This window responds to the most immediate and urgent needs at the outset of crisis or when it escalates. It provides rapid funding against proposals that are coordinated among humanitarian organizations on the ground and is aligned with humanitarian funding appeals such as Flash Appeals and Humanitarian Response Plans.
Investments are delivered within weeks of the declaration of the emergency, following the approval of a proposal submitted to Education Cannot Wait by the relevant humanitarian coordination mechanism
4 February 2021, New York – In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Mozambique, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced a US$1 million first emergency response allocation to benefit displaced children and youth impacted by increasing violence in Cabo Delgado province. Ongoing violence and insecurity have displaced more than half a million people, including 250,000 children in just the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic makes matters even worse, straining education, health and financial systems, and forcing crisis-affected children even further to the margins.
There has also been a rise in attacks on schools in Mozambique. Between 2017 and 2020, 171 schools were affected by school attacks and 45 schools were destroyed. This affected close to 75,000 students and 1,500 teachers. Even more concerning were the killings of six teachers over this same time period. Mozambique endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015. The declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effects of armed conflict.
“Without access to safe and protective learning environments in such a volatile environment, girls face the risk of sexual abuse, early pregnancy and child marriage, while boys may be recruited into armed groups or forced out of school into child labour. The Safe Schools Declaration is our global commitment to ensure every girl and boy on the planet has the right to an education without fear of violence or attack,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “Amidst insecurity, forced displacement and COVID-19, education means not only means safety, protection and a sense of normalcy for these crisis-affected girls and boys, it also means the possibility for a brighter tomorrow.”
“Cabo Delgado Province has been experiencing armed violence in its central and northern zone districts since 2017, forcing many displaced people to take refuge in the districts of Mecúfi, Pemba, Metuge, Ancuabe, Chiúre, Namuno, Balama, Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade and Palma. Before this, classrooms were already overcrowded in the province,” said Mr. Florencio Mbiquem, Cooperation and Emergency Coordinator with the Cabo Delgado Provincial Education Directorate. “Furthermore, Cyclone Kenneth in 2019 resulted in damage to 185 schools in the province, affecting 45,242 students and 966 teachers. The rainy seasons are causing more education infrastructural damage, not to mention the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Education Cannot Wait’s support is therefore very important for children, youth, teachers and their families.”
Planned interventions will build age-appropriate educational opportunities for crisis-affected girls and boys, support safe and inclusive learning spaces, expand remote learning options, provide children with learning materials, train teachers, and raise awareness to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, including psychosocial support. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, water and sanitation services will be built at schools and learning centres.
In launching this new US$1 million investment, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors, philanthropic foundations and the private sector to fully fund the US$4.2 million education funding gap within Mozambique’s Humanitarian Response Plan.
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
22 January 2021, 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.”
“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.
22 January 2021, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$1.5 million in grant funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon.
The expanded funding will provide over 32,000 Palestine refugee children and youth living in Lebanon with access to safe and inclusive learning and will provide personal protective equipment for staff and students to help control the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of all.
“UNRWA tirelessly advocates for the right of all Palestine refugee children to inclusive quality education to develop their full potential – regardless of gender, abilities, disabilities, socio-economic status and health and psychosocial needs,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini. ”As these young girls and boys learn to practice the principles of tolerance, conflict resolution and human rights, they positively impact their community while growing into responsible adults.”
A high-level delegation led by Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, visited Lebanon last month to assess ECW’s support for damaged schools rehabilitation following the Beirut explosion, and to advance progress on a potential Education Cannot Wait facilitated multi-year resilience programme in Lebanon. ECW approved a US$1.5 million education in emergency response to the blast in September 2020 and US$2.8 million in COVID-19 education in emergency response funds last year.
“We must continue to work for, and support Palestine refugee children and youth in Lebanon. They have an inherent human right to protection and quality education. I am especially concerned about the threat of cuts for children with disabilities, whose dreams are at stake,” said Sherif. “I therefore call on all public and private sector donors to support UNRWA and Lebanon’s education system now. By doing so, all these crisis-affected girls and boys will be able to enjoy an inclusive and quality education. All will be given an equal opportunity to become their dream.”
