World Teacher’s Day – October 5th 2009

World Teachers’ Day is held annually to commemorate the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. It is an occasion to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. This year World Teachers’ Day is putting the spotlight on the global teacher shortage and the challenges of being a teacher today.

Treguine camp 0

It is particularly important to recognize the commitment  of teachers who work in particularly difficult conditions, such as in refugee camps, emergency situations and places involved in conflict. I remember while working in Colombia, when teachers from communities who were being attacked on both sides ,from FARC and from military forces, and their lives were at risk. I asked how can you keep teaching under those conditions. They replied,”because we love the children”. We must remember also those teachers trying to teach in places such as Afghanistan ,encouraging girls to be educated and then tortured or killed because they try to keep the school open.

INEE tries to ensure that teachers are adequately supported while working in such conditions and provides resources and  guidance for  governments and NGOs. The following appears on the website of INEE.

Along with structures, supplies, curricula and furniture, appropriately qualified teachers are critical for the provision of quality, relevant and protective education. In emergency situations or during transition and recovery, teachers not only enable children to continue learning but they also provide life-saving information and serve as a source of reassurance and routine for children and the wider community. Yet a global total of 10.3 million teachers need to be recruited between 2007 and 2015 and the areas most desperately in need of teachers are those affected by or recovering from crisis, fragility and displacement (for more info, see here)

The INEE Secretariat presented on the issue of teacher support and compensation on 28 September, on behalf of the network, at the Tenth Session of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART) in Paris, France. The presentation allowed INEE to share information from members around the world about how crises are affecting teacher support and compensation and how that in turn negatively impacts upon quality and protective education. The INEE Secretariat then presented on the good practices contained in the INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensationin Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Conflict Recovery (INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation), which were developed in a widely consultative manner under the leadership of an interagency advisory group (INEE Secretariat, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children Alliance, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, Women’s Refugee Commission) with inputs from consultations and case studies prepared by INEE members working in Afghanistan, the DRC, Ethiopia, Guinea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, the Thai-Burma border and Uganda.  The INEE Secretariat advocated that the Committee of Experts utilize the guidance within this tool to inform the application and monitoring of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation as it relates to issues of teacher remuneration, support and teaching and learning conditions in crisis and post-crisis settings.

INEE is pleased to highlight the fact that a standardised PowerPoint and targeted User’s Guides on the Teacher Compensation Guidance Notes have been developed for:

These User’s Guides explain why the INEE Guidance Notes are relevant for each of these actors and how they can be utilized; it also shares relevant lessons learnt for those preparing to use this tool. These tools will support INEE member and partner discussion and action on teacher support and compensation issues, including when specifically introducing the INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation to a new audience. All these resources, and more information about INEE’s Teacher Compensation Initiative can be found here:

Apart from these guides, we take this opportunity to highlight a number of other tools, resources and websites below that we hope you will find useful, and might be of particular interest as we celebrate the work of teachers worldwide.

INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide on Teachers and other Education Personnel To help contextualise the good practice guidance within the INEE Minimum Standards, this Thematic Tool Guide contains practical field-friendly tools, guidelines, checklists, case studies and good practices linked to specific Minimum Standards relating to how to train, manage, compensate and monitor teachers and other education personnel, providing them with the necessary materials, support and supervision. Download here.

INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensationin Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Conflict Recovery (INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation)
These Guidance Notes, available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, provide guidance on the policy, coordination, management and financial aspects of teacher compensation, but also on teacher motivation, support and supervision. Download here.

Teachers Under Threat Podcast
As part of the Beyond School Books podcast series on education in emergencies and post crisis transition and in recognition of World Teachers’ Day, Amy Costello speaks with Dr Mario Novelli, Lecturer in International Development at the University of Amsterdam and Mr. Sunai Phasuk, Thailand and Burma researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, about targeted attacks on teachers in Colombia and southern Thailand, and the devastating impact this is having on the education of children. Listen from here.

