Israel Emergency Campaign (IEC) Initiative of the United Jewish Communities (UJC/Jewish Federations of North America) after the Second Lebanon War: Evaluation of the Initiative for Children and Youth

The Second Lebanon War broke out in the summer of 2006. A few months later, a rehabilitation initiative for children and youth was implemented by the United Jewish Communities (UJC/Jewish Federations of North America), in an effort to meet a variety of needs that arose following the war. The Initiative included over 200 programs, implemented by JDC-Ashalim, the Jewish Agency and the Israel Trauma Coalition, in different areas: enrichment, value-related education, improved scholastic achievement and dropout prevention, post-traumatic therapy, early childhood programs and programs for children with special needs. The programs were implemented in some 60 localities and tens of thousands of children participated in them over the course of two years.

The current report summarizes the findings from an evaluation conducted in twelve localities in two stages – a few months after the start of the Initiative and a year later. A forthcoming report presents in greater detail the parents’ views of their children’s needs and the way these needs were addressed during the Initiative. Among the questions the study addresses:

  • What were the geographical spread and extent of the programs included in the Initiative each year?
  • To what extent did the Initiative meet the target population’s needs?
  • What were the strengths, difficulties and extent of satisfaction with the implementation?
  • What did the Initiative contribute to the children, schools, implementers and the organizations in charge?
  • What lessons could be learned and applied should another emergency situation arise in the future?

The information was collected through: (1) In-depth interviews with key professionals at the local authorities, the organizations in charge, the program implementers and the organization funding the Initiative; (2) Interviews and focus groups with school staff and students; (3) Telephone interviews with parents.

The findings reveal that the entry into the localities was swift and brought about the deployment of a large number of programs for a large number of children and youth. In Initiative localities, there was a positive change among the children, parents and educational staff, compared with the situation in the aftermath of the war. Furthermore, the Initiative made it possible to provide therapy and services to a population that in most cases does not usually benefit from such activities, for example the Arab/Druze sector.

An interim report submitted after the first year of activity served to identify key difficulties and to strengthen the program in the second year. The findings also reveal a number of key issues that need to be addressed and lessons for future emergency assistance efforts.

The study was conducted in partnership with the Planning, Research and Information Unit, Israel Department, at the Jewish Agency at the initiative of the UJC/Jewish Federations of North America and funded with its assistance.