WORLD LEADERS COMMIT A TOTAL OF $216M TO EDUCATION ON THE GLOBAL CITIZEN STAGE

Ireland, the US, the LEGO Foundation, and more are stepping up for children in crisis.

Originally published on Global Citizen. By Leah Rodriguez.

28 September 2019, New York – Over 254,000 Global Citizens have taken action this year to stand up for education, and world leaders have listened. 

Actress and Global Citizen Ambassador Rachel Brosnahan joined Yasmine Sherif, Director of the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund, on stage at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park on Saturday to thank Global Citizens. 

“I’m so inspired and proud of all the Global Citizens who joined the fight for increased funding towards quality education for every child, everywhere,” Sherif said. 

By raising your voices together, Global Citizens have helped urge world leaders to make pledges this month alone totaling $216 million in support of ECW — the first global fund for education in emergencies.

“Getting all kids in school and learning, especially in times of conflict and crisis, can boost economies, empower women, and end extremism,” Brosnahan reminded the crowd while sharing her experience visiting Peru with Global Citizen earlier this year. 

On the festival stage, Ireland, Norway, the US, and the LEGO Foundation reaffirmed their pledges made earlier this week to support children living in conflict and crisis areas — who are especially vulnerable to having their education cut short. This is the first commitment that Ireland has ever made to the fund.

The LEGO Foundation is contributing $12.5 million to ECW, which the United States Government is matching with a $12 million pledge. Ireland is making its first contribution ever to the fund with a €6 million (~$6.7m) commitment. 

“Education has the power to end conflict, to foster inclusion, tolerance, and human rights across the globe,” Minister Ciarán Cannon of Ireland told tens of thousands of assembled Global Citizens. “We believe that children and young people, even in the most difficult of situations, can have access to quality education, thus empowering them to be the very best they can be.”

Ireland, Norway, and the US are three of the seven donors that revealed major commitments to ECW on Wednesday, at an event in New York City entitled “Leave No One Behind: Accelerating the SDGs through Quality Education — Two New Initiatives”. 

Co-hosted by ECW, the Education Commission and Global Citizen, the event was part of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week and the first Sustainable Development Goal Summit.  

Advocates and celebrity champions, from rapper French Montana to Global Teacher Prize winner Peter Mokaya Tabichi, were in attendance and encouraged stakeholders to prioritize children’s futures by assisting ECW.

At the Leave No One Behind event, Rasmus Prehn, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation, announced that it will be increasing support to ECW by 25% each year — amounting to a total of $37M over four years. 

Germany is committing to provide €10M( ~$11.1m) to ECW, according to an announcement made by Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, the country’s Parliamentary State Secretary. 

Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister of International Development, said his country had doubled its efforts and pledged 500M Norwegian kroner, about $56.8m; while the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s Tatjana von Steiger also pledged $6 million to the fund. 

Actor Will Smith also shared a special video message at Leave No One Behind, encouraging leaders to continue investing in education for children in crisis.

Read More: Millions of Children in Emergencies Are Denied an Education. But That Can Change.

In 2018, Smith celebrated his 50th birthday by bungee-jumping over the Grand Canyon, after promising to take the plunge if he raised $750,000 for ECW. 

Now, he’s going even bigger — urging the world to help ECW meet its goal of raising $1.8 billion by 2021.

The UN’s Global Goal 4 works to ensure that everyone — no matter who they are or where they live — can access a quality education. However, at the current rate of progress, 225 million young people  will not be in school by 2030.

This means they won’t have the necessary skills to work, combat poverty, lead healthy lives, or rebuild their communities. ECW aims to reach every crisis-affected child with safe, free, and quality education by 2030.

“We can do more to keep this amazing work going,” Smith said over video. “We could use everybody’s help, including world leaders and businesses. Your actions are a contribution to the human family and that family needs you.”

 

WATCH EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT’S YASMINE SHERIF LIVE AT THIS YEAR’S GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL IN NYC

Education Cannot Wait’s Director, Yasmine Sherif, will take to the stage at Global Citizen’s New York Festival Saturday 27 September. With Global Citizen and other key partners, ECW has raised $560 million and reached more than 1.5 million children and youth since its inception.

