Loading Events

« All Events

Webcast on Protecting Education from Attack

June 30, 2016 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 pm


USAID ECCN hosted a webcast featuring the work of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). GCPEA is an inter-agency coalition of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations focused on protecting schools, universities, and their students and staff from targeted attacks during armed conflict. The webcast included an introduction to the issue of attacks on education and presented guidance for protecting education from attack.


Webcast Slides
GCPEA resources
Safety, Resilience and Social Cohesion: a Guide for Education Sector Planners
Safety, Resilience and Social Cohesion: a Guide for Curriculum Developers
INEE Guidance Note on Conflict Sensitive Education

Webcast Presenters

Diya Nijhowne, Director of the GCPEA, has over a decade of experience working on children’s rights and protection issues, including in emergency contexts, with organizations such as Global Rights, UNICEF, UNHCR, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Diya holds a Master of Social Work and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Toronto.

Margaret Sinclair, GCPEA board member and Technical Adviser with Education Above All’s Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), has worked on education and conflict since 1987, and headed UNHCR’s Education Unit in Geneva from 1993 to 1998. She later served as a consultant on education in emergencies with UNESCO, where her work included supporting the start-up of INEE. Margaret has served as Technical Adviser to PEIC since 2010, including, inter alia, developing its partnership with IIEP and others on crisis-sensitive education planning and curriculum.

Webcast Facilitator

Nina Papadopoulos, USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Team Leader, is a 15-year veteran of promoting the right of education in conflict and crisis with a diverse range of organizations. She currently works with the USAID/E3/ED team, supporting USAID missions to ensure the effective implementation of USAID’s Education Strategy, particularly the agency goal of increased equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments. Nina is a doctoral candidate at the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts and for the past three years she has been an adjunct at Georgetown University in the Program on Justice and Peace Studies.

Webcast Questions and Answers

Lis Wilson: Building conflict sensitivity into curriculum is definitely important. How can governments and those of us working with them take action on getting this done? Do you have examples of how this has worked well?
Lis Wilson: In the United States, Kenya, Pakistan, and other countries there have been recent deadly shootings and attacks on university campuses—very disconcerting to all. Have there been effective responses from governments, universities, or local communities to effectively improve the safety of their university/college students and staff?
Yoland Miller-Grandvaux: Is there research conducted on whether risks are mitigated differently for females vs. males, both in terms of teachers and students?
Shai Fuxman: It seems that conflict-sensitive education is an important step towards making education safer. Do you have examples of education practices that were changed in order to make them more conflict-sensitive? How well have those efforts worked? What challenges come with trying to make education more conflict-sensitive?
Mark Lynd: Do any frameworks or checklists exist that provide guidance on how to enter a situation in order to help people working in those situations to know how to interpret, for example, the stage or nature of conflict or appropriate approaches in that situation?
John Akker: Could something be said about the engagement of UNESCO in this study?
Carl Triplehorn: What are the easy baby steps which can be taken? I think of small steps such as banning guns from educational institutions is important. In my home state in the United States, they are presently debating whether to ban guns from campuses.
Merrill Jordan: IBTCI works in a number of conflict environments, monitoring projects, so the idea of being conflict-specific really resonated with me. It makes me wonder how we can really compare data from one conflict to another to provide concrete results for donors, and hopefully implementers. What advice do you have for an organization collecting data on conflict?
Deborah Dauda: Do you have examples of programs in northern Nigeria that build on some of the examples and approaches you suggested? What has worked, and what suggestions do you have for Nigeria's conflict context?


9 comments on “Webcast on Protecting Education from Attack
  1. Profile photo of USAID ECCN USAID ECCN says:

    Comment from Charles Gale:

    On the connection between monitoring violence and the education system- there are a number of public databases which monitor political violence, terrorism, armed conflict, etc., and provide very up to date details about these attacks, including when they involve schools, teachers, students, etc. Has there been an effort to leverage this information and how to use this information to pressure governments to protect schools in the face of violence?

