Tripoli 24 May
The revolution had many victims, including children, and not all their wounds were physical. The United Nations is seeking . . .[restrict]to put in place a programme to identify and assist children who suffered trauma during the conflict. It estimates that up to one million young people may have been affected.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is inviting tenders from qualified organisations to first survey and document the impact of violence on Libyan children and then to design programmes to help and support them.
The timeframe is tight. Bids have to be submitted by 5 June and the programme is due to start the same month and run until December 2013. UNICEF is careful to emphasise that it is working with the Libyan government, as will the successful bidder. The bid document, released only yesterday, envisages that the successful organisation will operating with the Ministries of Education, Social Affairs and Health.
The first job, says UNICEF will be to find out the extent to which young people have been damaged psychologically by the conflict. Then the key, says UNICEF, will be to organise community-based support for their children and their families, which will flow over into their schools and universities.
The initial survey of the damage caused to the minds of young people will help inform how educational establishments will brief teachers to handle challenging behaviour . It will also help social workers and psychologists work out schemes that will assist young people cope with the trauma that they have suffered. It is envisaged that before a programme is rolled out nationally, the successful bidder will run pilot projects to test its methodology.
It is not yet clear how much this scheme is going to cost. Bidders are invited to pitch a monthly cost for the 18-month programme. It appears that the project itself will be paid for by UNICEF but that the Libyan government will need to fund the specific rehabilitation programmes that are found to be necessary.
According to a psychiatrist closely connected to the Ministry of Health, the UNICEF plan is extremely important. “People will argue that Libya is awash with reports on anything you care to name. But the issue of the trauma that our young people have suffered during the fighting cannot be overlooked, because coping with their pain is important for our future as an inclusive society. This is an initiative that clearly deserves everyone’s support.” [/restrict]