What exists in communities to protect children? What processes or mechanisms are used by families and communities to support children who are affected by various protection threats? Are community based mechanisms that are linked to formal child protection systems more effective? How can external agencies most effectively support communities to protect their children? These are some of the important questions that are explored in a four-year interagency learning initiative on community based child protection mechanisms. Running from 2010-2014, the initiative involves action research in Sierra Leone, Kenya and a third country in Southeast Asia, and the establishment of a global community of practice for learning exchange.