India: With ‘Lockdown Learners’ initiative, UNODC engages youth confined by COVID-19


New Delhi/02 June 2020: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNODC's ‘Lockdown Learners’ series of online engagements with students and educators in India on COVID-19 and its impact on SDGs, peace and the rule of law.

In support of the Education for Justice Initiative (E4J, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration), these dialogues aim to sensitize students on concerns of vulnerable groups and emerging issues such as cybercrime, misinformation, gender-based violence, discrimination, mental health and corruption, among others. With an emphasis on activity-based learning, the Lockdown Learners series also provides a platform for students to receive mentorship and knowledge support through activity-based learning, and to use their talents and skills to promote awareness and become problem-solvers.

Since April, multiple interactions have been conducted with over 2500 students and educators from the Indian states/Union territories of ChandigarhDelhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Online educational resources have been shared with over 15000 students in the schools as well. In addition, with support from the Commissioner of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), E4J tools and resources have also been shared with educators across 636 JNVs across the country--and as a pilot, multiple interactive sessions have been conducted with students from JNV Jhajjar. Online mediums like MS Teams, Google Meet and even Whatsapp have been used, with due precautions taken on ensuring privacy and safety of all students.

Among the key schools who have engaged with UNODC on the Lockdown Learners series so far include: Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan (New Delhi), Ahlcon Public School (New Delhi), Tagore International Schools (New Delhi), Nahar International School (Mumbai), The Legacy School (Bengaluru), St. Vincent's School Asansol (West Bengal), St. Patricks High School, Asansol (West Bengal), Kothari International School (Noida), Vivekanand Middle School Deoghar (Jharkhand), Army Public School Noida (Uttar Pradesh), JNV Jhajjar (Haryana), St. John's High School (Chandigarh), Mount Litera Zee School Amritsar (Punjab), SHIPS Goraya (Punjab) and the Kamla Nehru Public School, Phagwara (Punjab). Some very innovative models have been used: online mediums like MS Teams, Google Meet and even Whatsapp, with due precautions taken on ensuring privacy and safety of all students. 

“UNODC believes that the crisis situations like COVID-19 cannot be overcome without education, in line with the United Nations’ principle of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key area of focus is on the evolving implications of COVID-19 for children and youth, especially pertaining to human rights, health, peace, security and the rule of law,” explained Sergey Kapinos, UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia.

"Some of these are also good practices that may also be emulated by others to reach students with limited internet access—for instance, in UNODC’s collaboration with the JNV in Jhajjar, we are working by interacting with groups of students through WhatsApp, using voice notes and audio recordings and images. These are cost-effective ideas that may be used by students with limited net connectivity," said Samarth Pathak, UNODC Communications Officer for South Asia. “Every alternate day, the UNODC-JNV Jhhajar WhatsApp group starts buzzing at 11.30 with messages from a vibrant group of 30 bright students, all keen to learn more about the UN, COVID-19 and its impact on vulnerable groups and the SDGs,” he added.  

UN diplomats and UNODC experts from other countries are also lending their support: for instance, the UN Cyber Chief Neil Walsh engaged with over 500 students, educators and parents from across India in an interactive dialogue on cybercrime and online safety, conducted in collaboration with Bengaluru’s The Legacy School. The discussion was livestreamed on Facebook and touched upon issues such as bitcoins and cryptocurrency, cyberbullying, data protection, hacking and even career paths.

UNODC welcomes schools to join these efforts in creating a positive framework for students to be productive and engaged during this period of lockdown, to reduce stress through positive messaging, and to empower young people to become champions of tomorrow.

E4J’s educational tools put great emphasis on values, on helping children build skills which empower them, and on teaching them to think. These varied products include free-to-use educational material, comics, board and online games, The Zorbs cartoon series, and other modules and videos that may be used by teachers, parents and students at home to develop an understanding on peace and the rule of law.

UNODC Deep Dive Dialogue: Promoting Peace and The Rule of Law Through Education

In this latest edition of UNODC's Deep Dive Dialogues, eminent Indian educators and global experts focus on innovative approaches in Education to Promote Peace and SDGs and building capacities of young people to emerge as problem solvers. The theme assumes significance in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on young people, vis-à-vis education and the rule of law.

Reflecting on this, Dr. Ashok Pandey, Director of Delhi’s Ahlcon Group of Schools, Ms. Geeta Jayanth, Principal of The Legacy School in Bengaluru, Mr. Sergey Kapinos, UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia, Ms. Lulua Asaad, Global Coordinator of Primary-level Programs at Education for Justice Initiative, UNODC and Mr. Gilberto Duarte Santos, Global Coordinator of Secondary-level Programs at Education for Justice Initiative engaged in an open discussion with Mr. Samarth Pathak, Communications Officer, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia. 

WatchPromoting Peace and The Rule of Law Through Education 


Watch: Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Jhajjar (Haryana)

Watch: Ahlcon Group of Schools (Delhi)

Watch: Kothari International School Noida (Uttar Pradesh)

Ideas for Action: Student-Driven Initiatives

 (in Support of UNODC's 'Lockdown Learners' series and 'Education for Justice' Initiative)

Song: Castles in the Air (Ahlcon International School, Delhi)

Asavri Verma and Ananya Verma, students of Delhi's Ahlcon International School, have composed a beautiful song, “Castles in the Air”, calling for peace and hope amid COVID-19                    

Dynamic Blog Space: Promoting SDGs and Peace online (Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi)

A group of students from Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan (Delhi) have joined hands to create a vibrant webpage, through which they wish to highlight the impact of COVID19 on peace and SDGs. Check out their work:

Special Videos: Reflections on COVID-19 and Emerging Risks (Mount Litera Zee School, Amritsar)

Students of Mount Litera Zee School (Amritsar) have created a set of videos, reflecting on COVID19 & emerging risks such as misinformation and discrimination.

Watch: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4

Special Videos: Reflections on Cybercrime (Kothari International School, Noida)

Students of the Kothari International School, Noida (Uttar Pradesh) have created a set of videos, reflecting on COVID-19 & emerging risks such as cybercrime and online safety.

Watch: Cybercrime and Online Safety amid COVID-19 

Dynamic Blog Space: Promoting SDGs and Peace online (Legacy School Bengaluru)

Students of Legacy School Bangalore created a webpage to highlight the impact of #COVID19 on peace & #SDGs. It features amazing videos, artwork and an interactive mythbusters game! ‬
‪Check it out:

Artwork: Messages on Peace and Security (Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Jhajjar)

Students of the Jawahar Navodaya School, Jhajjar (Haryana) have created a variety of artwork, reflecting on emerging risks to peace and SDGs.



(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the aforementioned creative products are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of UNODC.)