EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ALLOCATES ADDITIONAL US$7.8 MILLION TO SUPPORT EDUCATION RESPONSES FOR CHILDREN IMPACTED BY CYCLONE SEASON IN MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE AND ZIMBABWE

Education Cannot Wait is expanding its recovery support for communities affected by the devastating cyclone season in Southern Africa with an additional US$7.8 million in funding for education responses for children in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique 3,500 classrooms were destroyed by the cyclones. Education Cannot Wait’s funding covers close to 9 per cent of the education sector funding gaps in Malawi and Zimbabwe and 11 per cent of the gap in Mozambique. Photo Manan Kotak/ECW

FUNDING WILL SUPPORT THE RECOVERY OF COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY CYCLONE IDAI AND CYCLONE KENNETH

3 July 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait is expanding its recovery support for communities affected by the devastating cyclone season in Southern Africa with an additional US$7.8 million in funding for education responses for children in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

This is the second tranche of funding announced by Education Cannot Wait to respond to the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai in the three countries. In Mozambique, the funding includes a $360,000 allocation to provide education support to children and youth affected by Cyclone Kenneth which pummeled through the country just a few weeks after Cyclone Idai.

This new funding allocation brings Education Cannot Wait’s total support to emergency responses in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to almost US$15 million to date, including contributions from the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) and Dubai Cares.

“This additional support from Education Cannot Wait for the children affected by the catastrophic cyclone season in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe helps to ensure education is a top priority for aid stakeholders throughout the various phases of crisis, from the immediate emergency response to longer-term recovery,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Speed, continuity and sustainability of interventions are crucial for children to achieve quality learning and for education to play its role as a stepping-stone for children and communities to recover and build back better after disaster.”  

Cyclone Idai wreaked vast devastation across the three countries in March. Mozambique was hardest hit by the cyclone and subsequent flooding. Estimates indicate over 3,500 classrooms were destroyed, affecting more than 300,000 students and 7,800 teachers. Children not only lost their homes but were also displaced and in some cases lost family members, friends, classmates and teachers in the disaster. Just a few weeks later, Cyclone Kenneth also hit Mozambique, leaving close to 250,000 people in need of assistance, including 42,000 school-aged children.

Education Cannot Wait’s second funding tranche for the response to Cyclone Idai supports inter-agency humanitarian appeals in the three countries. It includes US$1.2 million in grant funding for Malawi, US$5 million for Mozambique, and US$1.2 million for Zimbabwe. The funding covers close to 9 per cent of the education sector funding gaps in Malawi and Zimbabwe and 11 per cent of the gap in Mozambique.

Building upon the initial funding announced by Education Cannot Wait in April and May to support the response to Cyclone Idai, these additional grants will reach more than 185,000 children across the three countries: 41,491 children in Malawi (20,732 girls); 107,266 children (49,041 girls) in Mozambique and 36,350 children (18,085 girls) in Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique, the new US$360,000 grant to support the response to Cyclone Kenneth is also aligned with the inter-agency humanitarian appeal and will reach an additional 15,000 children (7,500 girls).

Grants to United Nations agencies and international NGOs will be used to support a wide range of partners, including national governments, local NGOs and communities impacted by the cyclones and are aligned with national education sector plans.

Programmes will support access to safe and protective learning environments for affected girls and boys through a wide range of context-specific activities across the three countries. These include: establishing temporary learning spaces; rehabilitating schools; supplying educational materials and recreation kits; school feeding programmes, training and support for teachers to deal with disasters and crisis in schools and community; promoting back-to-school and live-saving messaging; promoting hygiene education and psychosocial support by teachers; and, support to disaster preparedness and disaster management.

