Universal Children’s Day 2015 – Stop Violence Against Children

The date 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted theDeclaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

The Convention, which is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children’s rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard.


Of course children can be anything -but are they all given the opportunities to meet that goal?

Some children only know violence – and being so young they start to believe that this is normal -being beaten at home, bullied at school, caught in the crossfire, watching their parents being murdered in front of them. This is no start for children and it should not be normal!

Education has to be threat – free -no corporal punishment or humiliation -this does not help children learn.

Arms manufacturers and dealers should face the children that they are determined to injure, maim and kill -stare into their eyes while they make their deals and promote their ‘products’! When will we ever learn?


Emerging Practices for DM&E in Education for Peacebuilding Programming
Search for Common Ground

Practical Guide  

Search for Common Ground, in partnership with UNICEF, is very excited to announce the launch of the Emerging Practices in Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Education for Peacebuilding Programming Guide, a step forward in bridging the gap of designing M&E systems for education for peacebuilding programming. The Guide presents critical information, practical tips, resources and tools for all stages in program cycles to help capture and assess education for peacebuilding’s potential impact and contribution to sustainable, transformative change.”

Click here to download the Guide.










HRW Report on Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey
Human Rights Watch 

Prior to the conflict, the primary school enrollment rate in Syria was 99 percent and lower secondary school enrollment was 82 percent, with high gender parity. Today, nearly 3 million Syrian children inside and outside the country are out of school, according to UNICEF estimates—demolishing Syria’s achievement of near universal education before the war.This report is the first of a three-part series addressing the urgent issue of access to education for Syrian refugee schoolchildren in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.The series will examine the various barriers preventing Syrian children from accessing education and call on host governments, international donors, and implementing partners to mitigate their impact in order to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children.

This report is primarily based on research conducted in June 2015 in Istanbul, Izmir, Turgutlu, Gaziantep, Mersin, and Ankara. Human Rights Watch interviewed non-camp Syrian refugee families to assess their educational situations. We focused on non-camp refugees because of the low rate of enrollment among non-camp refugees in comparison to the high rate inside camps.

Click here to download the full report.



High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioners Mimica, Stylianides and Jourová on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day:

We are finally entering the much anticipated post-2015 era: leaders from all over the world have committed to goals which shall improve the lives of millions of children. Had we achieved all the goals we had previously set, our task today would be much easier. In fact, the road ahead is still very long. The post-2015 must be different. We must act more decisively and consistently than ever, to make sure that in the next fifteen years we will truly turn the page. Let us aim high, and try to build a world that does not need a post-2030 Agenda. 

Strengthening child protection systems is one of our priorities, as outlined in the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy. We have launched a diplomatic outreach with a global focus on all forms of violence against children and women and a focus on ending child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting.

While we address long lasting cruel practices, the current refugee crisis and the dire consequences for migrant, refugee and internally displaced children adds a new dimension of urgency. Half of the world refugees are children: they need to be treated first and foremost as children. Their protection and rights, including their right to education and non-discrimination, must be a priority, including within the European borders. Increasing cooperation between child protection systems could improve their protection when they seek asylum status in the EU. Despite the global declining trend in funding, the EU has already increased its commitment to education in emergencies. We cannot afford to have lost generations of children with no or little education.

Protecting child victims of trafficking and sexual or non-sexual exploitation and enhancing cooperation on these issues with non-EU countries and international organizations are part of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking of Human Beings 2012-2016. The EU is also a defender of Fifth Goal of Agenda 2030 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. This week new EU rules on victim’s rights entered into force. Under these new rules children are entitled to special protection as vulnerable victims in all European criminal justice systems.

Promoting children’s rights worldwide requires close cooperation with international organizations and UN bodies. The EU has always promoted such cooperation and keeps reinforcing it. Boys and girls are not only the future of our societies: they are the present. If we deprive them of their fundamental rights, we deprive ourselves of their richness. And we fail in our fundamental duties. Global peace and security cannot be achieved without fair and sustainable development and respect for all the rights of all children. One day they will be adults.  The way we protect our world and our children will impact on how they will protect their own world and their own children, in a not-so-distant future.”


see also https://rayharris57.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/universal-childrens-day-20th-november-2012/ for resources

Access and Quality of learning….even in a crisis

What is good about what we learned about the focus on access since 1990’s is that this was never enough, now we are talking (and acting) on issues to do with quality and even children’s well – being. We are making progress!

