EMPOWERING LANGUAGE LEARNING IN LEBANON

Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

US$2.2 MILLION UNESCO PROJECT FUNDED BY EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT WILL IMPROVE FRENCH TEACHING AND LEARNING TO BENEFIT REFUGEES FROM SYRIAN CRISIS AND OVERALL LEARNING OUTCOMES

28 November 2018, Beirut – Language is power. To empower its students and improve French teaching and learning – especially for Syrian refugees who have struggled to progress and thrive in classes primarily taught in the French language – UNESCO is partnering with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) to scale up the impacts of a US$2.2 million project funded by Education Cannot Wait.

The project will promote the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in French for both Lebanese and non-Lebanese students to improve learning outcomes in core subjects. In a bilingual society, this will contribute to improvements in transition and retention rates, and provide a safer, more effective learning environment for recent arrivals fleeing the war, chaos and danger in Syria.

“This investment in developing the capacity of schools and teachers to deliver quality education to vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian children is one of the high priorities of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon to stress that access and enrollment to schools are not enough to ensure quality learning,” said Mr. Fadi Yarak, Director General of Education at the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education. “We have to continuously improve to deliver the best education for these children to ensure that they successfully finish their school years and move on to a brighter future.”

UNDERSTANDING THE LEBANESE EDUCATION CONTEXT

Development of Lebanon’s education sector was disrupted by the onset of the Syria Crisis, which obliged the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) to focus on coordinating and managing an emergency response.

Since 2011, MEHE has created places for more than 200,000 non-Lebanese, primarily Syrian, students in its public schools, from a starting point of around 3,000. As a result, the kindergarten to Grade 9 public school population has doubled in the last seven years.

The Ministry’s focus from 2018 is on transitioning from emergency response to meeting the development challenges of managing a protracted crisis. This is critical if Lebanon is to be able to offer all children the kind of education envisaged in Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030.

Around three-quarters of Lebanon’s public schools use French as the primary language for instruction for core subjects including mathematics and science from Grade 4 onwards. Students’ ability to learn effectively and progress is therefore highly dependent on developing functional literacy in a second language in early grades, supplemented by continuous, targeted, pupil-centric support from teachers onwards.

While many Lebanese students find the transition from Arabic to French instruction challenging, this issue is compounded for their non-Lebanese peers. These students are overwhelmingly Syrian nationals who have fled the conflict in their home country. Seven years into the Syria Crisis, half of all pupils enrolled in public schools are non-Lebanese. This presents significant challenges for the system, teachers, communities and students themselves.

“I believe that Education Cannot Wait has a very important role to play both to Lebanon and in other countries across the region. ECW’s financial resources and investments focus on quality education and powerful political advocacy, making ECW an impressive vehicle to influence and bring change,” said Philippe Lazzarini, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon and the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative. “Although we now have 200,000 Syrian students absorbed in Lebanese public schools, we have approximately 300,000 more who are out of school, largely girls and youth over 14 years old.”

Lazzarini went on to underscore the value of this investment, encouraging its replication and scaling up across all regions in Lebanon to address the pressing needs of vulnerable host communities and displaced populations.

HOLISTIC APPROACHES

Addressing education in crisis in the extremely complex region requires multiple bespoke approaches, engagement with a wide variety actors, innovation and flexibility. In neighboring Syria, Education Cannot Wait-funded activities have reached nearly 30,000 children, including over 15,000 girls. In the Occupied Territories of Palestine, Education Cannot Wait-funded activities have reached over 138,000 children, including 67,300 girls. (Figures June 2018)

“Quality education is an essential building block for peace, stability and a better future in this region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund for education in crisis hosted by UNICEF that is looking to mobilize US$1.8 billion to reach 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021. ““This project enables Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese to effectively study core subjects and participate in the cultural heritage of diversity, art and literature. Such pluralism is a critical aspect of education for peace and stability.”

PROJECT OUTPUTS AT A GLANCE

  • Supporting schools, teachers and students, with a range of high quality, teaching and learning software, materials and equipment, focused on Francophone education.
  • Building the capacity of the existing cadre of teacher coaches (DOPS Counselors) to support teachers in the classrooms of French medium schools, with an emphasis on math and science, as well as French language.
  • Sharing and debating the results of the project and the broader issues of Francophone teaching and learning, and of education in non-mother tongues through a series of workshops and seminars, and producing learning materials and resources.

To download the PDF version click here.

A NEW WAY OF WORKING IN LEBANON

A group of boys at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten
A group of boys at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI, DEPUTY UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR, UN RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR AND UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE FOR LEBANON EXPLORES THE HUMANITARIAN-DEVELOPMENT NEXUS FOR EDUCATION IN CRISIS

ON THE NEW WAY OF WORKING….