LINKS

  • Learn more about Education Cannot Wait’s emergency education response for Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe
  • Meet Maria Alberto, a courageous teacher supporting the recovery of children in Mozambique in our story Portraits of Resilience

PORTRAITS OF RESILIENCE

A frontlines champion for education in emergencies, Maria Alberto is incorporating disaster preparedness into school lessons to help children recover from the devastating cyclones. Photo Manan Kotak/ECW

In Mozambique, communities are reeling from the devastating Cyclones Idai and Kenneth which caused widespread destruction affecting 1.5 million children across the country. In the wake of the disaster, Education Cannot Wait is supporting the swift resumption of education services to ensure children get back to safe and protective learning environments. Teachers are returning to their classrooms with an eye on the future, serving as a beacon of hope for their communities, nurturing young minds and helping them to heal and recover a sense of normalcy in their lives.

By Manan Kotak, Education Specialist at Education Cannot Wait

 “I want to support these children more and more. I want to be able to help the people of our town and the children in need.”

As she sits in her classroom and gets her lesson plan done before the class starts, 42-year-old Maria Alberto talks about her dedication for her pupils and the traumatic experience of the recent disaster.

“I always wanted to be a teacher, I think a teacher is the foundation of a child’s education,” she says.  “We have never seen this type of cyclone before and were not prepared for this disaster.”

The mother of five, whose house was partially destroyed by the cyclone, stresses how this ordeal has transformed her perspective on teaching, community engagement and disaster preparedness.

“After a week, we were still recovering from this loss and I got a message from school headteacher that we had to resume school and all the teachers should come and start teaching.”

Maria Alberto and her family had already lost a lot. But she decided to return to school.

She wasn’t alone in dealing with the stress, anxiety and uncertainty of the disaster. At least nine teachers and more than 100 students in her school had lost their homes to the brute-force winds, rains and floods.

Rather than do nothing, Maria Alberto decided to push her sorrow to the side and work to restore a normal life for herself and for her students.

“Children and individuals need to cope with the current situation,” she says.

As they dug through the rubble and went to returning to normalcy, the sheer devastation of the cyclone hit home. Eight out of 11 classrooms had lost their roofs, and most of the desks and school materials were totally damaged. There wasn’t even a place for children to sit.

RESTORING A NORMAL LIFE

Maria Alberto and her colleagues, alongside with school’s headteacher and district education offices mobilized some basic resources and started classes outside. Children resumed their educational paths, and Maria Alberto and her counterparts were able to do what they do best: teach. 

With support from teachers like Maria Alberto, community organizations, the government and non-profits, children are slowly beginning to return to a normal life.

“Once [children] started to regain their confidence – despite the difficult situation – it is now our duty as teachers to help them to take the next steps and bring them back to a normal life and continue their education with bright future prospects,” Maria Alberto says.

PREPARING CHILDREN FOR DISASTERS

“If I were more prepared for this nature of disaster and knew what to do before and during the cyclone, I could have helped more people in my town,” she says.  

Through Education Cannot Wait’s funding to the emergency response in Mozambique – and in other countries affected by the devastating cyclones – teachers like Maria Alberto are receiving training to teach children about disaster preparedness and facilitate the psychosocial support needed to help children recover. Thanks to the Fund’s support, partners on the ground have already begun rehabilitating classrooms, establishing temporary learning spaces, distributing teaching and learning materials, and training local teachers and community members.

To date, Education Cannot Wait has allocated close to US$15 million to support children affected by the cyclones in Mozambique and in the neighboring countries of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

PHOTOS

Mozambique

LINKS

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ANNOUNCES US$639,000 ALLOCATION TO SUPPORT  EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN COMOROS IN THE AFTERMATH OF CYCLONE KENNETH

Education Cannot Wait approved a US$639,000 allocation to get 27,000 children and youth back into safe and protective learning environments in Comoros after Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread destruction in the small island developing state in late April.

With a US$1.4 million funding gap remaining for the educational humanitarian response, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors and partners to step up to meet the full scope of needs. Photo: UNICEF/Comoros

27,282 CHILDREN TO BENEFIT FROM RAPID EDUCATIONAL RESPONSE

1 July 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait approved a US$639,000 allocation to get 27,000 children and youth back into safe and protective learning environments in Comoros after Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread destruction in the small island developing state in late April.

