May 20, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most governments in the world have decided to temporarily closed their education institutions. There are 185 country-wide closures affecting 1.5 billion learners and disrupting girls’ and boys’ education rights due to social distancing and avoidance of public gathering. Distance learning poses some challenges, particularly on underprivileged students who have poor access to internet connectivity and no electricity while being at home for an extended period of time will cause mental distress on the students, parents and caregivers (UNESCO, 2020). Plan International (2020) posits that groups that are already disadvantaged, such as adolescent girls, experience greatest risk and impacts when their education is interrupted, exposing to risks such as: violence, abuse, exploitation and neglects. In other crisis, such as conflict setting, girls oftentimes encounter a range of gender-specific barriers in accessing and returning to education and face protection risks and study reads that a gender-sensitive humanitarian response may grow but it rarely targets children.
It is therefore important to ensure that school safety programming integrates gender lens and promotes gender-transformative approach, addressing the pre-existing norms that block gender equity. In this regard, Plan International Asia Pacific Hub through the support of Strengthening Community Resilience to Disaster through School Safety Initiative (SCRSSI)Project released a Guideline on Gender Transformative Implementation of Safe School Programming that provides recommended actions on what to do to generate a gender transformative outcomes across the three pillars of comprehensive school safety framework. This guideline will support trainers and practitioners to implement the programme while tackling underlying gender norms and stereotypes that will eventually help girls and boys build their capacity in disaster risk management. This guideline serve as an annex to the previous developed Comprehensive School Safety TOT Manual which is translated into online training on comprehensive school safety framework on Plan Academy. Along with the SCRSSI project journey, this Guideline on Gender Transformative Implementation of Safe School Programming will open for comments and inputs until the end of the project period by June 2021.