UNICEF coordinates a child protection workshop with partners
Managua. Children are the most vulnerable when emergency situations hit in different contexts, so it is essential to develop an awareness of and capacity for preparedness and response in relation to such scenarios.
With this aim, a two-day workshop was organised in Managua by the Group for Child Protection in Emergency Situations, made up of allied organisations such as Aldeas Infantiles SOS, Educo, the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision, the UNFPA and UNICEF, which is the group coordinator. The idea was to strengthen the partners’ technical capacities to prepare for, mitigate the risks from, and respond to situations of risk and natural disaster with an emphasis on the protection of children.
The issues covered correspond to four main areas: the minimum standards for child protection in humanitarian action; the establishment of child-friendly spaces in emergencies; addressing issues related to gender in such situations; and addressing issues related to disability in such situations. The main objectives of the Group for Child Protection in Emergency Situations is to strengthen the capacities of and links among the organisations involved and their coordination with the national institutions responsible for emergency response.
“Emergency situations transform children’s wellbeing in a sudden and abrupt way. Faced with such situations, children suffer as a result of multiple causes, such as violence, or become separated from their families and uprooted from their school, family or community environment, while at the same time being exposed to many other risks,” explained Rinko Kinoshita, the Officer in Charge of UNICEF in Nicaragua. “At the global level, UNICEF supports the efforts of governments in different countries in the framework of the ‘Core commitments for children in humanitarian action’, which includes emergency preparedness, response and early recovery. The protection of children is one of the key areas of this framework, which is applied to all children affected by humanitarian crises.”
For Alejandra Ramírez, a rural projects development facilitator at World Vision, the action standards addressed in the workshop “are part of our lines of action as an institution. We try to include them in all the sectors we work in: education, health… We want to guarantee children’s comprehensive wellbeing, so they have the capacity to be resilient in response to situations that could block their development.”
According to Johanna Mayorga, who works on child and family issues with Aldeas Infantiles SOS, these training sessions are closely related to their day-to-day work: “The workshop, like our work as an organisation, has a lot to do with prevention and the wellbeing and safety of families and children. Those common points allow us to intertwine what we are doing with other organisations and improve.”
Strengthening links among the organisations is precisely one of the priorities for the Group for Child Protection in Emergency Situations, which now intends to promote similar training sessions with the staff of other organisations and the national institutions responsible for the response to emergency situations.
UNICEF in humanitarian action
Humanitarian action has been an essential element of UNICEF’s work since its creation in 1946 and occupies a central place in the Strategic Plan. In 2014 alone, it intervened in almost 300 emergency situations in 98 countries.
It is calculated that nearly 230 million children live in countries and areas affected by armed conflict and that 50-60% of the 102 million people affected by natural disasters in 2014 were children.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
Olga Moraga, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nicaragua firstname.lastname@example.org.