DELIVERING EDUCATION IN CRISES

Working with the Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR, Education Cannot Wait launched a new US$12 million grant in November 2018 to benefit 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. With efforts to mobilize resources from multiple partners and donors, the multi-year grant will connect with other initiatives to reach more than half a million refugee and host community and youth, and 9800 teachers over the coming years. Photo UNICEF/Bangladesh.
Working with the Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR, Education Cannot Wait launched a new US$12 million grant in November 2018 to benefit 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. With efforts to mobilize resources from multiple partners and donors, the multi-year grant will connect with other initiatives to reach more than half a million refugee and host community and youth, and 9800 teachers over the coming years. Photo UNICEF/Bangladesh.

YASMINE SHERIF, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT, CONTENDS THAT FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN CRISES, GENUINE SURVIVAL DEPENDS NOT ONLY ON MEETING BASIC PHYSICAL NEEDS, BUT ALSO ON ENSURING ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A PRODUCTIVE FUTURE.

Special contribution by Yasmine Sherif, Director Education Cannot Wait to the Commonwealth Education Report 2019

The 75 million children and youth in humanitarian crises have challenged us to make good on our promise to leave no one behind. The Commonwealth is neither immune, nor shies away from this challenge. It is afflicted by emergencies and protracted crises due to conflict and natural disasters. It is also the place where solutions are produced. Countries such as Canada and the UK are the driving force behind the historic 2018 Charlevoix Declaration on the quality of education for girls, adolescent girls and women in developing countries. At Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crisis established by the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, we embrace the ethos of the Declaration and commit to reaching eight million children and youth in crises with quality education by 2021.

Having served for 30 years in some of the most conflict-affected areas in the world and led ECW since 2017, I am convinced that quality education for children and youth in crises is key to unlocking the Agenda for Humanity and the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030. At present, some Commonwealth countries are coping with significant humanitarian challenges. In Uganda, 1.3 million refugees, of whom half are children, are displaced due to conflict in South Sudan and neighbouring countries. Since 2017, Bangladesh has struggled to provide education for over 400,000 Rohingya refugee children and youth. As of early 2018, in Cameroon, more than half of the 3.3 million people in humanitarian need are children. In Nigeria, more than six million people – of whom 45 per cent are under the age of 15 years old – are now displaced due to protracted conflict. In Papua New Guinea, more than 23,000 school children were challenged to stay in schools affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in February 2018. Safety, dignity and the right to thrive are at risk for these children and youth.

While survival requires access to clean water, adequate food, decent shelter and medical attention, survival also depends on education and attainment of human potential. Education is vital for the next generation to move beyond crisis mode and prepare for a productive future. The notion that no children and youth are deprived of learning opportunities because of crisis, is a constant reminder of the kind of future that the Commonwealth aspires to achieve: one of fairness and inclusion that ensures every child has at least 12 years of quality education. Understanding the full spectrum of challenges faced by these children and youth in accessing quality education, and hence their role in building stable and productive societies based on democratic governance, the rule of law and social cohesion is imperative to ECW.

Humanitarian crises do not only create, but also perpetuate inequality and exclusion. Yet, meeting the needs of children and youth in humanitarian crises is often seen as adding to the deficiencies of the education system; many are perceived as burdening the already overcrowded schools and contributing to high student-teacher ratios.  Teaching methods, curriculum and staff may not address the specific challenges these children and youth face, including trauma and loss of sense of purpose and self-worth. Refugee children and youth tend to experience low levels of educational attainment in their country of origin, constant mobility due to repeated displacement, being over age for their grade level and having little hope for upward professional and social mobility due to interrupted education. Girls are more likely to be excluded from education than boys, and few complete secondary education due to a host of barriers. These include, but are not limited to, violence associated with unsafe travel to schools, rape as a means if warfare, schools without sanitation facilities, teachers who demand sex for grades and early marriage. All of these factors represent very real barriers to girls’ education and need to be holistically addressed. This requires analysis that is more specific than disaggregation of data by gender, to include factors such as: age, ethnicity, marriage status, sexual orientation, disability, educational attainment, and time lived in a protracted crisis.

Solutions to reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience through education cannot be one dimensional. They require crisis sensitivity and connecting the dots in tackling crisis-induced vulnerabilities and threats. As such, ECW’s approach resonates fully with the approach of the Commonwealth in implementing 12 years of quality education and learning with girls’ education at the forefront. Together, we address the gendered and environmental dynamics of the complex needs of those left furthest behind. We focus on learning outcomes and prioritise gender, protection and disabilities through coordinated joint programming across the human-development nexus. We tap into the expertise and added value of host governments, multiple UN agencies and nongovernmental organisations and strengthen local capacity to respond to education needs. This multi-prong approach allows us to achieve quality education for greater impact, honour the Grand Bargain (an agreement between more than 30 of the biggest donors and aid providers, which aims to get more means into the hands of people in need) and nurture the resilience of those left furthest behind, through collective action.

