Physical education and arts programme approaches in conflict settings

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Helpdesk Query:

What approaches to physical education and arts in formal and non-formal settings have worked to help children cope with stress and trauma during conflict?

Summary:

This helpdesk report is the concluding report in the query addressing psycho-social interventions in protracted crises with reference to Syria and its neighbouring countries as well as from other fragile and conflict affected states (FACS). This report specifically addresses sports/physical education programmes in and around Syria and its impact.

Until recently, arts and sport/physical education particularly, remained on the periphery of mainstream humanitarian and development programming, and given less importance in comparison to other development objectives. Now, however, there is an increasing understanding that sport does not have to contend with other development or humanitarian priorities but can be a means for addressing them. This was affirmed multilaterally through the creation of the United Nations Office on Sport Development and Peace (UNOSDP) in 2001 and the subsequent United Nations Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace which concluded in its 2003 report that “sport offers a cost-effective tool to meet many development and peace challenges, and help achieve the MDGs [the UN’s Millennium Development Goals].” (USAID, n.d., p. 4).

With regards to arts programmes, though there is generally support from some UN agencies as well as international and national level organisations, there is currently no system level mechanisms, regional or national level coordination nor any global agencies dedicated to this area of programming.

 

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