I like to call it THE WAY of working. There is no other way to deliver results. We have to work together and need joint programming towards collective outcomes to make an impact for populations and countries in need. This way of working requires a shift in attitude to better identify needs and determine goals in emergencies and protracted crises, collectively.

With respect to coordination and joint work, Lebanon sets a good example where key UN organizations and NGOs talk to each other both from the humanitarian and development sides. Most of them have both humanitarian and a development functions within their structures, so they understand.

There should be no humanitarian and a development divide in education. We need to stop talking about separate humanitarian and development agendas in education. We just need to focus on the immediate, medium and long-term needs for children and youth through multi-year commitments and work towards collective outcomes or collective results.

The UN and the World Bank in Lebanon have established a Compact, defining collective outcomes in six pillars, of which one is quality education. We have established a Common Country Assessment and shared leadership. This is a positive example of the humanitarian-development nexus where education is also a priority.

EDUCATION IN LEBANON

In Lebanon we have a highly diverse presence of humanitarian and development actors contributing to mitigate crisis and urgent needs, while also contributing to long-term stability – which is an overarching goal.

Although we now have 200,000 Syrian students absorbed in Lebanese public schools, we have approximately 300,000 more who are out of school, largely girls and youth over 14 years old.

I met a young boy in his teenage years the other day: he has been out of school for the past eight years since he and his family fled Syria. We are losing an entire generation, which may have an impact on the overarching goal of long-term stability.

I believe that Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has a very important role to play both to Lebanon and in other countries across the region. ECW’s financial resources and investments focus on quality education and powerful political advocacy, making ECW an impressive vehicle to influence and bring change.

ECW’s approach to bridging humanitarian action and development in the education sector through multi-year plans bring predictability and trust. Stakeholders know that ECW’s investments will not be dismantled after a year, but will provide continuity and quality.

SDG 4 – QUALITY EDUCATION

ECW came about right on time, as the UN system gears up to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Quality education or SDG 4 is indispensable to achieving all the SDGs and should not have been a separate SDG in that sense, rather it is all-encompassing. I can understand though that we need SDG 4 to measure progress. But again, quality education is the premise to realize each of the other SDGs.

So my message to all is to work with Education Cannot Wait if you want to be successful in achieving the 2030 Agenda, since as all sectors require the basis of quality education to see real development led by prepared and able human capital. Education cuts across all sectors.

ENDING EXCLUSION

Let me say that ECW is an inspiration for all those who are excluded from the education system. Many in the region who live in low-income countries are excluded from schooling. In 2017, the education sector was 70 per cent funded but we did not count the carry over (deficit from unfunded appeals from previous years). Compared to overall humanitarian appeals funding, education in Lebanon stood at 19 per cent for 2017, and it currently stands at 17 per cent of total funds received (2018).

We take education seriously in Lebanon.

Philippe Lazzarini is assigned by the UN Secretary-General as the Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon and the United Nations Development Program Resident Representative. He has extensive experience in humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas at senior levels, including through his latest assignment in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia as Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

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EUROPEAN UNION ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND SETS STRONG POLICY AGENDA FOR EDUCATION IN CRISES

UN Photo: Isaac Billy
UN Photo: Isaac Billy

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS ON MEMBER STATES AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION IN CRISIS

26 November 2018, Strasbourg – The European Parliament announced earlier this month new support for Education Cannot Wait, calling on the European Commission and Member States to increase funding for the new global fund for education in crisis.

In their resolution on European Union development assistance in the field of education, the Parliament welcomed the Commission’s objective of “devoting 10 per cent of the Union’s humanitarian aid to education from 2019.”

The resolution stresses that “education of refugee or displaced children must be regarded as a priority from the very outset; emphasizes the importance of supporting countries affected by fragility and conflict to improve the resilience of their education systems and guarantee access to quality education – including secondary education – for refugee children and young refugees, internally displaced children and their host communities.”

“EU’s landmark resolution shows European commitment to education in emergencies and protracted crisis. In line with the new EU Policy Framework approving 10% of education in emergencies and crisis in May this year, it follows years of EU leadership in making quality education for children and youth affected by conflicts and natural disasters a priority in humanitarian crisis,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global Fund hosted by UNICEF dedicated to providing safe, reliable education for 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021.

“The collective commitment to action is very inspiring,” said Sherif. “With the bold new EU policy framework and EU resolution, as well as the generous G7 Summit in Charlevoix for girls and women education in crisis, and now the outstanding Global Education Monitoring Report for 2019 spearheaded by UNESCO, we have all reason to be hopeful. We are hopeful that the financial needs to deliver quality education to 75 million children and youth in emergencies and crisis are fully materialized. Through collective commitments of this kind, we see a powerful and action-oriented promise for real change.”