In the words of a young Rwandan woman, Amelie Fabian, who recently spoke at the 73th UN General Assembly: “When you give us education, you give us power to decide our fate”. Previously a refugee, she completed her primary and secondary education in Malawi, graduated from university and now works in one of the most-renowned business firms in Canada. As her journey of empowerment shows, collectively, we can and must enable the Commonwealth’s children and youth who are coping with crises to attain the future they deserve – by accessing the opportunities we owe them.

UNITED IN HOPE

Sawa (left) and Dogodjima (right) posed in their new classroom built with the ECW fund in Moyen Chari, Chad. Photo UNICEF/Chad.
Sawa (left) and Dogodjima (right) pose in their new classroom built with the ECW fund in Moyen Chari, Chad. Photo UNICEF/Chad.

NEW CLASSROOMS BUILT FROM EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INVESTMENT IN CHAD DELIVER REAL RESULTS

STORIES FROM THE FIELD

Special Contribution by UNICEF Chad

Dogodjima, 16, is a 5th grader at Ferme Taguina primary school where he attends classes with his best friend Sawa. Eight years ago, Dogodjima fled war in the Central African Republic (CAR) and arrived in the south of Chad with his family.

Sawa, 15, is a native of the village. He is used to seeing refugees and returnees in his school. “Since our village is located at the border with CAR, we have families who escaped violence in CAR and settled here. We should welcome them and share what we have.”

Dogodjima and Sawa are well placed to speak about how the support from Education Cannot Wait through its 24-month Initial Investment in Chad has significantly improved learning conditions in school.

“Due to the lack of classrooms, older students like us used to attend classes under trees or in straw huts. It became particularly difficult during the rainy season. We sometimes continued classes under the rain.”

Thanks to the Education Cannot Wait support, classes took place in temporary learning spaces protecting both students and teachers from rain while the construction of three new classrooms was underway. To date, over 186,000 children have been reached with the US$10 million investment, including 83,000 girls. The investment is delivered through a grant to UNICEF and is implemented by the Ministry of Education with NGO partners ACRA, Jesuit Refugee Service and Refugee Education Trust (RET) International.

The investment is mobilizing community support to reach its goal of constructing 126 classrooms in all. Dogodjima and Sawa were thrilled that their fathers helped build the classrooms. “Our fathers attended many meetings held with village chiefs, the construction firm and RET International to take part in the construction work. Having seen our fathers working hard to build our classrooms, we are determined to continue our study to not disappoint them.”

Dogodjima hopes to stay in Chad to build his future with decent educational opportunities. He further hopes that other CAR refugee children in need of education will attend school with him. “You see, we now have new classrooms to welcome them among us.”

Learn More

The Children of the Lake Chad Crisis

Education Cannot Wait’s ‘Stories from the Field’ series features the voices of our implementing partners, children, youth and the communities we support. These stories have only been lightly edited to reflect the authentic voice of these frontlines partners on the ground. The views expressed in the Stories from the Field series do not necessarily reflect those of Education Cannot Wait, our Secretariat, donors or UN Member States.

NO MORE LIMITS

May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day, which connects people across the globe ‘To create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame, where no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.’
May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day, which connects people across the globe ‘To create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame, where no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.’

TABOOS ON MENSTRUAL HYGIENE ARE KEEPING GIRLS OUT OF SCHOOL – ESPECIALLY IN CRISIS AND EMERGENCY SITUATIONS – OUR SPECIAL GUEST CONTRIBUTOR FROM SAVE THE CHILDREN LAYS OUT THE WORK BEING DONE IN THE EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT-SUPPORTED MULTI-YEAR EDUCATIONAL RESPONSE AND OTHER RELATED INITIATIVES IN UGANDA TO ENSURE DIGNITY, ACCESS AND EMPOWERMENT

Special Contribution by Rachael Corbishley, Save the Children

Imagine being in the middle of your science class and your period starts. There’s no clean water to wash, no proper toilet to use, and you don’t have any pads. Sadly, that’s the reality for many refugee girls in Uganda.

As we call on education leaders, countries and other key partners to take action on Menstrual Hygiene Day, it’s important to remember the specific needs and risks for refugee girls, displaced girls, and girls whose dignity and access to the safety and opportunity of an education are being pushed aside by taboos, misconceptions, and lack of proper training and materials.

Uganda is home to 1.25 million refugees. Inadequate access to clean and safe hygiene facilities, shame and embarrassment while on their period, and lack of sanitary materials are some of the main reasons that adolescent refugee girls give for why they do not attend school regularly here.  Girls across the country do not attain success at primary school at the same rate as boys. In the Primary Leavers’ Exam, a national examination that all children in school sit at the end of Primary 7, boys consistently pass at a higher rate than girls. Education disparities between boys and girls increase as they get older, as is seen in the Accelerated Education Programme (AEP).

