WORLD AIDS DAY – no time to waste…. 01-12-2010


Don’t forget the next generation…..

Another World Aids Day and it seems that many people have lost sight or interest in maintaining the momentum to fight the spread and treatment of the disease. Here is a statement by the director of UNESCO on the part that education has to play:

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2010

World AIDS Day is a moment to recall the devastating losses caused to individuals, households and communities across the world by the impact of HIV and AIDS. It is also a chance to review where we stand today in tackling the epidemic. The disease remains a major global challenge, but I am pleased this year to bring a message of progress.

Rates of new HIV infections are falling or stabilizing in most regions of the world. Earlier this year, a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS indicated a decline in new cases of HIV among young people of more than 25 per cent between 2001 and 2008 in 15 key countries in sub-Saharan Africa . Overall, declines in HIV prevalence have been most notable among young people aged 15–24. This has reflected safer behaviours and practices, including delayed sexual debut, partner reduction and increased condom use. These trends place young people at the heart of measures for HIV prevention — as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and its cosponsors, including UNESCO, have been advocating.

However, decline in prevalence among young people is not universal. Nor is it equal. Worldwide, more than 60 per cent of all young people living with HIV are female. Young women still shoulder a greater burden of infection. In many countries, women face their greatest risk of infection before the age of 25.

Education is the key to success. In school, girls gain the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to delay marriage and sexual activity. HIV infection rates are halved among people who finish primary school. It has been estimated that universal primary completion could result in preventing 700,000 additional cases of HIV each year.

School attendance is enormously beneficial in itself, but targeted prevention education is vital. Evidence shows that quality prevention education can shape knowledge and attitudes among young people about HIV and AIDS. It can build the new skills that are required and lay the foundation for the behaviour changes that are necessary in so many societies.

We are working in these directions. In December 2009, UNESCO published the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization. This is a major contribution to support efforts that strengthen HIV prevention with young people. Published in two volumes, the Technical Guidance offers evidence-informed and age-specific objectives for learners, so that they can make responsible choices about their sexual and social relationships in a world affected by HIV.

UNESCO will draw on all of its strengths in moving forward. This starts with a multidisciplinary mandate and a broad capacity to promote rights-based approaches. Our Intersectoral Platform on HIV and AIDS joins the resources of all UNESCO’s sectors, institutes and field offices. Our objective is to promote inclusive responses to the epidemic that are scientifically accurate and culturally appropriate, taking in also the gender dimension.

We cannot let progress slip. Especially at a time of economic austerity, we must remain engaged to sustain and deepen hard-won gains against the epidemic. UNESCO and its partners must find more effective ways of tackling the social and structural factors that enable the epidemic to remain a global challenge. These include gender inequality and widespread stigma and discrimination.

The evidence is clear. Empowering young people through education to make informed decisions must lie at the heart of prevention. UNESCO’s efforts to secure quality education for all, our actions in support of the Millennium Development Goals, fall in line with this objective. This World Aids Day inspires us all to continue working in these directions.

From the Hunger Project:

World AIDS Day 2009 was commemorated under the theme of “Universal Access and Human Rights” and in 2010, the theme continues with ”Lights4Rights”.

All people, regardless of HIV/AIDS status, have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. They must have the right to protect themselves from the virus and have access to treatment if infected.

Discriminatory practices – which put people at risk from contracting HIV, prevent them from accessing medical care, and prohibit them from living full and meaningful lives – must end.


States of fragility: stabilisation and its implications for humanitarian action

Quite often following a disaster, the media has to focus its attention on something new and the follow on and needs for stabilisation may be forgotten. This new theme issue has a particular focus on the aftermath of disasters in terms of stabilisation.

Disasters -new theme issue

States of fragility: stabilisation and its implications for humanitarian action

The international policy context and circumstances of humanitarian action have seen some significant changes over the past decade. Relief and development agencies are operating in an increasingly diverse array of war-affected and difficult contexts, and there is growing donor and national government interest and engagement in ‘stabilising’ countries affected by conflict and fragility.

This special issue of Disasters considers the implications of stabilisation for international humanitarian action. The diversity, evolution and wide geographical scope of these agendas is captured in case studies on Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. The issue also includes an additional contribution analysing the historical antecedents of stabilisation, and an overarching editorial that captures key trends in approaches to stabilisation and associated challenges for humanitarian action.

Table of contents:

To launch this special issue, the Overseas Development Institute is holding an event series, Stabilisation, development and humanitarian action, which starts on 22 October 2010. To register to attend this event or to watch live online, visit the ODI website.

Disasters is published in association with Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. To submit an article or subscribe to the journal, visit the Wiley-Blackwell site.

Other recent HPG publications

All HPG publications and further information  available online at:

Peace=Future – the International Day of Peace – 21st September

Youth for Peace and Development

Kabul peace activity

The International Day of Peace, observed each year on 21 September, is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on young people around the world to take a stand for peace under the theme, Youth for Peace and Development.

