Education and health are key pillars of development and OfERR Ceylon implements various programs among the schools to address the challenges children face. OfERR (Ceylon) under the funding support of EU-UNICEF undertook the program titled “Support to District Development Program (SDDP)” to support small scale rehabilitation of school infrastructure and WASH facilities in order to promote child friendly education. The main objective of this program is to create or establish the model for Child Friendly environment in specially targeted Schools in Vavuniya, Mannar, Anuradhapura and Puttalam districts.
To create the Child Friendly Approach, new construction and renovation of the school buildings has been undertaken. On the other hand, trainings were conducted to contribute for capacity development on CFA related activities such as Formation/Activation of School attendance Committee (SAC), Develop and distribute advocacy materials to promote attendance and reintegration, Collect data of OOSC/ dropped out children, and irregular/poor attendance, Preparation of school catchment areas maps, Home visits to reintegrate children, Community based cluster meetings for awareness creation, Teacher training on inclusive education and child friendly approach, Student camp promoting child to child approach & peer study initiatives in educational activities, Seasonal calendars to identify the seasons for irregular attendance, Awarding System for promoting attendance, reintegration and retention, Assistance (cash grant & in – kind support) for promoting attendance for identified vulnerable, Support improved Learning competent (ALP), promote social cohesion, Early Child Development activity, etc.
WASH activity targets undertaking Education Construction and Software. To support the CFA concept this program has supported various tools and mechanism to enhance the CFA in the School such as Base line data collection, Toilet construction, Group Happy Hand Washing Unit, Sustainable water supply, Hygiene Promotion training and Menstrual Hygiene Management training.
There is an increased engagement of children in school activities. The local community has been involved in creation of child friendly environment schools. This program also resulted in sensitizing the government actors involved in the school education, to encourage the schools to have better environment to develop interest among children by promoting child friendly education theme.
It is notable that “Early Childhood Education” project in Mullaitivu District with financial support from international donors has been successfully implemented. This resulted in the formation of many new Early Childhood Development Committees (ECDC) and the organization of discussion forums, cultural events, receptions, sports meets and festival celebrations with parents and children.