UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Education, held last week the first set of workshops and trainings on ‘Mainstreaming Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in public schools in Libya’. It gathered 17 representatives of several ministries and government entities, Academics and civil society actors.
Comprising around 40 percent of the Libyan population, children continue to be gravely affected by the ongoing conflict, violence and displacement in Libya.
A 2017 study by UNICEF and the National Center for Disease Control on Violence Against Children in Libya found that 90 per cent of boys and 88 per cent of girls reported that they had experienced some form of violence at home, in school or in their communities.
UNICEF together with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, the High Committee for Children and other relevant ministries and partners have spelled out their plan for a protective environment for children in schools in a five-year National Action Plan programme for Ending Violence Against Children. “We are here today to set a national strategy to reach a society free from all kinds of violence and to raise an active and healthy generation. Together, we will join forces to build a brighter future for our young people’’ said Ms. Suad Ben Ghasir, head of the school health department at Ministry of Education.
Well-designed, inclusive and gender sensitive child protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support interventions can contribute to mitigate the vulnerabilities that children and adolescents face and enhance their resilience. With a school enrolment rate of 96%, education is a particularly crucial channel through which to provide MHPSS for children in Libya. By bringing children, parents/ caregivers and families and communities together, schools can help create a safe and protective environment that promotes children’s psychosocial wellbeing. “Let us be at the forefront of ensuring that the psychosocial wellbeing of the children in Libya are protected against violence at home, schools or in their communities to ensure that they have an opportunity to thrive” said UNICEF Libya Special Representative Abdel-Rahman Ghandour.
The workshop resulted in the establishment of the multi-disciplinary team under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and in the development of a strategic way forward to better enhance the child protection and psychosocial wellbeing of students in Libya.
A follow up meeting at the Ministry of Education in Tripoli is scheduled early in February for the formal launch of the national multidisciplinary team.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).