Supporting community role models for child protection

Children with school supplies as part of the programme. Terre des Hommes.

Lebanon | 2022 | CBPF

Lebanon, Beirut. Najib is a 42-year-old geologist and father of four who runs a small grocery for a living.

“Education is the most important thing in the world. It’s true that I am not working in my field, but my education has helped me a lot in my life. I can do advanced calculations to manage my small business. I can handle all of my family’s paperwork.”

Habib, a father of two, had a different experience—he never learned to read, and “I had challenges all my life because of it. That’s why I will do anything I can to make sure my children have a better future.” He works as a security guard full-time, on top of part-time work to get enough money to send his children to private school and after-school programmes.

Facing one of the world’s worst economic crises in centuries, many children in Lebanon are working to support their families. But this means they are missing out on their education.

Najib and Habib have both taken part in learning sessions on child labor provided by Terre des Hommes Italy, in partnership with UNICEF and supported by the Central Emergency Response Fund. UNICEF’s QUDWA programme is Lebanon’s first national Social and Behavioural Change and Communication Plan. The programme’s name derives from the Arabic role for role model, as the aim is to engage and give ownership to community members to uphold children’s rights.

Both fathers are doing everything they can to ensure their children continue their education and pursue their degrees. “No one will love or care for my child like I do, and for that reason, I must care for them properly and protect them from any harm,” says Najib.

In his grocery, Najib frequently discusses the importance of education and the dangers of child labor with his clients. With the tough economic conditions, he sees how child labor is becoming “normal” – and he’s trying to change the conversation.

Habib, for his part, also engages his neighbors and friends in conversation on the importance of school and the danger of child labor, because “Education is the base for every child to lead a good life.”

Names have been changed