Hemayati: Collectively Promoting a Protective Environment in Azraq Camp
The project in brief
The project is implemented by Plan International Jordan. It began in August 2019 and ended 31 July 2021.
Hemayati is the second phase of the action "Free from Fear" that draws upon the lessons learned, best practices and continual feedback from children and their communities on Plan International activities. Through it, vulnerable girls and boys are better protected against child protection concerns, as identified through four rounds of assessment and continual community engagement and have access to quality protection and PSS services.
This project aims to empower vulnerable girls and boys with knowledge and skills to better protect themselves against violence and abuse and have increased access to quality to Psychosocial Support (PSS), specialized Child Protection (CP) and Gender-based Violence (GBV) services.
Elements that facilitated the project included:
- Through ECHO funding, Plan International (PI) Jordan was able to fully implement this project through Child protection programming within Azraq Camp for the past three years to create safe and protective communities that are free from violence and harmful practices essential to achieve child-friendly environments.
- Advocating for the membership of relevant working groups. Plan International Jordan currently has 45 staff and 25 volunteers as well as 45 Syrian volunteers in Azraq camp, carrying out core functions to support services, implementation, communication, technical and business development.
- At the National and Zarqa governorate level, Plan International coordinates and aligns all of its projects and activities with the Jordan Response Plan, Jordan Response Platform for the Syrian Crisis, Zarqa Response Coordination Group, the Education Sector and Child Protection Working Groups, and all related national Ministries.
- Coordination with UNHCR in all activities and close collaboration has been established with camp management. UNHCR knows the work and mandate of Plan International very well and the relationship is open and respectful. Any new project initiatives are always discussed with UNHCR in order to secure complementarity.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The project was implemented through a multi-levelled approach for protection programming, that empowered girls and boys, supported by their parents and the community to have the knowledge and skills about their rights to protect themselves and their peers from violence and abuse.
- Conduct outreach activities to identify, reach and engage the most vulnerable adolescent girls and boys, including out-of-school children, children with disabilities (CwDs) and those at risk or experiencing CP and GBV concerns.
- Provide training for key stakeholders and community volunteers on child safeguarding, child protection, psycho-social support, special needs of children with disability and disability inclusion.
- Adapt child protection/psycho-social support activities to integrate children with disability in village 2, based on a participatory assessment of special needs of children with disabilities, and train key stakeholders in village 2 on implementing child protection/psycho-social support activities through the Plan Inclusive methodology.
- Enhance accessibility for children with disabilities to services through the provision of transportation to attend child protection/psycho-social support activities in village 2 and 5 based on the Inclusion Action Plan for children with disabilities.
- Provide focused psycho-social support sessions (Child Protection/Gender Based Violence) through a context-specific, comprehensive, inclusive and multi-sectoral life-skills curriculum to at-risk children and adolescents.
- Provide structured recreational psycho-social support activities, including arts/handicrafts, music, sports, library (story telling/literacy); as well as engagement in skill-building clubs focusing on 21st century skills such as creativity (e.g., robotics).
- Conduct sports activities and tournaments for children and adolescents, supported by parents and caregivers.
- Strengthen and update service mapping and existing referral pathways for children with Child Protection/Gender Based Violence concerns.
- Support child and adolescent groups to develop and conduct peer activities.
- Refurbishment of caravans and safe spaces in village 5 and establishment of center (2 caravans) in village 2.
- Conduct Protection/Parenting Sessions for mothers, fathers and other caregivers.
- Strengthen existing Community-Based Child Protection Committees (CBCPCs) in Azraq.
- Advocate with different stakeholders on camp conditions/screening processes through various advocacy communication materials.
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
- Multiple lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic hampered overall delivery of project activities, and refugees felt isolated which caused a lot of distress.
- During outreach, several families were hesitant to register their adolescent girls in the sessions because of the distance between their shelters and the PI's centre, fearing that they would be harassed verbally on their way there. Many girls do not pursue formal education for the same purpose. Lack of internet connection as well as modern devices among refugees make access to education and all the activities that were provided from all service providers a bit limited.
How they were overcome
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, new implementation modalities were introduced to adapt to the new situation and working modalities, especially the multiple lockdowns that took place for several months at a time inside Azraq camp. To help counter the isolation felt by the camp's residents, Plan International adapted many of its existing programmes and services so that they could be accessed remotely by beneficiaries. The accountability and feedback mechanism were adapted through the accountability links shared with the beneficiaries in the WhatsApp groups as a response to Covid-19 to ensure continuous and confidential access for the beneficiaries. Plan International continued to follow up with Camp Management and UNHCR to ensure PI abided by all safety and security measures concerning COVID-19. As a mitigation measure in the case of the second wave in 2021, Plan International continued to target children and implemented its activities through a remote/hybrid implementation mode. Community volunteers were provided with technology like tablets and 10 JD monthly to support them charge their phones, also a small internet fees for all the beneficiaries per cycle, to enable individuals to participate in social activities and interact with others (including online). Plan International maintained its hybrid approach throughout the implementation of this project to ensure that the programme remained accessible to children with disabilities and homebound girls that are unable to attend the centres due to restrictions enforced by their families. Additionally, as the situation continued to develop throughout the year, this approach ensured that Plan International was able to adapt its programmes and operations quickly to the changing circumstances should the country go back into another lockdown.
- To address this, community volunteer groups were formed to implement remote activities with girls utilizing a safe space near their residence. Project staff are always in daily contact with community mobilisers inside the camp to ensure reaching the most vulnerable individuals.
Results of the Good Practice
- 96.5% (953 out of 987) have shown increased knowledge and skills on protection (49.3% girls/ 50.7% boys). Vulnerable girls and boys were empowered with knowledge and skills to better protect themselves against violence and abuse and have increased access to quality child protection and gender-based violence services.
- 100% of the sampled mothers, fathers, caregivers reported an improvement in their children’s wellbeing.
- 100% of the sampled children/adolescents reported an improvement in their wellbeing. This entailed adolescent being able to better identify protective factors on an individual and environmental levels and acquiring skills to build their agency and resilience such as problem-solving, confidence and decision-making processes that support their well-being.
- 35 Camp Volunteers (at least 50% female) have increased knowledge in child safeguarding, child protection, psychosocial support, special needs of children with disabilities and disability inclusion by at least 70%. In addition, to 30 participants (50% females) of key community stakeholders, including service providers and authorities, such as the local police.
- Pre/post assessment indicated that 38 out of 42 facilitators showed improvement in protection subjects provided within the training.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
This program has managed to deliver all of its results and encouraged refugee children, adolescents and their parents with relevant skills that promotes their self -reliance despite the significant issues faced with the change in the context. Confidence building skills, IT, robotics and handcraft combined with parenting and life skills contributes to improving the lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan and ultimately towards self-reliance in the long run.
The project is running its phase 5 and there is likelihood of continuation to next phases and scaling it up to other villages in Azraq refugee camp both 5 and 2 villages.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
Funding support will help in scaling up as well as improving quality programming and aligning interventions to key priorities of children and adolescents.