The Education Cannot Wait grant will reach 61 per cent of the Comoran children and youth affected by the devastating cyclone, including 14,000 girls. It will be implemented in partnership with the Government of Comoros by UNICEF.

With a US$1.4 million funding gap remaining for the educational humanitarian response, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors and partners to step up to meet the full scope of needs.

“This is an unexpected and extremely traumatic experience for children and youth. By providing them with safe and protective learning environments, they are better equipped to cope with their fears and more empowered to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

Cyclone Kenneth affected approximately 400 schools across the three islands of Comoros. In all, 213 classrooms were totally destroyed and 465 were partially damaged. This has left approximately 44,800 learners without access to safe schools.

Entire communities were shattered, and many teachers and families lost their homes and were displaced by the disaster. The country also faces multiplying risks like the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases.

The cyclone and flooding happened right around the annual harvest season causing devastating impacts on agriculture, livestock and fisheries. With communities’ livelihoods under such stress, children’s access to education is even more at risk, particularly for girls.

Education Cannot Wait’s allocation focuses on supporting a swift return to school for affected children. It will help: repair damaged school buildings; provide children, teachers and communities with educational supplies and life-saving messaging on disaster risk reduction and hygiene; and, support the government and communities in building back better after the cyclone.

The allocation also focuses on promoting gender equality and equity. This includes ensuring that the estimated 775 pupils with disabilities living in areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth will not be further disadvantaged in the response and recovery phases.

In addition to Education Cannot Wait’s support to the emergency response to Cyclone Kenneth in the Comoros, the Fund is also responding to the urgent educational needs of children in the aftermaths of this year’s cyclone season in Southern Africa in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES ON THE ALLOCATION

  • Support to reach 27,282 children in 45 affected communities across the Comoros archipelago
  • Repair damaged roofs in priority schools for a total of 50 classrooms
  • Repair and maintenance of gender-sensitive water and sanitation facilities including the restoration of water connection in affected schools
  • Provide desks for 2,800 pupils
  • Supply schools with quality learning materials, including 100 ‘schools in a box’ and recreational kits
  • Train 700 teachers (50 per cent of whom are women) on the use of educational materials, disaster risk reduction and other mechanisms to make schools a safer place to learn and thrive.

 

INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

'I have a lot of friends. They help me study.' Yasmina, 10. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh
‘I have a lot of friends. They help me study.’ Yasmina, 10. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh

IN THE COMPLEX ROHINGYA CRISIS, EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INVESTMENT SUPPORTED THROUGH UNICEF PROVIDES CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES THE HOPE, FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY OF AN EDUCATION

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by UNICEF Bangladesh

Yasmina is an enthusiastic 10-year-old Rohingya student. She’s different from other girls her age. Not just because she’s dealt with the horrors of fleeing her home in Myanmar and losing her father. And not just because she has an infectious smile and her eyes light up when you call her by name. Yasmina has special needs.

For girls like her, living in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, accessing quality education is difficult to say the least. Even harder is finding a qualified teacher that can help her overcome her special needs and find a place to be safe and thrive.

With the support of Education Cannot Wait’s US$3 million First Emergency Response Grant to UNICEF, there is new hope for Yasmina and hundreds more children like her.

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

Yasmina, 10, is challenged by a speech impediment and learning disabilities. With financial support from Education Cannot Wait, she is now attending classes full time at the UNCEF/Plan Learning Center in Kutupalong. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh
Yasmina is challenged by a speech impediment and learning disabilities. With financial support from Education Cannot Wait, she is now attending classes full time at the UNICEF/Plan Learning Center in Kutupalong. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh

Yasmina’s positive demeanor belies the tragedy her family dealt with in Myanmar. Her father was killed in the violence, and her family was forced to abandon their home and seek safety in Bangladesh.

Her mother, Abia Hatan, now takes care of Yasmina and her three siblings in their small shelter in the Kutupalong refugee camp.