Tune In!

About The Event

Join Queen + Adam Lambert, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, H.E.R., and Carole King in NYC’s Central Park on Sept. 28, 2019 for the Global Citizen Festival. Co-hosted by Debra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman and featuring special guests French Montana and NCT 127. Live on YouTube, presented by Johnson & Johnson on September 28, 2019 4 p.m. ET. Take action and #PowerTheMovement today.

Global Citizen is a social action platform for a global generation that aims to solve the world’s biggest challenges. On our platform, you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most, and join a community committed to social change. We believe we can end extreme poverty because of the collective actions of Global Citizens across the world. Register to become a Global Citizen and start taking action today: https://www.globalcitizen.org/

WORLD LEADERS PLEDGE A RECORD US$216 MILLION TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT DURING UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The global fund for education in emergencies surpasses half-a-billion dollar milestone in resources mobilized to reach children and youth left furthest behind in crises

25 September 2019, New York – World leaders today committed to expanding access to inclusive quality education for girls and boys caught up in the world’s worst humanitarian crises with US$216 million in pledges for Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies.

Recognizing the urgent need to address the education crisis faced by millions of children and youth left furthest behind in armed conflicts, forced displacements, natural disasters and protracted crises, world leaders from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the private sector – The LEGO Foundation and ProFuturo – announced significant contributions to Education Cannot Wait, materializing their commitment to “reach those left furthest behind.”

Pledges were announced in a room filled to capacity with a wide range of stakeholders at the ‘Leave No One Behind: Accelerating the SDGs Through Quality Education – Two New Initiatives’ event held at UNICEF during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

“Last Friday, millions of children to their credit walked out of school to protest against climate change. Today, we are protesting that no children have no school to walk out from.  There are 260 million who don’t go to school — 75 million because of crisis. There is not just a climate emergency, there is an education emergency. Today’s announcement of new funds gives new hope to the millions of children around the world,” said the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

With the announcement of a £85 million (US$105 million) contribution to ECW at the G7 in August, the United Kingdom (UK) is now the Fund’s top donor.

“Children living through wars and humanitarian crises have had their childhood taken away from them. We will not allow their future to be lost as well. This is why UK aid is helping some of the most vulnerable children, particularly girls, get the education they deserve. This will have a transformative effect on their lives,” said Alok Sharma, the UK Secretary of State for International Development.

Education Cannot Wait and partners seek to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach 9 million children and youth in countries affected by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters – which are often induced by climate change. Today’s new contributions bring the total resources raised by Education Cannot Wait to $560 million to date.

“As conflict and crises multiply and last longer, the need for education in emergencies grows. By working together with partners through Education Cannot Wait, we can ensure a more coordinated and efficient response. Only then can we succeed in reaching those left furthest behind, providing opportunities for some of the most marginalized and excluded children to thrive and become positive agents of change,” said Dag Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development of Norway, who announced that Norway will increase its contribution to Education Cannot Wait.

“Today, with this tremendous support, Education Cannot Wait and our strategic donor partners are saying to girls and boys suffering the brunt of crises ‘You are no longer forgotten!’,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Our investment modalities are designed to act swiftly, and we will immediately work jointly with our humanitarian and development partners on the ground in crisis-affected countries – including host-governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector – to transform these crucial resources into quality inclusive education, protection and physical and psychological well-being for millions of children and youth caught in some of the world’s most difficult and hostile environments.”

Since its inception in 2016, Education Cannot Wait has invested in 32 countries, reaching more than 1.5 million children and youth – half of them girls. The Fund works with a range of stakeholders – governments, UN agencies, private sector and philanthropic actors, civil society organizations and affected communities. ECW invests across the humanitarian-development nexus to support rapid education responses when a crisis strikes or escalates, while also ensuring predictable multi-year resilience education programmes for children and youth impacted by protracted crises. The Fund’s investments are designed to increase accountability, efficiency and sustainability; the share of ECW’s funding channeled as directly as possible to local actors increased from 19 per cent to 30 per cent in just two years.  