With this new round of ECW funding, UNRWA will reach children in grades 1 to 9 through its Learning Support Programme (LSP), which will ensure that over 200 teachers deliver enhanced and tailored learning support to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach students, especially children with disabilities. Over half of the project beneficiaries are girls. The new ECW investment will also provide personal protective equipment and supplies to 14,000 children to facilitate the safe reopening of schools and to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Access: The intervention will provide services to support children’s access to quality, inclusive, and equitable education in a safe and healthy school environment with a focus on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children
Continuity: The intervention supports the continuation of the Learning Support Programme (LSP) which reinforces the retention of students currently enrolled in schools, while the provision of PPEs and cleaning supplies enables UNRWA to continue to safely operate schools during the pandemic.
Gender Equality and Equity: The project provides tailored support for the individual learning needs of boys and girls, thus helping to prevent the risk of drop-outs.
Protection: The project will ensure the retention of students within the formal education system, considered to be one of the most important protective layers in a child’s life during times of crisis. Keeping children in school will also allow for the early detection of a range of child protection issues, as well as timely provision of additional support where needed and onwards referral to specialized services.
Quality: “Learning Support” is a special instructional approach designed to help students acquire a desired level of academic achievement by using instructional materials and techniques specifically designed to meet their individual needs in UNRWA schools. Supporting the continuity of the LSP ensures quality of both teaching and learning for all students.
Through ECW’s first emergency response window, UNESCO will rehabilitate 40 schools and support 30,000 students to resume learning
4 September 2020, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today approved US$1.5 million in new education in emergency funding in response to last month’s explosion in Beirut.
The new funding comes just one month after the 4 August 2020 blast, which damaged 140 schools and affected at least 55,000 Lebanese and non-Lebanese students.
Through the ECW grant, UNESCO, in close coordination with Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education, will support the rapid rehabilitation of approximately 40 schools in the area of the explosion, allowing at least 30,000 children and youth whose schools were damaged to resume their learning in a physically safe environment during the 2020-2021 school year.
“Beirut has suffered a lot, but will rise again. We need to support the young generation to sustain and this means rehabilitating their damaged schools without delay,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We know that our strategic partner UNESCO, working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, will be able to rapidly rehabilitate 40 damaged schools for these girls and boys.”
Severe destruction of the schools has been reported by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and education sector, including crumbling walls, broken windows, leaking roofs, broken desks and chairs. School water and sanitation facilities have also been damaged, further exacerbating the ongoing health crisis posed by COVID-19.
Compounding economic and political crises are putting over a million children and youth at risk in Lebanon. Analysis from ECW’s 2019 Annual Report indicates that approximately 631,209 Syrian children and 447,400 vulnerable Lebanese children faced challenges accessing education in 2019.
The approval of today’s additional funding builds on the results from ECW’s US$2.3 million grant for Lebanon, which ran from August 2018 to February 2020.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a new US$3.7 million tranche of funding to support education in emergencies responses in the Sahelian nations of Mali and Niger.
US$3.7 million grant will reach children and youth impacted by insecurity, displacement, conflict and ongoing crises in the region
Voir la version en français ci-dessous
13 December 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a new US$3.7 million tranche of funding to support education in emergencies responses in the Sahelian nations of Mali and Niger.
In addressing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, the expanded funding will reach over 160,000 children and youth.
Through national governments and implementing partners on the ground, the new round of ECW funding will support the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms for 15,000 out-of-school children and youth, provide learning materials to over 100,000 students, promote good menstrual health and hygiene for over 130,000 girls, and promote more protective learning environments for more than 160,000 students.
A large funding gap for the educational humanitarian response persists in the target areas of the intervention, with estimates indicating US$42 million remaining unfunded.
Violence, displacement, insecurity and crises continue to grow across the region. More than 320,000 children and youth have been affected by school closures, and an uptick of attacks on schools has been registered across the two countries since 2017.
