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

UN Photo: Isaac Billy
UN Photo: Isaac Billy

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

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

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

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

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

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

EUROPEAN COUNCIL GIVES CLEAR POLICY ORIENTATION TO PRIORITIZE EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

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

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

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

LINKS

GIRLS IN CRISIS – ORANGE THE WORLD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORANGE THE WORLD

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

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

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

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

BRIDGING THE GAP TO PREVENT VIOLENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE GLOBAL CONTEXT

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

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

FROM THE ASHES OF WAR AND VIOLENCE SPRINGS HOPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PROVIDING SUSTAINED SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES IN CAR

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

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

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

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

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

BUILDING MULTI-YEAR RESPONSES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE CHILDREN OF THE LAKE CHAD CRISIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOPE ON THE HORIZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRAINING TEACHERS

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

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

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

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

Women and girls take the lead in Afghanistan

On October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This year’s theme is “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce.”
On October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This year’s theme is “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce.”

Education Cannot Wait provides a new path for women teachers and community leaders, opening up re-envisioned learning opportunities for girls living on the edge of crisis

Education is enlightenment. It’s what will take girls out of the darkness to empower a future generation of dynamic women leaders, and to build the skills girls need to control their destinies.

For this year’s International Day of the Girl, the world will turn its eyes to building a “Skilled GirlForce.” In places like Afghanistan, where classes are largely divided by gender and women still have limited access to education – no matter where they live, be it a refugee camp in Rodat or the better-off suburbs of the capital – empowering women teachers is a key step to delivering equitable, gender-balanced education for girls living in crisis and ensuring no girl is left behind in our global efforts to provide inclusive and equitable access to quality education for everyone.

Without female teachers, Afghani girls could easily fall through the cracks. Education Cannot Wait, along with a powerful coalition of international actors, the Government of Afghanistan, and local leaders and teachers, are making positive first steps in rebuilding a pathway to education and skills training for the girls left behind by a protracted crisis that cost millions of lives and pushed women and girls to the margins.

Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by more than three decades of sustained conflict, according to UNICEF. For many of the country’s children, completing primary school remains a distant dream – especially in rural areas and for girls – despite recent progress in raising enrolment.

In all, UNICEF estimates that 3.7 million children are out of school in Afghanistan – 60% of them are girls. That’s 2.2 million girls left behind because of war and lack of adequate teaching facilities and women teachers.

On a positive note, education enrolment as a whole in Afghanistan is rising. In 1999, not a single girl was enrolled at the secondary level, and only 9,000 girls were enrolled in primary school. By 2003, 2.4 million girls were enrolled in school, and by 2013, gross enrolment for girls rose to approximately 35 percent.

In Afghanistan, education is largely delivered along gender lines, with very few mixed-gender schools. And a lack of girls-only schools and female teachers, provides a significant barrier to education for the 2.2 million girls that are still left behind.

As of right now, only 16 percent of Afghanistan’s schools are girls-only, and many of them lack proper sanitation facilities, which further hinders attendance, according to UNICEF. Deeply rooted cultural norms, socio-cultural factors, traditional beliefs and poverty all contribute to undermine education for girls. Significantly, girls continue to get married at an early age (17 percent are married before the age of 15 and approximately 46 percent of girls are married before the age of 18).

To address this issue, and increase access to education for girls in Afghanistan, Education Cannot Wait is supporting initiatives to empower women as community leaders and bring female teachers to remote areas.

By providing education to girls, these brave teachers are key to making a difference in the development trajectory of their country. This will prepare girls to enter the workforce, take part in civic life and regain control of their futures.

FEMALE TEACHERS ARE KEY

Only a third of Afghanistan’s teachers are women, providing a significant hurdle for education and undermining efforts to build lasting skills that will empower this future generation – this GirlForce as it is aptly named in this year’s International Day of the Girl Child – to enter the workforce and chart new pathways for women and girls everywhere.

At the Hisar Shahi displacement center in Rodat, for example, there was a significant lack of female teachers, particularly for biology.

“In conservative Afghan culture it is considered inappropriate for a male teacher to teach girls subjects such as biology that involve images of body parts and terminology that only a woman should speak about to girls,” explained a Malik (community leader) in a meeting with the Welfare Association For the Development of Afghanistan (WADAN), an implementing partner delivering education for children living in crisis in Afghanistan with the support of ECW. Along with WADAN, Education Cannot Wait has also partnered with the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children to mobilize education for children living in crisis in Afghanistan.