Education Cannot Wait’s strategic approach is inspired by, and aligned with the UN reform. With its lean and agile structure focused on delivering results, it is now considered one of the fastest growing multilateral initiatives to advance collective efforts towards Sustainable Development Goal 4, quality education, in crisis settings.

The ‘Leave No One Behind’ event was produced by international advocacy movement Global Citizen and moderated by CNN’s Zain Asher. Global Citizen’s Vice President of Policy, Madge Thomas, said greater attention is needed for causes like Education Cannot Wait, and that Global Citizen has joined civil society organizations including Save the Children, Theirworld, Plan International, the Global Campaign for Education and many others to help mobilize attention and resources.  

“Over 200,000 global citizens and young people around the world, some of them in the room today, called on governments to support Education Cannot Wait and provide better financing for education,” said Thomas. “Today, donors answered this call which is a great outcome to report back to all those who took action. But more is needed, and we hope this inspires other leaders to scale up support.” 

Several celebrities and global education advocates attended the event, using their presence and voice to shine the spotlight on the urgent need for education in emergencies to be front and center on the global agenda.  The list of personalities included: Education Cannot Wait’s global ‘Champion for children in conflicts and crises’ and winner of the Varkey Foundation 2019 Global Teacher Prize, Peter Tabichi, and Global Citizen Ambassador and Grammy-nominated rap-artist French Montana. World-renowned actor and supporter of Education Cannot Wait, Will Smith, also participated in the event through a video message.

LIST OF CONTRIBUTIONS ANNOUNCED FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT

PUBLIC DONORS

Denmark: 25% increase in contribution for a total of US$37 million over 2019-2022, reaching a grand total of US$79.1 million to date

Germany: EUR 10 million/US$11 million, reaching a total of US$46.7 million to date           

Ireland: EUR 6 million /US$6.6 million, first-time contribution

Norway: NOK 500 million/US$55 million, reaching a total of US$77.2 million to date        

Switzerland:  CHF 6 million/US$6 million, first-time contribution

UK (DFID): GBP 85 million/US$106 million, reaching a total of US$149.5 million to date                         

USA (USAID/PRM): US$12 million, reaching a total US$33 million to date

PRIVATE SECTOR

The LEGO Foundation: US$12.5 million, first-time contribution

ProFuturo: Contributions to multi-year resilience programmes in-country to reach a total of 650,000 children

Photos

UNGA 2019 - Leave No One Behind

Videos

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Note to Editors:

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global, multi-lateral 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 is available at www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4educationincrisis.org

Follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait

For press enquiries, contact:

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1-917-640-6820

Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

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

 

 

 

 

THE LEGO FOUNDATION AWARDS MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR GRANT TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT TO HELP INCREASE ACCESS TO QUALITY LEARNING IN EMERGENCIES AND PROTRACTED CRISES

John Goodwin, Lego Foundation CEO, announces the contribution at the Education Cannot Wait event at this year’s UN General Assembly.

View original Lego Foundation Press Release.

$12.5 million grant announced during this year’s U.N. General Assembly is part of a joint pledge made with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) to support education in crises situations

Billund, Denmark – 25 September 2019 – Today, the LEGO Foundation announced a $12.5 million grant to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to bring quality learning experiences to children in emergency situations.  ECW is a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The grant is part of a joint pledge announced with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM.)

“We recognize that high quality early childhood education supports school readiness and the social and emotional learning needed for successful transitions from emergency situations,” said John Goodwin, CEO at LEGO Foundation. “We are proud to join USAID and PRM in support of Education Cannot Wait, as we stand to lose an entire generation if we don’t take immediate action to support education in crisis settings.”

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The fund was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to help prioritize education on the humanitarian agenda, foster a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and raise additional funding to ensure that every child impacted by crisis is learning. The fund is widely supported by organizations and governments around the globe, including Denmark where the LEGO Foundation is headquartered.

