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Working Towards Gaining Equity for Young Children Affected by Emergencies March 18, 2008 Lisa Long Early Childhood Development Senior Specialist CIES 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Working Towards Gaining Equity for Young Children Affected by Emergencies March 18, 2008 Lisa Long Early Childhood Development Senior Specialist CIES 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working Towards Gaining Equity for Young Children Affected by Emergencies March 18, 2008 Lisa Long Early Childhood Development Senior Specialist CIES 2008

2 I wish I could turn into a scorpion so that I could run up to the soldiers and steal their guns, and they would never know who I was." Said by Huda, four-year old girl, Ramallah, Palestine

3 Presentation Outline: 1.What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? 2.What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies 3.How the ECCD in Emergencies Working Group (EEWG) is responding

4 References Early childhood care and education in emergency situations by Hania Kamel (Background paper for UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007 Strong foundations: early childhood care and education) International Donor Agencies Guidelines for Responding to Children in Emergencies by Nina Prabhu (Working Draft) Young Children Cant Wait - Early Childhood Care for Development in Emergencies by Chloe OGara, Lisa Long and Carl Triplehorn (Working Draft)

5 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Normal responses to abnormal events: –withdraw from contact –stop playing and laughing –become obsessed with violent war games –dwell on feelings of guilt –fantasies of revenge –continual pre-occupation with their role and feel responsible for past events –Aggressiveness –eating disturbances –learning problems –physical ailments

6 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Psychological distress might also manifest itself in: flashbacks of stress events Withdrawal inability to concentrate reverting to younger behaviors such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting expressing symptoms of illness such as headaches, vomiting or fever toddlers - regressing behavior, losing appetite, becoming mute, clinging, being irritated, and developing an exaggerated startle response Should not be dismissed as naughtiness.

7 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Not all children respond in the same way - each child is unique Childrens vulnerabilities influenced by: –Age –Gender –Personality –ethnic group or tribe –being a member of a rural or urban community –status as an income earner for the family

8 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? –traditional role and position a child has in society (especially if it has been radically altered) –being internally displaced, moving to a refugee camp, or remaining in ones damaged or war-torn community –perception of the traumatic event –political and military tools traumatizing the child

9 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Preschool children: may view illness, loss, and death as punishment for wrongdoing. Very sensitive and able to recognize that people around them are sad or frightened. Parental reactions are important predictors of the impact of trauma. Infants and younger children are more dependent on the resourcefulness of elder siblings and adults for their care and safety.

10 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Young children absorb the culture, morals and politics of the conflict through the media and through socialization at home and in the community. Case in Northern Ireland: Children living in areas of sectarian violence, 3- 6 year olds showed a strong tendency towards symbols associated with their community By 7 and 8 these same children aware of differences between Protestant and Irish Catholic communities, and developed strong attitudes and prejudices towards the other community

11 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Primary casualty of emergencies from perspective of the young child - Losing trust in adults as a result of experiencing emergencies Primary caregiver, often the mother, can be so affected by the material impact that she is unable to meet the childs basic needs including those of food, shelter, protection. Vital to rebuild a childs belief that he/she can trust and rely on others to provide love, food and shelter Presence of at least one familiar person who provides continuity is essential, especially for young children, as they find it very difficult to trust and communicate with someone unfamiliar.

12 Issues with Research Few studies have been conducted on younger children, under six years of age, (perhaps due to ethical and methodological challenges). Research generally asks adults to explain and interpret childrens feelings and reactions during an emergency. –adults may not have actually asked children or carefully observed their feelings and experiences, or may assume children have the same preoccupations as adults. –Researchers may not be skilled in use and interpretation of child friendly and projective methods –Researchers may have a set list of traumatic responses which miss or pre-determine the way a child will answer a question about their stress level and symptoms

13 What happens to young children and how is their development affected in emergency settings? Invisibility of young children in relief efforts - relief workers lacking specific child health or child development expertise, and unaware of the essential developmental and psychosocial needs of young children.

14 What helps in such settings? Protective factors for children capacity to recognize and avoid dangers ability to seek help and support from adults for caretaking activities capacity to manage anxiety ability to devote him/herself to a cause and to find meaning in the experience (community service learning with youth) Degree of social, community, and family cohesiveness and support systems Shared values and beliefs systems with children and those around them.

15 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies Agency Preparedness Know and recognize early warning systems. Be in a state of alert if internal or cross-border disaster is likely Strive to establish effective, early warning systems or communication strategies in all areas where emergencies are likely to occur so preparation and preventative action can take place.

16 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies Agency and Community Preparedness In regions of constant threat or with adequate preparation time, work with communities in the advance preparation and readiness for potential natural disasters. –Mapping of child care centers –Preparing children for emergency –Assessing local and national government for systems in place to support children and families in emergencies

17 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies Beginning with an assessment of the situation before initiating early childhood activities.

18 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies Activities typically start in conjunction with other programs such as health and nutrition, community development and womens programs Begin with basic levels of care, safe spaces, and organized play Important to seek ways from the beginning, with local partners, of how more will be done after acute phase (with broader range of stimulation and education). Provide options for more structured play and learning activities, as partnerships are created with parents, local organizations and local authorities.

