Thursday, 16 December 2010

Behavioural change - an emotional day

Although my age is creeping up after having been in so many wars and post conflict situations, I have always espoused that it is  the younger generation that will lead the process for healing divisions, trauma and deep hurt in post conflict situations. Today it was such a moving experience to be with 30 plus young Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers on a five day course called Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change held in    Vavuniya- Sri Lanka. ,The course started on 14 December and will finish on 18 December 2010, and is conducted by the Sri Lanka Red Cross, . IFRC South Asia Regional Delegation, and IFRC Principles & Values Department in Geneva. The objectives are well on the way to being achieved..
Outdoor group activity. Photo: Bob McKerrow

The general objective is to : develop the network of YABC peer educators (Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change)  in Sri Lanka by building the capacity of the Red Cross youth leaders to use the draft YABC toolkit and implement the initiative within the framework of their National Society activities, especially the Internally Displaced People project in the north of Sri Lanka.. In line with this, the workshop will also aim at:

• Increasing their awareness and understanding of the 7 Fundamental Principles and the underpinning Humanitarian Values, thematic issues and behavioural skills in order to be able to disseminate and act upon them on a daily basis ;

• Familiarising them with the non-cognitive methodology and materials of the draft YABC toolkit so as to enable them using it within their National Society, region and/or zone.

Learning objectives:  At the end of the training, participants will:
• Be able to describe and promote the main points of the current thinking of the Federation regarding Principles and Values topics, in particular non-discrimination and respect for diversity, intercultural dialogue, social inclusion, gender equality, as well as a culture of non-violence and peace in light of the IFRC Global Strategy on Violence Prevention, Mitigation and Response, with a particular focus on the role of youth;

I had to sign the certificates which will presented to those who complete the course. Photo: Bob McKerrow

• Be able to confidently use and adapt to their context the non-cognitive methodology and materials of the draft YABC toolkit, while respecting the global coherence of the project;
• Have improved their knowledge of the principles of youth learning and acquired peer education techniques to take into account and put into practice when facilitating sessions related to the YABC initiative in their National Society, region and/or zone.

We are all a large team but i took this photo of my IFRC team, Dr. Mahesh, Tehani and Ganga who i am so proud of for their commitment to those who are hurting in the north.\

The expected outcomes are:

About thirty additional YABC peer educators in Sri Lanka will have:
• Strenghtened relationships between youth of the different National Society branches
• Materials of the draft YABC toolkit and YABC peer education manual further field-tested.

So I  was totally inspired today seeoin these young people share their traumatic experiences over many years of conflict, and design sways to help those who are still suffering the psycholocal  scars.

Tonight I am having dinner with one of the many heroes of the Tsunami, Dr Satiyalingam, Chairman of the Vavuniya branch of the SLRCS.  After 10 years of running the hospitals and health centres in Vavuniya, where hundreds of bodies and severely injured people were coming daily, and then when the Tsunami struck, he went to coastal Batticaloa, where he was the only doctor and worked for 5 days without sleep amputating, operating, triaging and  keeping hundreds alive. There was no mention in dispatches from this hero. Daily he runs the medical services in Vavuniya, and at nights and weekends he us a volunteer for the Sri Lanka Red Cross. This is why I love this organisation.


Anonymous said...

Good work Bob!

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Thanks Jim. The commitment and sincerity of these young Red Cross volunteers is inspiring. Bob

Anjana Dayal de Prewitt (Gudia) said...

Pretty cool!!! Congratulations!

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Thanks Anjana. There's a lot of positive stuff going on up north, driven by the SLRCS. So heart-warming to see.

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