“I want to commend the LEGO Foundation for taking a leading role in promoting ‘learning through play’, an important Danish tradition. I hope this will inspire other private actors to similar innovative partnerships. Furthermore, I look forward to developing our partnership with the LEGO Foundation on education in humanitarian situations,” said Rasmus Prehn, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark.

The joint pledge was announced during a panel discussion hosted by Education Cannot Wait on the main stage at this year’s United Nations General Assembly. Among the many topics of discussion during week long events, is progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) ECW operates in support of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities.)

ECW’s mandate is both to inspire political commitment so that education is viewed by both governments and funders as a top priority during crises and to generate additional funding to help close the $8.5 billion funding gap needed to reach 75 million children and youth. The Fund is a catalyst for a wide range of partners to collaborate towards achieving learning outcomes for children and youth in crisis settings.

“This support provided by The LEGO Foundation, USAID and PRM will allow us to deepen our investments in the future of the millions of children and youth who are left furthest behind in armed conflicts, disasters and forced displacement. These are among the most vulnerable, excluded and hard-to-reach girls and boys in the world,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are very grateful to The LEGO Foundation for this new strategic partnership. We have a shared vision and outlook, which is inspiring. Our joint focus on pre-school aged children will support Education Cannot Wait in allocating 10 per cent of the Fund’s resources to early childhood education. Together with our partners, we must ensure children in crisis contexts have a better start in life.”

Links

About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.

About Education Cannot Wait
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 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. For more information: www.educationcannotwait.com

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND IGAD ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP TO ENHANCE EDUCATION SUPPORT FOR REFUGEE AND DISPLACED CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN THE IGAD REGION AND HORN OF AFRICA

IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub M. Maalim and Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif.

The partnership will support the implementation of the United Nations’ Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the Djibouti Declaration in a region that hosts 7.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons

24 September 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed a partnership agreement today on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to enhance regional cooperation and accelerate more effective education investments for refugees and displaced children and youth across the eight countries of the IGAD region.

The first-of-its-kind, this agreement provides a regional work approach across the eight members states of IGAD­ – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – a region where there are approximately 7.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

“No child can be left behind as we ramp up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Through education – and partnerships like this – we can break the cycle of exclusion and vulnerability that comes with forced displacement and has often derailed and delayed social, economic and human development in the region,” said IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub M. Maalim.

The partnership will promote access to education for refugees, returnees and internally displaced children and youth, as agreed in the Djibouti Declaration and the Addis Ababa Call for Action. It will support IGAD member states in increasing global, regional and country-level cooperation to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 for universal quality education (SDG4) as part of the implementation of the UN’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).

“The IGAD region is one of the most affected by forced displacement in the world. In such a context, a regional approach is crucial for addressing education needs of uprooted children and youth in a comprehensive and sustainable manner across borders,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Together with IGAD and our partners in the region who are responding to displacement – including governments, UN agencies, philanthropic and private sector actors and civil society – we will scale up our investments and support their efforts to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for every child.”

The new ECW – IGAD partnership is designed to inspire more political commitment and financial resources for educational responses in the region, and to strengthen joint advocacy and capacity development. It builds on the successful model of the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities  developed by the Government of Uganda jointly with humanitarian and development aid partners with ECW’s support.

At this year’s UN General Assembly, world leaders are taking stock of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the considerable progress on education access and participation over the past years, 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017. In all 75 million children and youth in crisis-affected countries don’t have access to a quality education.

Education Cannot Wait is scaling up education-in-emergencies responses across the world and has already reached over 1.5 million children and youth. A number of crisis-affected and forcibly displaced children and youth in IGAD Member States already benefit from ECW investments, including Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, with planned multi-year responses under development for South Sudan and Sudan.

The Uganda Model
Last year Education Cannot Wait worked with the Government of Uganda, humanitarian and development aid organizations, civil society and other partners to develop Uganda’s ground-breaking Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities. ECW contributed US$11 million in seed funding to support the launch of the plan, which seeks to mobilize a total of US$389 million to reach more than 560,000 refugee and host community children and youth in the country. Additional ECW funding is planned over the next two years.

