, UPSI-5 results might be used against the backdrop of an analysis of current child welfare and protection policies;
  • Finally, we expect that the UPSI-5, in combination with, for instance, correlations with health and welfare indicators, can be used as powerful means to support broad child welfare lobby and advocacy initiatives.

Girls QUAT


ICDI has developed the Girls QUAT (Quality Assessment Tool) for services for adolescent girls.
The Girls-QUAT is a participatory instrument to measure and monitor the quality of services for girls. This could be any kind of service, from a shelter, school, healthcare centre to a girls club. The main underlying idea is that by involving stakeholders in the process of assessing how a service functions (or not functions), real ownership can be created for initiatives that improve the situation.

The Girls-QUAT creates an opportunity to improve a service by taking the girls seriously, stimulate staff to reflect on their work, overcoming differences by discussing them together and making use of expertise, opinions and insights of different stakeholders. In other words: the Girls-QUAT is a process to stimulate participatory action! 

The Girls-QUAT consists of six dimensions: Girl Friendliness; Connectedness; Safety, Health and Protection; Staffing and HR; Sustainability; and Agency. During a Girls QUAT session a group of diverse stakeholders (including girls) discuss and assess their service and work on an action plan together.

ICDI provides a 3-day ToT training, with follow-up supervision and a 1 to 2 day follow-up training.  Although the instrument is simple and easy to use, applying it properly involves training and preparation and - most importantly - adequate follow-up. During the training participants learn the 5 steps in organizing, implementing and giving follow-up to Girls QUAT session. They will also learn how to develop an action plan to improve the service.



Ensuring quality in early years services is essential for young children's well-being and healthy development. The Early Childhood Development Quality Assessment Tool or ECD QUAT is a free and accessible tool for practitioners, parents and communities to jointly measure and improve the quality of services where young children spend their time.

The six dimensions of the ECD QUAT: child friendliness; connectedness; safety, health and protection; staffing; sustainability and agency are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

In ICDI we believe that quality measurements gain additional meaning when framed in open and ongoing discussions, where contextual variables, inputs from all stakeholders, values, visions and dreams all have a place. Ultimately, there has to be a commitment by all involved to improve quality for children and their families. The ECD QUAT is designed to support this process.

It can be adapted for use in a wide variety of services for young children such as daycare centres, pre-schools, kindergartens, toy-libraries and home based provision.