Training teachers on Psychosocial Support (PSS) Gives Conflict-Affected Children Access to Education
Training teachers and social workers on psychosocial support as well as providing schools with educational and recreational materials create an optimal learning environment for students.
The conflict in Yemen, which erupted in 2015, has had a severe impact on children. Today, there are over 11 million Yemeni children in need of humanitarian assistance and thousands of children are in need for psycho-social support.
UNICEF held psychosocial support in emergencies training for 150 Yemeni teachers, principals and social workers to enrich their knowledge and skills to approach psychosocial support and war-related psychosocial traumas. UNICEF’s Education In Emergencies (EiE) programme aims at protecting the most at-risk children and helping them access basic education. The training was done thanks to support from Germany's Development Bank (KfW).
Reaching conflict-affected children
The training qualified teachers to provide psychosocial support and help alleviate the suffering of conflict-affected children. “Teachers, social workers, and principals were trained on providing psychosocial support and the ethical principles that govern supporting children in emergencies,” says Essam Abdel-Rab, a psychosocial Support trainer. “In light of the circumstances many children are experiencing, this training has become particularly important; besides supporting and protecting conflict-affected children, this training ensures that teachers are well-equipped to identify children suffering from traumas and behavioral disorders through adapting a scientific and systematic approach to that,” Abdel-Rab he adds. “Such trainings enable teachers to effectively deal with students subjected to psychological trauma due to the current conditions,” he emphasizes.
Enhancing teachers’ skills
“I have been a teacher for 28 years, and I became the science supervisor of all schools in the district of Al Hawtah,” says Hammoud Al-Hamoudi. “This training focuses on providing psychosocial support to children in emergencies and finding solutions for the challenges they face. School-based first aid, key concepts related to psychosocial and educational support, communicating with children, and self-help were also addressed” Al- Hamoudi adds.
“All participants have expanded their skills and knowledge from this workshop, which will have a significant impact on the educational process, children's behavior, and their educational achievement in general. A wide range of expertise and skills was exchanged between the trainer and the trainees, enriching the participants’ knowledge and giving them a better insight into the challenges children face,” Al- Hamoudi explains. “The training has been beneficial because now, and through my work, I can pass on what I have learned to students in schools to help them overcome the difficulties and challenges they face,” he concludes.
Supporting and protecting children
Given the dire conditions children face because of conflict, psychosocial support is of critical significance because many of the children are suffering from deep psychological scars.
“I was really interested in this training; it fueled my motivation to provide children with psychosocial support. I learnt how to deal with children, support them psychologically, and protect them against any forms of abuse,” says Shurouq Abdullah, a teacher at Asma School for Girls. “The workshop has honed my ability to provide psychosocial support; I was introduced to a set of educational and recreational activities that encourage students to express their feelings and mitigate the impact of stress, anxiety, behavioral problems on them,” Shurouq adds.
The training did not only enable Shurouq to provide psychosocial support to children, but it has also given her guidance on how to protect them. “We are not simply teachers; we are caregivers responsible for creating a safe learning environment that maintains children’s physical and psychological well-being,” she clarifies.