Education International World Teachers’ Day page and poster
Education International represents nearly 30 million teachers and education workers operating in 172 countries and territories, from pre-school to university. As the world’s largest Global Union Federation, Education International works to protect the rights of every teacher and education worker, and every student they educate. Download here.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics Information Sheet on Global Demand for Teachers
A brief on the number of teachers needed worldwide. Download here. Please note that, according to UNESCO, by the end of the week a technical paper on the Teacher Gap will be available at

In addition, there are a number of relevant reports available on the INEE Teacher Compensation webpage under the Related Resources Box, including:

  • Listen to the Teachers: Education in Rural Africa
  • Meeting EFA: Afghanistan Home-Based Schools
  • Leveraging Learning: Revitalizing Education in Post-Conflict Liberia
  • Teaching Well? Educational reconstruction efforts and support to teachers in postwar Liberia
  • Managing Teachers: The centrality of teacher management to quality education. Lessons from developing world


World Teacher’s Day website:

Education International:

Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART):

UNESCO Teacher Training Initiative for Sud-Saharan Africa (TISSA):

EFA Working Group on Teachers:

UNICEF Handbooks for Teachers & Educators

Child Protection
Compendium on Quality in Basic Education


Was the Apollo 11 moon landing a hoax? – UNESCO and the International Year of Astronomy


Was the Apollo 11 moon landing a hoax? Of course, it matters whether it is true or not.


But in some ways  it does not. What is important, now, is that young people learn about scientific method and process (which has links to legal process and human rights) and how to search for and interrogate different  forms of evidence. Using the arguments and evidence (including a lot of visual evidence, which can be manipulated) of the issues around the moon  landings brings into sharper focus not only a need for skills of presenting , analysing and interpreting  evidence but also an understanding about bias and prejudice within the media, and how people’s views and understandings can be manipulated.


Training teachers to provide real opportunities for students to explore sensitive and sometimes even provocative issues can help their students  become more ‘human’ . Teachers not only have to have the skills, knowledge and attitudes to provide learning opportunities  but also the freedom and with it the responsibility  to extend the curriculum to meet students’ future needs and interests.

If you want more opportunities to explore the ‘moon landings hoax’ – try these:

conspiracy theories

hollywood studio?
hollywood studio?

and this is good for a laugh


and for NASA’s rebuttals


If scientific methods are understood and practiced and which lead to reduced prejudice and improved tolerance then we will have made a giant leap….

For a virtual tour of the moon try:

UNESCO is leading the International Year of Astronomy


Just like prejudice  ‘the essential is invisible to our eyes‘, which is the compelling title of theories of the universe – Cosmologists believe that about 70 percent of the universe consists of dark energy, 25 percent of dark matter, and only 5% of ‘normal matter’ (known elements such as stars, planets, etc.).

What is dark matter and what is dark energy? Our understanding of the physical world will be revolutionized the day we discover the answers to these two questions, which will be central to the “Invisible Universe” programme presented at UNESCO from 29 June to 10 July, as part of the International Year of Astronomy celebration.

The exhibition “Exploring the Invisible Universe” will show how modern astronomy and more generally modern science has converged toward a vision of our reality based on the invisible, in the sense of not directly detectable.


The exhibition is organized with the support of the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO.


Discover all levels of the Cosmos – the closest to the farthest – a trip that starts with the solar system and ends at the confines of the most distant known galaxies and structures.

“Palais de la Découverte” – Paris, France

From 23 June to 22 November 2009

In the IYA there are global programmes of activities centred on a specific theme and are some of the projects that will help to achieve the IYA2009’s main goals.

  1. 100 Hours of Astronomy
  2. Cosmic Diary
  3. Portal to the Universe
  4. She is an Astronomer
  5. Dark Skies Awareness
  6. Astronomy and World Heritage (Universal treasures)
  7. Galileo Teacher Training Programme
  8. Universe Awareness (One place in the Universe)
  9. From Earth to the Universe (The beauty of science)
  10. Developing Astronomy Globally (Astronomy for all)


And for discovering for yourself why not invest in the new  Galileoscope (only a few dollars!)


Galileo’s Classroom

Astronomy is an ideal vehicle to interest kids in science and to teach the basics of chemistry, physics, math, and even biology to elementary and middle-school kids. For high school it’s the perfect science since it uses biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and environmental science to study the universe and our place in it.


Astronomy is also ideally suited to teaching the scientific process — how observations and evidence lead to sensible explanations about how the world works.

