Sunday, February 26, 2006

Guidelines for Inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All

Via: Eldis
"This paper examines how excluded children are planned for in education. It provides guidelines and concepts for rendering National Education Plans / Education for All (EFA) more inclusive, with the objective of ensuring access and quality education for all learners. The guidelines are intended to provide information and awareness and to be a policy tool for revising and formulating EFA plans."

"The paper is divided into three main parts: it provides a theoretical framework which defines inclusion and explains how it is founded in a human rights approach and how it relates to factors such as quality and cost-effectiveness; it looks at more practical changes at the school level by outlining the key elements in the shift towards inclusion with a particular focus on the key players including teachers, parents and educational policymakers as well as curricula; and the final section presents tools for policymakers and educational planners for hands-on analysis of education plans. These include key questions to consider at the level of policy and legislation before engaging in an in-depth analysis of the educational plans and checklist questions from the Index for Inclusive Schooling indicators to help facilitate the process of identifying gaps and corresponding strategies to address these gaps and move towards inclusion."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Orphans and Vulnerable Children

According to studies, by 2010 their will be approximately 25 million children worldwide orphaned by AIDS. This article highlights the complexity of providing effective care and support to orphans and vulnerable children infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. Orphans and vulnerable children face numerous burdens: stigma/discrimination, caring for ill family members, enduring impoverished households (poor nutrition and health care), and difficulties both psychological and emotional. Additionally, this article details lessons learned from various countries engaged in addressing the plight of orphans and vulnerable children.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Asnaka the future Professor!


I asked, “What did you learn this week in school,” they emphatically replied, “Alphabets!” I asked them to show me, but I guess paper wasn’t fun enough!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

ETHIOPIA: Campaign launched against child trafficking

This article explores Child trafficking in Ethiopia and introduces a campaign launched by the Ethiopian government, United Nations (UN), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to highlight the plight of vulnerable children in Ethiopia. According to this report, Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of internal trafficking with an estimated 20,000 children sold annually by their family. Ethiopia has approximately 4.6 million orphans, and 200,000 children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Children trafficked are often engaged in domestic labour, commercial sex work, professional begging and other menial tasks. The IOM maintains that an estimated 10,000 Ethiopian women are trafficked abroad to the Gulf States for prostitution. The campaign entitled, “Ethiopia’s Campaign for Vulnerable Children,” seeks to encourage 2006 candidates running for local elections to advance this issue through their agenda.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Awakening: Ambiguity Fosters Clarity

by: Nasir Al-Amin
Ethiopia was a moment of awakening. It brought the numbers to life; the figures (4.6 million orphans, and 200,000 children living on the streets of Addis) became tangible. The words (domestic workers, poverty, commercial sex workers, child labourers, orphans, under-five mortality rate, and beggars) were now faces, individuals that I built relationships with, people I ate and laughed with, people I hugged and lent a shoulder to in moments of sorrow. In essence, my reality had changed. My perspective and/or worldview was altered by the realty of others. The children and their families became the center. My life, rather my life’s purpose was no longer about me. And it was this shift that nurtured a dormant seed of discontent that subsequently, led to a year of isolation, self-reflection and reprioritization.

After I returned to the States, I would often isolate myself (at first unknowingly) from friends (especially my Ethiopian friends) and environments (Ethiopian restaurants and cafés) that at best reminded me of Ethiopia and at worst subjected me to that dreaded question: “How was Ethiopia?” As Ethiopia was no longer this tranquil place, an escape from America’s dominant culture and norms, a bastion of generosity and love, my on little gem, this utopia that the West had not conquered or found. Ethiopia (both figuratively and literally) in all it splendor had changed and I could no longer articulate this new reality. My life experiences, Columbia diction and education could not prepare me for the emotional component of my endeavor. The veil had been removed, and what I saw left me speechless.

What words can speak to the reality of desperate girls walking the streets at night selling their bodies, or a teenage mother and her baby after a day of begging trying to sleep and stay warm on the sidewalk wrapped in tattered and soiled blankets—shockingly, often one sees groups of street children huddled together employing body heat as their sole means of staying warm. How does one express that somber feeling when children run to your vehicle at traffic lights placing their hands and faces on the car window with a dismal gaze begging for food or coins?

Unfortunately, for some Ethiopians living abroad and in Ethiopia, this reality has become normalized and thus they have become desensitized to the destitute and their plight. So much so that when they speak of Ethiopia and/or their trip back to Ethiopia the latter (destitute families and children) are not apart of the discussion—for instance, some will rave over the industrial improvements of Addis (which is laudable), yet fail to recognize that the conditions that give rise to street children, prostitution, child labour and exploitation have failed to improve. How do I reconcile these two worlds? How do I express to people that their $5-$10 dollar a week Starbucks addiction could change the life of a child begging on the streets of Addis, as this same amount of money could take a child from the streets into the classroom, and secure food, a school uniform and supplies. How do I convey to people that the cost of clubbing (and its associated cost: dinner, drinks…etc) two nights a week if collected at the end of one month, could prevent an uneducated and desperate girl from resorting to prostitution for a year.