UNMIT / UN Photo

The United Nations is looking for stories from young people around the world who are working for peace. The campaign slogan this year isPeace=Future, The math is easy.”

This year, the International Day of Peace (IDP) falls within the same time period as a major summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s largest anti-poverty campaign. The Summit brings world leaders together at the United Nations in New York from
20 – 22 September.

In addition, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2010 asInternational Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. A campaign to be launched by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on 12 August will promote the ideals of respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions, and civilizations. Those are key elements that reinforce the foundations of a sustainable peace.

Youth, peace and development are closely interlinked: Peace enables development, which is critical in providing opportunities for young people, particularly those in countries emerging from conflict. Healthy, educated youth are in turn crucial to sustainable development and peace. Peace, stability and security are essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, aimed at slashing poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child death by 2015.

The Secretary-General has recognized the incredible potential of youth which must be tapped to ensure these goals are met in their lifetimes.

Each year, the Secretary-General, his Messengers of Peace, the entire UN system and many individuals, groups and organizations around the world use the Day of Peace to engage in activities that contribute to ceasefires, end conflict, bridge cultural divides and create tolerance.

On 13 June 2010, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, calling on young people around the world to submit their stories via social media, detailing what they do for peace.

Resources for the International Day of Peace

Peace Education

Links and resources  -Peace Education

UN Documents

Web Links

Still not enough?

Why not have a month of it and get involved with Peace One Day

Global – Peace One Day Global Education Resource

This year (2010) Peace One Day has partnered with Skype to develop and launch the Peace One Day Global Education Resource. Available in the six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian and Spanish, the Resource includes 13 interactive, student-centred lesson plans, with accompanying student resources.

Included in this resource, and in all new editions, is a new lesson – ‘Intercultural Cooperation’ – enabling young people to connect with others in different countries using free Skype software. Young people are encouraged to explore cooperation on Peace Day and build lasting bridges with other cultures.

As with all Peace One Day education materials, the Global Education Resource is designed to be used in conjunction with The Day After Peace Documentary.

and Lenny Kravitz….

and Peter Gabriel…

For younger children

Make a Pinwheel for peace (see: blog )

Many children around the world will be making a pinwheel for peace on Peace Day.

See examples from previous years on:

and finish with a song….

Educators for Social Responsibility, peace education and writers’ workshops

Educators for Responsibility have been known for their peace education initiatives. In their newest newsletter (June’s e-news) there is reference to a writer’s workshop and publications organised by WKCD (What kids can do – see below). What is important is that it focuses on student strengths and their cultural identity -some things that many schools would benefit from learning about, in terms of implementing ‘ideas that work’.

Educators for Social Responsibility

Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR) works directly with educators to implement systemic practices that create safe, caring, and equitable schools so that all young people succeed in school and life, and help shape a safe, democratic and just world.  Founded in 1982, ESR is a national leader in school reform and provides professional development, consultation, and educational resources to adults who teach young people in preschool through high school.


Learn more about resources available from their Online Store.

Their  Online Teacher Center provides teaching resources on a range of issues related to security, conflict resolution, peacemaking, violence prevention, and more.


What Kids Can Do had the chance to work with Latina/o middle school students in Austin, Los Angeles, and Oakland creating poems and essays that spoke to their cultural identity. Here is a link to the small publication that came from this collaboration with the National Council of La Raza.  Here is a link to the mini-curriculum WKCD writer Abe Louise Young created from this project: “Cultural Conversations through Creative Writing.”

Building capacity – Cluster based training in Vietnam

PEDC School Based Training Manual

Well , having finished the manual on school based training, we immediately thought perhaps it is better if there were opportunities for teachers to work with teachers in other schools close-by. It is not new, but we have now embarked on  cluster based training.

The work in PEDC covers 40 provinces and 126 districts, involving more than 4,000 main schools with their 14,000 satellite sites, aiming to reach the most ‘unreachable’, but luckily not ‘unteachable’!

Many students in the more isolated areas are  ethnic minority students (there 53 ethnic minorities in Vietnam), some of whom find themselves being taught in a language of which they only know a few words. Such is the challenge for teachers and teacher trainers.

What should a cluster look like? How many schools?

Its a bit like forming groups in training sessions – about 4 seems just right, 2 is too small and 6 can be too big, but of course it all depends on geography and communications. In some of our more mountainous provinces distances can be quite far between satellite sites, let alone main schools.

Here are some criteria we are considering using for identifying the  ‘lead’ school in a cluster

  1. Main school should be centrally located for easy access to the other three main schools.
  2. Head teacher should be trained (under 50?) and with proven experience of leading professional development activities.
  3. Low number of students repeating grade 1 in 2009.
  4. Have at least one key teacher who has trained teachers at district level.
  5. School has potential as resource  base for the  school cluster (could be linked to Inclusive Education resource teachers).
  6. Has proven effective School Development planning process and implemented plan.

Not wanting to be ageist, but the lead school head teacher will be an investment for the future and needs to have some more years to serve.