It is no exaggeration to say that the telescope changed everything: Galileo’s discoveries literally revolutionized our perception of the universe and Earth’s place in it.

The Galileoscope™ is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. No matter where you live, with this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today. These include lunar craters and mountains, four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn’s rings, and countless stars invisible to the unaided eye.


Space studies bring a new dimension to science education. They introduce new knowledge, values and perspectives on the planet Earth and develop better understanding of the universe and beyond. Space studies, based on the rational arguments of physics and mathematics, help the development of the critical thinking process, participatory problem solving and decision making skills of students, which are central to quality education, the priority goal of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

essential is invisible

And don’t forget the range of images from the edge of the known universe taken by the Hubble telescope

image from Hubble
image from Hubble

The  ideas represented above including ‘the essential is in the invisible’ mean that for  young people there is still plenty of scope for discovery, enquiry, exploration and creativity – the stuff that real education is made of , which allows students to make giant leaps in their learning.

Education for All? …Reaching and Teaching… the most marginalised and least included (example:Chad)

Education for All?

According to UNESCO there are still 75 million children out of school ( more than half of these being girls)  and millions more leave school, early, without acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. Who are these unreached that do not have access to quality  schooling and learning opportunities?

They are the most disadvantaged and excluded, such as learners from remote and rural communities; learners from religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities/indigenous peoples; girls and women; children from migrant/nomadic  families; learners with disabilities; street children; working children,orphans; children and young people affected (and discriminated against ) through contracting  HIV / AIDS.


Even these figures may be an understatement of the real situation as there are a number of children/young people who start school, find it difficult to attend school regularly, repeat grades and finally drop out. We may know the official number enrolled but not the number who just don’t /can’t turn up to school regularly and therefore do not complete even the most basic education program.

I will focus on just a few countries where I have been working – Chad, Guyana, Mauritius, Madagascar and Azerbaijan, to consider what can be done to ‘teach the unreached’ . I have already looked at  Timor Leste and Vietnam1 and Vietnam 2.

Let’s continue with Chad.


Chad (French: Tchad, Arabic: تشاد‎ Tshād), officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west.

Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Arabic and French are the official languages. Islam and Christianity are the most widely practiced religions.

The country is one of the poorest countries in the world; most Chadians live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003 crude oil has become the country’s primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry.

I started working with UNICEF Chad helping to establish a small project to provide some form of quality education of children from Nomadic and semi nomadic families. The representative, Daniele Brady,  worked with  enthusiasm and vision  to make things happen under very difficult conditions.

Unfortunately, recent changes in the politics of the region,particularly the situation in Darfur, Sudan , has destabilised the country , encouraged two coups and left the country dealing with thousands of refugees. UNICEF has had to change from providing support to the government for long term education provision for all , to shorter term emergency support for children’s health, education and most importantly, safety. For emergency education services UNICEF has provided

  • In addition to erecting 350 school tents, UNICEF and its partners have financed construction of 250 semi-permanent classrooms. Each classroom can handle 80 children and will withstand eastern Chad’s harsh climate.
Refugee girls learning outdoors
Refugee girls learning outdoors
  • More than 600 school-in-a-box kits allowed 45,000 Sudanese refugee children to attend school, some for the very first time.
outdoor classroom
outdoor classroom
  • Thirty child-friendly areas in the refugee camps have given 27,000 children an opportunity to play, learn, and recover from their physical and psychological scars.


Although UNICEF is used to working on emergencies, the recent refugee influx from Darfur, has taken resources away from longer term goals for those Chadian children who do not have access to education.

I was working with UNICEF on the education of children from nomadic families.

nomadic community
nomadic community

There are thought to be over a quarter of a million nomads in the east of Chad. During the dry season the nomads are in the south of the country, the cattle herders generally going further south than the camel herders, and then during the rainy season they move north, again the camel herders going further north than the cattle.


Nomads survive because of their:

Mobility Because nomads live in areas of climatic extremes they’ve had to be flexible and opportunistic. Mobility allows them to profit from widely-dispersed resources, such as water, whose availability varies from year to year.

water is life
water is life

Mixed Economies Pastoral nomads raise several kinds of animals: usually one large prestigious species,such as cattle or camels and several smaller animals like goats and sheep. Disease or drought affects each species differently, thus increasing the nomads’ chances of survival.


