ARNEC is pleased to host a series of webinars highlighting the important role of early childhood development (ECD) in responding to the unintentional impacts of COVID-19 as countries implement measures to contain the spread of the corona virus. These include ‘lockdown’ measures which meant closure of pre-schools and disruption of ECD services, among other things.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and its impact is far-reaching and long-term. Young children risk being the most-affected victims of the pandemic, arising from the socio-economic impacts of this crisis and the mitigation measures that unintentionally bring more harm than good.
In addition, UNICEF articulated that COVID-19 containment measures, such as lockdowns and shelter in place come with heightened risks for children, which can be in terms of:
- children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse;
- children in conflict settings;
- children living in unsanitary and crowded conditions such as refugee and IDP settlements; and
- children’s reliance on online platforms for distance learning increases their risk of exposure to inappropriate content and online predators.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also significant impact on displaced children and families whose situation is already difficult prior to the pandemic.
Several questions will be answered in the fifth webinar of ARNEC:
- What are the major safety risks and threats faced by young children during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How does the pandemic affect vulnerable populations, such as displaced families, refugees and migrants differently?
- What can we learn from organisations which have put in place child protection mechanisms and services to support young children in vulnerable situations?
We also raise the following questions as governments define transitory arrangements into the recovery phase post-COVID lockdown.
- What needs to be done to ensure that child protection mechanisms and services are retained, expanded and prioritised even after the COVID-19 lockdown measures are lifted?
- What child protection investments need to be ‘protected’ from the government budget cutback and therefore mobilised as the economy is being gradually opened up?
These questions will be answered in the fifth ARNEC webinar by experts and practitioners highlighting the importance of ensuring the safety and security of young children at all times.
Panelists: Ms Rachel Harvey, Ms Erum Mariam, Ms Suhany Zaimah, Mr Talat Mahmud, Ms Anita L'Enfant, Ms Peta-Gaye Bookall, Mr Tata Sudrajat.
Moderator: Ms Jessica Hampton, Education Advisor at ChildFund Australia and ARNEC Steering Committee Member.