The ongoing education response in the two countries is yielding impressive results. In 2019, approximately 100,000 children and youth were able to access quality, inclusive education, according to Education Cluster reports. As of October 2019, the Education Cluster has reached over 46,000 girls and boys and provided 73,000 students with learning materials. More students are also receiving the psychosocial support and feeding programmes they need to cope with the exposure to the trauma of displacement and have enough food to eat every day.
“The Sahel is one of the most unstable and fragile regions on the globe. Children and youth bear the burden of armed conflicts, forced displacement, abject poverty, the effects of climate change, food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Together with our partners, today, we are investing in immediately providing educational opportunities for some of the most marginalized and vulnerable girls and boys in Mali and Niger to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and become positive agents of change.”
First Emergency Response in Niger
In the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions of Niger, over 100,000 school-aged children are in need of humanitarian assistance. The security and displacement situation remains in flux in most parts of Niger. Various regional conflicts, including the crisis in Mali, the Boko Haram insurgency and regional crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, and rising insecurity in northern states of Nigeria, are causing major displacement towards and within Niger and are having an adverse impact on economic activities and access to public services such as education. Refugee children are being left behind, with 17,000 refugees in Niger lacking access to any type of education support.
In Niger, UNICEF, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council will implement the ECW-financed programming with US$1.3 million in total funds allocated.
Assoumane Mahamadou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Primary Education, Literacy, National Language Promotion and Civic Education of Niger, said: “We are delighted to hear confirmation of the next US$1.3 million Education Cannot Wait rapid funding allocation for Niger. This additional funding comes at a time when our education system is facing several challenges. Various regional conflicts, including the crisis on the borders of Mali and Burkina and the regional crisis of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin have a negative impact on access to public services such as education. This funding will allow for continued support to the government’s efforts to fulfill the right to education for all girls and boys in need of schooling.”
First Emergency Response in Mali
In Central and Northern Mali, insecurity has hindered the continuity of schooling for many children, who also are at increased risk of violence and abuses. In all, some 450,000 children need humanitarian assistance. As the crisis intensifies in the central regions, schools are closing under the threat of militant groups and intercommunity conflicts, and the situation for girls and boys grows more alarming every day. Recent estimates from the Education Cluster indicate over 1,000 schools are non-functional, affecting more than 315,000 students.
In Mali, World Vision and UNICEF will implement the ECW-financed response with US$2.4 million in allocated funds.
Mbaranga Gasarabwe, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Mali, said: “Education is key to ensuring that girls and boys in Mali can contribute positively to the future of their country. The crisis has deprived too many children of this fundamental right. The Government of Mali is signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and as it strives to make quality education accessible to all, it needs the support of all partners to protect children’s right to education.”
LE FONDS ÉDUCATION SANS DÉLAI AUGMENTE SON FINANCEMENT DE PREMIÈRE RÉPONSE EN SITUATION D’URGENCE AU MALI ET AU NIGER
Une nouvelle allocation de 3,7 millions de dollars (USD) soutiendra l’accès à l’éducation des enfants et des jeunes touchés par l’insécurité, les déplacements, les conflits et les crises en cours dans cette région du Sahel
13 décembre 2019, New York – Le Fonds Éducation sans délai (« Education Cannot Wait » ou « ECW ») annonce une nouvelle tranche de financement de 3,7 millions de dollars (USD) pour soutenir des programmes d’éducation en situation d’urgence au Mali et au Niger.
Cette nouvelle allocation augmente le financement d’ECW dans le cadre de son investissement de Première réponse en situation d’urgence annoncé en juillet dernier pour le Sahel.
Pour faire face à la détérioration de la situation humanitaire dans la région, ce financement accru bénéficiera à plus de 160 000 enfants et jeunes.
Par le biais des gouvernements nationaux et des partenaires de mise en œuvre sur le terrain, le financement d’ECW soutiendra la construction et la réhabilitation de salles de classe pour 15 000 enfants et jeunes non scolarisés, fournira du matériel d’apprentissage à plus de 100 000 élèves, favorisera une bonne hygiène menstruelle pour plus de 130 000 filles et assurera des environnements d’apprentissage plus protecteurs pour plus de 160 000 élèves.