To solve this problem, community stakeholders went to Maliks, community elders and religious leaders to come up with an answer. They agreed that the lack of qualified teachers, especially for biology, was creating a significant bottleneck and keeping girls out of school.

The community set about looking for a new female biology teacher, a hard-enough task in a country where just four out of ten children attend secondary school and less than half the population between 15 and 24 is literate.

Then came Ms. Paria, who had studied sciences, chemistry and biology at Nangarhar University. Ms. Paria set about teaching biology for the girls living in the Hisar Shahi displacement center, and has become a ray of hope for girls living there.

Ms. Paria teaching biology in her classroom.
Ms. Paria teaching biology in her classroom.

“Teaching these girls is a wonderful opportunity for me. I am also glad to see that many girls are encouraged to resume their classes when female teachers are available,” said Ms. Paria.

In all, some 40 girls have returned to class with their new biology teacher.

It’s a small success, but an essential starting point to ensure access to education for girls across the country. To scale-up and replicate these successful pilot initiatives, ECW recently announced a new three-year programme in Afghanistan that will reach over 500,000 children. The US$150 million programme, starting with the US$12 million allocation from ECW, will create an inclusive teaching and learning environment, improve continuity of education, and create safer and more protective learning environments, with a target of 50 per cent of programme support going towards girls’ access to quality education.

COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION

Women are also stepping in as community leaders and organizers, through ECW investment, leading the delivery of equitable and quality education.

Saima is a resident of Merano Tapo village in the Behsood District of Nangarhar Province and a teacher by profession. Saima is a devoted advocate for Afghan women’s rights and has a history of speaking out for women.

During a workshop with religious scholars, community elders, civil society activists and other teachers, Saima spoke out to mobilize more education opportunities for girls living in Merano Tapo.

Saima-Crop
Saima facilitates a community meeting.

“I work for girls to motivate their parents to send their girls to schools,” Saima said.

Following the workshop, Saima organized a number of women into small groups assigned to various sections of the village, and asked them to start a campaign to connect with families and promote education for girls living in the village. In the most remote corners of Afghanistan, 87 percent of girls are excluded from education.

With Saima in the lead, and substantial political and social backing behind her from the community she had organized, more than 50 families agreed to send their girls to class.

Thanks to Saima’s community activism, 10-year-old Asma is now attending a school supported through Education Cannot Wait.

“Suddenly and unexpectedly seven women arrived at my house. I was surprised and to be honest I was a bit scared; I did not know why they came. I knew only one of them, but they introduced themselves and asked my wife and me to relax and listen to their team leader,” said Asma’s father, Abdul Wali. “She talked about the importance of education for women. By the end of her presentation both of us decided to allow our daughter to go to school. We are happy and believe we have made a good decision.”

Education heroes like Saima and Ms. Paria – bold women who are breaking boundaries to bring education to Afghanistan’s girls – are a great force and example in mobilizing women teachers across the globe. Along with support from governments, donors, civil society and international funds such as Education Cannot Wait, these education heroes will be the driving force in building a “Skilled GirlForce” and empowering women and girls everywhere.

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International coalition led by Education Cannot Wait provides new educational opportunities for 194,000 children displaced by conflict in Nigeria

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The 12-month programme will provide educational supplies, permanent schools, basic humanitarian support, and training for teachers to promote the psycho-social development of war-affected children, like this 10-year-old boy. © UNICEF Nigeria/2018

CHILDREN RETURNING HOME TO BENEFIT FROM US$2.5 MILLION IN FUNDING TO REHABILITATE 50 CLASSROOMS AND BUILD CAPACITY FOR 800 TEACHERS

New York, 10 October 2018 – Connecting a broad international coalition that includes Plan International, Save the Children, Street Child and UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait announced a new allocation totaling US$2.49 million to provide safe and equitable access to education for 194,000 conflict-affected children – 52 per cent of whom are girls – in the Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States of North East Nigeria.

The overall emergency education package includes US$210,000 for Plan International, US$249,999 for Save the Children, US$230,000 for Street Child, and US$1.8 million for UNICEF.

The 12-month programme coordinated by the Education Cluster in North East Nigeria in partnership with the Government of Nigeria, will support capacity building for 800 teachers and rehabilitate 50 classrooms. In all, 116,400 internally displaced children and 77,600 children permanently settled in these regions will be targeted with the intervention, which will provide educational supplies, permanent schools, basic humanitarian support, and training for teachers to promote the psycho-social development of these war-affected students.

