Draft INEE Good Practice Guide on Emergency Spaces for Children (ESC)

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1 Draft INEE Good Practice Guide on Emergency Spaces for Children (ESC) During an initial emergency response, humanitarian agencies and communities create Emergency Spaces for Children (ESC). These places are developed with communities to protect children during emergencies through structured learning, play, psychosocial support and access to basic services. ESCs are implemented under many different names such as Child Friendly Spaces, Spaces Spaces and Child Centered Spaces. All these programs have the same focus and activities, and are part of the larger humanitarian protection response. ESCs are not a collection of activities focused on a specific area but rather a community program to create a larger protective environment for children during emergencies. Psychosocial support is provided in ESCs through regular recreation and structured learning, play, sports, drama, art and music. Participation in the design and implementation is psychosocially equally important as it provides children and communities a sense of ownership and control. Educational activities support children s critical thinking, problem solving skills, and cognitive development. In some cases, this prepares children to re-enter the formal classroom. Children also receive relevant life skills training to prepare them to live in a post-crisis environment. ESCs are a protective area provides protection but also support children by providing a venue for direct access or referral to health and social services. Strategies All interventions should follow the INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crisis and Early Reconstruction. Do No Harm ESCs should be thoughtfully implemented to identify possibly harmful ramifications. Children s security should always be viewed as paramount. Furthermore these areas are healthy and safe places for children with sufficient water, sanitation and waste disposal. Adequate lighting, safe routes to and from and other security measures should be taken to ensure child safety. To help protect children from external threats, ESCs can be delineated by fencing, rocks or walls. Security thresholds should established with the affected community and determine if the environment is suitable for ESCs. Security should be regularly reevaluated. As ESCs are not long-term development programs, they should not hinder the re-establishment of formal schooling. Additionally, they should not seek to address complicated issues such as integrating divided communities, challenging gender roles, trauma counseling. Access and Learning Environment Standard 2: Protection and well-being Learning environments are secure, and promote the protection and mental and emotional well-being of learners. Access and Learning Environment Standard 3: Facilities Education facilities are conducive to the physical well-being of learners. 1

2 Involve the communities in the ESC development and implementation ESCs must be established in collaboration and consultation with local actors, such as, government officials, community and religious leaders, educational actors, parents and especially children. When communities are invited into ESC planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, the programs are more relevant to the beneficiaries lives. Also, programs are more sustainable as beneficiaries are empowered, invested, and engaged in the program processes. Community engagement addresses issues such as power structures, ethnicity, religion and gender, in order to encourage participation of children from all sections of the community. Link to the INEE Minimum Standards Minimum Standards Common to All Categories: Community Participation Standard 1: Participation Emergency-affected community members actively participate in assessing, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the education programme. Encompass the whole community programs based upon an assessment ESCs are more than just a physical space but they are a means of engaging with the community about the protection and psychosocial needs of children. Communities should be engaged within all phases of the project cycle. The ESC design should focus on supporting communities to address children s protection needs inside as well as outside the physical ESC area. Such activities would include support to identify and address the protection needs of children, referring children attending ESC activities, and possibly enhancing existing child serving structures such as Parent Teachers Associations or the development of a Community Child Protection Network. Link to INEE Minimum Standards Minimum Standards Common to All Categories: Analysis Standard 1: Initial assessment A timely education assessment of the emergency situation is conducted in a holistic and participatory manner. Implement rapidly and increasing the number children reached by ESCs To mitigate the emotional psychosocial impact, it is important that programs be started as quickly as possible for as many children as possible. ESC minimum standards and procedures should be established with other ESC implementers and maintained. In scaling up, programs should not expand past their ability to sustain quality and provide regular monitoring. Link to the INEE Minimum Standards Access and Learning Environment Standard 1: Equal access All individuals have access to quality and relevant education opportunities. Create programs that are relevant to children s immediate and developmental needs ESC programming should reflect the diversity of the children and their experiences during the crisis. Structured programmatic activities should be created for different age groups ranging from early 2

