Lebanon is facing an unprecedented economic crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Beirut Port Blast. This quantitative country-wide study analyses data collected from 26 schools and 372 households of children enrolled in AVSI educational activities, both inside and outside the classroom, to show the impact of the crisis on school-aged Lebanese and refugee children.
Before August 4th 2020, the country was already in a state of emergency, and it continues today. In this article, AVSI’s Country Representative in Lebanon, Marina Molino Lova, explains how the explosion has aggravated an already dramatic situation.
Children in Ivory Coast engage in the worse forms of child labor, including harvesting cocoa and coffee. Although school is mandatory for children ages 6 to 16, approximately 23% of primary school-aged children and 41% of secondary-school-aged children are not enrolled in school, with the highest rates in the country’s North, Northwest, and West regions.
“Today, we must force children to go to school. Sometimes, we even must get them in the field. Once, I had to ask one of my inspections and a teacher to come with me to the field. As a result, we found 15 children working and brought them back to school,” explains Sylvain Douhouretagoh, Inspector of Primary Education in Korhogo.
Despite the political achievement of women’s empowerment and a variety of prevention strategies, including efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, the number of adolescent pregnancies in Rwanda is still worryingly high and has been steadily increasing over the last fifteen years. Two years ago, when she was only 16 years old, Eugenie’s story became part of this sad statistic: she got pregnant after being sexually assaulted. When AVSI identified Eugene as a beneficiary of a project funded by the RASKOB Foundation to support young mothers in Rwanda, she was desperate, full of shame and guilt.
“I had no more hope for the future,” remembers Eugenie. “I felt ashamed of what had happened to me. Nobody could understand me anymore. Over and over, I was reminded of what had happened, and I felt pushed away from my family and those around me.”
At first, Margarita and Griselda thought the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge they were not ready to face.
“COVID changed our lives. At first, we lost our jobs; we had to lock ourselves up. My children couldn’t go to school, and I had to be a teacher for them, and check their homework,” says Margarita.
“I used to wash, cook and clean while children were at school, but once they were home all the time and I had to check their homework, the house was a chaos, and it was very stressful for them, and for me” echoes Griselda.
Jessica Anderson recently earned her MA from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in International Security and Development. In the Summer of 2019, she spent a few months in Oaxaca, Mexico, carrying out research with Crecemos, an AVSI-USA long-term partner. Her work culminated in a case study in which she evaluates the effectiveness of Crecemos’ localized nutrition interventions over five years and examines the influence of interlinking areas in a child’s life such as education, recreational sports and arts, family relationships, and food preferences. In the following interview, Jessica discusses her time in Oaxaca and shares how this unique experience widened her “horizons and expanded both her intellect and heart.”
Thanks to AVSI’s Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program, Ama discovers a passion for reading and shares it with friends in Ivory Coast.
The Beirut Explosion of August 4, 2020 left behind an explosion of feelings as its impact extended deeper and beyond the direct destruction of surrounding areas affecting the psychological conditions of people from different ages and diverse backgrounds.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the most vulnerable people in Karantina heal from the trauma and psychological wounds caused by the devastating blast and rebuild a strong social structure of active survivors.
The school year started in Ivory Coast on September 14, with children timidly returning back to their classrooms. Precautions such as wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are taken seriously and enforced. Teachers are beginning the year with ‘catch-up’ classes to address the interruption which started back in March. AVSI is working alongside teachers, parents and students to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school and ensuring that education continues. The activity is part of the USDA-funded project, “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program.”
A year ago, Henry Waitindi and Lynn Brooks left their respective homes 8,000 miles apart from each other in Nairobi (Kenya) and Houston (Texas) and headed to the same destination, The Summit Bechtel, a reserve in West Virginia that hosted the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. They had never met before, but they shared the same dream: to promote Scouting’s purpose and principles worldwide.