EUROPEAN COUNCIL GIVES CLEAR POLICY ORIENTATION TO PRIORITIZE EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

The European Council set a strong policy agenda in support of education in emergencies and protracted crises in its Conclusions  adopted on 26 November.

“The Council expresses its grave concern that more than 75 million children affected by emergencies and protracted crises have no access to quality education. The Council is equally concerned that violence is on the increase in and around the education environment. Education is a human right that must be upheld in all contexts as an essential means to help children and young people meet their full potential, to strengthen individual, community and country resilience, to achieve sustainable development and to ensure peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies.”

The Council reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring access to inclusive lifelong learning and safe, equitable quality education and training at all levels in emergency and crisis situations. It also welcomed the comprehensive approach to education in emergencies and protracted crises, which includes preparedness, disaster risk reduction, prevention, mitigation, rapid response, and a commitment to building resilient education systems.

LINKS

GIRLS IN CRISIS – ORANGE THE WORLD

Providing education for girls and adolescent girls living in crisis and conflict is the single most powerful act we can take to empower a marginalized gender. As a global community committed to end violence against women, promote women leadership and ensure universal access to education, anything less would miss the target.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls – and the connected 16 Days of Activism Campaign – Education Cannot Wait is banding together with global leaders, UN Agencies, leading education advocates, and girls and women everywhere to highlight the need for improved education for girls in crisis as a key means to ending violence against women once and for all. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls – and the connected 16 Days of Activism Campaign – Education Cannot Wait is banding together with global leaders, UN Agencies, leading education advocates, and girls and women everywhere to highlight the need for improved education for girls in crisis as a key means to ending violence against women once and for all. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID.

Providing education for girls and adolescent girls living in crisis and conflict is the single most powerful act we can take to empower a marginalized gender. As a global community committed to end violence against women, promote women leadership and ensure universal access to education, anything less would miss the target.

Providing access to safe, reliable and continuous education for girls and adolescent girls living in crisis is an essential stepping stone to eliminating violence against girls and women. It takes quality education to ensure that girls and adolescent girls are empowered to acquire new skills to thrive, exercise leadership and find productive employment in the fast-evolving work environment of the 21st Century. It also mitigates the risks for abuse and discrimination, while strengthening the odds for increased security, better opportunities and new chances to chart their lives forward.

Education Cannot Wait – a new global fund hosted by UNICEF – which will provide access to 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021, including over 4.4 million girls – is making great strides to protect girls from violence across the globe by working with governments, leading non-profits, donors and other essential stakeholders to empower access to education for the millions of girls and adolescent girls living in refugee camps and displacement centers, and on the edge of crisis, war zones and emergencies.

To empower girls and adolescent girls, the ECW Fund is strengthening equity and gender equality, increasing access to education, promoting safe and protective learning environments, improving learning and skills for teachers, and ensuring greater continuity and sustainability for gender-responsive education responses in crisis settings.

Education Cannot Wait has reached more than 800,000 children and youth with quality education – of which 364,000 are girls – in 19 crisis-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh (Rohingya), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Ukraine, since it became operational in early 2017. With continued support from donors, the Fund will exceed its target with over 1 million children by the end of 2018.

ORANGE THE WORLD

“On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls – and the connected 16 Days of Activism Campaign – Education Cannot Wait is banding together with global leaders, UN Agencies, leading education advocates, and girls and adolescent girls everywhere to highlight the need for real quality education for young girls in crisis as a key means to ending abuse, discrimination and disempowerment,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

The facts around violence against girls and women – especially girls and adolescent girls living in crisis – are simply astounding. Girls in crisis settings are 2.5 times more likely to be out of primary school and 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in countries where there is no crisis. Analysis from 2015 indicates that 39 million girls were out of school or had their education disrupted because of war and disaster.

By providing vulnerable girls and adolescent girls with education, empowering female teachers, strengthening protection and promoting policies that connect gender-responsive approaches to education in emergencies, Education Cannot Wait bridges the humanitarian-development divide, particularly in protracted crises, and links urgent humanitarian needs to sustainable and systemic change.

“For girls and adolescent girls enduring crisis and conflict, we have to be especially firm and principled in our approach, because they are also subject to additional discrimination simply because of their gender. The best we can do to serve them is to deliver on our promise of quality education, which also entails protection and targeted measures to ensure access, equality and continuity,” said Sherif.

BRIDGING THE GAP TO PREVENT VIOLENCE

Integrated responses are required to build safer schools – some schools in refugee camps, displacement centers and on the edge of conflict and emergencies have become targets for violent attacks, while others have seen reports of sexual violence against both boys and girls.