The Accelerated Education Programme is an approach funded by Education Cannot Wait and other donors to help children that previously dropped out of school to attain a basic education. It provides age appropriate learning for children aged 10 to 18 that had their education interrupted due to poverty or conflict, and condenses seven years of the Ugandan Primary curriculum into three years. Data from the programme shows that girls are less likely to sit for the Primary Leavers’ Exam in the first place (72 per cent of all learners that sat for the exam across 13 centres in December were boys) and then are less likely to pass when they do sit (48 per cent of girls passed the exam, as opposed to 72 per cent of boys).

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, NGOs in Uganda are working to address these challenges and reverse these trends. Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities includes activities for “menstrual hygiene management” to enable girls to stay in school.

WHAT DOES MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT LOOK LIKE IN PRACTICE?

Globally, half a billion women and girls lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. If those girls and women were to join hands, they would stretch clear around the globe – 10 times!

We need some no-nonsense approaches to ensure universal menstrual dignity – especially for girls living in crisis settings. First, schools need to have appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, but in poor rural environments sometimes this isn’t the case. At a bare minimum,  it is critical that toilets are separate and clearly sign-posted for both boys and girls and male and female teachers; that the doors have locks and are well lit; and that there is a space and clean water for washing and changing, and that there is a means for girls to dispose of sanitary materials.

Next, girls need to have access to suitable sanitary materials. The Education Cannot Wait-funded programme is bringing together a range of different approaches to menstrual hygiene and different partners across Uganda are trialling different methods. One approach is to distribute reusable sanitary materials to girls. The packs often come with soap and knickers to ensure that the user is able to hygienically wash the pads. Another approach is to train girls and their teachers on how to make their own reusable sanitary pads from locally available materials. Menstrual cups are a relatively new approach in northern Uganda, and through this programme girls will be introduced to the cup and trained on its use.

These different options are not mutually exclusive. Girls have the right to be provided with a choice between options and enough information and counselling to make a well-informed choice. Thanks to Education Cannot Wait’s support for these menstrual hygiene management activities, more than 18,000 girls in Uganda will access these rights.

PROVIDING INFORMATION IS A CRITICAL PART OF THE SOLUTION

It is really important that we do not just hand out sanitary materials, without accompanying this with training, counselling and guidance. Girls need to understand what is happening to their bodies during menstruation – and why. It is also critical that boys, as well as male teachers and members of school management have a good understanding of menstruation as well as the needs of girls. This programme will train all stakeholders in the school community on menstrual hygiene through information sessions. By bringing boys and men on board, too, this can reduce stigma, embarrassment and shame. Involving the whole community has also then resulted in school management committees taking steps to ensure that sanitary materials are included in school budgets and school improvement plans.

When this all happens it can make a huge difference not just to girls’ attendance and attainment at school, but also their self-confidence and active participation in class.

‘If my period being unexpectedly, I don’t feel nervous or embarrassed anymore. I don’t miss school anymore because of my period. I am now able to attend every day.’ - Mary attends the Accelerated Education Programme supported by Save the Children in the Palorinya refugee settlement. Through the Education Cannot Wait-financed multi-year educational response in Uganda, 18,000 girls like Mary will be provided with the dignity and essential human right of safe menstrual health. Photo: Save the Children
‘If my period being unexpectedly, I don’t feel nervous or embarrassed anymore. I don’t miss school anymore because of my period. I am now able to attend every day.’ – Mary attends the Accelerated Education Programme supported by Save the Children in the Palorinya refugee settlement. Through the Education Cannot Wait-financed multi-year educational response in Uganda, 18,000 girls like Mary will be provided with the dignity and essential human right of safe menstrual health. Photo: Save the Children

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Corbishley is the Education Corsortium Manager for Save the Children in Uganda

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE DAY

Learn more about Global Menstrual Hygiene Day |#MHDAY2019

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HEALING AND RECOVERY THROUGH EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

Children at one of Save the Children’s temporary learning spaces in Qayyara Airstrip IDP Camp, Iraq © Dario Bosio/DARST/Save the Children
Children at one of Save the Children’s temporary learning spaces in Qayyara Airstrip IDP Camp, Iraq © Dario Bosio/DARST/Save the Children

CRITICAL IMPACT OF CONFLICT ON CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WELLBEING

By Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait, and Leslie Snider, Director MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families

‘Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account for three quarters of child deaths and injuries across the world’s deadliest war zones.’

Humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises currently affect millions of children around the world with serious consequences for their ability to learn, grow and develop. 420 million children – nearly one-fifth of children worldwide – are living in a conflict zone. Children are especially vulnerable in conflict situations, because a child’s experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on their physical and mental development.

