INEE Member Spotlight: Raghda Alhaddad

Location: Gaza Palestine Headshot author

Title: School Principal

Contact: r.alhaddadhamdouna@gmail.com

Introduce yourself to other members. Tell us who you are and summarize the work you do or interest you have in EiE. 

I am Raghda Alhaddad, a committed school principal of a UNRWA school in Gaza Palestine. 

I have a long professional working experience of about 20 years in education and project management with the best performance record. In 2019, I was granted the Irish Government Fellowship to study MSc Humanitarian Action at the University College Dublin in Dublin Ireland. In 2020, I completed my masters with a First Honors degree. 

Being a school principal for more than twelve years, I demonstrate remarkable leadership and management skills. In addition to my official role as a school principal, I am one of the  representatives of the education department in the UNRWA Gender Working Group and GBV Taskforce. In 2021, I was assigned to work as a project manager in UNRWA. During the summer time of the past 9 years, I worked as a project officer in UNRWA Summer Activities in Gaza. Furthermore, I have been volunteering as a human rights trainer in the UNRWA education department since 2013, where I facilitated numerous training courses on human rights education for teachers and school principals. 

Since I live and work in a conflict area, I am interested to learn cutting edge knowledge of EiE. I need to develop my skills in managing and providing education in emergencies. INEE offers extraordinary resources and networking opportunities that strengthen my capacity and improve my performance during emergencies. 

What has been a highlight of your work as a professional in EiE?

I work as a school principal in a conflict zone area where we experience recurrent hostilities from time to time. As such, it is really challenging to deliver high quality education to children in Gaza in light of the discontinuity of learning in addition to the various psychological problems the children suffer from. Therefore, I usually keep an eye on workshops and gatherings circulated for the INEE members particularly those living in conflict areas in the MENA region. When possible, I participate in the online meetings and workshops organized by the INEE coordinators in order to learn from their experiences and increase my knowledge in various topics relevant to EiE. Moreover, the INEE platform provides the Psychosocial Support (PSS) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Toolbox which comprises a variety of tools that meet the interests and needs of many different stakeholders working on PSS and SEL in Education in Emergencies (EiE). author photo

After the May military escalation over Gaza in 2021, with the help of the INEE coordinator, I managed to organize an online workshop for 17 school principals and teachers in Gaza in cooperation with INEE members from Yemen, Syria and Sudan. The participants shared their success stories and best practices in similar situations. We discussed some tools of PSS and how to develop the initial PSS-SEL framework that support and guide Gaza educators to provide good quality education in emergencies.

When and why did you join INEE, and what is the value of INEE membership to you?

I live and work in Gaza where the recurrent hostilities (2008/09, 2012/14, 2021) have exacerbated the effects of the ongoing blockade, which will enter its sixteen years in summer 2023. This situation has a devastating impact on people’s lives and economy rendering the majority of the population dependent on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs. School should provide students with a place where they are able to feel safe and secure and can develop the skills and aptitudes for their future. 

I joined the INEE in June 2019 aiming to get access to updated information and widen my knowledge in policies and practices in EiE that will contribute to developing my capacities as a school principal. Through INEE, I had numerous opportunities to meet with other educators and stakeholders in order to foster dialogue and discuss shared problems and challenges . I am also able to access relevant information and participate in different convenings and workshops that support my work and respond to my demands, thus strengthening my professional and personal capacities. 

How do you currently engage with the INEE network? 

As a member, I participated in all the INEE’s online platforms. I always check news and events of INEE via email, WhatsApp and Slack application. I receive invitations for web events and workshops from time to time. I usually participate in INEE Meet-Ups and attend web events and workshops where I interact, network, share experiences, and discuss common topics with the other INEE members. In addition, I update my knowledge using the dynamic database of resources in the INEE Measurement Library which is quite relevant to education in emergencies where any member can reach and download. 

Recently, I have joined the Gender Working Group as a member. We work collaboratively to raise awareness, promote understanding, and try to make progress on gender-responsive EiE. We focus on developing practical resources and reinforced knowledge-sharing as well as advocacy linked to gender equity and education.

How would you like INEE members to connect and engage with you? What skills, experience and/or technical support would you be willing to share or provide to other members and/or INEE Secretariat? 

INEE members can connect and engage with me through emails, and any other online platforms such as zoom, Microsoft teams, WhatsApp and Slack application. I will interact with any interested members in any topic relevant to EiE. 

I can share my experiences with them, particularly in topics related to Inclusive Education, emotional learning, extracurricular activities and advocacy linked to gender equity and education. We can also discuss common problems and challenges such as violence at school and the learning gaps due to COVID-19. 

I am also interested in cooperating with the INEE Secretariat to conduct participatory research in EiE and Child Protection across humanitarian settings in the MENA region. I can also contribute in developing and implementing action plans to promote child-centred preparedness, response and recovery.

Anything else you want to share with members? 

As the representative of the Education Programme in UNRWA Gender Working Group & the GBV Taskforce, I can share my experience in relevant topics. I am willing to exchange dialogues with interested members where we can share success stories and lessons learned.

 

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