Educational Access and Quality of Learning in Crisis Review
Department for International Development

This review assesses interventions to promote educational access, quality of learning, and wellbeing for children in crisis-affected countries.

Interventions for children in crisis-affected or post-crisis countries can promote educational access, quality of learning, and wellbeing. This rigorous review has 3 primary goals:

  1. to assess the strength and quality of the existing evidence of effective practices and interventions in regions affected by crises
  2. to identify relevant evidence of effective interventions from higher-income countries
  3. to develop conceptual models that can be tested in future research.

Click here to download the review.


and more about quality…

Global Education Monitoring Report Teachers’ Page

Interactive Website 

This Global Education Monitoring Report Teachers’ Page aims to provide teachers with the advocacy tools they need in order to ensure quality education for all.

In order to solve the learning crisis that has left 250 million children not learning the basics, all children must have teachers who are trained, motivated and enjoy teaching. They must be able to identify and support weak learners and be backed by well-managed education systems.

Governments must increase access while also making sure that learning improves for all. Adequately funded national education plans that aim explicitly to meet the needs of the disadvantaged and that ensure equitable access to well-trained teachers must be a policy priority.

Effective training approaches in Tanzania

Here in Tanzania we have just completed  a second workshop for national facilitators for the School Readiness Programme.

The core aspect of the training is that what we practice during the national training is exactly what we expect the Community Teaching Assistants to do in their classrooms, so there is little loss in quality as we pass through the cascade.

As you can see, we spend much of the time on the floor!

We spend time on the floor national facilitators2 national facilitators1

At National Level




using masks in groupUsing pictures

During training for District facilitators (Regional level)



cta Mpwapwa

Application by Community Teaching Assistants at village level.

Not only are the results noticeable within a couple of weeks but the feedback to facilitators enthuses them greatly and they can feel great pride that their work, at such a distance, can have such an impact on children directly, within a relatively short time. During their next training they are so motivated and are able to build their ‘vision’ of their impact on the next generation of Tanzanians. This professional vision develops into a true intrinsic motivation that really changes behaviour.


Achieving the Education SDG – in Tanzania and beyond

Here in Tanzania, we are trying to support children who have been unable to access education, or arrive at the start of primary school not knowing ther language of instruction. Our School Readiness Programme is a short but essential intervention which has already allowed up to 10,000 children access to some sort of education. In one community 400 children were registered to attend the School Readiness class. Luckily for the Community Teaching Assistant, this number was reduced to 99 by reducing the number of very young children and some of the much older children for this year, which is a pilot year.

We believe, that this type of intervention is in the spirit of the new SDGs (see below).

Achieving the Education SDG: Start Early and Stay the Course
UNICEF Connect 

Blog Post
Now the razzmatazz celebrating the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals is over, it is time to get down to business. For education (Goal 4) that means prioritizing the 250 million children who are not learning the basics, to ensure this global learning crisis is a thing of the past by 2030.

The first, and most vital, step that needs to be taken is to address disadvantage from early childhood.Evidence from around the world is clear: the children who encounter learning difficulties early on, face an uphill struggle to catch up. Learning inequalities are visible before children start school, and these inequalities often widen during the school years. This pattern is apparent across a range of sources of inequality, including poverty, gender, geographic location, disability, and ethnic and linguistic minority status, with these often interacting with one other to reinforce disadvantage.

Click here to read the full blog.

Other initiatives worth reading about:

Educational Results Stories
Global Partnership for Education 

Interactive Website 
The Global Partnership for Education wants to make it possible for all children, including the poorest and most marginalized, to attend school and receive a quality education. That’s why the GPE supports developing countries from the design of their education sector plan to its funding, implementation, and evaluation.

The GPE has provided a new feature on their website titled “Results Stories” that provides an interactive scroll-down of positive stories related to the impact of global educational initiatives. The stories can be filtered by Focus Area, Country, and Media Type.

Girls continue to draw the short straw.

Source: Girls continue to draw the short straw.

Although we realise the barriers to girls’ achievement in schools, there are some hopeful signs. Here at EQUIP-Tanzania, we have just receieved this comment from one of the INSET coordinators in Tabora region

Ms Happiness Nyangusu an INSET Coordinator at Cheyo ‘A’ primary school talks about changes that she has experienced after school based training. She feels the training has improved her ways of teaching and motivating girls participate in their learning: She says:

‘Now I can teach using interactive methods specifically teach by doing which engage girls in the learning. We should not see teaching as routine work but we have to make teaching interesting to the pupils and girls in particular in order to promote their talents. What I have noted girls have become more active sometimes than boys and seem to like the lessons.’