Tribal Sharing Most nomadic peoples are organized into tribes or clans which have a customary claim over a specific territory and can support each other.

Nomadic peoples face many threats today, but the most serious is the attempt to stop them moving around  (‘sedenterization’)

nomadic architectue
nomadic architectue

Nomads  don’t fit neatly into national boundaries and they tend to look and behave differently from majority  populations,.


They need to be brought together for their ‘own good’, government officials claim – so they can be educated,  taxed and given proper health care, electricity and roads.

State planners claim that wandering pastoralists are inefficient and that they are ignorant of modern animal  husbandry.

Major constraints to their participation in formal  education are:

i) their constant migrations/movements in search of water and pasture in the case of the nomadic pastoralists;

Precious water sources
Precious water sources

ii) the centrality of child labour in their production system, thus making it extremely difficult to allow their children to  participate in formal schooling,if in a fixed school;

Centrality of child labour
Centrality of child labour – providing water for the animals

ii) the irrelevance of the school curriculum which is tailored to meet the needs of sedentary groups and thus ignores the educational needs of nomadic peoples;

iv) their physical isolation, since they operate in largely inaccessible physical environments; and

v) a land-tenure system that makes it difficult for the nomads to acquire land and settle in one place.

Of course the main difficulty in providing education to children of nomadic families is that the children move and schools tend to be static. One solution, started in the 1970’s was to use an extra camel to carry the extra equipment (chalkboard and tent) for a mobile school.


Civil war disrupted this system and nomadic children have had little access to education since. Other reasons include the mistrust of the ‘French’ system of education which nomads feel does not  respect their culture/language/way of life. So for Chadian Arabic speakers only Koranic schools provided some sort of education.

2MigKoranicKoranic schools provide some education,though limited, to children of nomadic families.

Some NGOs have been able to build some schools for ‘semi-nomadic’ communities where children and old people stay in one place and teenage boys and parents move with the animals.

Bringing the school to the children
Bringing the school to the children

When parents were asked ‘What do you want from education?” They answered that their children needed to know how to look after their animals, and they needed to know their rights. Police and military often tried to extort money from them because of some infringements that they could not understand, due to their lack of French language. So as an education consultant you were faced with re-thinking education completely – taking away a static school and all its teaching resources. The  needs of the families unfortunately seemed a long way from the  objectives from the national education system, which was still rooted in the French colonial era.

How often do we find in different countries that a ‘classical’ approach to education exported with colonial rule does not meet the present day needs of many families. Even in Western countries life saving and life enhancing knowledge about our own health is relegated to a slot on a Friday afternoon and taught by a teacher who is not well trained in the demands of an active and participatory approach to health education. These nomadic families were saying that the health of their animals would be the only thing that helped them survive – without that knowledge education would be worthless.


We started by talking with representatives of nomadic families. What do they need and how to cooperate together to reach such objectives?

The nomadic communities offered one community member to be trained as a teacher by UNICEF as they had had earlier experience of urban teachers being sent to teach the children who had no understanding of nomadic life and culture. Providing the teacher was a sacrifice for the community as young people in the community would normally be needed for looking after the animals.

The second aspect was the curriculum and learning materials. It was decided that UNICEF and the Ministry of Education would start by developing some themes around animal and child health. It was also decided to utilise the idea of self learning materials so that students of different ages could learn together. Escuala Nueva based in Colombia, have had a lot of experience of developing ‘self -learning’ guides  and it was this model that was used as a basis for developing the learning materials for the themes.

Workshops were held with writers, teachers, animal and child health experts as well as an artist who would cooperate together to produce  learning guides which were trialed with students in nearby schools, to gauge the readability and understanding of the materials.

Teachers and writers
Teachers and writers

The self learning guide includes all the instructions that a teacher might normally give as well as  basic information , activities and research, extending the use and understanding of that information as well as formative assessment activities. Students are encouraged to work together to solve problems and increase their mastery by interaction in pairs and small groups .


In this new understanding of what education could offer children of nomadic families, girls were particularly needing and wanting education.