The partnership will empower other countries in the bloc to use the lessons learned from Uganda’s education response to better meet the needs of refugee and displaced children through national education plans, refugee and/or humanitarian response plans.
 
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Note to Editors:
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global, multi-lateral 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 is available at www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4education.org
Follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait
 
About the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD):
IGAD supports inclusive education and is committed to the United Nation’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF, Sept. 2016) and committed to mobilizing high level political commitment among its member states. The IGAD secretariat is committed to supporting Member States in the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and the Addis Ababa Call for Action, through coordination, monitoring and follow up of the development of national inclusive costed plans, recognized regional certification, policy development, established minimum standards for refugees, returnees, IDPs and host communities.
 
For press enquiries, contact:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1 917 640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org
 
For any other enquiries, contact:
info@educationcannotwait.org

MORE THAN 24 MILLION CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT NEED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

Millions of children living in war zones or forced to flee as refugees will require support to address mental health concerns, according to a new briefing paper released by Save the Children today, ahead of critical meetings at next week’s United Nations General Assembly. 

Photo UNICEF Ukraine.

7.1 million children at serious risk of developing severe mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or PTSD

Stories from the Field

Originally published on Save the Children Australia

11 September 2019 – Millions of children living in war zones or forced to flee as refugees will require support to address mental health concerns, according to a new briefing paper released by Save the Children today, ahead of critical meetings at next week’s United Nations General Assembly. 

Road to recovery: responding to children’s mental health in conflict’ reveals that of the 142 million children living in conflict zones, more than seven million are at serious risk of developing severe mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression or anxiety, and severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

At least 24 million children – four times the child population of Australia – require some form of mental health support, either now or in the future.

“We know that mental health is a really big issue facing many Australians. But imagine being a child who’s seen family members killed in front of their eyes or fled to a refugee camp with no idea what the future holds or who is living in a war zone where it’s too dangerous to go to school because of the risk of shelling,” Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director Archie Law said.

“Tens of millions of children are in this position, having had their lives turned upside down because of war and conflict. They are suffering a range of mental health problems, yet rarely are the services needed to treat and support these children available because it simply isn’t being adequately funded.”

Save the Children’s analysis found that just 0.14 percent of all official development assistance between 2015-2017 went to programs related to child mental health support. 

At the same time the number of children living in conflict zones has increased by 37 percent since 2010, while the number of verified grave violations against them – including killing and maiming, recruitment into armed forces and sexual violence – has increased by 174 percent.

“The scale of the mental health crisis for children in conflict is enormous, yet we don’t have the funding to match the need,” said Mr Law, who has a long history working in conflict and post-conflict settings including Iraq, Cambodia and several parts of Africa.

“That’s why we’re calling on countries meeting at the UN General Assembly this coming week, including Australia, to commit to increase funding to help the recovery of children affected by conflict.”

Specifically, Save the Children is urging donors like Australia to support the replenishment of the US$1.8bn Education Cannot Wait fund – providing nine million conflict affected children with the opportunity to learn and recover – and commit dedicated funding to integrate mental health and psychosocial support services within education in humanitarian settings.

Among those children requiring mental health support is 12-year-old Fatima*, who was in her home in Hajjah, Yemen, when an airstrike killed both of her parents and five siblings. Fatima’s leg was badly injured, and she needed operations to remove the shrapnel.

“I was unconscious and buried in the sand and rescue people were only able to help me and my sister. They took us to the hospital and that’s it. My leg was injured very badly to the extent that it was with no flesh. They (seven members of my family) were buried in the village,” Fatima said.

Fatima* now lives with her sister and aunt, Arwa*, who worries about her nieces’ mental state. Arwa* told Save the Children:

“Both girls wake up at night talking to us unconsciously. They are so sensitive. At night, they become angry and start crying.”

