Education Cannot Wait Approves Us$1 Million Allocation to Support Education Services for 77,000 Children Affected by Cyclone Idai in Malawi

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Photo UNICEF Malawi

Grants will be implemented by UNICEF, world vision, save the children and the world food Programme (WFP)

New York

In response to the urgent needs of children impacted by Cyclone Idai to access safe learning environments and psychosocial support, Education Cannot Wait and its partners announced a US$1 million grant to support over 77,000 children in 174 schools in Malawi, including close to 33,000 girls in the five most affected districts of Chikwawa, Mulanje, Nsanje, Phalombe and Zomba.

The emergency response will support relief efforts to immediately establish temporary learning spaces, deliver early childhood development kits, school-in-a-box learning materials, recreation materials and textbooks to schools damaged in the floods. It will also support school feeding programmes for 32,000 children receiving nutrition while in school.

Cyclone Idai exacerbated the impact of previous flooding in Malawi, which had initially damaged schools and disrupted learning for over 1,000 children in Chikwawa District prior to the declaration of the national disaster. According to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) data and the latest post disaster needs assessment, Cyclone Idai has affected close to 500,000 primary school learners (half of whom are girls) nationwide, with some 400 primary schools impacted. Younger children were also affected, with over 41,000 children impacted in 424 Early Childhood Development Centres.

A sudden disaster severely disrupts the daily lives of children and makes them more vulnerable. The longer a child’s education is interrupted, the less likely the child is to return to school and continued learning. Many children may resort to earning a living or be exposed to protection threats. Girls are especially vulnerable to child marriages and gender-based violence in disaster zones. Girls and boys also face higher risks of exploitation, child trafficking, abduction and forced recruitment into armed groups.

The response is coordinated on the national level through the Ministry of Education and the Education Cluster. This allocation will be implemented by UNICEF (US$394,000 grant), World Vision (US$198,000 grant), Save the Children (US$137,000 grant) and the World Food Programme (US$270,000 grant).

The synergistic response complements the ongoing efforts being undertaken by clusters focused on shelter, health, protection and water.

Women and children, especially adolescent girls, who are victims of any form of abuse including sexual violence, emotional, economic and physical abuse, will be referred for psychosocial support and counseling through the investment. The provision of handwashing facilities and menstrual hygiene kits for adolescent girls complements the efforts by the WASH cluster.

This $1 million allocation is part of the total $14 million commitment from Education Cannot Wait and its partners to support a rapid educational response to cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

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