“This support is essential in responding to the immediate needs of the people of North East Nigeria,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global Fund that has already reached close to 1 million children living in conflict. “Education for all cannot be an afterthought in crisis. This First Emergency Response is just the beginning of our efforts to break the cycle of poverty and violence in the region, and protect boys and girls returning from conflict and still living with the scars of war. As we scale up this work through multi-year investments along with other local, national and international actors, we will expand our support to include more comprehensive actions to reach the estimated 1.8 million children in the region in need of this targeted support.”

The conflict in North East Nigeria and neighbouring states has been devastating, with schools and children often targeted in violent attacks.

“Girls were raped, children were forced into violent extremism, teachers were murdered, and families were ripped apart by this protracted crisis,” said Sherif. “If we are to reach our goal for universal, inclusive and equitable education for all as outlined by world leaders in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, immediate action needs to happen – not just in Nigeria, but across the globe.”

Since the rise of armed conflict in 2009, some 1,400 schools have been damaged or destroyed in Nigeria. In Borno State alone, 57 per cent of schools remain closed today.

According to Human Rights Watch, in some cases students recruited by Boko Haram attacked their own schools and killed their own teachers. An estimated 19,000 teachers have been displaced by conflict in Nigeria since 2009, with 2,295 killed in the violence.

“Without teachers and without schools, the children of this region have very limited opportunities. To halt the continued scourge of violent extremism in the region – and protect our most valuable natural resource, our children – we’ve partnered with key actors in this humanitarian response phase to help rehabilitate schools, train teachers, provide essential educational supplies and get boys and girls back in safe and secure educational environments,” Sherif said.

The situation in North East Nigeria continues to be a highly complex humanitarian crisis. With 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including 4.3 million children who remain the primary victims of the ongoing conflict.

“This First Emergency Response funding is specifically designed for sudden onset crises or escalations of existing emergencies such as what we are seeing in North East Nigeria and neighboring states today,” said Sherif. “This is a start, but the magnitude of the crisis requires specific, extensive, multi-year engagements to get Nigeria’s boys and girls back in safe schools and help them recover from years of conflict.”

Education Cannot Wait has been operational for just over a year, the new global Fund was created to mobilize US$1.84 billion in funding by 2021 to provide reliable and quality education to 8.9 million children affected by crisis.

Read the PDF version of the press release here

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Unleashing the Potential of Youth: Youth2030 and Generation Unlimited

Fatma is a six-year-old Sudanese refugee living in a refugee camp in the east of Chad. For girls like Fatma, the security and stability of education provide hope for a brighter future. ©UNICEFChad/2018/Kim
Fatma is a six-year-old Sudanese refugee living in a refugee camp in the east of Chad. For girls like Fatma, the security and stability of education provide hope for a brighter future. ©UNICEFChad/2018/Kim

By Yasmine Sherif

The future of our humanity relies on the young generation. In a world that still bares the deep wounds of war, hunger, displacement, conflict and inequalities, we need to step up to find lasting solutions for our next generation of leaders and citizens of the world. At the heart of our resolve lies quality education to the 75 million children and youth living in conflict and crisis. Their potentials and contribution to our shared future warrant urgent attention.

I am heartened that the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly kicked off with a strong commitment for the world’s young people. The launch of the Youth2030: United Nations Youth Strategy, including its Generation Unlimited initiative, helps build momentum  toward a world in which the human rights of every young person are realized, and where education is delivered to young people no matter where they are – be it in a displacement settlement in Afghanistan, in one of Uganda’s refugee camps, or in a Rohingya refugee settlement in Bangladesh.

Having served in conflicts and crisis for nearly 30 years, and as a mother of two young people, I feel especially passionate about the United Nations Youth Strategy and its immediate correlation to quality education.

Young people hold the key to humanity’s future – and yet, they too often bear the brunt of today’s conflicts and crisis. Our conscience cannot bear for much longer the fact that 75 million children and youth in crisis do not have access to the quality education required to achieve their potentials, all while they are exposed to exploitation, forced recruitment into armed groups, trafficking, sexual violence and disabilities caused by mines, unexploded ordnances and violence of all forms. This cannot continue, or else we all will lose our humanity.

Look at Syria, where there are now over 2.5 million internally displaced children and adolescents. These boys and girls have no easy way out, and limited opportunities for education, skills training or alternatives to violence. An additional 2.6 million Syrian children are refugees in neighboring countries. Despite their commendable efforts to meet refugees’ educational needs – such as the double-shift school system put in place in Lebanon – without additional international support, host countries lack the required resources to offer quality education and skills training to all refugee children and youth.

