“Children are the future of the country”, on this statement nobody have an opposition but while functioning there are different obstacles forward. Schools in Nepal are often at the centre of the political struggle during the conflict. School children were sometimes recruited into armed groups, political groups used schools to increase their number of supporters, and School Management Committees (SMCs) were often unable to function properly due to polarization of out-of-school issues.

Moreover, even when school was not a direct target of conflict-related activities, school functioning suffered through strikes and violence on the streets that made it impossible for children and teachers to attend school. Although recent political developments have had a positive effect on educational indicators, many schools, particularly in the terai, still experience significant hindering as a result of social, religious activities, political unrest and instability, which is disrupting the education of school children in several districts and is being responded to by the education sector partners through the Schools as Zones of Peace (SZOP) initiative.

2008-09- Flashback 

Realizing the frequent but forceful school closure, politicization in school as major threats on children’s right to education in Nepal, CZOPP executed SZOP campaign. After documenting the process and activities of successful local initiatives, CZOPP carried out consultations to develop the SZOP National Framework. The consultations were already organized with relevant stakeholders including MoE, DoE, PABSON, N-PABSON, Educational Journalist Group and CZOPP members. 

This Framework aimed to develop a national policy for establishing all schools of Nepal as Zones of Peace by keeping all schools free from political and other interference; discrimination, violence and corporal punishment; neglect and exploitation;. It also aims to establish a monitoring, reporting and response system from local to national level. 

Comprehending the situation of conflict affected regions, CZOP launched its SZOP campaign in Mid Terai of Nepal.

Major Goals and Objectives- 2010

  • Support Government in Finalizing the SZOP National Framework and for endorsement
  • Raise awareness on SZOP issues in conflict affected Terai Regions of Nepal
  • Pressurize all stakeholders to end violence and intimidation at the schools
  • Establish the commitment to sustain the SZOP/CZOP initiatives.

Major Activities in brief:

  • Lobbying for finalizing the SZOP National Framework (SNF) and for endorsement: CZOP with the assistance of consultant has developed a policy review document related to SZOP and document few good practices on SZOP, which will be the instrumental for supporting SNF to be endorsed by the government in future.
  • 2 coordination meetings with the Child Rights Organizations and other stakeholders were organized in order to make SZOP campaign, a success.
  • SZOP Week Campaign: CZOP organized the week long campaign covering nine districts of the Terai – Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa– from 18-22 May 2010. The major objectives of this campaign was to raise the awareness on SZOP issues in targeted districts; to pressurize all stakeholders to end violence and intimidation at the schools and to establish the commitment to sustain the SZOP/CZOP initiatives. The activities like public hearings, speech program, press meet, cultural programs, rallies and other kind of local level initiatives were carried out during the campaign in all districts. Besides, there were different kinds of activities in each district initiated by local organizations and facilitated by CZOP. From the very beginning 20-25 people from CZOP were actively participated in the campaign throughout the nine districts. For the wide coverage of the campaign, there were broadcasting of information through local FM stations. Similarly, awareness raising materials like leaflets, posters and pamphlets were distributed in the districts. CZOP has also prepared the visual documentary of the campaign. The SZOP WEEK campaign was an outcome of national to grassroots level initiatives of child rights advocates.
  • Regional Interaction Programs: CZOP Organized 5 Regional Interaction Programs in two phases with an objective to sensitize on the SZOP issues and to introduce CZOP concepts, thereby forming the Regional Networks at all regions. The Eastern Regional Interaction Program was organized in first phase on July 1, 2010 at Biratnagar-Morang. Similarly from December 21-26, 2010, Regional Interaction program was organized at Hetauda-Makwanpur (Central Region), Pokhara-Kaski (Western Region), Nepalgunj-Banke (Mid-Western Region) and Dhangadhi-Kailali (Far-Western Region).

Major Achievements of SZOP Campaign

  • SZOP campaign has brought together the major stakeholders involved in School as Zones of Peace initiatives in different districts as well as those involved in CZOP campaign to raise awareness for promoting peace in schools and for supporting the education of children.
  • Collaboration with NHRC to establish SZOP monitoring mechanism at the regions
  • SZOP monitoring in Terai
  • Janakpur-focused SZOP campaign
  • A week long campaign in Nine districts of Terai
  • Documentary on SZOP campaign
  • Acquiring commitment and support from political leaders of Terai regions, Teachers Unions and govt. officials to establish schools as zones of peace
  • Recognition of SZOP nationwide through the media
  • Inclusion of SZOP in 1 Goal Campaign
  • Formation of CZOPP 5 Regional Networks- established information linkages system; sensitized on collective advocacy and initiatives for responding Child Protection issues