Provide Assistance to Victims
Make every effort at a national level to provide assistance to victims in a non-discriminatory manner.
Attacks on schools and students can have a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of students and educators that may have long-term or even lifelong consequences. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to forced marriage, rape, and other physical and psychological violence and abuse.
The Safe Schools Declaration includes a commitment to provide assistance to victims of attacks on education and military use of schools. Assistance should take into account the specific needs of males and females, and should include provision of medical and counselling services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of recommended actions to be undertaken by government, civil society and international organizations to ensure that victims of attacks receive medical, psychosocial, legal, and financial assistance.
Civil Society and International Organizations
EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE
Nigeria: One of the objectives of the National Plan for Financing Safe Schools released in December 2022 by the Government of Nigeria is the provision of assistance to survivors of attacks on education. This will include mental health and psychosocial support social welfare, relocation of learners to safer locations to ensure the continuity of education, as well as skill acquisition programmes. The Plan will be implemented from 2023 to 2026.
Norwegian Refugee Council: The Norwegian Refugee Council, in partnership with the Institute of Education, University of Tromsø in Norway, and the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, has implemented the Better Learning Program (BLP) in Gaza and the West Bank. The program, which aims to improve learning conditions for children and adolescents exposed to conflict, has two components. The first provides psychosocial support to all students in schools, while the second focuses on children with chronic symptoms of traumatic stress. For more information on the program outcomes, please click here.
Palestine: The Education Cluster uses the data collected on attacks on education to coordinate humanitarian response and ensure that resources are allocated to support schools, students, and teachers affected by attacks. This includes the provision of mental health and psychosocial support and other activities with the objective to ensure the continuation of education.
International Rescue Committee: In Pakistan, the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Healing Classrooms Initiative is implemented in camp schools as well community-based schools. The Initiative offers trainings on psychosocial support to teachers working in schools in camps for internally displaced persons. Trainings include strategies for promoting student wellbeing; intellectual stimulation; and positive relationships between students belonging to different ethnic, religious, and social groups. IRC staff members provide teachers with ongoing support and carry out regular monitoring and evaluation of the Initiative. According to program staff, results of the Initiative include: 1) an improved sense of classroom safety and security among students; 2) an increased sense of school ownership among students and parents; and 3) increased coping capacity, creativity, and problem solving among students and teachers.
RESOURCES, INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS, AND TOOLS
“The Safe Schools Declaration: A Framework For Action”, GCPEA, 2017.
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