Save the Children’s new research shows just how much bombs and explosives in the world’s worst war zones are hurting children both mentally, as well as physically. Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account for three quarters of child deaths and injuries across the world’s deadliest war zones. Our research shows how children are uniquely injured and impacted by explosive weapons compared to adults, and that children exposed to explosive weapons are at increased risk of long-term physical and psychosocial disabilities and mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

For children in conflict, the combination of exposure to bombs and explosive weapons, grave violations of their human rights and chronic adversity, insecurity and deprivation can lead to ‘toxic stress.’ Furthermore, many children impacted by conflict do not have access to the protective environment of schools and to quality education. As a result, conflict imposes yet another significant cost on future generations and severely undermines the potential for peaceful, prosperous societies.

MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHO-SOCIAL SUPPORT IN AND THROUGH EDUCATION

Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for children in conflict is essential to overcome the impact of toxic stress and gives children the chance to develop to their full potential. Integrating MHPSS programming into the existing structures that support and protect children, such as educational systems, is essential to ensure children can access opportunities for healing, recovery and learning at larger scale. Education, delivered in safe, nurturing environments, is critically protective for children in conflict, and has the potential to support their healing and recovery.

LACK OF SERVICES AND SUPPORT EXACERBATE CHILDREN’S TRAUMA

However, the huge need borne from protracted crises and mass displacement are not being matched with funding and support to ensure the inclusion of MHPSS services

An 8-year-old refugee from Afrin in Syria now living in Iraq. Despite huge needs, mental health services for children affected by conflict are very limited, with just one psychologist per one million people in Iraq. © Panos/Save the Children, 2018
An 8-year-old refugee from Afrin in Syria now living in Iraq. Despite huge needs, mental health services for children affected by conflict are very limited, with just one psychologist per one million people in Iraq. © Panos/Save the Children, 2018

in emergency responses. Mental health care treatment gaps are greater than 90 per cent in the least resourced countries, and for child and family MHPSS, there is a lack of targeted, evidence-based programmes, workforce capacity and sustained funding.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO SCALE UP MHPSS FOR CHILDREN IN CRISIS: ECW AND THE MHPSS COLLABORATIVE

The MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families, hosted by Save the Children, serves as a global platform for research, practice, learning and advocacy, that aims to build meaningful partnerships to address the critical MHPSS needs of children and families in fragile contexts at scale. Education Cannot Wait has partnered with the Collaborative in order to support the Global Education Cluster and other interagency partners to mainstream evidence-based, contextualized MHPSS into education in emergency programmes – closing the critical gap in treatment and providing safe and healing learning environments for the millions of children affected by conflict.

DEVELOPING AND DELIVERING A MINIMUM PACKAGE OF MHPSS SERVICES FOR EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS

There are practical actions all countries can take to provide the help that children affected by conflict need to make a full recovery. This must include ensuring there is the mental health support on the ground to help children recover both in the immediate aftermath, and through the crucial months afterwards.

Education Cannot Wait, together with the MHPSS Collaborative and its partners, are calling on governments, donors, private sector companies, philanthropic foundations and global leaders to support efforts to increase the provision and quality of MHPSS via education in emergencies with US$50 million in dedicated financing to be channeled through Education Cannot Wait over three years through 2021. Immediate additional funding for MHPSS services will ensure the development and demonstration of the UNICEF and WHO MHPSS ‘Minimum Service Package ‘ within education, and also support the implementation of the package in five Education Cannot Wait Multi-Year Resilience Programme countries between now and 2021.

The MHPSS Minimum Service Package will build capacity across the education sector to deliver lifesaving MHPSS for an estimated 9 million children by 2021, and ensure educational systems are effectively linked to health, protection and social services, ensuring a critical safety net for children and their caregivers. For the millions of children around the world exposed to bombs, explosive weapons, conflict, insecurity, and toxic stress, this support is urgently needed to ensure their learning and wellbeing.

For more information, read the full briefing Healing And Recovery Through Education In Emergencies

www.stopwaronchildren.org | #STOPTHEWARONCHILDREN

 

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND MHPSS COLLABORATIVE PARTNER TO DELIVER MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT TO CHILDREN CAUGHT UP IN THE WORLD’S WORST HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Education Cannot Wait, together with the MHPSS Collaborative and its partners, are calling on donors to support our efforts to increase the provision and quality of MHPSS via education in emergencies with $10 million in dedicated financing to be channeled through Education Cannot Wait. UN Photo/Martine Perret
Education Cannot Wait, together with the MHPSS Collaborative and its partners, are calling on donors to support our efforts to increase the provision and quality of MHPSS via education in emergencies with US$50 million in dedicated financing to be channeled through Education Cannot Wait over three years through 2021. UN Photo/Martine Perret

NEW PARTNERSHIP WILL SEE MORE AND BETTER SERVICES FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT DELIVERED THROUGH EDUCATION

16 May 2019, The Hague – Today, at the Stop the War on Children Symposium in The Hague, Netherlands, Education Cannot Wait and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Collaborative launched a new partnership designed to mainstream mental health and psychosocial support for children and youth affected by wars and conflicts.