3 childhood to youth. Psychosocial and educational activities should support children s different learning and coping strategies. These will vary depending upon gender, culture and experience during the crisis. Established schedules for ESC activities facilitate a return to normalcy by enabling children to predict the future. Psychosocial games and activities that support team building, group problem solving, trust, and self-esteem can facilitate emotional healing. Children, especially youth, implementing activities for other children has been shown to be a successful way to assist children, but also supporting program quality and reach. Access and Learning Environment Standard 1: Equal access All individuals have access to quality and relevant education opportunities. Teaching and Learning Standard 1: Curricula Culturally, socially and linguistically relevant curricula are used to provide formal and nonformal education, appropriate to the particular emergency situation. Initiate time limited programs based upon an assessment ESCs are not needed in every situation and careful assessments should guide the decision to implement. ESC assessments determine emergency specific protection, and/or education needs and interventions for children. Assessments should guide appropriate program activities for children 0-18 years, of different genders, ethnic and language groups and physical abilities. Participatory tools such as focus group interviews, key informant interviews, surveys, community imaging and diagramming, and sorting and ranking can be useful techniques to get rapid community involvement, opinions and buy in. ESCs programming should be designed to last a limited amount of time and end-dates should be clearly articulated to all stakeholders from the start of implementation. The decision to continue ESCs after designated end date should be based upon community needs, availability of resources and technical capacity. Minimum Standards Common to All Categories: Analysis Standard 1: Initial assessment A timely education assessment of the emergency situation is conducted in a holistic and participatory manner. Minimum Standards Common to All Categories: Analysis Standard 2: Response strategy A framework for an education response is developed, including a clear description of the problem and a documented strategy for action. Train and support ESC facilitators to maximize their effectiveness and program quality. Staff selection should be based upon community support as well as the individual s experience working with children. In many cases, ESC facilitators can be teachers, ex-ngo workers, coaches or caring mothers. If teachers are used as ESC facilitators, care should be taken to ensure that their engagement with the ESCs does not interfere with formal education programming. Where possible, a gender balance of staff should be maintained to facilitate the participation of girls. Facilitators should receive a one to two day training with regular refresher trainings and in-service support 3

4 within the first couple months of training. Training should specifically address the protection of children through Codes of Conduct and/or a Child Safety Policy. Additional topics could include program activities, management, administration, monitoring, referral and self-care issues. Training should reinforce existing skills but also reflect the emerging and changing needs of the community. Teaching and Learning Standard 2: Training Teachers and other education personnel receive periodic, relevant and structured training according to need and circumstances. Teachers and Other Education Personnel Standard 1: Recruitment and selection A sufficient number of appropriately qualified teachers and other education personnel is recruited through a participatory and transparent process based on selection criteria that reflect diversity and equity. Teachers and Other Education Personnel Standard 2: Conditions of work Teachers and other education personnel have clearly defined conditions of work, follow a code of conduct and are appropriately compensated. Establish sufficient and effective staff support Skilled, caring adults, familiar with local culture are trained to ensure program quality and child safety. Through ongoing monitoring, ESC activities are adapted to the changing needs of children. ESCs are a short term emergency response provision which can either phase out or transition into long-term programming, such as after school activities, early childhood and youth programming. Regular on-site monitoring protocols should be built into program design to ensure children s safety and program quality. As a specific issue, staff should be sensitized to the implications of screening for vulnerable and at risk children in regard to rapidly referring them to appropriate agents or services. Adequate support should also mean sufficient weekend breaks and support staff s selfcare. All monitoring data should lead to a final evaluation of the efficacy of the project. Minimum Standards Common to All Categories: Analysis Standard 3: Monitoring All relevant stakeholders regularly monitor the activities of the education response and the evolving education needs of the affected population. Teaching and Learning Standard 2: Training Teachers and other education personnel receive periodic, relevant and structured training according to need and circumstances. Prepare to implement ESC programming Before an emergency, field offices and staff should be prepared to implement ESC programs. This would include incorporating ESC programming into national or organizational emergency response plans, as well as the pre-planning and pre-positioning of locally appropriate ESC kits. Preparing kit contents in advance will save precious time during an emergency. If resources for pre-positioning are not available pre-established agreements for ESC kits can be established with local vendors to expedite programming. 4