In Afghanistan, Chad and Ethiopia, Education Cannot Wait funding has helped spur a comprehensive combination of interventions focused on training teachers, community engagement, protection measures and the rehabilitation and construction of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for girls.

In Afghanistan 2.2 million girls lack adequate teaching facilities and women teachers – that’s more people than live in Botswana today. With support from Education Cannot Wait and a new three-year programme that will reach over 500,000 children, including a quarter of a million girls, teachers are being recruited and trained to work in refugee and displacement camps.

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Ms. Paria delivering a biology lesson to her students. Photo: Education Cannot Wait Afghanistan.

“Teaching these girls is a wonderful opportunity for me. I am also glad to see that many girls are encouraged to resume their classes when female teachers are available,” said Ms. Paria, whose class has seen 40 girls return to school thanks to the recruitment of their new biology teacher as well as extended community activism to ensure more equitable education.

In the Lake Chad Region, where 3.5 million children are at risk and violent attacks on girls, forced marriages and abductions are commonplace, Education Cannot Wait has already reached over 100,000 girls.

For bright-eyed dreamers like the 16-year-old Aisha who lives in the Dar es Salam Camp in Chad, new educational opportunities provide a renewed sense of security.

Aisha Mahamadou, 16,. Photo: UnicefChad/2017/Azoura
Aisha Mahamadou, 16,. Photo: UnicefChad/2017/Azoura

“”Here in Dar es Salam [camp], we have food to eat, we go to school, we play with friends, we feel safe,” said Aisha.

THE GLOBAL CONTEXT

The Education Cannot Wait Gender strategy aligns with the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, formally launched in 2013 by the United Kingdom and Sweden, key donors to the Education Cannot Wait Fund. Ongoing gender-responsive initiatives also align with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action and its Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, as well as the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education.

By 2021, Education Cannot Wait plans to reach 8.9 million children living in crisis. Approximately 50 percent of these children will be girls and adolescent girls, with plans for two-thirds of teacher training to be directed to females. That means over 4.4 million girls – more than the total population of Gabon and Slovenia combined – will have the knowledge, power and skills training they need to stand up against violence and build a better world for generations to come.

GOVERNMENT OF GERMANY ANNOUNCES 15 MILLION EUROS PLEDGE FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT

SUSTAINED SUPPORT FROM GERMANY ENSURES QUALITY, RELIABLE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN THE WORLD’S MOST SERIOUS CRISES

20 November 2018, New York – The Government of Germany announced today a substantial 15 million euros (US$ 17 million) pledge for Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund dedicated to respond rapidly and provide sustainable quality education to millions of children and youth living in crisis worldwide.

The new pledge adds to Germany’s initial 16 million euros ($US18.7 million) contribution to Education Cannot Wait, providing a total of 31 million euros ($35.7 million) in contributions to date and making Germany the third largest donor to the Fund. Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the coalition of donors, United Nations (UN) agencies and civil society partners working together through Education Cannot Wait, as it ensures the Fund reaches its 2018 target – on its way to a total first funding goal to mobilize US$1.8 billion over the 2018-2021 period.

20 November 2018: State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Martin Jagër, announcing new pledge to Education Cannot Wait  at  the launch of the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report in Berlin, Germany.   
20 November 2018: State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Martin Jagër, announcing new pledge to Education Cannot Wait  at  the launch of the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report in Berlin, Germany. Photo: ECW/ Desgroseilliers

The announcement was made at the launch of UNESCO’s 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report in Berlin, Germany. “Education and training are the keys with which to unlock development. Yet there are still 75 million children and young people caught up in crisis and emergency situations who have no way to get an education. We must act now, with resolution and determination, otherwise they will grow up without any prospects” said Dr. Gerd Müller, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“My goal is to invest 25 per cent of the development ministry’s budget in education and vocational training. As the next step we are launching a special initiative on training and job creation, setting up new training and jobs partnerships with German and African businesses. At the same time we are strengthening the international education fund for children in emergency situations with an investment of 15 million euros. This money will be used to fund school books in Yemen or to support 60,000 children in Indonesia following the devastating tsunami, so that they can still be taught” said Müller.

Education Cannot Wait has reached more than 800,000 children and youth with quality education – of which 364,000 are girls – in 19 crisis-affected countries since it became operational in early 2017. With continued support from donors, the Fund, hosted by UNICEF, will exceed its target with over 1 million children by the end of 2018.

