Adapting Shield to the New Reality in Lebanon
June 2, 2020
Our Shield programme in Lebanon works to uphold the safety and fundamental rights of vulnerable children through an integrated child protection framework that draws on education and psychosocial support activities. Activities are designed to reach some 9,000 children from both refugee and host communities over a two-year period.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a significant challenge to our ambitions - particularly with regard to the face-to-face education sessions at the core of the programme. The challenge required creative thinking to develop innovative methods to take learning materials online - and ensure children can access them.
Delivering lessons directly - and safely
Our team - together with programme partner Plan International and our local partner organisations - set to work. A new delivery method that didn't require teachers and students to come together and interact face to face was quickly developed. The original classroom lessons were recorded and placed on DVD receivers and USB sticks for home use.
Everything was then in place to deliver the lessons - together with stationary and other learning materials - to students in Akkar and the Bekaa Valley. The first step consisted of assembling the receivers and USB sticks - a task swiftly undertaken thanks to the support of our local partner organisation the Akkar Network for Development.
The safe delivery - for both children and staff - of the materials was of paramount importance. That's why the second step consisted of sanitizing and safely packaging both the receivers and stationary prior to delivery. Our team then followed all safety protocols during delivery of the materials - wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance at all times.
A step-by-step animation video on how to install the receivers was developed and sent via WhatsApp. Technical support was also available whenever needed, and the team revisited a few homes which had technical difficulties. Each teacher was then allocated a class to be administered via WhatsApp - ensuring uninterrupted learning.
Upholding education for the long term
The measures we have put in place will ensure that children in underserved and hard to reach areas of Lebanon can continue with their learning. Teachers will monitor each student's progress and report directly to our education officers - ensuring no lesson is lost and students keep on track with their education.
“This was a game changer,” said War Child project manager Ghada Tawbeh.