One in five of the world’s school-aged children live in countries affected by conflict. These girls and boys face increased risk of developing mental health and psychosocial problems due to the violence, trauma, fear and chronic adversity they experience. This combination may lead to “toxic stress” – a type of stress particularly damaging to a developing child’s brain architecture with potential lifelong impacts on children’s physical and mental health; their ability to grow, learn, develop; and their capacity to build the skills they need to become productive members of society.

Yet, in most conflict areas, there are few if any mental health and psychosocial support services specifically for children and adolescents, including a serious lack of capacity to care for children with higher level needs, such as developmental disability, exposure to traumatic events, or mental, neurologic and substance abuse disorders.

Dr. Leslie Snider and Yasmine Sherif at the Stop the War on Children Symposium. Photo Michael Corlin/ECW.
Dr. Leslie Snider and Yasmine Sherif at the Stop the War on Children Symposium. Photo Michael Corlin/ECW.

“Integrating MHPSS programming into the existing services that support and protect children, such as educational systems, is one way in which the service gap can be closed and by which we can ensure children can access opportunities for healing, recovery and learning,” said Dr. Leslie Snider, the Director of the MHPSS Collaborative.

With Education Cannot Wait expanding its investments in multi-year resilience education programmes to 25 priority crisis-affected countries in the next three years, the new partnership with the MHPSS Collaborative – a global platform for research, practice, learning and advocacy

for mental health and psychosocial support – has the potential to reach 9 million children annually by 2021.

“Education Cannot Wait is a global fund designed to ensure children caught up in crises have access to education and we’re committed to ensuring that the education they receive support them in healing,’ said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Our support to education takes a holistic approach to ensure children’s wellbeing. We can’t ask a child who is suffering from the horrors of war and the prolonged stress and insecurity of daily life in conflict zones to learn numeracy and literacy skills as if it was business as usual. Only by helping them cope with their experiences, heal and recover can we help them achieve quality learning outcomes.”

Integrating mental health and psychosocial support within education not only ensures safe and nurturing learning environments, it has also been demonstrated to improve academic outcomes for children.

Education Cannot Wait, together with the MHPSS Collaborative and its partners, are calling on donors to support our efforts to increase the provision and quality of MHPSS via education in emergencies with US$50 million in dedicated financing to be channeled through Education Cannot Wait over three years through 2021. This funding will enable the development and demonstration of a Minimum Service Package for mental health and psychosocial services within the education sector. Furthermore, it will support the implementation of the package in five Education Cannot Wait Multi-Year Resilience Programme countries by 2021, providing critical support to build back better educational systems linked with other care and protective services.

Stop the War Symposium Panel. Photo: The MPHSS Collaborative
Stop the War Symposium Panel. Photo: The MPHSS Collaborative

The new partnership will help build capacity across the education sector to deliver lifesaving mental health and psychosocial support and effectively link educational systems with health, protection and social services, ensuring a critical safety net for children and their caregivers.

The MHPSS Collaborative will support the mainstreaming of such services through Education Cannot Wait’s investments, in coordination with the Global Education Cluster and other relevant coordination mechanisms.

The Minimum Service Packages for MHPSS within education, health and protection sectors in humanitarian response is an initiative of UNICEF and WHO.

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Note to Editors:

For more information, read the full briefing Healing And Recovery Through Education In Emergencies

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

Additional information on ECW is available at www.educationcannotwait.org

For press enquiries, contact:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1 917 640-6820

For any other enquiries, contact:
info@educationcannotwait.org

About the MHPSS Collaborative

The MHPSS Collaborative is a global platform for mental health and psychosocial support research, practice, learning and advocacy. We connect key academic and humanitarian actors with local civil society to give children and families in fragile circumstances the possibility to thrive, to learn and play, and to develop to their full potential. Based upon meaningful relationships and local realities and solutions, the collaborative: Convenes local to global stakeholders for MHPSS sharing, exchange, learning and innovation; Facilitates interagency MHPSS implementation science to promote innovation, quality and scale; Engages local communities of practice to lift learning from local MHPSS innovation to global exchange; Disseminates MHPSS knowledge, evidence and resources; and Champions the critical contribution of MHPSS to the recovery and survival of children and families in fragile contexts through evidence-based advocacy and policy.

For more information, contact: les@redbarnet.dk or cvt@redbarnet.dk or follow @MHPSSCollabora1 on Twitter

BUILDING PEACE THROUGH EDUCATION IN SOUTH SUDAN

Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW
Refugee Children from South Sudan in Ethiopia. Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW

WE CANNOT SAY ‘LET US FIGHT FIRST AND THEN GET EDUCATION LATER’

By Aida Orgocka

“If I was not educated, I would be one of the people that would cause problems for South Sudan now,” says Victor Dut Chol, the Director of Research Policy Development and Sustainable Development Goals/Peace Education Focal Point in the Ministry of Education of South Sudan.