Yasmina faces additional challenges in the classroom because she has learning difficulties, physical disabilities and a severe speech impediment. The brave young girl started back to school last year at her nearest learning centre. But she wasn’t attending regularly. In December 2018, with financial support from the Education Cannot Wait First Emergency Response, UNICEF and partners launched a major education drive through the “Back to Learning” campaign. Thousands of community mobilizers encouraged parents and caregivers to send their children to learning centres to receive an education through the new improved structured-learning programme.

The community mobilizers worked closely with parents, teachers and local leaders to encourage students who had dropped out or were not attending regularly to return to the classroom for enhanced learning opportunities.

A widescale assessment was completed for 180,000 children, who were grouped in learning centres according to the results and their competency levels. Yasmina’s mother brought her to the learning centre to undertake the assessment. Yasmina took more time than the other students but she completed the test and was placed in a new learning centre.

As part of the comprehensive education response in Bangladesh, the programme works to ensure that children with disabilities have inclusive access to learning opportunities.

This means that children like Yasmina can be included in the mainstream education programme. Extra training has been provided to teachers to ensure they can successfully integrate children with disabilities into the classroom and actively engage these students in their lessons.

To date, 181 children with disabilities have been enrolled in learning centres through the Education Cannot Wait investment. By the end of 2019, UNICEF aims to include all the children identified with disabilities into learning centres to give them the opportunities they need to flourish.

Yasmina’s mother is extremely proud of her daughter’s progress.

“I can see a big difference in Yasmina over the past few months. She was so happy to receive her first set of school books. She takes them home to study each night. She feels very excited and encouraged to learn,” says Abia, Yasmina’s mother.  “I can also see some improvements in her speech. She is growing in confidence and much more content, now that she is going to the learning centre six days a week.”

MAINSTREAMING RESULTS

Yasmina's teacher noted improvement in the girl's comprehension and social skills. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh
Yasmina’s teacher noted improvement in the girl’s comprehension, speaking and social skills. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh

Working in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR, the Education Cannot Wait-supported multi-year educational response in Bangladesh is mainstreaming and accelerating the impact of the First Emergency Response. Launched last November, the programme is already yielding results.

According to reports from March, UNICEF, through its implementing partner BRAC are supporting the continued operational costs for 189 learning centres, providing salaries for teachers, schools supplies and learning materials, and providing vocational skills training for youth. UNICEF has also developed a learning competencies framework and approach that will guide the delivery of the overall education response, and has trained 59 master teachers to date to improve the skills, responsiveness and quality of teaching. Through improved planning, coordination, and a harmonized approach to professional development for teachers, the programme will roll out a unified curriculum.

From Education Cannot Wait’s initial US$12 million catalytic grant, US$8.4 million is being channelled through UNICEF.  The multi-year response is also working with multiple stakeholders to fill the funding gap for the educational response, which has been calculated at US$60 million for 2019 alone.

This systems-wide approach will reach half a million children and youth, and 9800 teachers over the next three years, and bring new light and hope for children caught up in one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises.

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.

Yasmina is making friends in her classroom, and practicing reading and writing at home with the new school materials provided through the investment. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh She has two friends in the classroom – Noor Amin (her brother) and Koshmin. She likes rhyming classes. Abia Hatan is her moth
Yasmina is making friends in her classroom, and practicing reading and writing at home with the new school materials provided through the investment. Photo © UNICEF/Bangladesh

RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

Thirteen-year-old Manjita from Chitwan District in Nepal’s west. Manjita had lost her parents at a very young age. She had been working in a restaurant a few years ago until she was taken in by an orphanage and started school. ©UNICEF Nepal/2019

After the devastating floods in Nepal, a chance at an education helps a young orphaned girl find opportunity, hope and security

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by UNICEF

Chitwan, Nepal – Thirteen-year-old Manjita* wants to be a social worker one day. The fourth grader from Chitwan District in Nepal’s west is keen on helping people who might not have had the best starts in life.

It is a subject that hits very close to home for her. In her short life, Manjita has been orphaned, missed school, suffered through floods that further impacted her education, and found new hope through a programme backed by Education Cannot Wait and implemented on the ground by UNICEF to get children like her back to learning after the recent floods.