Through Save the Children’s global Stop the War on Children campaign, the organisation is campaigning to keep schools safe, stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, seek accountability for crimes against children and pursue new ways to support their recovery from the horrors of conflict. To find out more go to www.stopthewaronchildren.org.au

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For media inquiries contact Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937 or Licardo Prince on 0401 777 917.

*Name changed to protect identity.

Notes to Editor: 

In 2019, the World Health Organization estimated that 17% of adults living in conflict zones have mild to moderate mental health disorders, which would require non-specialised mental health support. Assuming that similar rates apply to children and adolescents, it is estimated that approximately 24 million children living in conflict today have mild to moderate mental health disorders needing an appropriate level of support. Of these, 5% (7.1 million) were estimated to be at risk of developing severe mental health disorders.

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.

UGANDA: EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT MAKES AN IMPACT ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION

Rosemary fled South Sudan two years ago when she was 19 because of the conflict engulfing her home country. She left most of her family behind to find safety and security in neighboring Uganda. Today, she is a student at the Itula Secondary School in Moyo, northern Uganda, on the border with South Sudan. When I met her earlier this year, she told me “Education will provide me with a brighter future.”

Photo © JRS

Stories From The Field

By Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

Rosemary fled South Sudan two years ago when she was 19 because of the conflict engulfing her home country. She left most of her family behind to find safety and security in neighboring Uganda. Today, she is a student at the Itula Secondary School in Moyo, northern Uganda, on the border with South Sudan. When I met her earlier this year, she told me “Education will provide me with a brighter future.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, refugee girls are only half as likely to be enrolled in secondary school as boys. While Rosemary defies these odds, she is still facing a number of challenges. To support herself and her grandfather who is paralyzed, Rosemary makes pancakes and also uses the income she earns to pay for her own school fees. She also sleeps at a friend’s home during the week because the refugee settlement where she lives is too far from school.

Itula Secondary School was founded by the local community in 1996, with support from Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), in response to the educational needs of refugees who were fleeing Sudan’s civil war. The local government assumed responsibility for the school in 2005 as many refugees began to return home once the conflict subsided. In 2017, a new wave of refugees from South Sudan began to arrive and the need for Itula to serve the local refugee population became ever more critical.

Today, the school has 1,420 students – 1,179 of whom are refugees from South Sudan. Of these students, 42 percent are girls. What makes Itula special is the support it has received from the local community, dedicated teachers and administrators, and initiatives like Education Cannot Wait (ECW) that have invested in rehabilitating the school to accommodate the needs of students.

Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. To date, ECW has reached 1.3 million children and youth in its first two years of operations and is aiming to mobilize $1.8 billion in funding for education in crisis settings by 2021 to reach approximately 9 million children annually.

In 2018, JRS implemented a grant from Education Cannot Wait to build new classrooms, dormitories for girls, accommodations for staff, gender-segregated latrines, and an incinerator for sanitary products. Some of these improvements help to address specific challenges faced by girls, which JRS outlined in a recent report – Her Future: Challenges & Recommendations to Increase Education for Refugee Girls. These challenges include long distances to reach the closest school, and related safety concerns, and a lack of sanitary materials and sanitation facilities.

Before the intervention. Photo © JRS

These improvements have had a tremendous impact on improving the quality of life for Itula’s students, teachers, and larger community. Yet, some students spoke to me about areas where they hope for continued change.

Evaline, a 17-year-old student at Itula Secondary School, told me, “We need to be able to talk, share our problems with others, this is how we will find courage.” Establishing social clubs and mentoring opportunities for girls to share, discuss, and advocate on behalf of their needs is another important way to invest in a quality education for refugee girls. Often times, refugee girls experience some level of trauma or violence due to their displacement. Promoting a safe and protective learning environment for girls is critical in ensuring their success in school.

After the intervention. Photo © JRS

Civil society organizations – including JRS – have joined forces to voice our support for Education Cannot Wait as it works towards its goal of supporting quality education for close to 9 million children annually in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Only by bringing together international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, can we continue to address the needs of students like Rosemary and Evaline, and the millions of other young people affected by conflict and violence.

This story was originally published by Giulia McPherson at Global Campaign for Education US

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.