Un important manque de financement pour la réponse humanitaire dans le secteur de l’éducation persiste toutefois dans les zones ciblées par les interventions : environ 42 millions de dollars (USD) restent à mobiliser, selon les estimations.
Les violences, les déplacements de population, l’insécurité et les crises continuent de s’aggraver dans la région. Plus de 320 000 enfants et jeunes sont touchés par les fermetures d’écoles et une recrudescence des attaques contre les écoles a été enregistrée dans les deux pays depuis 2017.
La réponse en cours en éducation en situation d’urgence dans les deux pays obtient cependant des résultats notables. En 2019, environ 100 000 enfants et jeunes ont pu accéder à une éducation inclusive et de qualité, selon les rapports du Cluster Éducation. En octobre 2019, les acteurs du Cluster Éducation avait atteint plus de 46 000 filles et garçons et fourni du matériel d’apprentissage à 73 000 élèves. De plus en plus d’enfants bénéficient du soutien psychosocial et des programmes d’alimentation dont ils ont besoin pour faire face à l’adversité et au traumatisme liés aux situations de déplacement forcé et pour avoir suffisamment à manger chaque jour.
« Le Sahel est l’une des régions les plus instables et les plus fragiles du monde. Les enfants et les jeunes paient le plus lourd tribut des conflits armés, des déplacements forcés, de l’extrême pauvreté, des effets du changement climatique, de l’insécurité alimentaire et de la malnutrition qui y sévissent », a déclaré Yasmine Sherif, Directrice du Fonds Éducation sans délai. « Avec nos partenaires, nous investissons pour offrir immédiatement des possibilités d’éducation aux filles et garçons parmi les plus marginalisés et vulnérables au Mali et au Niger afin qu’ils et elles puissent apprendre et développer les compétences dont ils ont besoin pour s’épanouir et devenir des agents de changement positif.»
Première réponse en situation d’urgence au Niger
Dans les régions de Tillabéri et Tahoua au Niger, plus de 100 000 enfants d’âge scolaire ont besoin d’une aide humanitaire. La situation en matière de sécurité et de déplacement reste volatile dans la plupart des régions du pays. Divers conflits régionaux, notamment la crise au Mali, l’insurrection de Boko Haram et la crise régionale dans le bassin du lac Tchad, et l’insécurité croissante dans les États du nord du Nigéria, provoquent des déplacements importants vers et à l’intérieur du Niger et ont un impact négatif sur les activités économiques et l’accès aux services publics tels que l’éducation. Les enfants réfugiés sont particulièrement touchés : 17 000 réfugiés au Niger n’ont accès à aucun type de soutien éducatif.
Au Niger, l’UNICEF, Save the Children et le Conseil norvégien pour les réfugiés (NRC) mettront en œuvre les programmes financés par l’allocation de 1,3 million de dollars d’ECW.
Assoumane Mahamadou, Secrétaire Général du Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire de l’Alphabétisation de la Promotion des Langues Nationales et de l’Éducation Civique, a déclaré : “Nous sommes ravis d’apprendre la confirmation du prochain financement rapide de 1,3 million de dollars pour le Niger dans le cadre de l’investissement du Fonds Éducation sans délai. Ce financement additionnel arrive en ce moment où notre système éducatif fait face à plusieurs défis. Divers conflits régionaux, dont la crise aux frontières du Mali et Burkina, la crise régionale de Boko Haram dans le bassin du lac Tchad et l’insécurité croissante dans les États du nord du Nigéria entraîne une situation qui impacte négativement l’accès aux services publics tels que l’éducation. Ce financement va permettre de continuer à accompagner les efforts du gouvernement à assurer les droits à l’éducation à tous les filles et garçons en besoin de scolarité.”
Première réponse en situation d’urgence au Mali
Dans le centre et le nord du Mali, l’insécurité entrave l’accès continu à l’éducation de nombreux enfants, qui courent également un risque accru de violence et d’abus. Au total, quelque 450 000 enfants ont besoin d’une aide humanitaire. Alors que la crise s’aggrave dans les régions du centre, les écoles ferment sous la menace de groupes militants et des conflits intercommunautaires; la situation des enfants devient chaque jour plus alarmante. Des estimations récentes du Cluster Éducation indiquent que plus de 1000 écoles ne sont pas fonctionnelles, ce qui affecte plus de 315 000 élèves.