A DANGEROUS PATH

Manjita’s memory of her early childhood is blurry. She knows she is originally from Rolpa District in the far west, but has little recollection of her parents, whom she lost at a very young age.

After living on the streets in Chitwan, working as a cleaner in a restaurant in exchange for room and board, she eventually found her way to an orphanage.

This marked the beginning of a new life for her. Orphanage officials enrolled Manjita at the Shree Siddhi Binayak Secondary School, in grade one. This was the first time she had ever been inside a school, and the transition wasn’t easy for her.

“The other students in my class were much younger and they called me ‘didi’ (older sister). I felt embarrassed around them,” she says. “I didn’t want to go.”

REDUCING RISK

Even as Manjita was struggling to settle into her new life as a student, the area was hit by heavy monsoon flooding in August 2017. Shree Siddhi Binayak was not spared. Floodwaters entered the classrooms and destroyed most of the materials therein, as well as damaging the toilets and other facilities. With classes disrupted by the floods for almost a week, Manjita, already having a hard time at school, was at even greater risk of dropping out and returning to the life of destitution that she had just left behind.

Recognizing the increased risks for children as a result of the disaster, UNICEF – with support from Education Cannot Wait – quickly reached out to Manjita and other vulnerable students like her in flood-hit schools to provide assistance to ensure that they stayed in class.

To encourage their return to school, Manjita and 13 other orphaned children at Shree Siddhi Binayak were each given a package of educational supplies, including a set of notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners and a geometry box. This allowed them to more easily pick up their studies where they had left off before the flood. Manjita was also counseled by her teachers, the vice principal and Programme Officer under the ECW project Shashi Kala Pandey about the importance of continuing her education. Eventually, she says, she came to understand that this was an opportunity she should not squander.

In addition, UNICEF under the ECW-financed programme also helped to restore the toilets, and hand-washing and drinking-water facilities in the school that had been rendered unusable by the floods.

The support was part of Education Cannot Wait’s US$1.8 million First Emergency Response in Nepal, which has reached over 170,000 girls and boys like Manjita.

Manjita today loves going to school. She enjoys her social studies and Nepali lessons in particular, and also has a flair for art and drawing. She has also been an active participant in school activities, such as the handwashing demonstrations and disaster risk reduction trainings that were conducted as part of the ECW investment through the school’s child club.

What’s more, the School Management Committee and the local government have now agreed to continue providing educational supplies to other needy students like Manjita in the days to come.

*Name changed

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.

AFTER THE QUAKE

Through the investment, Meggy received a backpack filled with supplies such as pencils and exercise books. Stationery is hard to come by in Mongulu, which has no shops, and some children never had access to these types of school supplies.
Through the investment, Meggy received a backpack filled with supplies such as pencils and exercise books. Stationery is hard to come by in Mongulu, which has no shops, and some children never had access to these types of school supplies. ©UNICEF/PNG/Dingi/2019

IN THE REMOTE VILLAGES OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA, UNICEF BRINGS MUCH-NEEDED RELIEF TO CHILDREN LIVING IN FEAR AFTER A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE LEVELED HOMES AND DISPLACED FAMILIES THROUGH EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT FUNDED FIRST EMERGENCY RESPONSE

‘Shortage of food and fear were the main things that affected children. When we started school, we could see that children had lost weight. We didn’t have enough food to eat but we’re slowing building back.’

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by UNICEF Papua New Guinea

In February 2018, a devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake ripped through Mongulu village, Mt. Bosavi, in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands. It was the first time 8-year-old Meggy Tom had ever experienced an earthquake and it was a terrifying ordeal. The shaking and rumbling continued for weeks afterwards. “We could hear it coming and would run away and hide in our houses,” says Meggy.

The earthquake devastated the small, remote community. Mr. Sasobe Hay is the Head Teacher of Mongulu Primary and Elementary School where Meggy studies.