19 IASC – Minimum Responses Recommended by the Inter Agency Standing Committee's Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (2007) in Action Sheet 5.4: "Facilitate support for young children (0-8 years) and their caregivers Keep children with their mothers, fathers, family or other familiar care-givers. Prevent separation; (b) Reunify children and parents; (c) Facilitate alternative care arrangements. Promote the continuation of breastfeeding. Facilitate age and culturally appropriate play, nurturing care and social support which gives children a sense of routine and participation in normalizing activities. Care for care-givers by organizing meetings at which care-givers can discuss past, present and future; share problem-solving; and support one another in caring effectively for their children.

20 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies Programs may have two phases: 1.Phase One focuses on refugees and displaced children in collective centres with aim of providing: –a normalizing environment for children between the ages of 3-7 –a respite for parents, potentially reducing further conflict –strengthening childrens coping mechanisms –providing a platform where children are actively engaged in solving their own problems with others.

21 2. In phase two program shifts away from immediate emergency and begins building early childhood capacity of the larger settled populations. Pedagogy, awareness of childrens needs and rights, and sustainability as new areas of focus.

22 What helps in such settings - importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs in emergencies In Chronic Emergencies creative, alternative ways to bring children together safely: In Palestine, Save the Children supported Family Fun Days and Treasure Boxes for children. During family fun days mothers, children and community caregivers created materials to be placed in childrens treasure boxes for use at home during curfew times when children could not leave the house. Neighbours living next door could also come and play with the treasure boxes, creating a time and space at home for early childhood activities to continue, even under emergency conditions.

23 How the ECCD in Emergencies Working Group (EEWG) is responding ECCD in Emergencies Working Group (EEWG) formed in 2007 to raise awareness about and meet the critical needs of young children in the most difficult humanitarian contexts. Made up of representatives from agencies acting in emergencies and ECCD, expert consultants and others interested in supporting ECCD in Emergencies. Links with peace building and young children.

24 Recommendations for EEWG 1.Develop an international set of minimal standards on ECCD in Emergencies: A common framework for all actors

25 2. Address Gaps in Guidelines and Operational Tools –Newborns and Infants –A Community and Process Oriented Resilience Approach – Sherry Bartletts Making Space for Children: Planning for post-disaster reconstruction with children and their families and power point –A simplified tool for Field Workers

26 3. Interagency collaboration Ensure interagency buy-in and ownership from participating members. Develop a clear operational mandate for the working group and for inter-agency collaboration.

27 4. An Advocacy strategy for ECCD in Emergency Situations Disaggregate support for ECCD from overall education emergency education support Ensure ECCD emergency plans are part of National Plans of Action. Define child care as a critical service in Emergency response Lobby for the use of media in pre-emergency preparedness in disaster prone areas

28 4. An Advocacy strategy for ECCD in Emergency Situations Identify key donors who are willing to support ECCD programming from the acute phase through long-term development Foster and encourage collaboration with pediatricians and broader communities who may be interested in impact of emergencies on young children and on long term development of children and communities (e.g. Health sector, economic development sector, nutrition, maternal and child health, education, psychosocial sectors)

29 5. Research Needs How does crisis psychologically and developmentally affect younger children, especially in developing countries? How do non-Western models represent and resolve trauma in young children? What is the optimal structure and sequencing of activities to improve a childs well-being at different ages and at different stages of trauma and recovery? How can children be supported to be competent survivors rather than passive victims?

30 Research Needs How do children negotiate their own ways of daily living, coping, and developing in emergency situations? How do children act to protect and support their older family members, including parents, who may be too despondent to assume their usual roles as chief caregivers? What are the long term implications of adult responsibilities on the shoulders of very young children? Systematic research on the cost and financing of ECCD in unstable situations and examination of funding options for ECCD in emergencies.

31 EEWG specific tasks for 2008 Regroup with EEWG Members (newsletter, phone conference, etc…) Webpage (resources, tools and expertise on ECCD in Emergencies) CG Annual Consultation 2008– Day 1 ECCD in Emergencies Theme INEE EEWG Task Team –Revise the INEE Good Practice Guide for Early Childhood Development and feed into the revision process of the INEE Minimum Standards –Participate in developing inter-agency guidelines on Child Friendly Spaces/Emergency Education Spaces. –Develop proposal writing guidelines including draft budget line items. ECD in Emergencies papers (graduate studies and EEWG Position paper)

32 EEWG specific tasks for 2008 Mapping of ECCD in Emergencies with Education Cluster Capacity Mapping process as basis for developing an Early Childhood Capacity Matrix. Matrix will detail emergency actors, mandates, and strengths and serve as reference for who is doing what, where, gaps and opportunities Coordinators Notebook – with ECCD in Emergencies Theme EEWG Communication Materials (brochure, advocacy pieces, messages, etc…)

33 For more information or to join the EEWG: Visit the EEWG webpage within the CG website at Contact Lisa Long, Nurper Ulkuer or Louise Zimanyi

34 Thank you


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