Access and Improvement of Educational and Child Protection Activities in Lebanon through an integrated approach in collaboration with Terre Des Hommes-Italy

In collaboration with Terre des Hommes- Italy, Ana Aqra implemented a project that aimed at promoting the access to quality learning pathways to respond to the educational and psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable children among refugee and host communities in Mount Lebanon.

The project main outcomes were:

  • Provision of educational preparedness activities (Early Childhood Education) for out-of-school Syrian refugee girls and boys:
    Ana Aqra Association delivered two cycles of Community-Based Early Childhood Education to 320 total out- of- school Syrian beneficiaries (160 per cycle), aged 3-5 years, residing in Barja-Mount-Lebanon.

  • Provision of structured, long-term capacity-building for education practitioners:
    Ana Aqra organized and implement a tailored capacity building/training component that targeted 8 ECE teachers

  • Awareness-raising activities targeting Syrian and Lebanese caregivers to address the root causes of educational dropout:
    Ana Aqra Association delivered psycho social support sessions to caregivers of 360 learners, targeting both male and female caregivers. The topics varied and covered: barriers to education, child protection risks, hygiene, nutrition, COVID-19 awareness, self-care tips for caregivers.

Psycho-social support services for children and families attending schools affected by Beirut Blast

On the afternoon of 4 August 2020, a massive explosion ripped through central Beirut following a fire that broke out in a warehouse that stored explosives and chemicals including 2,750 tons of nitrates, the equivalent of 1,155 tons of TNT. The impact and magnitude of the crisis are large and are affecting people’s lives on many levels. On the educational level, 120 schools, used by 50,000 Lebanese and non-Lebanese children, sustained various levels of damage. More importantly, the explosions caused considerable trauma to thousands of people from Lebanese and non-Lebanese communities. Children and vulnerable populations, are among the most affected. Psycho-social support and other mental health services are essential. Efforts have been deployed to support the national response to the explosions. Research has consistently shown that children experience severe reactions to stress following a disaster, including clinical needs and behavioral health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), functional impairments, traumatic stress symptoms, and other mental disorders (Koplewicz & Cloitre, 2006). As a response, Ana Aqra designed the “Psycho-social support services for children and families attending schools affected by Beirut Blast” project to address the short term as well as the mid and long term psychosocial needs of children and families affected by this tragedy. The purpose is to improve well- being among children (ages 3 to 14) and their families affected by Beirut explosion through psychosocial intervention delivered during different stages following the tragedy. The project seeks also to enhance the well-being and self- care of Ana Aqra staff, especially the frontliners who are continuously dealing with different kind of vulnerabilities during this time of stress and uncertainty that Lebanon is going through. The project’s main outcomes are:
Outcome 1: Children and families impacted by the Beirut blast have access to a short term intervention response to support them in coping with emotional distress resulting from the tragedy and are referred to receive services that correspond to their needs.
Children and families affected by the Beirut blast have access to remote tips and techniques prepared to enhance their wellbeing. The tips are shared through video tutorials targeting children and caregivers’ well-being and self-care.

Outcome 2: Children and families attending impacted schools have access to a long term intervention response to support them in coping with post-traumatic stress disorders to regulate their physiological, emotional, and behavioral reactions
100 impacted households benefit from 5 PSS, art therapy services and story -telling provided through the bus on a rotational manner or within their learning environment, either at school or at home. (7 groups of 15 parents and their children at a time receive 5 PSS sessions) face to face or remotely throughout 3 months of intervention

Outcome 3: Facilitators of impacted children and families adopt best practices in delivering PSS and art therapy program
Outcome 4: AAA staff, especially the frontliners, have access to resources and training sessions that enhances their well-being and self-care.

The Just Right Start

The Just Right Start project aims to prepare Syrian children and disadvantaged host community boys and girls aged between 4-6 years old to be enrolled and retained in formal schools. Many outcomes are set to reach this main goal. The project aims to:

  • Equip learners, who have no access to early childhood preparatory programs, with the needed skills to transition to formal education.

  • Increase the retention rate of the learners who transition to public schools through Ana Aqra’s retention support program.

  • Empower parents of out of school Syrian and host community girls and boys and build their parenting skills through “I Can Also Teach” and other parental programs.

  • Improve teachers’ skills in adopting best practices in differentiated teaching for the provision of safe and enabling learning environments

The project was concluded in December 2020, a total of 2164 unique learners, 1051 unique girls and 1113 unique boys, had access to 8 shortened community based ECE cycles. 7 cycles were implemented in regular classrooms and one cycle was implemented in virtual classrooms through distance learning modality
A total of 790 learners were ready with the needed skills to transition to public schools and transitioned from ECE level 2 and ECE level 3 to preparatory classes in formal schools or to grade 1 in public schools. These learners were also enrolled in Ana Aqra’s retention support program.
More than 80% of parents provided safe and enabling learning environments and improved their parenting skills. 61 teachers received different capacity building workshops and coaching sessions as part of their continuous professional development plan. More than 75% of the teachers improved their skills and adopted more advanced practices in differentiated teaching.
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