Mr. Sasobe Hay (right) with Mr. Dudilama, a teacher at another remote school in Mt. Bosavi, at an Education in Emergencies training of trainers course in Tari financed by Education Cannot Wait and facilitated by UNICEF in partnership with Save the Children. ©UNICEF/PNG/Dingi/2019
Mr. Sasobe Hay (right) with Mr. Dudilama, a teacher at another remote school in Mt. Bosavi, at an Education in Emergencies training of trainers course in Tari financed by Education Cannot Wait and facilitated by UNICEF in partnership with Save the Children. ©UNICEF/PNG/Dingi/2019

“Almost half of the school stayed away after the earthquake, just three weeks into the school year. Some students said they didn’t have any food as their parents were traumatized and too scared to go to the kitchen gardens. Creeks and rivers were dirty and muddy, and we couldn’t fetch water to drink and wash,” says Hay.

Precious kitchen gardens were trampled by pigs and wild animals, because the earthquake had destroyed the fences protecting them.

“Shortage of food and fear were the main things that affected children,” Hay says. “We couldn’t harvest any food. And with people scared to plant new gardens, people were getting hungry. When we started school, we could see that children had lost weight. We didn’t have enough food to eat but we’re slowing building back.”

A COORDINATED RESPONSE

A year on, Meggy and her classmates in Elementary 1 giggle excitedly as they open their new school backpacks provided by UNICEF through an Education Cannot Wait-financed first emergency response. They are filled with supplies such as pencils and exercise books, resources that many have never had before – stationery is hard to come by in Mongulu, which has no shops, and some children have never even been outside the area.

Getting the backpacks to Mongulu so that the children could resume learning was a logistical challenge. There is still no road access to the whole of the Bosavi area, and Tari, the nearest town, is a three- or four-day walk through the forest. Through the Education Cannot Wait investment, UNICEF worked closely with the Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea, Hela Provincial Division of Education and missionaries based in Mongulu, and a plane was chartered for the 20-minute flight to deliver supplies from Tari to Mongulu. By the end of March 2019, Education in Emergency kits containing essentials such blackboard paint and chalk, as well as 523 students kits and 15 teachers kits had been delivered to Mongulu Elementary and Primary Schools alone.

The investment is having lasting results for the girls and boys impacted by the earthquake. With Education Cannot Wait support, UNICEF delivered a total of 1,126 students kits, 43 teachers kits, Education in Emergency kits and tents to three schools in the remote Mt. Bosavi area. UNICEF also provided training on Education in Emergencies, attended by hundreds of teachers, including Meggy’s Head Teacher, Sasobe Hay.

Meggy and her classmates are excited about going back to school. Through the coordinated response, they have a chance to begin learning again and establish a degree of normality in their young lives.

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.

LINKS

PHOTOS

Papua New Guinea - Bosavi

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ALLOCATES US$7 MILLION TO SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL RESPONSES IN COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY THE VENEZUELA CRISIS

On 25 April 2019 in Cucuta, Colombia, Venezuelan children wait in the queue at the migration center. There remains a US$50 million funding gap for the educational response in the countries supported through these grants, according to in-country partners. © UNICEF/ Arcos

FUNDS WILL BENEFIT 84,500 CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PERU

4 June 2019, New York – In a coordinated response to the Venezuela regional crisis, Education Cannot Wait announced today a US$7 million allocation to support first emergency response grants in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The grants will focus primarily on out-of-school children and adolescents from Venezuela and host-communities to get them back in protective, quality learning environments. In all, some 84,500 children and youth, including 42,600 girls, will benefit from the fast-acting investment.

“Children and youth who are uprooted and forced to flee are haunted by fears and uncertainty. They do not lose their right to education because they are on the move, but they will lose their hope and opportunities without education. Education provides a sense of stability, protection and hope to turn around their lives and positively impact the region. The ECW catalytic investment will, however, require additional funding for education that matches the immense need and hospitality shown by host-countries in the region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a global fund for education in emergencies hosted by UNICEF that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach close to 9 million children living in crisis.

The Venezuela crisis has displaced 3.7 million people, with an estimated 1.2 million children and youth affected in the four countries that will benefit from the grant. On average 50 per cent of the refugee and migrant children from Venezuela are not enrolled in formal schooling across the four countries.