The numbers from Syria are simply appalling, and these are just a glimpse of the urgent needs that exist in some 30 crisis-affected countries worldwide. If immediate action is not taken, we are likely to see more violence, more extremism and more broken dreams for an entire lost generation.

Globally, an estimated 40 percent of child soldiers are girls. Girls – particularly adolescent girls – living in conflict and crisis areas face higher risks of sexual violence, abduction, slavery, early and forced marriage, and early pregnancies.

Better wages for teachers, better opportunities and protection for girls to access education, more adequate and relevant educational opportunities to gain employment, and more creative solutions-orientation will be required. This is notably the case in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world – 29.4 per cent in Northern Africa and 24.7 per cent in the Arab States. The unemployment rate for young women in the region is even higher, with 4 out of 10 facing unemployment.

Special attention needs to be paid to building a generation unlimited not just for boys, but also for girls. We need to step up our support to education for refugees, internally displaced populations, as well as for minorities and young people with disabilities.

Together with our humanitarian and development partners across the United Nations system, the private sector, multilateral and bilateral donors, regional bodies, governments, non-governmental organizations and civil society, ECW works to achieve precisely this: empower crisis-affected children and youth to become positive agents of change, peace, conflict resolution and sustainable development.

The groundbreaking ECW-facilitated multi-year resilience programmes for education in crisis pioneer the “new way of working” and education in the humanitarian and development nexus. It brings the voices of young crisis-affected people to center stage, as our collaborative and localized approach includes consultations with affected people to shape and adapt the responses to children and young people’s needs, as well as their untapped resilience.

Girls and young women are ECW’s absolute top-priority because they are the ones left furthest behind. Their education and empowerment cannot wait any longer. Nearly half of the 800,000 children and youth reached by ECW thus far in 17 crisis-affected countries are girls and adolescent girls, because ECW and our partners focus on gender-targeted interventions to reach the furthest behind. For example, it means recruiting female teachers for biology and science, and moving schools closer to girls’ communities; it means involving parents and educators to promote safe hygiene and non-violent discipline, and it means applying gender-sensitive curriculums.

As a global fund addressing the education gap in crisis and conflict settings, ECW is committed to contribute to advancing the United Nations Youth Agenda. ECW was created to ensure the young, bright minds who are enduring crisis will no longer be left behind. Together with our partners, we are determined to deliver on this promise and ensure that the resilience, strength and determination of young people in crisis do not get lost in the darkness of wars and disasters, but rather become a beacon of light in making the world a better place.

Yasmine Sherif
Director

Education Cannot Wait

For more information on the Youth2030 Strategy: www.un.org/youthenvoy/

For more information on the Generation Unlimited initiative: www.GenUnlimited.org

US$1.8 BILLION REQUIRED FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT TO SUPPORT 8.9 MILLION CHILDREN AND YOUTH BY 2021

The US$1.8 billion resource mobilization target will support ECW in reaching 8.9 million children and youth in 25 priority countries affected by crisis by 2021.
The US$1.8 billion resource mobilization target will support ECW in reaching 8.9 million children and youth in 25 priority countries affected by crisis by 2021.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT WELCOMES OCHA UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL, GERMANY AND THE WORLD BANK GROUP TO ITS HIGH-LEVEL STEERING GROUP MEETING

4 October 2018, New York – Education leaders on the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) High-Level Steering Group, chaired by United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, approved the fund’s $1.8 billion resource mobilization target for the period of its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan at their biannual meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September in New York.

This financial target underpins ECW’s goal for its investments to be reaching 8.9 million children and youth in 25 priority countries affected by crisis by 2021 with quality education, improving their learning outcomes and enhancing their socio-emotional wellbeing and employability.

ECW’s Director, Yasmine Sherif, briefed the High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) on the latest achievements of ECW, highlighting the fund is on track to reach 1 million children and youth in 17 crisis-affected countries by the end of 2018 – 48 per cent of whom are girls. The Chair highlighted ECW’s latest allocation of US$35 million in seed funding to launch multi-year programmes in Uganda, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Brown also stressed ECW’s urgent need to raise $285 million in 2018-2019 to support the launch of additional planned multi-year programmes.