“This generous pledge further confirms the global role of Germany in showing compassion, generosity and concrete support to those furthest left behind. This funding will accelerate our determined joint efforts to reach 8.9 million children and youth in emergencies and protracted crisis by 2021 and fill the US$8.5 billion funding gap for education in crises” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

“The millions of children and youth silently struggling in crisis who do not have access to quality education today sustain themselves by dreaming of one. This renewed pledge from the government of Germany may be the realization of that dream. It signals a continued commitment to achieve our goals for equitable education for every boy and girl on the planet by 2030 as outlined in the sustainable development goals” she said.

Education Cannot Wait is the first and only global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises countries. In partnership with donors, UN agencies, civil society, national governments and other key actors, the Fund is pioneering a new way of working that establishes education as the point of convergence in the humanitarian-development nexus to rapidly deliver agile, well-coordinated and sustainable quality education through collective efforts for children and youth in war zones, emergency areas and other crisis hot spots.

Education Cannot Wait has invested $134.5 million in 19 crisis-affected countries to date. These include 16 First Emergency Response allocations to countries facing sudden-onset or escalating crises, such as a recently announced programme to support children impacted by the tsunami and earthquakes in Indonesia. Four countries have been targeted by Education Cannot Wait’s two-year Initial Investments Programmes to date. The Fund also recently announced its first seed funding to roll out innovative multi-year programmes in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Uganda, while such mulit-year programmes are also planned in 20 other crisis-affected countries by 2021.

“By catalyzing agile, responsive and jointly planned programmes, education cannot wait ensures taxpayers’ money or strategic donor investments get to the people in need rapidly and sustainably,” Sherif said. “Education Cannot Wait brings all partners together to respond without delay and to remain until every child and young person have benefited from their non-negotiable right to quality education. Refugee, internally displaced or war-affected, both girls and boys, disabled and other-abled, make up the 75 million with a right to education in conflict and disasters. Thanks to Germany’s generous and continued contribution, their right, their dream, may come true.”

Children and youth in fragile and conflict affected countries are 30 per cent less likely to complete primary education and half as likely to complete lower-secondary education than other children. Indeed, conflict widens education inequalities, particularly gender and wealth disparities, derailing global efforts to build a more peaceful world.

“For a little over a $100 a year, a child or an adolescent living and growing up in the abnormal and testing circumstances of conflict and disasters will be able to get the quality education they deserve and need to give them hope, to give them a future,” said Sherif. “Now is the time to invest in these children and youth. Their education cannot wait. If our intention is to make a difference, we need to act today. Because, tomorrow might be too late.”

Contacts for the press:

Education Cannot Wait: Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org  +1 917 640-6820

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: presse@bmz.bund.de

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Notes to Editors:

Information on the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Fund is available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

For more details on ECW’s donors and partners: www.educationcannotwait.org/about-ecw

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: www.bmz.de/en/index.html

Download the PDF 

Education Cannot Wait launches US$12 million allocation for Rohingya children education in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar, 13 November 2018

In a major boost to the education response of the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund is allocating US$12 million to support 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. The fund is being awarded to UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR to ensure a common vision for education and continued access to quality learning.

13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

“Education is a long-term investment in any context. Within the Rohingya refugee crisis, education plays an even more vital role. It ensures children’s protection. It is also a lifeline of hope for children and young people living in a very unpredictable situation. ECW is making a major investment in their future,” says James Lynch, UNHCR Regional Representative and Acting Representative in Bangladesh.

The launch was announced from an ECW supported learning centre in the Rohingya refugee camps earlier today, in the presence of 50 children, parents, teachers, government, UN and NGO representatives.

ECW's Senior Education Advisor Graham Lang attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: ECW’s Senior Education Advisor, Graham Lang, attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

When asked about his learning centre, 8-year-old Rohingya boy Amin said “diley shanti pai – I feel peace in my soul.”

For Amin and many others, time spent at the learning centre is the highlight of their day. Rohingya children attend classes for two hours each day to learn English, Burmese, mathematics and life skills. However, teaching hours will be expanded to four hours per day with the rollout of the new education programme.

“We are dealing with a refugee population which has been denied the right to education for a very long time. Over the past year, we have witnessed incredible changes in the children attending classes in the refugee camps. Children who were quiet and reserved have grown in confidence, they have learned new skills in a safe, protective environment and achieved a sense of normality. We must continue to nurture their talents and prospects for a brighter future,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.

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Over 2,000 teachers will benefit from professional development programmes through the multi-year ECW grant to ensure quality education that can sustain and save lives, providing safe learning environments, psychosocial support for children and youth.  In particular, the programme will focus on training female teachers and meeting the specific needs of girls and boys and of children and adolescents with disabilities. This includes measures to prevent and address gender-based violence.