I met Victor in Juba during my last field mission to South Sudan where Education Cannot Wait is supporting the development of a multi-year programme aiming to provide education to the country’s most vulnerable children and youth.

Victor is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Like many of the boys who fled the violence of the civil war in the ’80s and trekked enormous distances to find safety in Ethiopia, the capital and other places, Victor doesn’t actually know how old he is. Birth registration is very low in South Sudan, and only about half of children are registered at birth.

But Victor never gave up. He pursued education with tenacity throughout his journey as a person uprooted by violence, from Ethiopia, to Kenya and then to the United States of America. Having graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration, he is now back in South Sudan because he believes it is his time to give back. He is part of the Task Team that will put together the Multi-Year Resilience Programme led by the Government of South Sudan.

South Sudan is one of the six countries where the Fund will invest in such programmes in 2019 – bringing ongoing Multi-Year Resilience Programmes supported by Education Cannot Wait to a total of 11 countries by the end of the year. Designed to strengthen linkages between emergency response and longer-term strengthening of education systems, these programmes bring together a wide range of international, national and local stakeholders to deliver quality education to the most marginalized girls and boys.

Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW
7 out of 10 children are out of school in South Sudan. Protection of Civilian site outside Juba. Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW

UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE

More than 2.2 million school-aged children in South Sudan have been dropped out of school due to the continuous conflict. This is one of the highest rates in the world. In some areas, girls make up to 75 per cent of the children outside the education system. The gender gap widens with age, according to the Global Initiative On Out Of School Children report (May 2018). While 10.6 per cent of boys were in secondary school at age 16, this was the case for only 1.3 per cent of 16-year-old girls.

Victor fears that if education is not provided for these children, they will grow up thinking like he did when he was out of school, that people of tribes other than the Dinka were out there to harm him. Without the opportunity an education provides, Victor believes these children would choose taking up arms instead of making windows, chairs and benches for classrooms, or pursuing other productive activities to build the social and economic fabric of the young nation.

We need to prepare the next generation of workers in South Sudan – and across the globe in countries affected by disaster, emergency and protracted crisis. As outlined in Education Cannot Wait’s Case for Investment, for each dollar invested in education, more than US$5 is returned in additional gross earnings in low-income countries and US$2.50 in lower middle-income countries.

Education is the key.

South Sudan cannot be self-sufficient if it does not have its own educated workforce. It all starts with having an opportunity to go to school and stay in school. For girls, meeting the education challenge means lifting socio-cultural barriers including eliminating child marriage and sexual violence, and building the confidence, knowledge and power needed to take their place in economic and social life. For boys, the alternative would be a future of joining armed groups or being victimized during cattle raids. For the nation, realizing the education imperative means the hope of peace, the hope of security, and the hope of reducing poverty and hunger South Sudan signed up for, along with 193 countries, when it committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW
These boys are lucky to have basic services at the Protection of Civilian site outside Juba. In all 30 per cent of schools in South Sudan are damaged, destroyed or occupied. Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW

PUTTING EDUCATION FIRST

How difficult can it be to keep children in school? Parents in South Sudan are selling cows to bring children to school because they are realizing the importance of an educated child.

Anyone who knows the country would say this is a huge investment. Cows symbolize income generation, status and the promise of a family life in a context where communities exhausted by conflict are saying: “This is enough.”

But even when the desire is there, there are no schools, and when there are schools, they lack trained teachers.

At a Protection of Civilians site outside of Juba, one teacher told us that while “back to school campaigns” try to increase enrollment numbers of girls and boys in school, what’s also really needed is a “back to teach campaign.”

Above all, women teachers should be recruited and trained. These women educators will serve as role models for girls like Vicky in Hossana Primary School who told me she wants to be a pilot.

Having worked in the field of education in emergencies for some time now, I sometimes get impatient with ideas that evolve around building more schools and training more teachers.

Haven’t we done enough? No, we haven’t.

In South Sudan when you see a poster that reads “You should never try to hit your friends with a metal or big stick,” you wonder why in the first place you would hit a friend.

As one of the countries that endorsed the Safe School Declaration, South Sudan places a lot of faith in schools and teachers to be the entryway to peace. As Victor puts it “we cannot afford to fight now and get educated later.”

Aida Orgocka is the Gender Specialist at Education Cannot Wait. She visited South Sudan March 24-31, 2019 with Michael Corlin, Education Cannot Wait Senior Advisor as part of the Fund’s support to the development of a Multi-Year Resilience Programme to be launched this year.

Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW
The largest group of out-of-school children in South Sudan are girls. Poverty, child marriage and cultural and religious views all hinder girls’ education, according to UNICEF. Protection of Civilian site outside Juba. Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW

 

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT REACHES 1.3 MILLION CHILDREN IN FIRST TWO YEARS OF OPERATIONS

Key education stakeholders from national governments, civil society, the private and philanthropic sector, UN Agencies and donors came together on the margins of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings on 11 April in Washington, D.C. to take stock of Education Cannot Wait’s progress after two years of operations. Photo ECW.

