In emergencies children are nearly always among the most vulnerable and invisible people. Pictured above, a youth waits in line with families that fled to Busia, Uganda from Kenya during the post-election violence in January 2008.
A new child protection tool is now available to support humanitarian organizations in creating safe environments for children who have been impacted by catastrophes worldwide. Developed by the Child Protection in Emergencies Interagency Group the course is designed to help Child Protection practitioners create and implement programs that prevent, minimize and respond to protection risks facing children in emergency situations.
Mike Wessells, CCF’s Senior Advisor on Child Protection, said "This is a key development for the field that helps significantly to fulfill our collective commitment to children. CCF's work on this package embodies the leadership through collaboration and partnership that is necessary to protect children in emergencies."
CCF’s child protection staff — Mike Wessells, Wayne Bleier, Martin Hayes and Wendy Wheaton commented extensively on multiple drafts in order to ensure that the modules reflected what CCF has learned throughout its global experience on child protection in emergencies.
In emergencies such as armed conflicts and natural disasters, children are nearly always among the most vulnerable and invisible people. Experience in many emergencies indicates that without appropriate protection, children are exploited and abused through sexual violence, family separation, and recruitment into armed groups, among others. Affected by their losses and difficult experiences, many children need psychosocial care and support in emergency contexts.
“To protect children in emergencies, humanitarian workers need to have a foundation of knowledge about child protection and how to put into place effective child protection systems that prevent, respond to, and minimize key protection risks. A significant gap, however, has been the lack of appropriate training venues for preparing field workers in regard to child protection,” said Wessells.
Over the past two years, CCF has worked hard to fill this gap by collaborating with UNICEF and other child protection actors (International Committee of the Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Terre des hommmes, and UNHCR) to develop an inter-agency training package. The package is in the form of an electronic learning module that allows workers in the field to load a CD-ROM onto their computer and engage in interactive learning about child protection in emergencies. The package includes five modules:
Foundations of child protection in emergencies
Separated and unaccompanied children
Children associated with armed forces or armed groups
Psychosocial care and support
Sexual violence against women and children in emergencies