Monday, February 27, 2006

'Don't Forget Us': The Education And Gender-Based Violence Protection Needs Of Adolescent Girls From Darfur In Chad

By H. Heninger and M. McKenna,
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, July 2005
This document examines the conditions in a number of refugee camps for people from Darfur in Chad, focusing on education needs and protection from gender-based violence for adolescent girls.
The findings include:
  • all refugee camps had education programmes. In most camps this included primary grades 1-6, some adult literacy classes, and some preschool
  • however, at the time of the study UNICEF had not provided adequate shelters for schools, school supplies or guidance to teachers or camp management due to a number of contingencies
  • a major problem is the inadequate incentives given to teachers by the UNHCR. School headmasters lost teachers who left their jobs to make more money in other ways, such as selling firewood. The few women teachers in the camps teach only the lowest grades.
  • thousands of girls and women have been raped and/or beaten in Darfur and in Chad. In most camps there were reports of women who had been raped by the members of the janjaweed militia
  • in some camps programmes were being developed with refugee communities to integrate and support mothers and their children born as a result of rape. However, very little psychosocial assistance was available to girls and women victims of gender-based violence

Recommendations from the study include:

  • NGOs and United Nations agencies need to keep pushing for girls and young women to take part in decision-making in camp management, youth committees, women's groups, and in schools
  • all health care providers should immediately establish and implement care for the survivors of violence following established protocols
  • semi-permanent classrooms need to be built to protect students from heat, wind, rain and sandstorms
  • a programme of providing incentives to parents so they send girls to school should be developed and implemented
  • literacy classes should be available for all refugees regardless of age or gender

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