Tacloban City, Philippines - A 5-day online training session on Psychosocial Interventions for Elementary School-aged Students and Parents during Disasters and Emergency Situations was organized on 22-26 February 2021 by UNESCO Office, Jakarta, in cooperation with Ateneo de Davao University-Center for Psychological Extension and Research Services.
The "Psychosocial support for elementary school-aged children affected by Marawi crisis in the Philippines amidst and post-COVID 19 Pandemic" is part of UNESCO regional initiative called "Support of education for crisis-affected populations in Asia-Pacific (ER8) under COVID19", within the Education in Emergency (EiE) domain. This regional project aims to support the Member States in developing viable policies and sustainable programmes to ensure crisis-affected people who are on the move can still fully realize their right to education and access to inclusive, equitable and quality learning opportunities.
The training focused on imparting the manual called "Supporting, Teaching and Empowering Parents (STEPs)", developed under this project. Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta, highlighted during his opening remarks that the manual was designed to help and aid teachers in providing psychosocial support to parents and caregivers. They will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to help children become more resilient and cope with the effects of disasters.
Dr Ma. Gemma M. Ledesma, the newly assigned Regional Director of the Department of Education Regional Office VIII, likewise stressed that psychosocial support is the most important mechanism in coping with life's crisis. She further mentioned that during the crisis, learners or children are the most vulnerable. To keep their balance, she said that teachers should not only focus on pedagogical content but also take care of the children's mental and psychosocial health.
A total of twenty-eight (28) elementary school teachers selected from Tacloban City and Palo in Region VIII, Philippines, participated virtually via Zoom and Google Classroom training. UNESCO will conduct similar training for teachers from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).