Why women participate in First Aid courses
While traditionally men spend most of the day away at work in rural South Lebanon, it falls upon the women to take care of the children and the elderly, in addition to their regular daily responsibilities. In the event of an accident or an emergency it is almost always the women who are first at the scene. They effectively become the “first responders”. Given this fact of life, it came as no surprise that Susan Metri, the mukhtar of Rachaya al Foukar, accepted without hesitation the Spanish contingent’s offer of a first aid course for women.
Around ten women and a few children from the town took part in this first aid course given by UNIFIL’s Spanish battalion (SPANBATT). SPANBATT’s Lieutenant Nurse Pilar Leal Perez and her female team taught theoretical and practical aspects of first aid techniques such as what to do when a person is unconscious; assisting a choking person and, of course, how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is noteworthy that while the women showed great interest and focus during the course, the children were equally motivated to learn as much as they could from the Spanish peacekeepers.
This course offer from the Spanish battalion comes as part of a wider UNIFIL initiative, the Female Assessment/Analysis and Support Team (FAST). FAST consists of a team of uniformed and civilian UNIFIL peacekeepers, trained and on call to provide a gender perspective when battalions interact with female members of host communities.
When utilizing FAST, the mission is made more accessible to Lebanese women, diluting cultural and social barriers while providing a sense of security and ease through the interaction with female peacekeepers. Furthermore, these women and children now possess some basic skills that might one day help save a life.