Have your students buy in to advocacy
Together with partners all over the globe, UNICEF is asking 1.2 million people to stand up for the children of Syria. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is helping by collecting e-signatures at unicefusa.org/nolostgen for a five-point plan to help build a better future for Syria’s children. Signing a call to action for world leaders is an excellent example of global citizenship in action, and this exercise will help students understand the meaning behind the pledge.
1. Distribute copies of the pledge or project it on a large screen. Together read the introduction to the pledge (from the beginning through the first series of bullets). Explain any terms or ideas that are unfamiliar to students.
- Note: See the TeachUNICEF Global Citizenship Brief, Syria: No Lost Generation, for lessons, activities and a background guide for educators that can provide context on the conflict in Syria and the need for this pledge.
2. Read the introduction to the call to action section, clarifying concepts and vocabulary as needed. Discuss:
- Who is this call to action aimed at?
- What does it mean that a generation can be lost?
3. Read the bullets of the pledge. Discuss:
- Humanitarian law is a collection of agreements by the world’s countries involving protections for ordinary citizens during wartime. What protections would they need? Why might ordinary citizens lose these protections during certain wartime situations?
- What could happen if humanitarian assistance is blocked over long periods of time?
- Note: Discuss the impact of deprivation of assistance necessary for survival (e.g., food, water, shelter) as well as other forms of assistance (e.g., education, counseling, recreational activities).
- Reconciliation is the process by which opposing sides in a conflict work out their differences. Tolerance is the accepting of one another’s differences. Why should those things be the goal instead of just ending the fighting?
- How do you think that investing in education and psychological protection will pay off for the children of Syria? What about for the nation and the whole region?
4. Direct attention to the last line of the pledge, “I am a Champion for the children of Syria.” Encourage students to demonstrate that commitment by signing the call to action at unicefusa.org/nolostgen.
Have students transform the pledge into a display in a highly visible place, like the entrance area of their school. They can set up a place to collect signatures to mail in to a policymaker, like their member of Congress.