While schools in these countries are generally well-resourced, the influx of children is pushing local coping mechanisms and resources to their breaking points. In this volatile and complex context, children – especially girls – are at greater risk of gender-based violence, child labor, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

The Education Cannot Wait allocation aligns with the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan led by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), for which there is a US$50 million funding gap for the educational response in these countries, according to in-country partners.

Education Cannot Wait’s allocation accounts for 14 per cent of this total funding gap and adds to the US$4.6 million already committed by other donors to respond to educational needs.

The funds will help sustain, rehabilitate and establish temporary learning spaces, facilitate access to formal education, support local education authorities in absorbing new students, create community-based back-to-learning campaigns, promote gender-equality and inclusion, and provide learning and teaching materials. Teachers and education professionals will also be trained to provide support to children living in such a volatile context.

On a regional level, the funds will improve coordination and cross-country collaboration and the monitoring of activities across the four countries. It will also strengthen the availability of data to facilitate policy dialogue to ensure the inclusion of children in national education systems.

The funding from Education Cannot Wait will be implemented by a wide range of international and national partners. It will be managed through four main grantees at the country level: in Brazil by UNICEF (US$749,000), in Colombia by Save the Children (US$2.6 million), in Ecuador by UNICEF (US$1.9 million), and in Peru by Refugee Education Trust (US$1.2 million). In addition, UNICEF will manage the US$376,000 allocation for regional support.

On 25 April 2019 in Cucuta, Colombia, Venezuelan children play at the UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space. © UNICEF/ Arcos

CHARTING NEW TERRITORY

‘Foundations along with both governments and the private sector can play a critical role in achieving the SDGs by sharing information, resources, and capabilities. Therefore, collaboration is key to fulfill the goals; it’s not the sole responsibility of one entity – we should altogether join our efforts for the common good.’ Tariq Al Gurg, CEO Dubai Cares. UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Mersha
‘Foundations along with both governments and the private sector can play a critical role in achieving the SDGs by sharing information, resources, and capabilities. Therefore, collaboration is key to fulfill the goals; it’s not the sole responsibility of one entity – we should altogether join our efforts for the common good.’ Tariq Al Gurg, CEO Dubai Cares. UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Mersha

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT POLICY BRIEF ON FOUNDATION ENGAGEMENT OUTLINES NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO FUND EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

By Johannes Kiess, Innovative Finance Specialist, Education Cannot Wait

To fill the estimated US$8.5 billion annual gap for education in emergencies that has left millions of children behind, we need to accelerate our work and engagement with a wider range of partners. A key group of partners that possess vast potential, resources and know-how are found in the foundations space.

Education Cannot Wait has engaged with foundations since its inception. Dubai Cares, the foundations’ representative on our governance structures contributed US$6.8 million to ECW so far and was a major force in establishing the Fund. Dubai Cares also is one of the main private funders of education in emergencies.

“The establishment of Education Cannot Wait as a new global fund for education in emergencies allows foundations like us to support a mechanism that enables improved delivery of education to children and young people displaced by conflicts, epidemics and natural disasters through a coordinated and collaborative effort that minimizes transaction costs and maximizes impact,” said Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg.

INSERTING EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES INTO FOUNDATION GIVING

Our new policy brief “Foundations’ Engagement in Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises” outlines that education in emergencies is becoming a priority for an increasing number of foundations. It’s an evolving space, but our analysis indicates a good potential for growth, strengthened coordination and mutually beneficial partnerships.

This isn’t necessarily news. The International Education Funders Group has hosted a group on education in emergencies for some years. This group took significant steps towards a more purposeful collaboration in 2018, and will be essential in any future planning.

We are also seeing a substantial increase in engagement from foundations. In 2017, the MacArthur Foundation awarded a US$100 million grant to Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. In 2018, the LEGO Foundation awarded US$100 million to Sesame Workshop to bring the power of learning through play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises.