In host communities, emphasis will be placed on strengthening education systems to improve quality in public schools. Cox’s Bazar has one of the highest rates in the country of primary and secondary age children out of school. The ECW grant will invest in strengthening access to education, retention of students and increasing performance levels.

“ECW’s support will enable us to enhance the quality of the education delivered. We will train more teachers with an improved syllabus and learning materials. We can expand the network of our reach to close the gap on the Rohingya children and youth we are currently unable to reach in the refugee camps,” highlights Beatrice Kaldun, UNESCO Representative in Bangladesh.

At the onset of the refugee crisis, ECW donated US$3 million to establish emergency education services in the Rohingya camps. This US$12 million contribution builds on the earlier support and aligns with a broader framework of support for education facilitated by ECW.  The estimated additional cost to deliver this education program in 2019 is almost US$60 million. ECW is calling upon other donors and partners to step up to the plate and provide further financing to fill the gap.

“This funding builds on the first emergency investment made by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) during the initial months of the Rohingya arrivals in 2017.  We will not give up on these children and youth now, as they start to recover from the painful experiences in the recent past. On the contrary, now is the time to sustain and expand their access to education, which also means to continue providing a healing and protective environment,” says Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW.

 

The press release is also available at the following links:

UNESCO office in Dhaka

UNICEF Bangladesh

 

 

Media contacts

UNICEF Bangladesh, Jean-Jacques Simon. Email: jsimon(at)unicef.org Tel: +8801713 043478

UNHCR Bangladesh, Firas Al-Khateeb. Email: Khateeb(at)unhcr.org Tel: +880 188 593 4309

UNESCO Bangladesh, Sun Lei. Email: l.sun(at)unesco.org Tel: +880 1708 455077

ECW, Anouk Desgroseilliers, Email: adesgroseilliers(at)educationcannotwait.org Tel: +1 917 640 6820

 

FROM THE ASHES OF WAR AND VIOLENCE SPRINGS HOPE

@UNICEF/Sokhin- On November 6, 2017, 13-year-old Jospin stands in front of the blackboard in Kaga Bandoro displacement site’s Temporary learning space.
@UNICEF/Sokhin – On November 6, 2017, 13-year-old Jospin stands in front of the blackboard in Kaga Bandoro displacement site’s Temporary learning space.

CHILDREN LIVING IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC’S DISPLACEMENT CAMPS FIND A PATHWAY TO EDUCATION

Jospin is a 13-year-old boy living in the Kaga Bandoro Internal Displacement Camp in the Central African Republic (CAR). He came here almost four years ago by foot with his mother, father and seven brothers and sisters. Like many of the 680,000 people who have been displaced by wide-scale uptick in violence in CAR, Jospin had never been to school.

Now with support from Education Cannot Wait, and the backing of a broad international coalition that includes the Norwegian Refugee  Council, INTERSOS, UNICEF and Plan International, Jospin is in school and hopes one day to become a doctor.

“I think I am 13 but my birth certificate was lost when they burnt my house. I am from a village 17 kilometers away, on the road to Kabo. Three years ago, we fled the village on foot. We sought refuge on Kaga Bandoro’s church site, then on the internally displaced persons site near the [United Nations Peacekeeping Base] when the church was attacked. I had never been to school before becoming an Internally Displaced Person. I started going to school for the first time here and I love it. I am in 3rd grade now. I have decided to become a doctor because once I was sick and I went to the hospital and this big man, the doctor, treated me. He was very kind. So, I have decided to become a doctor, too, so I can help my people one day.”

The new Kaga Bandoro school, supported in part with funding from Education Cannot Wait, has 11 classes and 1,675 registered children. All the 11 teachers are themselves displaced and live on the site.

 “I teach 80 children in the 4th year of primary school. Now I see that many of these children have become advocates for their friends, they convince the parents to send the children to school,” said 52-year-old widow and mother of five, Elizabeth, who was displaced over four years ago and now works as a teacher in the Kaga Bandoro school.

Despite this progress, huge challenges remain. With the constant displacement of populations due to insecurity in the region and a steady flow of refugees and internally displaced people, resources are stretching thin in Kaga Bandoro’s school. On a recent Education Cannot Wait mission to the school, more than 80 children were in attendance in one of the temporary classrooms, which only had 40 children just the week before.

Recent estimates from UNICEF indicate that more than 357,400 children lost access to education, health and protection services due to the violence and protracted crisis in CAR.

@UNICEF/Sokhin- On November 6, 2017, Elisabeth, 52 years old, is teaching 4th graders at the Temporary learning space in the Kaga Bandoro’s displacement site that lies near the MINUSCA base.
@UNICEF/Sokhin – On November 6, 2017, Elisabeth, 52 years old, is teaching 4th graders at the Temporary learning space in the Kaga Bandoro’s displacement site that lies near the MINUSCA base.