Leadership of the cluster could of course be rotated depending on the overall competence of the school managers, but again geography may necessitate for one central school to maintain coordinating responsibility. Facilities, such as a large meeting room, may only be found in the lower secondary school , so the lead school may be chosen with that in mind, as well as the presence of electricity.

What do the cluster schools do?

The obvious starting point is monthly professional development activities where follow up discussions and sharing of experiences can occur following a training workshop.  Workshop  (1)   can be a school or cluster based activity (of about two days not to disrupt the school week too much )

workshop cycle

The trials in the classroom can be part of an action research cycle and can include ‘lesson study‘ or lesson observation activities. The results of these activities are brought together once again , as a cluster , in workshop ( 2 ) which consists of feeding back and reflecting as well as gaining new knowledge and skills, and the cycle continues.

Trainers, managers and teachers are encouraged to keep a ‘professional diary’ which provides notes for reflection and action .

The note book can be quite simple with three columns  .


Reflection and Discussion Action points

At the start of workshop (2) teachers can bring their notebooks to input some  ideas for approaches that have worked well and to raise issues that other teachers can help explore through collaborative problem solving – such as the use of force field analysis:

In Colombia, in Escuela Nueva microcentres, teachers meet together to adapt the learning guides so that learning guides fit the local context.

Escuela Nueva teachers in their microcentre (cluster based resource centre)

Online Forum – Planning and Preparedness for Education in Emergencies

With over one third of all children who are out of school living in countries affected by conflict or emergency, and an estimated 125 million children likely to be affected by climate change over the next decade, there is an urgent need for educational planners to integrate conflict prevention and disaster preparedness measures into sector planning processes.

INEE has highlighted the following event which encourages a wider discussion on the longer term planning for expected emergencies.

Online Forum – Planning and Preparedness for Education in Emergencies


The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) would like to invite you to its online forum on Planning and Preparedness for Education in Emergencies. The forum will focus on the importance of integrating disaster preparedness and conflict mitigation measures into education sector policies and plans. The forum will take place in English from 14 – 25 June 2010.

During this e-forum, participants will have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas on (1) the role of the education system in disaster preparedness and conflict mitigation and (2) challenges and ways forward for the successful integration of preparedness activities into education sector planning processes, with education professionals worldwide.

For further details on the scope and content of the forum click here.

To join the forum, please send a message to by 4 June 2010, indicating your name, position, institution, country and interest in this forum.

School based training in Vietnam – building capacity for sustainable development

In a centralised state such as Vietnam it is often helpful to see the benefits of centralisation. When it was realised that too many motorcyclists were being killed or severely injured on the roads in Vietnam,the government instituted a law to mandate all motorcyclists to wear helmets.

In Hanoi, almost overnight,everyone was wearing one. So centralisation can have its benefits.

though the law for children has not been fully implemented yet!

This approach may not work with training teachers,though. I am working in education and find that the nearer the ‘trainee’ is to their workplace,the more likely they are to implement what they have been trained. So decentralisation to the district and more importantly to the school is a challenge as well as an opportunity.

Although in Vietnam, teacher training is centralised, the PEDC project decided to work at the local level and provide training for trainers for ‘school based training’. What does this mean in practice?

Normally the Ministry of Education and Training will provide training during the long break (July/August). The problem with this is that there is no organised follow up ,unless a head teacher makes it his/her duty to observe the application of training in the classroom. This approach, although common, is obviously  not learner -centred. The teacher is expected to receive much ‘content’ , which is often subject based, and then after the training and their holiday, attempt to apply all of the knowledge and concepts, on their own, in their classroom. This model is doomed in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

With school based training focused on active learning in the classroom the first question to ask is:

If we want teachers to manage an effective and stimulating classroom where all students participate, learn new skills and knowledge and achieve  well – how do we train the teachers?

Answer: they have to be trained in an effective and stimulating training room where all  participate, learn relevant new skills and knowledge, evaluate themselves and achieve, as well as develop new attitudes towards their teaching and the students.

As imagined, training has to be fully participative and challenging (including group problem solving) and learning is through participation, reflection and analysis.

ray harris

Participants have to take some responsibility for their learning environment as well as the training process and are organised into workshop committees , such as  public relations, games and singing, materials and welfare as well as evaluation.

emotions are important for learning

As emotions are a key element in  learning it is important to develop the psycho-social environment as much as the physical environment. Apart from committees the facilitators try to

•Increase participation and involvement (e.g. creative group work tasks)

•Increase use of effective pair and group work through relevant activities (appropriate to their working context).

• ‘help and support’ participants to learn

•Encourage good workshop relationships – by the  use of games, singing etc.

group problem solving and making teaching aids

Effective training can include  creative and practical problem solving activities focusing on group cooperation, lesson planning,making teaching aids and the needs of students.

To summarise, the benefits of school based training:

1. Pedagogically effective – closer to the real school situation. Professional development is continuous based on action research and cooperative learning.

2. Administratively effective – more flexible for planning and organizing. Less disruptive of classes

3. Cost effective – less travel time and accommodation costs