Webinar event date: 
May 13, 2020 1:00 pm EDT
Webinar Presenters: 

Lisa Bender

Education in Emergencies Specialist



Lisa Bender, an Education in Emergencies Lead at UNICEF NYHQ, has a background in education, humanitarian response, post-crisis transition and social programming for children and youth. She has worked on setting goals for education in humanitarian settings for the new UNICEF Education Strategy, developed Risk Informed Programming for Education, authored a Guide to Rapid Education Needs and the Education Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Guidance and effected high-level policy progress to protect education in humanitarian emergencies. Prior to UNICEF, Lisa worked with international NGOs and other UN agencies in education, child protection, emergency response, training, needs assessments and evaluations in a number of countries. Lisa has experience as a social worker and teacher, was a Peace Corps volunteer and holds a Master’s degree from the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University.



Lisa Wolff

Director, Policy and Research



Lisa Wolff is Director, Policy and Research at UNICEF Canada. She has worked in the organization for more than a decade leading advocacy to advance the rights of Canada’s children to develop to their fullest potential, consistent with international human rights standards. Collaborating with government, institutions, civil society, researchers and private sector partners, UNICEF Canada works across issues and sectors, making children and youth visible and leveraging UNICEF’s global research, data and innovation in domestic policy and practice. Lisa is a member of the Making the Shift Networks of Centres of Excellence Implementation Management Committee (addressing youth homelessness) and a past member of the Board of Directors of PREVNet and of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Child. Lisa received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor-General of Canada in 2012.


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of childhood, from education to protection. Schools were closed in more than 190 countries, affecting more than 1.5 billion learners. At the same time, children in lockdown have been cut off from other community places and people that support their health, development and well-being. Together, these spaces play a crucial role not only in children’s learning, but also in protecting their well-being and safety. As such, it’s important that they reopen as soon as the public health imperative allows. 


To facilitate the decision-making process around how schools and other child and youth serving spaces might safely reopen, Lisa Bender, UNICEF global expert on Education in Emergencies, will share the new Framework for Reopening Schools, jointly developed by UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, the World Food Programme and the World Bank. This Framework is designed to be a flexible tool that can be adapted to community and jurisdictional contexts. We trust it will serve as a guiding tool in your planning or advocacy with governments in opening safe spaces for children, based on a robust assessment of the benefits and risks, and guided always by the best interest of the child. Our aim is to reopen better, healthier, safer child and youth serving spaces, enabling children to learn and recover from the crisis.


Specific learning objectives for this presentation are:

1.    To restore and enhance the protective environment for children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic;

2.    To provide a framework for planning and deciding on how to open safe spaces for children and youth, considering the new Framework for Reopening Schools for other children’s services and programs;

3.    To support consideration of the best interests of children and youth in pandemic plans and strategies.