We Must Rise to the Occasion, Now.

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We Must Rise to the Occasion, Now.
Yasmine Sherif with students on the recent mission to Cameroon with NRC's Jan Egeland. © ECW/Daniel Beloumou/2021

In 2021, COVID-19 continued to plague the world – a world already burdened by armed conflicts, climate-induced disasters and forced displacement. Communities, nations and people struggled to maintain normalcy in the midst of the abnormal. This was especially notable in the education sector – a sector that is the very foundation for achieving all human rights and all Sustainable Development Goals.

Countries affected by existing crises also suffered the absence of infrastructure and the omnipresence of extreme poverty, while conflicts raged all around. In 2021, with little, if any means, these countries had to rise to the occasion. Teachers, parents and students sought to protect lifesaving, continued and inclusive quality education for children and youth to sustain hope in the future.

It was a most difficult year for millions of crisis-affected children and adolescents around the world. More children and adolescents were pushed out of school. While we celebrated Human Rights Day a week ago under the theme of “equality”, one can only lament the stark reality: today, over 128 million girls and boys are being denied their basic right to education due to violent conflicts, forced displacement and climate-disasters wreaking havoc around the world.

In recent months, I witnessed firsthand the impact attacks and disruptions in education are having on the human dignity and well-being of children and adolescents caught in crises as diverse as AfghanistanBurkina Faso, and just a few weeks ago, Cameroon

In Cameroon, Jan Egeland, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, and I met some of the more than 700,000 children and adolescents affected by deliberate attacks on education and by school closures in the North-West and South-West regions. The Far North region and eastern parts of the country are also impacted by the Lake Chad Basin conflict and the refugee influx from neighboring Central African Republic, respectively. 

They reminded us that we all must rise to the occasion, now. Working with our in-country partners in governments, communities, civil society, the United Nations and amongst strategic donors, ECW will launch a Multi-Year Resilience Programme in these three crisis-affected areas of Cameroon in early 2022. With this in mind, we urgently appeal to all ODA, private sector partners and foundations to fully fund this humanitarian life-saving and sustainable development investment in Cameroon and across another 35 crisis-affected countries. In doing so, we need to place the rights of girls upfront.

To read the full story on Exposure We Must Rise to the Occasion, Now! by Education Cannot Wait - Education Cannot Wait (exposure.co)

About our Director

ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine Sherif

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