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Feb 21, 2020

Protocol Launched to Improve Protection of Children during Disasters

Minerva Pinelo

On Wednesday, the Government and UNICEF launched the “National Protocol for Integrated Protection for Children and Adolescents during Emergency and Disaster Situations.” It’s a disaster risk reduction document that researchers have put together to deal with emergency preparedness and responses processes during times of disasters.  Here’s more from the research team and UNICEF.


Dr. Minerva Pinelo, Co-researcher, Right Insights

“Today, we are here to launch a set of guidance documents and this is a national protocol that will offer integrated protection to children and adolescence during emergency and disaster situations. So, essentially, we have conducted fieldwork through consultations in our country with adults and children. We have also conducted fieldwork in the Caribbean. The Belize team has led a pioneering research to add another layer of emergency preparedness but this time how to include children and adolescence.  We want stakeholders to tell us what are some of the training needs going forward and how we can disseminate this protocol, because obviously it will move from a publication into action. So, this afternoon, we are going to guide them through scenarios and have them use the concrete actions suggested in the document to help us to know where we would start in its implementation. This is perhaps a phase that will continue. There will be an evolution of the document but what is important is that we will start implementing and that we can grow in one year or in two years or three years in how to better protect children and adolescent.”

Susan Kassede

Dr. Susan Kassede, Country Representative, UNICEF

“UNICEF supports this process because, together with our partners, we recognized that there was a gap in emergency preparedness and response processes. In terms of consideration of children, that meant that our response was not adequately catering for and building the capacity for us to cater to the needs of our children. The protocol that is being launched today spells out specifically how we can improve integrated support to make sure that we are prepared to respond to the particular needs and threats of children in the face of disaster but also how we can coordinate more effectively to respond during a disaster and following a disaster so that children are resilient, but also so that they can come out of these disaster situations better able to rebound and recover and to achieve their full potential.”

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