Save the Children, UK
This workshop will be delivered by Save the Children UK’s frontline staff who worked on the CUIDAR project in schools and communities across the UK. They will talk about the challenges and successes of putting this project into practice and introduce the “how-to” toolkit we created for practitioners. We will discuss how we worked in collaboration with children and communities, how we adapted this project to the different contexts in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, what activities and resources we used when working with 10-11-year olds, and the key lessons we learned. Together, we can also begin to think about how this project could be applied in your own contexts and communities.
The aim of Save the Children UK’s workshop was to help participants think through the practical elements of CUIDAR – what opportunities and challenges are involved with the realities and details of the delivery work, drawing insights from our experience across all eight CUIDAR sites in the UK. It was presented by members of our Take Care team including those who ran sessions in schools (wp3) and built and held community relationships (wp4), who could speak in detail about their experience. Many are also experts in working with children, child participation and community/family work. The workshop was attended by approximately 20 participants, many from different national contexts (including Spain, Portugal, Australia and London). It included a detailed explanation of the CUIDAR work in the UK, and an outline of our team’s observations and our advice. It was completed by small group work, where delegates were invited to give feedback, discuss the UK work, ask questions to Save staff, and think through the practicalities of replicating similar work in their home context. There was also opportunities to look at the resources created by the young people in the UK, and understand their opinions of the children involved in our project. Many participants took copies of the resources available, and a number have made contact post-workshop to ask further questions or request information.
[Kelsey Smith, Save the Children, UK]
Project workers from Save the Children UK discussed their work with children in schools across the four nations of the UK, touching on their work with younger children and their families, and with children aged 9 to 11 years. The project tended to work in areas of significant deprivation, where children are dealing with multiple social problems, and workshops reached 500 children in total.
The project involved children taking part in a series of workshops in school, exploring the following themes: the concept of child rights, risk and resilience, global disasters, what could happen in the local area, preparedness for and awareness about disasters. This work was delivered with the following principles in mind: the importance of collaboration between children and institutions, mutual learning, approaching children as experts, and adapting the model to different cultural contexts and audiences. Project workers discussed how they responded to the lack of familiarity with participatory work in most of the schools by adapting their approach and providing greater clarity about how sessions would be structured and the intended learning. There was an acknowledgement that this led to examples of truly child-led work, alongside consultation and collaboration with adults. The project has developed a toolkit for work with children and communities, including lesson plans and other resources, which the workshop introduced.
The project team shared numerous examples of children’s capacity to contribute to disaster risk reduction. For example, children were able to meet with people in positions of authority locally and nationally, and used these opportunities to raise concerns about the safety of their current school and home environments. There was evidence that the quality of children’s learning was higher because they were leading some of the work themselves. The workshop emphasised the importance of working collaboratively with both children and schools. In the last part of the session, there was an opportunity for workshop participants to discuss in small groups how they worked with children in participatory ways.
[Dharman Jeyasingham, member of the Ethics Board]