Education Cannot Wait Approves US$2 Million for Education in Emergency Response for Refugee Children and Youth in Eastern Sudan

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Responding to a surge in refugees fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, ECW funding will be used to build urgently needed learning centres and expand water and sanitation facilities in refugee settlements in eastern Sudan.

New York

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today approved a US$2 million allocation to support rapid education in emergencies interventions for children and youth fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. This emergency funding will help ensure continued access to quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education for at least 5,800 refugee children and youth in refugee settlements in the eastern regions of Sudan.

Recent fighting in Tigray has forced nearly 60,000 refugees to flee their homes and seek safety and protection across the border in Sudan. More than 30 per cent of them are children, with UNHCR planning a response in order to assist up to 100,000 refugees in eastern Sudan by mid-year.

With more refugees arriving every day, ECW joins the Government of Sudan, UN agencies and civil society in an inter-agency appeal to donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to immediately close the estimated US$6.6 million funding gap needed for the education in emergency response in eastern Sudan.

“These innocent girls and boys are the victims of conflict. They were forced to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their back. Many have been separated from their families and have experienced violence, hunger and untold psychological trauma on the long and treacherous journey to the camps in eastern Sudan,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “Together with our partners, we will work to make sure they are able to access inclusive, safe and protective learning environments – including quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education – and to ensure that learning facilities offer access to gender- and disability-sensitive water and sanitation facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.”

The 12-month ECW ‘first emergency response’ grant will be implemented by Islamic Relief Worldwide (US$400,000), the Norwegian Refugee Council (US$600,000), Save the Children (US$500,000), and UNHCR (US$500,000), in close partnership with the Government of Sudan.

“Education is essential for every child, especially those who have been uprooted and have seen their daily lives and learning opportunities disrupted. To refugee children, education brings a sense of hope, stability and the chance to look to a brighter future,” said Axel Bisschop, UNHCR Representative in Sudan. “The generous support from Education Cannot Wait allows us and partners to build on the Global Refugee Forum’s commitments aiming at having children return to learning within three months of displacement.”

“It is essential that when children are displaced, they are immediately provided with emergency temporary learning spaces. These spaces ensure children are supervised and kept safe, have improved access to food, water and health services, and are able to maintain a sense of normalcy and a school routine,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Sudan Representative. “We are grateful to Education Cannot Wait for supporting conflict-affected children displaced to eastern Sudan to fulfill their right to a quality education.”

ECW’s first emergency response will support the expansion of education infrastructure in the Tunaydbah and Um Rakuba refugee settlements. Girls and children with disabilities will benefit from specialised services, and teachers will be trained to ensure students receive the mental health and psychosocial support they need to adapt to their new environment.

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