Participants discussed next steps for ECW as the fund scales up its support for education in crisis. They stressed the importance to increase educational support for girls living in crisis, extend support in protracted crisis, promote psychosocial services, focus on host communities, connect education in crisis with long-term development, ensure better services and inclusion of refugees and increase multi-year programmatic support.

Participating in the High-Level Steering Group meeting for the first time were Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA), along with high-level representatives from the World Bank and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Netherlands and Dubai Cares announced new pledges of $17.5 million and $3.75 million respectively, while Sweden reiterated its $30 million contribution announced earlier this year. Later during the UN General Assembly week, Denmark announced a new $46 million pledge and Norway announced an additional $2.5 million increasing its 2018 contribution to a total $10 million, bringing the total new pledges to ECW during the week to $70 million. The World Bank noted its interest to formally join the ECW partnership.

“Access to education is a human right and its essential to ensure education for refugees,” said State Secretary of  Norway Jens Frølich Holte in an address to the High-Level Meeting on Action for Refugee Education. “Norway, together with other important partners, took the initiative to increase support to education in emergencies and protracted crisis. This resulted in the launch of the global fund Education Cannot Wait, which you all know. And we were, and still are, very impressed with what has been achieved since it has been established in 2016. So impressed that just before we got here to New York, we decided to allocate 40 million krone [US$2.5 million] more to Education Cannot Wait. And we are very eager to keep on collaborating with Education Cannot Wait because the needs are great.”

Speaking on the “Humanitarian-Development Nexus” OCHA’s Mark Lowcock pointed out that joining humanitarian and development systems together is a top priority for the UN. He underscored the importance of multi-year humanitarian funding and that every humanitarian dollar invested needs to impact development. Lowcock also stressed that that modest progress was made in financing education needs in the humanitarian appeals system, but gaps to meet education needs in emergency contexts remain huge.

The next HLSG meeting will be held in April 2019 in Washington on the margins of the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings.

Meeting Participants (in alphabetical order):

Chair: Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education,

Tariq Al Gurg, CEO, (Dubai Cares), Harriet Baldwin, Minister of State for Africa and International Development (United Kingdom) Tanya Barron, CEO (Plan International), Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development (Canada), Dean Brooks, Director, (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies), Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the E3 Bureau USAID (United States), Henrietta Fore, Executive Director (UNICEF), Birgit Frank, Deputy Head of the Education Division of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany), Julia Gillard, Chair (Global Partnership for Education), Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education (UNESCO), Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Martin Bille Hermann, State Secretary for Development Policy (Denmark), Jens Frølich Holte, State Secretary (Norway), Anna Maria Alida Hoogenboom, Country Director (Novamedia / People’s Postcode Lottery), Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development (Netherlands), Dr. Justin Lee, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA), Stefano Manservisi, Director-General, International Cooperation and Development (European Commission), Johannes Oljelund, Director-General for Development (Sweden), Jamie Saavedra, Senior Director for the Education Global Practice (The World Bank Group), Yasmine Sherif, Director (Education Cannot Wait), Helle Thorning-Schmiedt, CEO (Save the Children)

NEXT STEPS FROM WILL SMITH GRAND CANYON HELICOPTER JUMP FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT TO BE ANNOUNCED AT SATURDAY’S GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK’S CENTRAL PARK

1MEDIA ADVISORY

ECW DIRECTOR TAKES STAGE AT GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL TO HIGHLIGHT GROWING MOVEMENT TO PROVIDE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN CRISIS

Time: 29 September 2018, 5:40PM

Place: Central Park Great Lawn

Registration: The Global Citizen Festival is a free ticketed event. For interview requests to discuss the “Will Smith: The Jump” campaign and Education Cannot Wait, contact Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@unicef.org, +1 917 640-6820

Organizers: Education Cannot Wait and Global Citizen

Speakers: Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait (5:40PM anticipated speaking slot).

About Global Citizen Festival: The Global Citizen Festival will be hosted by Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman. Expected artists: Janet Jackson, The Weekend, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Janelle Monáe.

Details
Will Smith, Hollywood’s favorite leading man and a high-profile advocate for child’s rights, bungee jumped from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon this week, raising funds for Education Cannot Wait, a global fund that aims to generate additional resources to close the annual US$8.5 billion gap to meet the needs of the 75 million children and young people whose education is disrupted by conflict and crisis.

Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif will be at Saturday’s Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park to share the next steps from the “Will Smith: The Jump” campaign as part of new significant contributions to the global fund.

The donations from the campaign will be allocated to Education Cannot Wait through Global Citizen, who partnered with the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation on this initiative.

