Context: Conflict-induced displacement, large numbers of refugee children out of school
Objective: Develop a network for local church partners providing education to come together and receive training and peer support so that:
- out-of-school refugee children have access to improved quality non-formal education provided in their local community by church-based centres
- volunteers are equipped to keep children safe, create supportive learning environments and implement effective teaching strategies and methods
- children’s psychosocial and protective wellbeing is improved
- strong relationships are formed among participating churches enabling further collaboration and resource-sharing, fostering a more effective overall response
Why this project?
With more than half of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon out of school, many local churches had begun education projects to reach refugee families in their local communities. Churches have developed a wide range of programmes, from full-time formal education, to after-school support sessions and catch-up or basic education. Because these churches are often operating in isolation, and staff and volunteers may lack formal teaching qualifications or education experience, LSESD wanted to find a way to bring these church-based projects together to receive basic training and find support from one another.
The project began with an initial needs assessment and scoping meeting, to which church partners known to be delivering education projects were invited to come together for a half-day workshop. In this time the partners shared their experience and what they were doing, and talked about the issues faced by children in their communities. After a short introduction to the INEE Standards for Education in Emergencies, partners were asked to give their views on those areas they felt comfortable in and those in which they needed further support.
After this meeting, an initial year-long programme was developed based on a model of quarterly training sessions on topics drawn from the INEE Standards:
|Quarter 1: Foundations in child protection||Quarter 2: Foundations in psychosocial support||Quarter 3: Creating a supportive environment||Quarter 4: Including all children|
|Additional one-day workshop for directors:
Lasting from approximately 9am to 3pm, each session begins with a discussion on progress against the standards discussed in the previous quarter, including any challenges or successes, as well as an introduction to and tour of the host centre. This is followed by participatory training workshops on the new topic, including a one-hour session provided by an experienced practitioner in this area, often drawn from other local partner organisations.
The Education Learning Network has drawn in a wide range of church projects from across Lebanon, and in addition to taking part in the learning workshops, volunteers have benefited from the chance to talk to one another and find out how others have dealt with the challenges they are facing.
- It has been important to hold workshops on Saturdays when staff and volunteers are available to attend
- The workshops are held in a different location each quarter, with a different education project volunteering to host the meeting – this has been important as it gives the host project an opportunity to share about their own work on location, and it also increases the sustainability of the model
- The session involving practical input by an experienced practitioner has proved popular and is seen as very useful by attendees
- It’s important to translate standards into practical ideas which are relevant for this context
- While it is tempting to over-fill the programme with many training topics, the time and space for participants to talk to one another and share is a significant part of the project