Learning About the Needs of Adolescents in Emergency Situations through a Mission to Loucria

16 March 2011
Author: UNFPA
Screenshot from the online course Photo: UNFPA

NEW YORK – Adolescents represent a significant proportion of people affected by humanitarian emergencies. Many show up at camps without a parent or guardian – or their parents are distracted and distressed. Some are caring for younger siblings. In addition to dealing with loss and confusion, they are coping with the complex changes brought on by puberty in their bodies and emotions.

A new e-learning course, takes visitors through the process of delivering assistance in a sensitive way to these adolescents, using the example of an earthquake in the fictional country of Loucria.

The online course, produced by UNFPA and Save the Children, complements the hands-on guide, the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Toolkit for Humanitarian Settings. It virtually takes students on a mission to the stricken villages of Loucria, and introduces them to a number of characters including:

  • Miranda, 16, who is six months pregnant, on her own, and very scared
  • Sydney, who is worried about the safety of his teenage daughter, and
  • Johanne, who has traded sex for food for her family and is now scared that she may have contracted HIV.

Based on their experiences and concerns, the course guides students through the principle sand steps needed to ensure that the needs and rights of young people are sensitively and systematically addressed. To do this, it introduces a number of tools ranging from a rapid needs assessment and situation analysis to interventions and interviews. During the process it introduces a number of available resources, such as checklists and questionnaires to assist aid workers to address sensitive issues during and immediately after a crisis situation.

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