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Drawing of children

Children and Adolescent in Palestinian Households: Living with the Effects of Prolonged Conflict and Forced Migration

This study addresses the situation of Palestinian children and adolescents who have experienced prolonged conflict and forced migration in the Middle East region - Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza). The report is based on a two-phase study: a community-level Participatory Research Approach (PRA) and a household sub-sample of 20 households in each site from which case material has been drawn.  The research focuses on the ways in which children and adolescents within households are changed by past and current episodes of forced migration: alterations to individual rites of passage from childhood to adult status; transformations to family organization and structure; changes in informal and formal education and access to labour markets; and transformations in community cohesion and social institutions such as marriage, employment and care of the elderly. The results of the research demonstrate that:

1. Palestinian children and adolescent are active and politically aware individuals. Therefore, programming and policy-making on their behalf should start with their input and involvement, which requires a significant shift in the IGO and NGO world from top down to a bottom up approach.

2. There is a need to raise awareness about the multiple discrimination, which female Palestinian children and youth face at home and in school. This includes increased work load and reduced educational opportunities. There is a need to encourage self-expression and peer group solidarity by setting up youth clubs for girls.

3. There is a need for counselling for older female Palestinian children and adolescents and their caregivers, to address family and community efforts to see them into early or forced marriage.

4. Political street activism needs to be further understood. The current lack of alternative spaces which Palestinian youth may occupy also needs to be carefully considered: play areas, computer centres, libraries and sports fields.

5. There is a need to reinforce young people's identity with projects recording memories of the first generation. This can be through projects which record narratives of family and national history, both through formal education systems and informal ones.

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