Sudan Refugee Regional Crisis Response: Education Cannot Wait Announces US$3 Million Grant During High-Level Mission to Chad, Total Funding Tops US$41 Million

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ECW Executive Director talks with women and children in Chad
N'Djamena, Chad

Following Education Cannot Wait's high-level field mission with UNHCR to the border regions of Chad with Sudan where 60,000 refugees have arrived recently, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Executive Director Yasmine Sherif announced a US$3 million First Emergency Response grant.

The funding will provide access to safe and protective learning environments for incoming refugee girls and boys and support the host communities. The new grant brings ECW’s total investments to support vulnerable children’s education in Chad to over US$41 million.

Since the conflict erupted in Sudan on 15 April, over 200,000 people have crossed the borders to the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan to flee the violence. UNHCR estimates that this number could reach 860,000 as a result of the escalating conflict.

Incoming refugees are in precarious conditions and need urgent assistance and empowerment. Almost 70% of pre-registered refugees are children. Without access to safe and protective learning environments, uprooted girls and boys face higher risks of child marriage, sexual violence, exploitation, hunger, recruitment into armed groups, and attacks.

“It is imperative to provide immediate access to education for children and adolescents crossing to neighboring countries to flee the brutal conflict in Sudan. This might become a protracted crisis and the safety net of education is crucial to empower them, protect them and safeguard their futures,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the UN’s global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The new 12-month First Emergency Response grant will be implemented by UNHCR and its partners, in close coordination with the Government. Before the new crisis erupted, Chad was already hosting the fourth largest refugee population in Africa. The Government’s progressive policy on refugee inclusion within the national education system serves as a model example for the whole region.

“I invite partners to support the Government of Chad to ensure that Sudanese refugees fleeing the armed conflict enjoy the fundamental right of an education, which also contributes to reinforcing protection, resilience and social cohesion within the communities. By doing so, we are operationalizing the 2030 Education Strategy, which promotes the full inclusion of refugees into the Chadian education system,” said Mrs. Guemdje Liliane, Secretary of State, Ministry of Education.

Despite the Government’s efforts, successive shocks and crises affecting the country – including climate-induced disasters, large-scale internal displacement, and the Lake Chad and Central African refugee crises – have eroded the delivery of basic services. Chad’s education performance indicators are among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, with 56% of primary school-aged children out-of-school. Across the country, the education system is strained and lacks resources and qualified personnel. Overstretched capacities must urgently be strengthened to meet the needs of the newly uprooted children and further support host communities.

“When I visited Sudanese refugees who newly arrived in Koufroun in Eastern Chad, parents have said they want their children back to school. The children also wish to resume school as soon as possible. With almost 70% of the pre-registered refugees being children, we need to act now and collectively in support to the Chadian Government for an emergency response to the education needs to allow children to enjoy the right to education and protect them against various risks,” said Laura Lo Castro, UNHCR Representative in Chad.

The new grant comes as ECW’s initial contribution to the $445 million inter-agency Regional Refugee Response Plan launched by UNHCR and 134 partners to address the Sudan refugee regional crisis in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan. ECW is working with its partners to mobilize further support against this appeal.  

ECW total investments in Chad have reached over 830,000 children since 2017, with a focus on refugee and internally displaced children, host communities, girls, children with disabilities, and other vulnerable children. ECW’s holistic support has enhanced school infrastructure, school feeding, quality learning materials, mental health and psychosocial services, teacher training and inclusive education approaches. An additional 1.1 million children were reached with the Fund’s COVID-19 emergency responses in 2020-2021.

ECW and its strategic partners have made a commitment to reach 20 million crisis-impacted children and adolescents over the next four years. To achieve this goal, ECW seeks to mobilize a minimum of US$1.5 billion from government donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations.

Notes to Editor:

B-roll and high-resolution photos are available here

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth.  

On Twitter, please follow: @EduCannotWait, @YasmineSherif1, @KentPage

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