“I’ve had a whole lifetime of feeling squashed, and squelched and controlled by fear. Fear kills your ability to see beauty.” – Will Smith: The Jump

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Notes to Editors:

Details on ECW’s Resource Mobilization Challenge are available at: www.educationcannotwait.org/challenge

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

ECW is a global fund launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to deliver education in conflict and  crisis settings. The Fund aims to generate additional resources to close the annual $8.5 billion gap to meet the needs of 75 million children and young people whose education is disrupted by crisis. 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.

ECW’s Secretariat is hosted by UNICEF in its Headquarters in New York.

Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org

For press enquiries and to schedule an interview, contact:

Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,

adesgroseilliers@unicef.org, +1 917 640-6820

 

DONORS STEP UP TO FUND EDUCATION IN CRISIS AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY WITH US$70 MILLION IN NEW PLEDGES TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT

"Last year we studied in the tents. When there was too much sandy wind, the teachers used to send us back home. We could not even hear what he said. Now, we study in new classrooms, and we come to school happy. " - Kaka Mahamat,12, Daresalam Refugee camp. Lake Region.Chad. Photo: UNICEF Chad/2017/Bahaji
“Last year we studied in the tents. When there was too much sandy wind, the teachers used to send us back home. We could not even hear what he said. Now, we study in new classrooms, and we come to school happy. ” – Kaka Mahamat,12, Daresalam Refugee camp. Lake Region, Chad. Photo: UNICEF Chad/2017/Bahaji

27 September 2018, New York – At this week’s United Nations General Assembly, the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the philanthropic foundation Dubai Cares stepped up international funding to support education for girls and boys living in crisis areas, war zones and those uprooted by conflict and disasters, with close to US$70 million in new pledges to Education Cannot Wait (ECW).

These notable contributions increase the resources mobilized to date by the Fund by 33 per cent, to a total of $273 million. ECW became operational just over one year ago and aims to close the funding gap to meet the needs of 75 million children and youth whose education is currently disrupted by conflict and crisis.

“These new pledges are an important step in solving one of the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “For the millions of girls and boys – children and adolescents -enduring war, forced displacement and disasters, these new funds represent a lifeline and the promise of a future.”

The new pledges comprise $46 million from Denmark – the highest single donor contribution to the Fund to date – which adds to Denmark’s previous $30 million contribution making the country ECW’s top donor. The Netherlands also added to their initial contribution of $7.4 million, with a substantial $17.5 million new pledge. Norway announced an additional $2.5 million in funding, increasing its 2018 contribution to a total $10 million. The philanthropic foundation Dubai Cares, one of the founding partners of ECW with an initial contribution of $2.3 million, pledged an additional $3.75 million.

Captions: Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, announces US$ 46 million pledge to ECW to support the delivery of quality education to vulnerable children and youth caught in conflict and crisis, with a particular focus on girls and adolescent girls at #LeaveNoGirlBehind UN General Assembly event on 25 September 2018. Photo credit: ECW/Desgroseilliers
Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, announces US$ 46 million pledge to ECW to support the delivery of quality education to vulnerable children and youth caught in conflict and crisis, with a particular focus on girls and adolescent girls at #LeaveNoGirlBehind UN General Assembly event on 25 September 2018.
Photo credit: ECW/Desgroseilliers

The UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group, Rt Hon Gordon Brown, commended the new pledges and appealed for more donors to follow through.

“Hope dies when a child or young person is unable to plan and prepare for the future. And it is up to us to keep hope alive. So I say, let us bridge this gap between humanitarian and development aid. Let us fund humanitarian aid in education properly, by doubling it immediately. Let us ensure Education Cannot Wait has the funds to support and facilitate coordinated education responses in all the conflict areas of the world,” said Brown.

The new pledges will support ECW’s goal of raising $1.8 billion to continue to roll out its groundbreaking multi-year programmes that aim to reach 8.9 million children and youth – of whom 50 per cent are girls – in 25 priority crisis-affected countries by 2021.

ECW facilitates the design and funds multi-year education programmes that bring together a wide range of humanitarian and development stakeholders in delivering context-specific quality responses focusing on girls’ education and gender equality, protection and continuity, while also emphasizing equity and support to children with disabilities.  ECW also provides emergency funds to support rapid education responses in new or escalating crises.

To date, ECW has invested a total of $127 million in 17 crisis-affected countries which is reaching close to one million children and youth with essential education services in crises contexts.

The full press release is available here