GLOBAL FUND’S HIGH-LEVEL STEERING GROUP LAUNCHES $1.8 BILLION CALL FOR ACTION TO REACH 9 MILLION CHILDREN IN CRISIS SETTINGS BY 2021

The High-Level Steering Group of Education Cannot Wait met on the margins of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings on 11 April in Washington, D.C. Ministerial and senior education stakeholders from government and donors, civil society, the private and philanthropic sector, and heads of UN Agencies convened to take stock of Education Cannot Wait’s progress after two years of operations.

With more than 1.3 million children and youth reached in 19 crisis-affected countries, the Fund’s High-Level Steering Group, chaired by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Rt Hon Gordon Brown, commended the Fund’s investment model and promising results, stressing that if “ Education Cannot Wait did not exist we would need to invent it.”

DELIVERING RESULTS

The Fund’s Director, Yasmine Sherif, presented Education Cannot Wait’s results to meeting participants, launching the Fund’s new Results Dashboard. As of 11 April, support for quality education is reaching close to 1 million children in primary, 300,000 in secondary and 70,000 in pre-primary. Overall, 51 per cent of the total children reached to date are girls.

Following a presentation by the Under-Secretary-General of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, participants at the biannual meeting discussed the instrumental role played by the Fund in advancing the humanitarian–development nexus in the education aid sector in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education for all. The meeting welcomed the Fund’s collaboration and partnerships, and its focus on results at the country-level. Participants stressed the collective need to catalyse additional and predictable financing, ensure an effective and coordinated response, build resilience of affected people and communities, and strengthen systems.

FRONTLINES PERSPECTIVES

The Ministers of Education from Afghanistan and South Sudan briefed the members of the High-Level Steering Group on the education sector in their respective countries and called for stronger support from multilateral and bilateral donors, including through Education Cannot Wait.

In his moving intervention, Afghanistan’s Minister of Education, Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, highlighted the needs of Afghanistan’s 3.7 million out-of-school children (60 per cent of whom are girls), who have lost the opportunity and hope of an education due to the ongoing conflict and insecurity, forced displacement, social and economic constraints, and other factors. He also highlighted the progress driven by Education Cannot Wait’s First Emergency Response and the recently launched Multi-Year Resilience Programme in supporting the national community-based education strategy. Through these programme, the government and implementing partners are increasing access to education in hard-to–reach areas, recruiting women teachers and reducing the gender gap, building capacity, and providing safe and quality learning opportunities.

South Sudan’s Minister of General Education and Instruction, Deng Deng Hoc Yai, shared his personal journey as a refugee, and his new hope after the Civil War for peace, security and educational opportunities for the young people of South Sudan. According the Deng Deng Hoc Yai, more than 2.2 million children are out of school in South Sudan, the majority of whom are girls. He underscored that it is a pressing issue of gender equality and human rights to ensure children are not left behind, schools are built, text books are delivered, teachers are trained and the new national curriculum is rolled out to support better educational outcomes. Education Cannot Wait and its partners are currently supporting the development of a multi-year resilience programme in South Sudan.

The meeting also included important pledges and commitments for children and youth affected by Cyclone Idai. The United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) and Dubai Cares announced new commitments of US$5.2 million (4 million pounds) and US$2 million respectively to support a total US$14 million Education Cannot Wait allocation for emergency educational responses in the wake of the devastation from the cyclone in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Global Citizen and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation also presented a six-figure check to Education Cannot Wait from the funds raised through Will Smith’s jump over the Grand Canyon.

With these pledges, the Fund has mobilized US$344 million since its inception and has surpassed annual resource mobilization goals since it was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

A CALL TO ACTION

The High-Level Steering Group approved Education Cannot Wait’s new Case for Investment, which calls on partners to “rise and support our efforts to mobilize US$1.8 billion in funding for education in crisis settings by 2021. Built through integrated partnerships, these catalytic investments will support quality education for close to 9 million children annually in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.”

The High-Level Steering Group members signalled their commitment to support Education Cannot Wait in advocating for resource mobilization with plans for a high-level pledging event at this year’s United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

PHOTOS

ECW High-Level Steering Group meeting April 2019

THE WILL TO LEARN

Zakaria, 12, standing next to his school in Al-Jaffrah town of Deir-ez-Zor, rehabilitated by UNICEF with funding from Education Cannot Wait. Photo UNICEF/Syria
Zakaria, 12, standing next to his school in Al-Jaffrah town of Deir-ez-Zor, rehabilitated by UNICEF with funding from Education Cannot Wait. Photo UNICEF/Syria

REHABILITATED CLASSROOMS SUPPORTED THROUGH EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND UNICEF IN SYRIA GIVES A BOY WITH A CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE A NEW LEASE ON LIFE

‘I don’t want any child anywhere in the world to lose their right to learn’ – Zakaria, 12.

