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Education - Child Protection Response Framework

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Various protection related issues hinder safe access to protective learning environments. These include the presence of armed personnel at check points on the road to the schools as well as at the school premises it also includes gender based violence (GBV) on their way to school and back. In addition, schools are not always clearly demarcated with a fence and gender sensitive WASH facilities are not available at schools. The latter hampers in particular girls’ access to education. Conflict related threats as recruitment from schools by armed groups, physical attacks on schools, kidnapping from the school premises, and schools being collateral damaged in conflict is prevalent and not only prevents parents from enrolling their children in school but puts children in direct risk while at the school. Cultural practices in the communities and within families as FGM, early marriage and child labor are causing children and particularly girls to not enroll in schools or drop out prematurely. Marginalization and discrimination of Children is prevalent and access to education for children marginalized groups, children with disabilities and girls is being hampered. According to Relief International’s Child Protection Rapid Assessment conducted (CPRA) in Somaliland, Puntland and Banadir in 2017, 93% of the head teachers interviewed acknowledged early marriage does exist in their communities and 26% of them stated that discrimination exists in their communities along social economic status, disability among other factors of marginalization.
In emergency settings, classrooms are often overcrowded, materials and facilities are scarce, and often teachers are not equipped with the skill to handle classroom management and conduct their lessons in a child friendly manner. In effect teachers are often times using verbal or physical punishment of children to maintain control of the classroom. This behavior affects children negatively and hampers their learning outcome and well-being. According to the CPRA, 54% of head teachers acknowledge that corporal punishment is being used in their school in managing children’s behavior. Teachers are rarely equipped to identify children showing signs of trauma and are therefore not able to support the children appropriately. Furthermore, bullying or abuse among peers is prevalent and causing psychological stress for children who in many cases are already stressed or traumatized by the volatile context they live in. The CPRA study further revealed that peer to peer abuse does happen in schools with bullying being identified as a protection concerns that happens in their schools by 56% of head teachers interviewed schools across Puntland, Somaliland and Banadir. Unequal ratios of boys and girls in the class or a mix of older and younger children in the same class might exacerbate these situations.

Abuse and violence of children by adults or peers is not only happening in the school environment but also in the wider community where the children live. Various types of child rights violations are happening in the community including early marriage (reported by 93% of head teachers), child labor (21% of head teachers), child trafficking (10% of head teachers reporting traffickers target girls and 14% of head teachers reporting boys being targeted by trafficker and sexual abuse (reported by 9% of head teachers) (CPRA). Psychosocial support in the form of recreational activities and immediate support at the school level is rarely available and too often teachers are not aware of the referral pathways and procedures for helping children access child protection services.