5 Assessments Checklist Assessment process Does the assessment consider the needs of children, site locations, implementing partners, suitability of program activities, and question key contacts and informants? Is the assessment team interdisciplinary, and does it include children and other members of the affected and host communities? Are children included in the assessment and are they given a substantive opportunity to share their concerns regarding issues of personal security and general well-being? Are a variety or assessment methods used to triangulate data and facilitate community participation? Key informants to be included in interviews are: children, formal and non-formal education leaders, teachers, student teachers, members of parent/teacher associations, teachers unions, early childhood and after-school program providers, faith-based organization leaders, children/youth-focused NGO providers, local service providers to disabled children, and members of local childcare councils Assessment of children s needs and resources What are the existing protection and psychosocial threats to children? What are children s educational needs? Do emergency education materials exist that provide life saving information to children? What are the community-based and cultural mechanisms for teaching, learning, and protecting children from physical and psychosocial harm? How many children are affected disaggregated by age and sex identified? What are the existing beliefs and attitudes towards education and play? Are disabled, poor, ethnic and language minority, and other vulnerable groups identified? What specific threats do they face and how can an ESC address them? How might gender roles impact access to ESC programming? What services were provided to vulnerable groups prior to the emergency? Who were the service providers? Programmatic assessment What national, local or community stakeholders need to be involved or consulted in the implementation of ESC? Are state and/or local policies or resources that could be used to enhance implementation of ESC? Similarly, are their any potential policies and obstacles identified that might prevent or impede ESC? Are locals and other groups already responding to children s education and protection needs? How can you build upon their response to reach more children and provide better quality programs? 5

6 Are there places designated for children s play and learning? If so, are these places safe? Are there alternative places for children to play and learn? Are you coordinating with other groups conducting assessments and planning ESC programs? Set-up Is the identified area safe? Has it been cleared of dangerous items such as bullets, unexploded ordnances? Is the building structurally sound? Any electrical problems? Is the ground level and cleared of any sharp objects? Is the area clearly delineated? Was the site selected in collaboration with community and children? Is the space divided into areas for quite play, structured learning, active play and registration and policies? Can children travel between the safe area and their homes safely? If not, what support can be given for their parents to provide activities in their homes? Are there materials pre-positioned to set-up child-friendly spaces? Can ESC items be priced in advance and vendor agreements made? Are materials culturally appropriate? Are traditional and local games available? Are materials available for training? Is there a roster of available staff to establish these programs? Have staff been vetted by the community? What training has the staff received? Have the staff been given adequate security briefings? Do they have the necessary communication and security equipment? Successful programs divide up space for different activities. An ideal space has room for quiet activities, structured learning, registration and policies, and a large space for active play. Programs Program process Have policies been developed with the community to address monitoring, program schedule, content, incident reporting, referrals, non violent behavior management? Is there an appropriate adult to child ratio? Is there an established schedule of activities? Which children in the community are not attending? Are girls attending? Minorities? Children with disability? Young children? Old children? What can be done to promote their attendance? Does the safe area allow specific times for specific age groups? Are lists kept of children who attend? Is this a security concern? What happens if a child doesn t attend the activities? Is there any follow up? Will the ESC phase our or transition to longer term programming? Have links with other sectors been established for handover and transitioning? Program quality Are there a variety of programs going on? Are there activities offered for all age groups? Do activities address emergency education and life saving information? Are their sufficient activities for all of the children in the community? 6

7 Are programs age-appropriate, child-centered, gender sensitive? Do they encourage freedom of expression, creativity, resiliency, building self-esteem, team building, cooperation, respect, play and recreation? Are materials available for language and ethnic minorities? Do programs address threats and needs identified in the assessment? Monitoring and evaluation Have individual ESC physical and paper monitoring systems been put in place to recurrently measure program quality, access, and compliance with minimum standards and procedures for childcare? Are there any factors which may disrupt the frequency of monitoring such as road access, administrative approval or security? Is monitoring conducted frequently enough to measure program objectives? Was a baseline conducted to determine children s emotional state and psychosocial well being and lay a foundation for an end of program evaluation 7

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