“We need to train our children on self-rescue in emergencies and improve their self-confidence” said Dr Habibi, Head of the Youth organization of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) at the opening session of a five-day training workshop on Child Protection in Emergencies organized jointly by IRCS and UNICEF Iran office in Tehran on 30th October. He added: ”the Youth Organization of the Red Crescent Society is currently active in 3500 kindergartens and pre-schools training 5-7-year-olds on basics of rescue and help in emergencies using songs, playing and painting. We are also training 400,000 high school students each year on 8 major skills of rescue and help in emergencies”.
In this ceremony, Deputy for Students and Youth affairs of IRCS Youth Organisation, Dr Amir Lalehgaani, appreciated UNICEF’s long-standing support and cooperation with the IRCS and said the exchange of knowledge and expertise among different organizations and stakeholders would help minimize physical and mental harms among children in the aftermath of crises.
Participants of the workshop ranged from deputies of the Youth Organization of IRCS from different provinces, to experts from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior, the State Welfare Organization and Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation.
UNICEF Iran Deputy Representative, Christine Weigand in her remarks at the opening session referred to the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, a series of immediate and longer-term interventions to provide basic support and protection to children, as the main guideline of UNICEF work in emergencies and said:” children are at the heart of emergency preparedness and response as they are among the most vulnerable groups facing high risks of disease, malnutrition and violence.” She also acknowledged Iran’s achievements in protecting children in emergencies and said “The Islamic republic of Iran’s capacity in many areas including psychosocial support, family reunification of separated children and establishment of Child-Friendly Spaces during emergencies has been strengthened over the past years.”
The trainer of this workshop was Ms. Joanna Wedge an international expert who has more than 15 years of experience in coordinating trainings for the Child Protection in emergencies and sub-clusters. Four Iranian facilitators, experts on child protection in emergencies, assisted her in conducting the training. The key topics discussed in the workshop included Child Protection Minimum Standards in Emergency, Development and strengthening of Child Protection Strategies, physical and psychosocial protection and community-based strategies for child protection.
The five-day workshop held in Tehran from 30th October to 3rd November 2016 was part of the joint UNICEF- IRCS 2015-2016 work plan and second in a series, the first of which was held in Kish Island in December 2015. The workshops are expected to pave the grounds for further cooperation between IRCS, UNICEF, and other key actors in the emergency sector to strengthen national coordination on Child Protection in Emergency preparedness and response.
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