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Safe Spaces. Lebanon 2006. Objectives. Understand how Safe Spaces are implemented in both areas of conflict and development Apply the concepts of establishing an Emergency Safe Space. Why do we have them ?.

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Safe spaces

Safe Spaces

Lebanon 2006



  • Understand how Safe Spaces are implemented in both areas of conflict and development

  • Apply the concepts of establishing an Emergency Safe Space

Why do we have them

Why do we have them ?

Safe Spaces are areas which are purposefully established to support children’s physical safety, as well as their ability to express themselves, play and learn.

Safe spaces can provide

Safe Spaces can provide:

  • Physical protection

  • Psychosocial support

  • Educational support

  • Life-saving skills

  • A space for new information and thinking (adolescent education, peace education)

  • Alternative means of addressing issues not in the formal school curriculum – UXO

Finding a safe space

Finding a Safe Space:

  • A designated Space clear from mines and dangerous traffic etc.

  • A place where parents and children would feel comfortable.

  • Agreement with the owners of the land/ municipality to use the space

  • Sanitation, hand washing facilities and drinking water could be made available

Recruiting volunteers

Recruiting Volunteers

  • Ratio 1 Volunteer per 25 Children

  • Identify existing community volunteers and try to use them to work with children

  • Find people who are interested in working with children or preferably have experience of working with children. Eg. Mothers, young people or teachers.

  • A commitment to work with the groups on a regular basis over the next 2 months for a minimum

  • The communities will be comfortable for the children to be supervised by these volunteers

Structuring play activities

Structuring Play Activities

There are a number of reasons why structuring activities in an SPA are important:

  • To ensure fair distribution of toys and sports equipment

  • To ensure children are being active in the different types of play

  • To improve the development of children

  • To bring back some resemblance of life before the emergency when children used to attend school regularly and have very structured lives, to bring back some normalcy.

  • To help children gain some control over their life

Things to consider when organizing activities

Children develop best if given a chance to use all 5 types of play: Creative; Imaginative; physical; communicative; manipulative, for younger children it is essential. Try to mix the types of activities e.g. alternating passive and active, and indoor and outdoor

Children need not only structure but free time also where they can express themselves exactly how they want to.

Children and parents opinions need to be included when structuring activities, they know themselves/their children what they enjoy most, at what times are most suitable and what other commitments they have.

Age specific activities and schedules, allowing time for younger and older children to participate.

Things to consider when organizing activities:

Weekly activity plan

Weekly Activity Plan

Volunteers should plan a week of activities at a time, so that the children are prepared for the next events.

This should include:

  • What days the safe spaces will operate

  • Times of sessions

  • Ages of children who should attend

  • Types of activities that will happen

  • Any other information on changes to location or additional volunteers who may be needed.

Working with children

Working with children

Remember to:

  • Be sensitive

  • Listen to the child about how he/she wants things done

  • Do not say “you poor little thing”– don’t patronise a child

  • Children should be allowed to talk to who they want to

  • Be patient



  • Identify monitors from people with existing experience with children (teachers, coaches, scout leaders)

  • Continue training for volunteers

  • Establish a monitoring system where each center is visited a minimum of once a week depending on transport.

Quote from a child

Quote from a child

Save the Children established their first Safe Space in the Bakaa, where one child at 8pm wanted to know.

“ Are you really going to open the gates for us to play tomorrow?”

This really is an important intervention that builds unity, friendship, and is so needed within our communities of Lebanon.

Safe spaces





Please contact Save the Children for more information on how to establish a Safe Space and any additional assistance.

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