On a Saturday morning I went to visit a school,hoping to talk to the teacher. I could not find the teacher and the school was locked but a group of girls were patiently waiting outside in the vain hope that the teacher may turn up. In the mean time they were educating themselves and doing a good job of it.

Waiting for the teacher
Waiting for the teacher

In other makeshift classrooms  in semi nomadic communities children and their mothers were eager students ready to explore a hitherto unknown world of open education.


The situation shown below illustrates something about the traditional view of ‘French’ education. In the village everyone lives in round houses and sits on mats on the floor. However, when they wanted a site for the school they used the model of the school that has been presented to them -a square concrete box with desks and benches  – colonialisation of the mind!


When you send your daughter to school you have to find ways of making up for the lost labour source otherwise the family cannot cook and eat  because they have no water or firewood. UNICEF and women’s organizations helped to ease this situation by supporting families with energy efficient stoves, tools and donkeys so that girls did not have to spend so long on their tasks and could go to school.


Unfortunately, even with all this hard work and progress there are setbacks. Children thought that civil war was over and they would benefit from the new oil revenues :


But with the instability caused by the  situation in Darfur and the increased hostility against nomadic peoples due to the competition for water and grazing land then the future for these children is far from rosy…..

Children of the Perl
Children of the Perl

The brain, human evolution, the universe and beyond our insignificance

I wanted to write about conflict management but came across some other interesting ideas which will lead me towards conflict management and even resolution.

First if war starts in the mind then we should first understand the brain and then work on its adaptation:


Check out a new animation from New Scientist

brain interactive

And Stephen Hawking  has been ruminating on human evolution

We are now entering a new phase, of what Hawking calls “self designed evolution,” in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA. “At first,” he continues “these changes will be confined to the repair of genetic defects, like cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy. These are controlled by single genes, and so are fairly easy to identify, and correct. Other qualities, such as intelligence, are probably controlled by a large number of genes. It will be much more difficult to find them, and work out the relations between them. Nevertheless, I am sure that during the next century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence, and instincts like aggression.”


If the human race manages to redesign itself, to reduce or eliminate the risk of self-destruction, we will probably reach out to the stars and colonize other planets. But this will be done, Hawking believes, with intelligent machines based on mechanical and electronic components, rather than macromolecules, which could eventually replace DNA based life, just as DNA may have replaced an earlier form of life.

Casey Kazan

And while we are considering reaching out to the stars, anyone who has a rather inflated view of him/herself  should take a look through the Hubble telescope and consider how insignificant they are in comparison to the ‘big picture’

Next post on issues around conflict, conflict management and training

FREE training guide -Post Conflict Educational Reconstruction and Development in Africa

You can find this free training guide and other resources from Inter – Agency Network for Education in Emergencies INEE

Professional Training Course Syllabi

Post Conflict Educational Reconstruction and Development in AfricaTraining Guide, Workbook, Presentations 1-11 and Presentations 12-22. 27 February – 5 March, 2009, Osaka International Centre of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with UNESCO and IIEP.

Mise en page 1

This Training Guide and accompanying PowerPoint presentations and workbook was designed as a resource to help facilitate the workshop ‘Educational reconstruction in post-conflict situations: access and inclusion.’ The Training Guide provides guidance and material for a workshop lasting up to six days.

The content has been divided into six themes:

1. Setting the stage
2. Rapid response
3. Access and inclusion
4. Quality issues in early post-conflict
5. Curriculum issues
6. Lessons learned

The materials are modular and have been designed so that sessions can be extracted and used in various combinations, or as stand-alone learning activities.

This course is built on the principles of a rights-based approach. As a result, the activities and sessions reflect this by being participatory and inter-active and they provide a ‘safe space’ for the analysis of situations which we regularly face when working in education in early reconstruction settings.

UN Announces Launch of World’s First Tuition-Free, Online University – news from INEE

The Inter Agency for Education in Emergencies INEE publish a newsletter -her e are three articles from the recent edition,June 2009. Perhaps with better, more humanitarian approaches to education, perhaps we are likely to get fewer conflicts and therefore fewer emergencies effecting children. It is worth hoping and acting!

