Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is today’s the largest hosting country of the Syria and Iraqi crises with over 2 and a half million people displaced across the country with 62% of refugees assessed in Duhok being under 18 years old. 16 refugee camps are currently operational in Duhok Governorate in KRI where the greatest displacement has occurred with the majority of the displaced being the persecuted Yazidi community.
Education and protection needs of displaced children have been among the most under-addressed. As of December 2014, only 3% of children were receiving any form of education.
Let us learn: Emergency Education and Protection for Children project has intervened in 2 of the 16 refugee camps, in Bersive 1 and 2. In each Berseve camp there are around 11,800 individuals (approx. 2000 households) living in tents. The project aims at providing a comprehensive education and protection intervention for refugee children in the camps (Bersive I and II) and non-camp through partners in Zakho district of Duhok region. In addition, education personnel and parents and community members are targeted.
Status Quo of the project:
- Output 1: Safe and protective learning environment established and functional (camp and non-camp) through increased infrastructure in learning spaces and facilities
The 2 Child Friendly Spaces have been established. Some additional furniture such as carpets for all classrooms and vacuum cleaners have been purchased to make the classroom as friendly and warm as possible for children. Carpets are a very contextual practice and in some classes children like to sit in circles on the carpet instead of chairs. In addition, as per children’s request, we have started the construction of the play/sports area. It contains one concrete layer and a rubber layer on top to protect children from injuries while playing. Two different lining and two different baskets/nets will enable the sports are for football and volleyball sports competition as well as games and rhythmic and aerobic exercises. Despite providing for the children their right to play, we believe that games are also a way of learning and developing for children. They learn and practice new skills such as group work, communication, collaboration, team spirit etc.
- Output 2: Children and youth affected by displacement benefit from non-formal education (NFE) and recreational activities through their participation in the CFS
Non Formal Education (NFE) and Recreational activities have taken place with an average participation of 600 children per month. Subjects of English, Kurdish, Mathematics, and Science have been running in continuity of the previous programme.
Several parallel meetings with School Principals and Camp management took place to ease the registration procedures for children who did not have registration documents. 3 Lobby and advocacy meetings with Governorate Office, Directory of Education, Camp Managers and school principals were conducted reconcerning the registration of students in formal schools. The campaign was very successful. Out of 233 children out of formal school, 160 cases were successfully registered in Bersive 1 camp and 147 in Bersive 2 camp. Only 26 most difficult cases are still in process because of total lack of birth registration documentation. These cases have been referred to Harikar Center lawyer and are being followed up from CoWs and CP officer.
Recreational activities are amongst the most preferred from students, as they get to learn new artistic skills, practice their hobbies and talents. Around 700 children have participated in recreation activities in monthly bases. Painting in A4 and flipchart peppers, recycling materials to produce different artistic and decorative objects, theatre and role plays as well as music and musicality exercises have taken place every week. Recreational activities have helped children not only develop artistic skills but ease the distress and hardship they have gone through.
The project interventions have been flexible, adapting to the continuous changing circumstances and needs of refugees and this is one of the added values of the project and donor approach. Having now formal schools who can provide teaching of most of the curricula subjects (even though 3 times per week) leads “let us Learn” project to revise the NFE curricula in order to not duplicate but compliment the School curricula. More than 3 consultations meeting have taken place and will continue to revise and reshape the programme activities within CFLS so that all we do is complimentary to the school programme, children’s needs and school shifts.
The girls and boys classes have started the Life Skills and Resilience curricula and their number in Bersive 1 has increased from 25 to 29.
Two consultation sessions were conducted with them on the programme and they highlighted the desire to have English classes. We revised the programme and will combine weekly classes of Life Skills and Resilience and English classes for them.
The Adult Literacy component has been running and the first target group of 58 students finished their 3 month cycle, receiving graduation certificates.
Given the facts, we will keep one class open for the interested in Literacy and keep employed one teacher with the necessary skills on this. English and Arabic classes will have the highest number of students and for this reason 3 teachers should have the right profile to meet the respective learner level and needs.
Sports and outdoor games will be part of the programme schedule of the project implementation as per children’s request. Construction of 2 outdoor sports play areas are started for each Bersive camp (160m2 space each). Through sport, games and competition we will aim to bring together boys and girls in joint activities to nurture gender equality concepts and behaviour.
During this period the project team took time to develop and purchase all Mobile Reading Room (MRR) intervention framework and materials. Motorcycle, books, books holders, consultant to develop and deliver the necessary training for the facilitators and activities have been provided during this period. Challenges were faced in finding enough book titles and copies for children in Duhok or Erbil, as the reading culture for children is not much developed.
Result: Children affected by displacement have equitable access to quality basic education and psychosocial support in a protective learning environment.
Long-term objectives of the project:
The project aims at supporting out of school refugee children and youth in accessing educational opportunities, at strengthening their resilience, and at strengthening local capacities for child protection at Bersive I and II refugee camps in Zakho district of Duhok governorate.