PROVIDING SUSTAINED SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES IN CAR

To date, Education Cannot Wait’s initial US$6 million allocation has reached an estimated 65,000 children, 31,000 of whom are girls. The support in CAR extends across a broad range of activities, designed through local engagement, to build lasting solutions to one of the world’s most significant education crisis today.

The funding from Education Cannot Wait is working to provide a range of formal and non-formal education opportunities for out-of-school children in the central and northern areas of the country.

Coalition partners are also implementing specific interventions focused on early childhood education, as well as youth-focused activities that incorporate basic literacy and mathematics alongside vocational and life skills training.  In addition, both UNICEF and INTERSOS are focusing on the quality of education by providing materials to both children and teachers, and building local technical capacity to provide education in emergency contexts. The Norwegian Refugee Council also implemented a successful “Accelerated Learning Programme,” allowing primary school children to catch up on schooling missed due to their displacement.

Building on these initial results, Education Cannot Wait is now focusing on kick-starting a new multi-year programme that will provide sustained support for education in emergencies in CAR. Discussions are underway with high-level government officials to outline the immediate needs for support, also connecting with a variety of stakeholders, including UN representatives, NGOs, and boys and girls whose lives have been uprooted by crisis.

@UNICEF/Sokhin - On November 2, 2017, Adamou Rodina, 13, stands in front of her classroom in Bouar’s prefectorale school. She is in her last year of primary school. “I fled my village, Niem Yelewa, when the war started there. I lost a lot of time and when I started school again here. I was late, the others had already been in school for a while, so I have to work hard to catch up.”
@UNICEF/Sokhin – On November 2, 2017, Adamou Rodina, 13, stands in front of her classroom in Bouar’s prefectorale school. She is in her last year of primary school. “I fled my village, Niem Yelewa, when the war started there. I lost a lot of time and when I started school again here. I was late, the others had already been in school for a while, so I have to work hard to catch up.”

BUILDING MULTI-YEAR RESPONSES

“The development of the Multi-Year Response Programme is already serving as a resource mobilization tool with potential funding being discussed with key donors, including the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) and the Central African Republic Humanitarian Fund, building toward a goal of mobilizing some US$75 million for the three-year programme,” said Education Cannot Wait Senior Advisor Graham Lang, after a recent mission to CAR.

The education system in CAR faces structural challenges that can only be addressed through multi-year programming connecting practical on-the-ground work to build schools, provide supplies and fund teachers, with longer-reaching policy and support programmes to build capacity, improve teacher training and create the enabling environments required for long-term sustainability.

@UNICEF/Sokhin- On November 9, 2017, children studying in a temporary learning space in Bangui’s Damala neighborhood. Most of them are returnees from displacement sites in Bangui, and their families have settled in this remote neighborhood that is kilometers away from the closest regular school. The temporary learning space has 5 tents that can accommodate a total of 2,000 children aged 3 to 15 and 18 teachers.
@UNICEF/Sokhin- On November 9, 2017, children studying in a temporary learning space in Bangui’s Damala neighborhood. Most of them are returnees from displacement sites in Bangui, and their families have settled in this remote neighborhood that is kilometers away from the closest regular school. The temporary learning space has 5 tents that can accommodate a total of 2,000 children aged 3 to 15 and 18 teachers.

It will be an uphill battle in CAR.  Prior to the crisis only 67 per cent of children were attending school, and in 2009 it was estimated that only 35 per cent of the population was literate.

Elizabeth has already taken on the battle: “We have the responsibility to teach these children and make sure they do not become bandits. If they do not go to school, what will become of them?” she says.

“Through sustained and more collaborative efforts among donors, humanitarian and development aid actors and with the Government, this is a fight we must win, as the future of an entire nation is at stake,” said Lang.

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THE CHILDREN OF THE LAKE CHAD CRISIS

'Here in Dar es Salam [camp], we have food to eat, we go to school, we play with friends, we feel safe. When I get older, I would like to become a doctor to look after sick people.' - Aisha Mahamadou
‘Here in Dar es Salam [camp], we have food to eat, we go to school, we play with friends, we feel safe. When I get older, I would like to become a doctor to look after sick people.’ – Aisha Mahamadou.
MILLIONS OF BOYS AND GIRLS ARE AT RISK – IN CHAD, WE FIND STORIES OF HOPE AND REDEMPTION ON THE EDGE OF ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST-PRESSING HUMANITARIAN SITUATIONS

The numbers of displaced children, refugee children, and children living without access to education in the Lake Chad Region are staggering. Violence in the region has closed 1,000 schools, and educational opportunities for 3.5 million children are at risk.