UN Announces Launch of World’s First Tuition-Free, Online University

(UN News Centre)

A leading arm of the United Nations working to spread the benefits of information technology today announced the launch of the first ever tuition-free online university.

As part of this year’s focus on education, the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (<“”>GAID) presented the newly formed University of the People, a non-profit institution offering higher education to the masses.

“This year the Global Alliance has focused its attention on education [and] how ICT can advance education goals around the world,” a spokesperson for GAID told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

For hundreds of millions of people around the world higher education is no more than a dream, Shai Reshef, the founder of the University of the People, told reporters. They are constrained by finances, the lack of institutions in their region, or they are not able to leave home to study at a university for personal reasons.

The only charge to students is a $15 to $50 admission fee, depending on their country of origin, and a processing fee for every test ranging from $10 to $100. For the University to sustain its operation, it needs 15,000 students and $6 million, of which Mr. Reshef has donated $1 million of his own money.

For the full story click here

Over a trillion dollars is spent on arms each year -some of those arms are directed at schools.
Take a look at this article:

INTERVIEW: Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict on Attacks On Schools and Education within Humanitarian Response


Radhika Coomaraswamy recently spoke with EduInfo in New York about attacks on schools and other grave violations against children. Ms. Coomaraswamy was appointed to her position by the UN Secretary-General and serves as a moral voice and independent advocate for the rights and protection of children affected by armed conflict.

The following portion of a May 2009 interview with Ms. Coomaraswamy (provided by UNESCO) is of particular relevance to the INEE community:

Attacks on schools are among the grave violations covered in the Secretary-General’s annual report published last month. Are we witnessing an escalation of such attacks?

Our Report covers six grave violations of international humanitarian law, of which attacks on schools and hospitals are one. The increasing number of incidents of violence directed against schools, teachers and girls going to school is an alarming new development. We are very concerned about attacks on schools by aerial bombardment, the direct targeting of schools, teachers and students, or the use of schools for military activities. These attacks represent a violation of international humanitarian law and perpetrators must be held accountable for such actions.

What is your reading of attacks on schools?

At some point we have to deal with the fundamental issue that some people believe that girls should not go to school, that science should not be taught to girls or that government secular education is evil. We must find strategies to counter those fundamental prejudices. This is a big task that cannot only be addressed at UN level. It is also about getting a majority of people living in places where schools are being attacked to continue believing in education and advocating for it.

When I was in Afghanistan I spoke with Aisha, a ten-year old girl. Her parents’ house was damaged in an aerial bombardment; she lost several relatives; her school was attacked and some of her teachers were killed. She told me how she was determined to go back to school and did. She said that school gave her courage and a sense of strength and security. In North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I met with a 12-year-old girl who had joined the Mai Mai militia because her parents could no longer pay for school and because she thought carrying a gun would protect her from being raped. However, as with thousands of other children in Congo, she was sexually violated and abused by her commanders. Recently Mai Mai groups have entered into the peace process and Adila was released. She is now in an NGO Transit Centre and has just gone back to school. Her eyes lit up when she told me that she plans to be a school teacher.

Education is not yet a high priority in many humanitarian crises. How do you make a case for it?

The basic attitude is that if you have a humanitarian crisis, the immediate response is usually about food, shelter, water sanitation and if possible health issues. But emergency programs should also include education for children because it is a fundamental right and because it helps the situation. Children need safety and routine. This can prevent them from being recruited into armed groups. It is known that refugee camps and camps for internally displaced people are one of the main recruiting grounds because kids drift away and have nothing to do. Former child soldiers have also testified how going back to school has helped them to build trust and regain a sense of humanity. It is important to advance the notion of schools as zones of peace that all parties respect and where kids can feel secure.

TOOLKIT: I Painted Peace – Handbook on Peace Building with and for Children and Young People

(Save the Children) Save the Children is pleased to share I Painted Peace – a Handbook on Peace Building with and for Children and Young People with the INEE community.  In this handbook you will find examples of peace building from children and young people in four different countries. They present experiences, achievements and plans. It is hoped that the handbook can be useful for children and young people in other countries in their efforts to contributing to peace.

