UNRWA OFFERS SPECIALIZED RISK EDUCATION TRAINING
TO TEACHERS, ON EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS OF WAR
More than 1,000 UNRWA teachers across the Gaza Strip have successfully completed a specialized Risk Education training on how to teach UNRWA students on the dangers of explosive remnants of war (ERW), left behind from the July/August 2014 hostilities, in efforts to limit further casualties and raise awareness.
Since the ceasefire on August 26, 2014, a reported 46 people have been injured and ten fatalities according to UNMAS, as a consequence of exposure and low awareness of the threat regarding ERW-related injuries. Twelve children are amongst the casualties.
The Risk Education Training of Teachers (ToT), is designed to equip teachers and deputy principals to deliver knowledge and heightened ERW awareness to students. UNRWA expects some240,000 children attending the Agency’s schools will be reached through the teachers.
Aspects of the training included raising awareness of the dangers of ERW and mines, the impact of ERW-related injuries on individuals and communities, recognising risky behaviour and knowledge regarding what to do if students encounter ERW.
The ERW training warns of the danger of an increase in children and young adults in Gaza engaging in risky behaviour with regards to ERW, such as scrap collection for re-sale and collecting ERW items as souvenirs.
“A lot of our people are not aware these items are still dangerous and can explode at any time,” said Fadwa Hussin Hammad, a training participant and ninth-grade teacher at Allshati Beach Elementary School. She added her concern for people returning to live amongst rubble possibly infested with ERW. High-risk areas in Gaza include Shujjaia, Khuzaá and Beit Hanoun.
UNRWA’s ERW project has been active since the July/August 2014 conflict ended, increasing safety and awareness about ERW, initially targeting approximately 2,400 frontline UNRWA personnel and now expected to reach 12,500 UNRWA staff and through them 400,000 beneficiaries by September, 2015.
Gaza ERW trainees are encouraged to avoid potential hazardous areas, stay away from suspicious items and report ERW they might encounter to the appropriate authorities. In addition to the Risk Education training of teachers, UNRWA’s ERW team has also been working with the Education Department in providing eight animations and dramas on their Interactive Learning Program website (http://ilp.unrwa.ps/), which has already been viewed by 12,816 students/ families in the past three months.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 81 million.
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