In our policy brief – prepared with substantive inputs and data from members of the Education in Emergencies subgroup of the International Education Funders Group – we explore strategies to expand and strengthen our engagement with foundations for delivering quality education in emergencies.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Education in emergencies is an important theme for several major foundations but not the only focus of their work. We are also witnessing new foundations entering the education in emergencies sector. This increasing engagement may be just the push needed to grow the pool of resources invested on education in emergencies beyond what traditional donors are giving. This engagement is expected to grow modestly with established funders and may increase with some large entrants from foundations previously not involved in the space.
  • Overall, foundation grantmaking to education in emergencies increased slightly between 2008 and 2016, the years for which data was available. Total contributions are estimated to be US$294.5 million over the past 9 years. Graph
  • About 5.4 per cent of all foundation funding to countries in emergencies went to education. This is above the global target of 4 per cent and above the actual proportion of 3.9 per cent of education funding as a share of humanitarian aid in 2017.
  • Foundations gave on average 39 per cent of funding directly to local recipients and not through international organizations. This exceeds the 25 per cent target for humanitarian aid under the Grand Bargain commitment.
  • Compared to official donors, foundations granted relatively more funds to secondary and early childhood education. Other priorities included ‘child educational development’ for children of all ages to foster social, emotional and intellectual growth, educational services, and equal-opportunity education.
  • Foundations’ giving modalities are in line with recent developments in humanitarian finance to provide less earmarked funding, invest in data and evidence-driven programme management, and support broader systems reform and collaboration.

NEXT STEPS

These findings lead to a number of conclusions and recommendations for continued engagement and partnership with the foundations space.

First, while foundations already provide a significant financial contribution to overall humanitarian aid across education levels and for important priorities such as gender equality and equity, the enormous need to mobilize US$8.5 billion annually for education in emergencies requires foundations to rethink the scale and speed of their giving.

Second, foundations increasingly see funding as just one and not the only tool in their toolbox. They sometimes have deep roots in a country that go back well before a crisis started. If the education in emergencies community reaches out to foundations narrowly as just another source of funding, then it is unlikely to engage the foundations to their full potential. Taking this to heart, the education in emergencies community should engage with foundations in a way that shares and builds knowledge, networks and systemic capacity.

Third, closer collaboration, cooperation, and co-financing with other humanitarian and development actors – both non-profit organizations and UN agencies – may lead the way forward to strengthen the role of foundations in contributing to education in emergencies. Engagement in the multilateral funding system can help influence the global agenda.

Fourth, in order to operationalize coordinated financing on the ground, all education in emergency actors should develop and/or review their operating procedures and frameworks. This would enable public-private partnerships between foundations, governments, and multilateral organizations including global funds.

Fifth, going local is key for foundations. Foundations tend to work more directly with local actors than government and multilateral donors, according to the policy brief. This offers a clear value-add to potential partnerships. Foundations could help the wider education in emergencies community to better implement the localization agenda.

Sixth, foundations are a crucial voice in advocating for education in emergencies. They can play an important role in joint advocacy, engaging private sector champions, and lifting the profile of education in emergencies on the global agenda.

Finally, foundations have implemented education innovations – such as socio-emotional learning, development of soft-skills, learning through play, empathy, leadership skills, teamwork, conscientiousness, and creativity – supporting a holistic approach to children’s well-being. These are crucial for addressing some of the challenges faced by children living in crises.

By working more closely with official donors, foundations could share their knowledge, help scale up what works and ensure these programs are available to a much larger number of learners in emergency situations by integrating them into the larger programmes of official donors.

Taken from a 50,000-foot perspective, investing in education in emergencies offers plenty of opportunity for foundations to have real impact. As we step up engagement and convene dialogue and partnership between foundations and key education-in-emergency actors, it’s clear that there is a tremendous amount of growth potential. Only through strengthened collaboration and joining forces towards collective outcomes will we, as a sector, be able to meet the full scope of needs, and ensure every child, everywhere – even the ones most at risk that are living in war zones, conflict and crisis – has the hope, opportunity and protection of a quality education.

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.