To put these astounding numbers into context, 3.5 million is about the number of people that live in Connecticut today, and it’s the total population of Uruguay.

One of those 3.5 million children is Ibrahim Mahamadou. Ibrahim could be your son, or your nephew, or your cousin. Bright-eyed and energetic, Ibrahim is seven now. When he arrived in the Dar es Salam Refugee Camp in Chad, it was the first time he’d ever attended school in his life.

Ibrahim Mahamadou, 7 years old, sitting in a classroom with his friends in a school at the Dar es Salam refugee camp.
Ibrahim Mahamadou, 7 years old, sitting in a classroom with his friends in a school at the Dar es Salam refugee camp.

“I like going to school because I make a lot of friends. We learn how to read, to write and to count. We play and we get lots of presents too,” said Ibrahim.

With support from a broad international coalition and the Government of Chad, Education Cannot Wait, a newly created global fund for education in crisis, has already reached over 150,000 children like Ibrahim in Chad. This includes 69,000 girls. In the neighboring Central African Republic, the Fund has reached some 65,000 children, including 31,802 girls, and a newly announced US$2.5 million grant will reach some 194,000 displaced children in Nigeria, 52 per cent of whom are girls.

“When you look at the scale of this tragedy, we are only scratching the surface. Much more needs to be done if we are going to reduce human suffering and address the root causes of the crisis. Education is an absolute priority and it is the most reliable and sustainable solution to empower a new generation who will be responsible for socio-economic development, peace and stability in the region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. The Fund is currently helping to facilitate the development of a new multi-year education programme by aid organizations in coordination with the Government of Chad to deliver reliable education for the boys and girls enduring the consequences of the rampant violence in the region.

The Lake Chad crisis – affecting the countries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – is characterized by ongoing violence, population displacement and loss of livelihood. Forced conscription of child soldiers, abuse and sexual violence, among other atrocities are being reported at alarming rates. Hundreds of thousands of families have fled the violence, drought and the real-and-present risk of famine, across the border to Chad from the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Sudan, leaving millions of children in need of educational support.

HOPE ON THE HORIZON

But in the eye of the storm, there is hope. The Government of Chad has demonstrated a strong willingness to receive refugees and integrate them into the Chadian system, and in the refugee camps, boys and girls are finding safety and security.

Aisha Mahamadou came to the Dar es Salam Refugee camp in January 2015, fleeing a Boko Haram attack on her village near Baga, Nigeria. She was one of the lucky ones, as hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed. Boko Haram is also well known for their practice of capturing girls and forcing them into marriage – essentially a form of modern-day slavery that has people frightened and unwilling to send their girls to school for fear of kidnapping.

“Here in Dar es Salam [camp], we have food to eat, we go to school, we play with friends, we feel safe. When I get older, I would like to become a doctor to look after sick people,” said Aisha.

To support children like Aisha and Ibrahim, Education Cannot Wait worked with Chad’s Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion and UNICEF, engaging through the UNICEF partnership with international NGOs including Fondazione Acra, the Jesuit Refugee Service and Refugee Education Trust International, to support the delivery of sustainable, equitable and inclusive quality education services for children and youth from within the refugee and host communities.

Through a US$10 million grant, community mobilization activities have taken place and classrooms have been built, boys and girls have received backpacks and school supplies, teachers have been hired and trained, and students have begun attending classes – sometimes for the first time in their life.

“Last year we studied in the tents. When there was too much sandy wind, the teachers used to send us back home. We could not even hear what he said. Now, we study in new classrooms, and we come to school happy,” said 12-year-old Kaka Mahamat, who lives now in the Dar es Salam Camp.

Kaka Mahamat, 12, in the Dar Es Salam Camp.

TRAINING TEACHERS

Over 2,500 teachers have been trained through the programme, and many teachers received subsidies during a prolonged teacher strike to ensure continued education for children like Kaka.

“They killed my son and burned my house in Nigeria. I really have nothing left there. Teaching helps me to take my mind off things. They say Western education is sinful but I believe every child has a right to education especially learning languages, this is what will help them support their communities,” said Malam Sani, who teaches First Grade in the Dar es Salam Camp.

“The Government of Chad, at both the central and decentralized levels, has played a key role in coping with constantly changing realities and protecting the boys and girls that are most at risk,” said Sherif. “As we build on our initial investment and look to more integrated multi-year programming, we will continue our engagement with the community and government to mainstream and accelerate these pilot interventions, addressing both the immediate and long-term needs in the education sector. Only then can we ensure that no child is left behind, but rather at the center and front of our collective efforts.”

Malam Sani,55, teaches the First Grade.
Malam Sani, 55, teaches the First Grade.