And from Zambia – https://rayharris57.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/my-name-is-ester-mwaba-a-proud-zambian-girl/

and from Zambia

Still under attack…education

INEE has promoted new reports on evidence that education is continually under attack. As mentioned before (personal comment not INEE)  education should at least benefit from a tax on weapons producers ,likened to ‘polluter pays’ arguments. A weapons producer should be taxed at a rate that allows a fund to be raised to ameliorate the effect on children who suffer from the profits made by arms manufacturers.Auseful discussion to have on the International day of Peace!

Schools under Attack in Syria
Global Education Cluster

Since February 2015, the Southern Turkey Education Cluster partner organisations have been reporting to the cluster staff attacks on the schools they are supporting or located in the areas where they are implementing activities. The Southern Turkey Education Cluster is releasing its first monitoring report Schools under Attack in Syria which provides a snapshot of the situation of schools in Syria. The report does not provide an exhaustive list of all attacks on schools which took place in the first half of 2015, but it highlights the devastating consequences of such attacks on Syrian children’s right to education.

Click here to read the full report


Education under Attack in Syria
Save the Children

More than half of all attacks on schools in the last four years have occurred in Syria, according to analysis by Save the Children. Between 2011 and the end of 2014, the UN Secretary General reported 8,428 attacks on schools in 25 countries, with 52% of these reported to have taken place in Syria. Since the start of 2015, Save the Children research has documented at least 32 attacks in Syria, but lack of access to many areas means the total number is likely to be much higher. This new Save the Children study brings to light how schools inside Syria have been indiscriminately bombed, destroyed, commandeered by armed groups, or turned into weapons caches or torture centers.

Click here to read the full report.


Education under Fire

A new report by UNICEF Education under Fire focuses on conflict and political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa and its impact on education. Over 13 million children are prevented from going to school due to direct or indirect conflict in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, State of Palestine, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The report focuses on some of the barriers to education caused by conflict including attacks on schools and education infrastructure, fear of safety keeping parents from sending their children to school, overburdened education systems, lack of security for teachers, high costs of schooling and curriculum and certification issue.

Click here to read the full report.


Education and Armed Non-State Actors: Towards a comprehensive agenda
Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC)

This background paper prepared by Jonathan Somer of Persona Grata Consulting has been commissioned by PEIC to inform and orient the deliberations of the Workshop on Education and Armed Non-State Actors (Geneva, 23-25 June 2015) organized by PEIC and Geneva Call. I believe that the background paper is a pioneering work that lays out for the first time a clear frame of reference for better understanding the role of ANSAs in the provision of education. The background paper combines consideration of the international normative framework with strategic and operational issues that affect not only ANSAs themselves but also international actors concerned with education in situations of emergency, conflict and insecurity. Key questions are posed that constitute an agenda for both reflection and action.

Click here to download the full paper.

Hear It From the Children

Any opportunity to hear children speak about their situation and how it could be improved, is worth listening to…..

Hear It From the Children
Save the Children INTERSOS, World Vision International and CARE

‘Hear It From The Children’ provides a fascinating insight into what children from communities that have been most affected by the South Sudan conflict consider to be their top priorities. A clear message has emerged from the children, and it is that, “…we want to learn – even during war.” It is a simple but powerful message that challenges us all to re-think how we can best respond to children’s needs in times of conflict.

Click here to download the report.
and another opportunity to be aware of young people’s concerns and ‘solutions’…
PODCAST #100 – Brightest Hope

Podcast – International Peace Day: Education provides hope for young people in time of crisis

While conflicts rage, and global crises seem to multiply, one thing remains unchanged – children continue to seek an education.

To highlight the bravery of these inspiring young people, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and UN Global Education First Initiative held an essay competition on education in crisis, receiving more than 700 submissions from around the world. Twelve of these essays were recently published in a booklet entitled: The Brightest Hope.

In the lead up to the International Day of Peace (21 September), UNICEF podcast moderator Mia Lobel spoke with two students and young essayists: Ivy Kimtai, 21, from the Mount Elgon region of Kenya and Jephthah Temona, 19, from Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Click here to listen to the podcast.