Keep the promise
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 39) promises that we “shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of any form of ….. armed conflict. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child”. Until now, that is a promise that has rarely been kept.
In addition to brutal conflicts resulting in millions of displaced families, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and mass transport disasters have traumatised millions more children in the past century. To keep our promise to help all these children, we have actively to reach out to them – living as they do most often in poor and conflict ridden countries.
UNICEF, other UN Organizations and many Non-Governmental Organizations have begun intervention programmes to meet the needs of children affected by wars and disasters. Too many of these programmes are hastily planned in response to an emergency, only address short-term needs, and are rarely evaluated. One main reason for these inadequacies is that the interventions are not properly based on scientific research findings.
To keep the promise to help war affected children recover from their traumatic experiences, more systematic programmes need to be developed on the basis of long-term studies. All agencies should use the most effective methods, and ensure that no further harm comes to the children.
The main aim of the foundation is to promote studies to ensure that our help is research and knowledge based:
- Longitudinal studies of the impact of war, inner city violence and disaster on children
- Long term studies of the effects of interventions, both in schools and health care setting
- Developing study-based screening instruments to help identify the worst affected children, and to evaluate the effects of help
- Encourage studies on family support, gender issues, and the biological and neurological effects of armed conflicts and other catastrophes
- Developing new models of intervention based on different cultural approaches
- Developing and evaluating large-scale community-based early intervention strategies
- Producing validated written material, videos and leaflets as well as web-services for parents and NGOs
- Collect and disseminate good case studies to guide communities in responding more effectively to war, inner city violence and disasters