Papua New Guinea

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Restoring access to education and protecting children and adolescents in the aftermath of an earthquake in Papua New Guinea.

ECW in Papua New Guinea

In 2018, Papua New Guinea was struck by a powerful earthquake that caused widespread destruction to communities and disrupted the lives of entire communities already affected by armed conflict. Thousands of children and adolescents lost access to education and experienced trauma in the aftermath of the disaster. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) supported partners to build temporary learning spaces and train educators to address the psychosocial needs of students and increase resilience in emergency settings. ECW funded activities associated with this First Emergency Response (FER) ended in 2019.

Geographical Areas of ECW-funded Interventions
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Programme Info

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A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea in February 2018. When the earthquake struck, the region had faced years of drought and internal conflict, which heightened the crisis and hindered the recovery process. There was widespread destruction to communities, homes and essential infrastructure, including schools. Entire communities were also displaced to rebuild their lives.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, thousands of students lost access to education as school buildings, essential supplies and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities were destroyed or damaged. Beyond education, school closures also led to a disruption of students’ services, with schools delivering crucial services such as nutritious meals and offering stable protective environments. Additionally, the trauma experienced by students negatively impacted their school attendance, academic performance and overall well-being.

To support the children and adolescents, and to provide educational continuity in Papua New Guinea, ECW partners restored access to educational facilities through temporary learning spaces; WASH stations; and essential school supplies. Additionally, educators were trained to better address the physical and psychosocial needs of students during emergencies and to better prepare for future events.

All ECW-funded activities are part of this First Emergency Response (FER) concluded in May 2019. ECW has no active programmes in Papua New Guinea.

Programme Components

  • Improving quality of education. Teachers were trained to set up and run temporary learning spaces, use education in emergency supplies effectively and implement positive child-centered teaching methods. 
  • Providing a protective and holistic learning environment. Workshops provided training on psychosocial and mental health support for students, the development of comprehensive school safety plans, and the importance of good hygiene and child protection.
  • Restoring access to educational facilities. Supported the establishment of temporary learning facilities, latrines, and water and sanitation stations. Tents, teaching and learning materials, and early childhood development and recreational kits were distribute to build child-friendly spaces.

For more information on ECW's work in Papua New Guinea, please contact Jihane Latrous: jlatrous@unicef.org

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