4174.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 3:10 PM

Abstract #17960

Promoting the Rights of Children in Emergencies: A Case Study of Child and Community Participation in the IRC's Non-Formal Education and Psychosocial Support Project in Ingushetia

Theresa L. Stichick, MA, SM, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02155, 617-496-3867, tstichic@hsph.harvard.edu

Background and Goals: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) launched non-formal education and recreation activities as a psychological support for internally-displaced Chechen children in Ingushetia, Russia in January 2000. The model of intervention had the following goals: 1) To undertake rapid assessment and implementation of normalizing, structured, activities for children and adolescents to address psychological and cognitive needs; 2) To increase capacity in the displaced community to respond to the protection and psychological needs of their children by encouraging parental and community involvement; 3) To promote the rights and capacity of youth, particularly adolescents, by providing positive leadership roles for young people. Methods: Despite significant security risks, the program was able to be implemented via "remote access." A rapid assessment of the psychosocial and educational issues facing children was conducted and a training of displaced teachers and youth workers was held. Two functioning pilot programs were launched. Results: "Lessons learned" will be discussed with particular attention paid to the issue of child and community participation in program development and implementation. Conclusions: Given the high percentage of children and youth in many refugee populations, community interventions which promote structured activities and social support while emphasizing meaningful opportunities for youth are needed. Community participation may serve as an important means for activating resources within the displaced population. This program model has the potential to be adapted to promote the rights and well-being of refugee children in numerous other war-affected regions.

Learning Objectives: 1. To introduce participants to some of the general psychosocial issues facing refugee children and families in emergencies. 2. To review the "participation articles" from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and discuss their relevance in the design and implementation of emergency interventions for refugee youth. 3. To explore some of the strengths and limitations of this model of participatory non-formal education activities as a means of supporting refugee youth in Ingushetia

Keywords: Human Rights, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA