Bridging the Gap and Crossing the Bridge

Director's Corner
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Bridging the Gap and Crossing the Bridge

It may be a challenge, but it is also an absolute necessity: bridging the gap between international law and reality and quickly crossing the bridge to reach all crisis-affected children and youth left furthest behind. Inclusive and equitable quality education is the right of every girl and boy and the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 4.

In fact, there are multiple challenges to overcome: in 2020, in countries of emergencies and protracted crisis - further hit by COVID-19 - the United Nations also registered more than 19,000 grave violations against children, according to the UN Secretary-General’s Report on Children in Armed Conflict, dated 22 May.

This crucial issue was further addressed in the subsequent UN Security Council open debate meeting on 28 June 2021. These grave violations include: the killing and maiming of children and youth; abduction of girls and boys; attacks against schools, their students and teachers; recruitment and use of children as soldiers; widespread sexual violence; and, the denial of access to schools for children and youth.

© UNICEF Nigeria
© UNICEF Nigeria

Despite this, on 5 July, another 150 students were reportedly abducted from a school in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Abductions, attacks against schools and schoolchildren appear to be increasing in frequency and they must end now. We join our strategic partners in calling for the safe, swift return of these girls and boys to their families.  

This must be our wake-up call, spurring us to take strong collective action so that every child and youth can enjoy their inherent human right to quality education - without fear of airstrikes, abductions, sexual and gender-based violence and forced recruitment into armed and violent groups.  

The numbers are staggering. Last year more than 8,400 children and youth were killed or maimed in ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Another 7,000 were recruited and used as fighters, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Syria. Abductions rose by 90 per cent last year, while rape and other forms of sexual violence shot up a staggering 70 per cent.

To read the full story on Exposure BRIDGING THE GAP AND CROSSING THE BRIDGE by Education Cannot Wait - Education Cannot Wait (



About our Director

ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine Sherif

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