The handbook is important as it recognises children’s role as agents of peace. The idea behind I Painted Peace is to encourage more adults to listen to girls’ and boys’ voices carefully and seriously and to work with them as partners in creating and sustaining peace. In this way, the handbook helps to promote children’s participation leading to the better fulfillment of children’s rights.

Section II of the handbook specifically addresses school based peace building initiatives.  It cites specific examples of peace focused curriculum and activities that help contribute to safe learning communities.

To access this document, please click here:

For access to the Global Report on the Evaluation of children’s participation in armed conflict, post conflict and peace building, please click here:

In the last decade, more than 2 million children have died as a direct result of armed conflict and more than three times that number have been permanently disabled or injured. Exposure to violence and chaos directly affects a child’s physical, intellectual and emotional growth, while also robbing them of an education.

From a recent UNICEF mail out, the continuing punishment of children in conflicts around the world cannot be ignored….

UNICEF partners with local communities to rehabilitate schools and rebuild a protective environment for children threatened by violence and war. UNICEF is so trusted that it has been able to negotiate cease-fire Days of Tranquility and Corridors of Peace in a number of ongoing conflict areas in order to immunize millions of children against killer diseases. In Darfur, UNICEF immunized 1.3 million children and provided 98,000 insecticide-treated bed nets to fight malaria during such cease-fires. To learn more about the conflict in Darfur, please click here.

Country led evaluations – new free videos!

These new videos have been posted on the UNICEF CEE/CIS site:

Country-led M&E systems.
Better evidence, better policies, better results

Watch and listen to international keynote speakers talking on Country-led M&E Systems

UNICEF CEE/CIS, IDEAS and DevInfo, in partnership with WFP, OECD/DAC Network on Development evaluation and IOCE, are pleased to make available, every month and free of charge, the videos of international keynote speakers presenting the latest thinking on Country-led M&E Systems.

June 2009
Country-led M&E systems. Better evidence, better policies, better results

Enhancing evidence-based policy making through
Country-Led M&E Systems
Marco Segone, Regional Chief, Monitoring and Evaluation, UNICEF CEE/CIS

The role of national, regional and international evaluation organizations
in strengthening country-led M&E systems
Oumoul Ba-Tall
, President, IOCE

Country-led Development EvaluationThe Donor Role in Supporting Partner
Ownership and Capacity

Hans Lundgren, Manager, OECD/DAC Network on Development evaluation

Country-led impact evaluation: A survey of development practitioners

Denis Jobin
, Vice President, IDEAS

The country led evaluation (CLE) paradox

Robert Picciotto
, King’s College, and former Director General, Evaluation, World Bank


Previous Speakers

May 2009
Where is development evaluation going?

Robert Picciotto
, King’s College, and former Director General, Evaluation, World Bank.

September 2009
Tools to strengthen Country-led M&E systems.  Good practices in using DevInfo

Marco Segone, Regional Chief, Monitoring and Evaluation, UNICEF CEE/CIS; Nicolas Pron, Global DevInfo Administrator; Farhod Khamidov, M&E Specialist, UNICEF Tajikistan.


October 2009
Developing evaluation capacities

Caroline Heider
, Director, Office of Evaluation, World Food Programme


November 2009

Building a country-wide M&E system in Sri Lanka
Dhara Wijayatikale
– Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Plan Implementation, Sri Lanka.

Monitoring and evaluation in South Africa
Indran Naidoo
– Deputy-Director General, Office of the Public Service Commission, Republic of South Africa.

Building results-based M&E systems. The case of Botswana
Collie Monkge
– Vision 2016 Coordinator, Botswana


December 2009

M&E in Zambia. The case of the Zambia Evaluation Association
John Njovu
, Chairman, Zambia Evaluation Association, Zambia.

M & E in Pakistan. The case of the Pakistan Evaluation Network
Khadija Khan
, Chair, Pakistan Evaluation Network.

1. These videos are a selection of key sessions on Country-led M&E Systems organized at  the Global IDEAS Conference held in March 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2. The opinions expressed are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of
UNICEF. The videos and presentations have not been edited to official publication standards and UNICEF accepts no responsibility forerrors. The designations in these videos and presentations  do not imply an opinion on legal status of any country or territory, or of its authorities, of the delimitations of frontiers.