Addressing the educational needs of girls and boys impacted by devastating cyclones in Comoros.

ECW in Comoros

In 2019, violent cyclones devastated the Comoros and neighbouring countries in the southern Africa region. Entire communities were destroyed, causing urgent humanitarian needs in terms of public health, nutrition, protection, sanitation and education in emergencies. Across Comoros' three islands, the destruction of infrastructure left thousands of students out of school. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) addressed the crisis through a regional emergency response covering Comoros, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. To ensure a swift return to learning, the Fund’s support focused on rebuilding schools; providing educational supplies; promoting disaster resilience messaging; training educators to address the psychosocial needs of students; increasing enrolment; and creating disaster mitigation strategies.

Geographical Areas of ECW-funded Interventions
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Programme Info

In 2019, southern Africa was hit by two of the most extreme cyclones to ever make landfall in the region, leaving a trail of destruction across multiple countries. In March, Cyclone Idai, a category 2 cyclone, brought winds of 105 miles per hour; and just over a month later, in April, the region was struck by Cyclone Kenneth, a category 4 cyclone, with winds of 140 miles per hour. The cyclone and flooding happened right before the annual harvest season, with devastating effects on agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

In the Comoros, entire communities were shattered, and many teachers and families lost their homes and were displaced by the disaster. Hundreds of schools were destroyed or damaged, leaving tens of thousands of students out of school. In addition, enrolment and academic achievement plummeted.

ECW’s First Emergency Response (FER) supported a swift return to learning for affected children and adolescents. The programme included reparations for damaged schools; the provision of educational supplies to communities; the distribution of life-saving messaging on disaster risk reduction (DRR); and the training of education personnel on psychosocial support for students. It also supported communities to ensure continued enrolment, and the Government to implement disaster mitigation strategies. Inclusion was a central component of the programme to ensure children with disabilities were included in the recovery process.

Programme Components

  • Disaster risk reduction training and support. Training on DRR topics was provided to education personnel, mapping and plans were developed, implemented and monitored in coordination with grantees, civil society organizations and government stakeholders.
  • Ensuring continuity of education. In collaboration with grantees, national authorities progressed to creating effective and robust disaster mitigation strategies aligned with education plans. Grantees also provided holistic incentives for children to re-enroll and remain in school, including the payment of school fees and school-feeding programmes.
  • Making physical improvements to schools. Grantees rehabilitated and built classrooms and temporary learning spaces and identified additional spaces in need of rehabilitation. Latrines were constructed to promote hygiene. Sanitation and the provision of safe water stations contributed to controlling the cholera health emergency caused by the cyclones.
  • Producing public awareness campaigns. Supported the development of education awareness, disaster preparedness and health campaigns to reach thousands of people across the region and prepare for future events.
  • Providing quality learning resources. Grantees distributed individual learning materials to children and learning resources to classrooms. The learning resources were designed to improve the quality of education inside and outside the classroom.
  • Providing training for educators. Thousands of education personnel received psychosocial support training to address the high levels of stress reported in children.were designed to improve the quality of education inside and outside the classroom. 
  • Providing training for educators. Thousands of education personnel received psychosocial support training to address the high levels of stress reported in children.

For more information on ECW's work in Comoros, please contact Graham Lang:

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