    • Thank you so much for your question. GCPEA produces a report, Education under Attack, where it includes profiles on countries where there have been systematic patterns of attacks on education during the reporting periods. In the process of preparing this report, we access some public databases such as the Global Terrorism Database housed at the University of Maryland. In addition, we refer to media, UN, and NGO reports and conduct interviews with experts in the field. We then use these country profiles in our advocacy with states to encourage them to adopt programs and policies that can contribute to protecting education from attack. We have also sent these country profiles to UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies to assist them in raising the issue of attacks on education and military use of schools in their examination of states, both in their questions to states and in their concluding observations. We would be very eager to hear of other public databases that deal specifically with attacks on education or military use by parties to a conflict in situations of armed conflict  or insecurity so we can include them in our sources for Education under Attack 2018, which we are in the process of producing. If you could share them with us we would be most grateful.

  2. Profile photo of USAID ECCN USAID ECCN says:

    Comment from Ash Hartwell:

    Gender based violence within schools is emerging as a central barrier to girls’ education – e.g. Liberia, DRC. How is this issue being addressed by the Coalition?

    • This is an important question. GCPEA deals specifically with the issue of attacks on education in armed conflict so, in the context of gender-based violence, is focused on violence committed by parties to the conflict in school or on the way to school, or is directed by these parties towards students, teachers or other education personnel, or gender based violence that is committed as a tactic of war and has a nexus with education. This is obviously a subset of the larger issue of gender-based violence. Nonetheless, it is a critical issue that requires more research. We know that girls and young women are specifically targeted for attack in some contexts, and that even when they are not  targeted because of their gender, they are often disproportionately impacted by attacks on education and military use, for example because parents are more likely to take girls rather than boys out of school when there is a fear of violence. What we don’t know is the scale of the problem and what strategies would be most effective in diminishing targeting of females as well as mitigating the impact of attacks and military use on females specifically. GCPEA is hoping to prepare a briefing paper on the issue of the impact of attacks on education and military use of schools on girls and young women, looking at how females are specifically targeted, ways in which the impact differs between males and females even when females are not specifically targeted, and different prevention and response measures that are needed based on the gender of the victims. Once we have this information, we will be better able to incorporate gender-specific recommendations into our advocacy with policy makers, planners and donors.

  3. Profile photo of USAID ECCN USAID ECCN says:

    Comment from Lisa Deters:

    Is it ever too unsafe to go to school?

    • Yes, I would definitely say that the life and safety of a student prevails over the need to receive an education and that there are times when the threat is too great to justify encouraging children to continue going to school. It is important that in contexts where this risk exists that education actors plan ahead of time to develop alternatives so that children may learn through distance education or other means that do not put their lives in danger. It is also important that plans are developed ahead of time so that children can return to school as quickly as possible when it becomes safe for them to do so.

  4. Profile photo of USAID ECCN USAID ECCN says:

    Comment from Meghan Mattern:

    Do you have a good example of a psychosocial support program/initiative for survivors of attack?

    • Two good examples of psycho-social programs being implemented in contexts where attacks on education take place are the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classrooms Initiative in Pakistan, and the Better Learning Program (BLP) implemented in the Gaza and the West Bank in Palestine by the Norwegian Refugee Council in partnership with the Institute of Education, University of Tromso, and the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies. The Healing Classroom’s Initiative <span style=”font-family: ‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-hansi-theme-font: major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;”><span style=”color: #000000;”>offers trainings on psychosocial support to teachers working in schools in camps for internally displaced persons. Trainings include strategies for promoting student wellbeing; intellectual stimulation; and positive relationships between students belonging to different ethnic, religious, and social groups. IRC staff members provide teachers with ongoing support and carry out regular monitoring and evaluation of the Initiative. The BLP, a<span lang=”EN-GB” style=”font-family: ‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-hansi-theme-font: major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-ansi-language: EN-GB; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;”> school-based intervention,  aims to help students suffering from prolonged exposure to armed conflict, and has two phases. The first phase, BLP-1, provides psychosocial support to all students in schools that are part of the program. Teachers are offered training on psychosocial support, including approaches to classroom and behaviour management (e.g. relaxation exercises) for students who may have witnessed or experienced traumatic events. The second phase, BLP-2, is provided to children exhibiting significant signs of trauma, including nightmares and depression. Children receive one-on-one counselling and group counselling where they are asked to draw their nightmares and then share their drawings with the group; parents with children participating in BLP-2 also participate in group counselling sessions. These two psycho-social programs are described in GCPEA’s soon to be released report What Schools Can Do to Protect Education from Attack.

Leave a Comment