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by UNICEF Syria

As violence escalated in Deir-ez-Zor, Syria, almost five years ago, Zakaria and his family had nowhere else to go and chose to stay in their hometown of Al-Jaffrah.

When fighting destroyed the only school in town, Zakaria’s only alternative was to continue his learning by walking to a school in a nearby town, an hour away on foot.  However, born with a congenital heart disease, the daily walk of over eight kilometers proved

Photo UNICEF/Syria.
Photo UNICEF/Syria.

arduous.

“I felt different from other kids who could walk to school easily over the long journey,” recalls Zakaria, now 12. Despite all the challenges Zakaria continued to walk to school, carrying his heavy school bag, but still determined to continue his learning to become a teacher when he grows up.

Thanks to funding through Education Cannot Wait’s Initial Investment in Syria, UNICEF and partners rehabilitated eight schools in Deir-ez-Zor, including 116 classrooms, allowing Zakaria and 3,500 other boys and girls to continue their learning. Since its start in April 2017, the US$15 million investment has reached 177,000 children, including 85,000 girls. To support the unique needs of children growing up in conflict, the programme has strengthened the capacity of the education system to ensure a timely and coordinated education response, improved equitable access to education and learning opportunities, and improved the quality and relevance of education within a more protective environment.

“I’m so happy to be back in my original school,” says Zakaria with a grin. “I don’t want any child anywhere in the world to lose their right to learn.”

In 2019, 13 new schools are being rehabilitated in Deir-ez-Zor to ensure more children can return to their classrooms.

With the hard work of six international NGOs and 11 Syrian NGOs across the country, some 85,000 children have been enrolled and supported in education services to date. The programme also looks to empower teachers and communities. Since its start, some 2,600 teachers and other education personnel have received stipends and incentives, and 1,237 classrooms have been established or rehabilitated.

Learn More

Education Cannot Wait’s ‘Stories from the Field’ series features the voices of our implementing partners, children, youth and the communities we support. These stories have only been lightly edited to reflect the authentic voice of these frontlines partners on the ground. The views expressed in the Stories from the Field series do not necessarily reflect those of Education Cannot Wait, our Secretariat, donors or UN Member States.

Photo UNICEF/Syria.
Photo UNICEF/Syria.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT APPROVES US$1 MILLION ALLOCATION TO SUPPORT EDUCATION SERVICES FOR 77,000 CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CYCLONE IDAI IN MALAWI

Malawi
Photo UNICEF Malawi

GRANTS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED BY UNICEF, WORLD VISION, SAVE THE CHILDREN AND THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP)

2 May 2019, New York – In response to the urgent needs of children impacted by Cyclone Idai to access safe learning environments and psychosocial support, Education Cannot Wait and its partners announced a US$1 million grant to support over 77,000 children in 174 schools in Malawi, including close to 33,000 girls in the five most affected districts of Chikwawa, Mulanje, Nsanje, Phalombe and Zomba.

The emergency response will support relief efforts to immediately establish temporary learning spaces, deliver early childhood development kits, school-in-a-box learning materials, recreation materials and textbooks to schools damaged in the floods. It will also support school feeding programmes for 32,000 children receiving nutrition while in school.

Cyclone Idai exacerbated the impact of previous flooding in Malawi, which had initially damaged schools and disrupted learning for over 1,000 children in Chikwawa District prior to the declaration of the national disaster. According to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) data and the latest post disaster needs assessment, Cyclone Idai has affected close to 500,000 primary school learners (half of whom are girls) nationwide, with some 400 primary schools impacted. Younger children were also affected, with over 41,000 children impacted in 424 Early Childhood Development Centres.

A sudden disaster severely disrupts the daily lives of children and makes them more vulnerable. The longer a child’s education is interrupted, the less likely the child is to return to school and continued learning. Many children may resort to earning a living or be exposed to protection threats. Girls are especially vulnerable to child marriages and gender-based violence in disaster zones. Girls and boys also face higher risks of exploitation, child trafficking, abduction and forced recruitment into armed groups.

The response is coordinated on the national level through the Ministry of Education and the Education Cluster. This allocation will be implemented by UNICEF (US$394,000 grant), World Vision (US$198,000 grant), Save the Children (US$137,000 grant) and the World Food Programme (US$270,000 grant).

The synergistic response complements the ongoing efforts being undertaken by clusters focused on shelter, health, protection and water.

Women and children, especially adolescent girls, who are victims of any form of abuse including sexual violence, emotional, economic and physical abuse, will be referred for psychosocial support and counseling through the investment. The provision of handwashing facilities and menstrual hygiene kits for adolescent girls complements the efforts by the WASH cluster.

This $1 million allocation is part of the total $14 million commitment from Education Cannot Wait and its partners to support a rapid educational response to cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.