The Protection and Wellbeing of Refugee Children: A Ugandan Case Study (3 credits)
Of the approximately millions of refugees across the world today, over half are children under the age of 18. Refugees face numerous hardships as they seek safe havens for themselves and their families, including but not limited to lack of financial resources, insecure shelter, and disruption of social networks prior to displacement, during flight, and during resettlement. Whether residing in urban or camp settings, refugees may experience decreased access to clean water, food insecurity, and limited healthcare and education, often compounded by a precarious legal status. The stress of forced migration, particularly for children who have been exposed to conflict or violence, is occurring during an already challenging time of development and identity formation.
Because of its location, culture of hospitality and generous asylum policies of the Ugandan government, Uganda is home to more than 1,000,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers. Most migrate from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Others originate from Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi, making it the country with the largest number of refugees being hosted in Africa and top ten in the world.
This short course will explore operational ways of addressing child protection concerns for refugees in Uganda. We will examine child protection from both reduction of physical risk and promotion of developmental well-being perspectives. Students will be exposed to the theories and debates pertaining to child wellbeing in humanitarian settings as well as explore context-specific factors that may make children more or less resilient in the face of adversity. Students will develop a practical understanding of effective interventions for preventing and responding to specific child protection concerns, including child-family separations; child recruitment and use as armed combatants; sexual violence and abuse; and exposure to violence and other traumatic events. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to visit and learn from NGOs who are delivering programming on the ground and participate in data gathering exercises to inform current programming and their own understanding of these complex issues.
Description of Course Activities:
The course is grounded in the Global Classroom concept of “distributed learning” that mobilizes the power of a diverse set of learners to collectively explore the multifaceted challenges associated with organized efforts to protect children and promote their well-being in refugee settings. It will emphasize global standards and best practice; the value of local, culturally grounded voices/experience; collaborative workspaces and dialogue; and locally informed investigations or assignments. The course format will include classroom lectures, discussion seminars, sites visits and data collection in Uganda. The course structure will combine classroom instruction with experiential learning provided through field visits to refugee communities and NGOs.
The field based portion will take place in June 2020 over 15 days and will be taught by Professors Lindsay Stark and Fred Ssewamala. It is envisioned that students will spend 3 to 4 days in Kampala with guest lectures from Child Fund, TPO Uganda, UNICEF, UNHCR and others as well as site visits to urban refugee communities. Students will also have the opportunity to observe and reflect together on some of the community-led approaches to protection as well as NGO programming that is being implemented. During the rest of the course, students will travel to Palorinya refugee settlement, which is located in Moyo district and hosts more than 180,000 South Sudanese refugees across 37.58 square kilometers of land. During their stay, students will shadow NGOs implementing programming for children and families, and review monitoring and evaluation frameworks and other internal accountability processes within the NGOs. Students will also have the opportunity to also engage in data collection activities, conducting programmatic observations and interviewing field staff.
The tentative list of topics covered during class includes:
A. Child Protection Systems
B. Violence and Wellbeing
- Law and Policy
- The shifting landscape for refugees
- The ecological framework, ‘protective environment’ and other applied conceptual frameworks
- Community-based protection mechanisms
E. Leadership, Advocacy and Accountability
- Protection from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse, Neglect
- Impact of Violence on Children
- Psychosocial wellbeing and mental health
- Social Change and Family Strengthening
- Social Protection
- Unaccompanied and separated children
- Social Inclusion/Non-Discrimination
- Cultural and Social Norms/Social Change
- Child friendly assessments, monitoring and evaluation
The following social work and public health competencies will be addressed with this course
1.1. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
1.2. Engage diversity and difference in practice/ Cultural competency skills.
1.3. Advance human rights and social and economic justice
1.4. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment
1.5. Respond to contexts that shape practice
Double occupancy rooms for all students in hostel/hotel.
This course is open to all Brown students. Students must apply via this website and the deadline is October 4, 2019. If chosen, you will be required to enroll in the course for the spring and travel in June. If you are a second year student, your official graduation date will be August, although you will be able to participate in the May graduation ceremony before the course travels.
The cost per student is $1500. This will cover flights from Chicago (students are responsible for getting to Chicago), housing, in-country transportation, and some meals. Students are responsible for the costs of any meals, visas, required or recommended immunizations or other expenses not noted. This will be charged to your student account so financial aid is available.
For questions, please contact Tammy Orahood, Director of Global Programs, Brown School, at email@example.com.