TITLE OF THE PROGRAMME
A community-based group intervention for children and adolescents exposed to war in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Geographical location and population of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is located in Southern Asia and to the south of India (Map 1). It got independence from British in 1948 as Ceylon which was amended to Sri Lanka in 1972. Its population is almost 21.3 million. The majority of the population is Sinhalese (approximately 73.8%) and the rest of the population is Sri Lankan Moors (7.2%), Indian Tamil (4.6%), Sri Lankan Tamil (3.9%), and unspecified population is 10%. Among them, 69.1% are Buddhist; and 7.6% and 7.1% of the population are Muslim and Hindu, respectively (CIA, 2010). In spite of having well educated population and huge resources, their development is impaired due to economic and political mismanagement (David Cameron).
Armed conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
An armed conflict between the national forces of Sri Lanka and the LTTE started in 1983 when 13 government soldiers were killed by the LTTE in Jaffna on the issue of political rights of Tamil (David Cameron, 2009 and IDMC, 2010). In 2002, an initial cease-fire agreement was signed by the two parties but the conflict restarted in full scale in the middle of 2006. The prolonged armed conflict between the two groups ended in May 2009. About 280,000 populations (IDPs) escaped to govt-controlled area from October 2008 to June 2009 and most of these IDPs stayed in the camps of Va-vuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Trincomalee (IDMC, 2010).
Child soldiers of the Sri Lankan Conflict
Children were employed as soldiers by the LTTE in Sri Lankan conflict. This recruitment was institutionalized after 1990. The child soldiers have played as the direct members of war and about 20-40% of their total force were children (Ruwan, 2010).
Mental Health and psychosocial implications
The impact of war has serious effects on the child mental health which has been recorded since World War II (Barenbaum et al., 2004).
The families and communities which give protection for children's lives are badly destroyed by armed conflict (Wessells, 1998). The consequences of this armed conflict can make separation of children from their parents. These may result a devastating social and psychological impact on them; and children may linger to a continued exploitation. During war, unaccompanied children remain at the highest risk and they lack the necessary means of survival. Their rights are also violated and even the children are killed, raped and recruited as soldiers. Many children die from indirect impact of war which is caused by ''the disruption of food supplies, the destruction of health services, water and sanitation systems''. The involvement of the children in community activities can be one of the most effective ways to protect children (UNICEF, 2010).
War-related events may cause mental health problems and even a long-term psychopathology in children and adolescents. Children's social, emotional and cognitive development can be seriously affected by war trauma. The predictability, daily routine and daily habits can be lost which may affect the children's psychosocial development. Children experienced or been exposed to war conflict may often feel anxieties and insecurities (Guardian, 2009).
So, it is essential to support healing and recovery to facilitate the healthy development of children. Children's participation in recreational activities and in enjoyable physical activities can remove their current idleness, bad memories and painful feelings. These activities will be operated in protected places where children's parents can join, help each other and involve in planning about children's needs.
The programme will include 3 types of vulnerable children such as:
- Children who are affected by conflict
- Children who are affected by violence and abuse &
- Children in institution
The programme will include 50000 population (Direct: 47500 Children and Indirect: 2500 trained community leaders, religious leader and parents).
The programme will be based on the town of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.
Figure 1: Tamil civilians stand in line to receive food and supplies in a refugee camp located on the outskirts of the town of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka May 8, 2009 (Reuters).
The duration of the programme will be two years. It will start on June 2010 and the programme will be completed on May 2012.
To help the Sri Lankan Children to restart healthy development through community based protection and psychosocial programs.
To provide normalizing activities that can provide the physical and social needs of the children.
To increase the communities' ability to respond to the protection of their children through community participation and training.
To motivate and increase the children's participation for their own development in their own communities.
To develop policy that can protect children's rights.
Assessment prior to programme implementation
Before implementation, a number of meetings will be conducted with key stakeholders, community leaders and religious leaders in each part of the proposed programme between April 2010 and May 2010 to identify the usefulness and degree of acceptance of the community. If the local community feels interest and believe that it will provide benefits to their children, then the programme will be sketched and implemented. For higher participation of children, the programme will give also emphasize on the participation of parents, community leaders and religious leaders as catalysts.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Systematic evaluation is vital for project development, measuring its strengths and weakness, and constructing a form which can be applied to offer assistance in case of emergency. The evaluation of the programme will be verified through video recordings and the field workers report.
UNICEF.2010. Impact of armed conflict on children. [online] Available at: http://www.unicef.org/graca/ [Accessed March 21 2010].
Wessells, M.G. 1998. The changing nature of armed conflict and its implications for children: The Graca Machel/U.N. Study. Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 4(4), pp.321-334.
Sri Lankan Guardian. 2009. PTSD in Sri Lankan Children. [online] Available at: http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/03/ptsd-in-sri-lankan-children.html [Accessed March 22 2010].
Central Intelligence Agency. 2010. The World factbook. [online] Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ce.html [Accessed March 22 2010]
David Cameron. 2009. Will Colombo make peace? [online] Available at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/article977753.ece [Accessed March 22 2010]
Ruwan, M. J. 2010. PTSD In Sri Lankan Children. [online] Available at: http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/03/ptsd-in-sri-lankan-children.html [Accessed March 22 2010]
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. 2009. Sri Lanka: Continuing humanitarian concerns and obstacles to durable solutions for recent and longer-term IDPs. [online] Available at: http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/E52F8EDB6EC95876C125766A0045F597/$file/SriLanka_Overview_Nov09.pdf [Accessed March 22 2010]
Barenbaum, J.,Ruchkin, V. and Schwab-Stone, M. 2004. The psychosocial aspects of children exposed to war: practice and policy initiatives. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 45(1) January, pp .41-62.