Au Mali, Vision mondiale (World Vision) et l’UNICEF mettront en œuvre les programmes financés par l’allocation de 2,4 millions de dollars d’ECW.
Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Coordinatrice résidente des Nations Unies et Coordinatrice de l’action humanitaire pour le Mali, a déclaré: « L’éducation est cruciale pour assurer que les filles et les garçons au Mali puissent contribuer positivement à l’avenir de leur pays. La crise a privé trop d’enfants de ce droit fondamental. Le gouvernement du Mali est signataire de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant et, alors qu’il s’efforce de rendre l’éducation de qualité accessible à tous et toutes, le soutien de tous les partenaires est nécessaire pour protéger le droit des enfants à l’éducation. »
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Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a US$3 million first emergency response to support education in emergency efforts for girls and boys who are affected by the escalating crisis in the Western Coastal governorates of Yemen, which are currently hosting more than one third of the 3.6 million internally displaced population in the country.
13 December2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a US$3 million first emergency response to support education in emergencies efforts for girls and boys who are affected by the escalating crisis in the Western Coastal governorates of Yemen, which are currently hosting more than one third of the 3.6 million internally displaced population in the country.
The 12-month programme will be implemented by the Education Cluster through a consortium of civil society partners led by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The investment will reach over 14,000 internally displaced and crisis-affected children in Hodeidah, Hajjah and Taizz, with a special focus on girls and children with disabilities.
The programme builds on ECW’s US$15 million Initial Investment in Yemen launched in 2017, which has reached 1.3 million children and youth (45 per cent of whom are girls), including providing safe learning spaces to children, supporting 1.2 million students in preparing and taking national exams, and paying incentives for teachers whose salaries were not paid in the affected regions of Yemen.
Yemen is considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today with approximately 80 per cent of the population – 24 million people – requiring some form of humanitarian or protection assistance. In all, approximately 4.7 million out of the total 7.5 million children in Yemen need humanitarian assistance to ensure continuation of their education, with 3.7 million classified as severe, and at least 2 million children being out of school across the country. Girls are more likely to lose out on education, with 36 per cent of all girls being out of school compared to 24 per cent of boys.
“Education is essential to rebuilding a strong and peaceful Yemen and protecting girls and boys from the devastating consequences of this conflict. Built in partnership with national partners, the Education Cluster and other key stakeholders, this emergency response will allow children and youth to quickly resume their education. This is a crucial step for them to recover from the severe impacts of displacement, poor health conditions, food insecurity and brutal poverty brought upon the people of Yemen for the past four years due to armed conflict,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.
The investment will contribute to developing the capacity of educators to support learning and help children better cope with the stress and adversity that stem from enduring war and displacement, strengthening the coordination of Yemen’s education in emergency response, as well as providing much needed educational materials and supplies. To provide students with safe learning environments, the investment will rehabilitate damaged classrooms and build and repair water and sanitation facilities.
The first emergency response will address the needs of at least 10 per cent of the children in the targeted governorates. A US$64 million funding gap remains for the education in emergencies response in all of Yemen.
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.
To date, ECW investments span more than 30 countries affected by armed conflict, disaster and forced displacement.
The UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon shares insights on the current humanitarian situation, the importance of education for children caught in emergencies and the crucial role of ECW’s support to the emergency response in the country.
ECW: As the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon, you have shown an exemplary commitment to education for children and youth. Could you please describe their situation, challenges and opportunities?
Allegra Baiocchi: The situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon is dire for all school-aged children. Hundreds of thousands of children have been out of school for nearly three full years. More than 80 per cent of schools have been closed and enrolment is reduced by 40-80 per cent in most of the schools that remain operational. This means that around 950,000 children have been forced to leave school. 9 out of 10 children are currently out of school in both regions.
Conflict-affected out-of-school children are exposed to a myriad of severe crisis-related protection risks including sexual exploitation and abuse, gender-based violence, harassment and recruitment by armed forces or armed groups, prostitution, arbitrary arrest, early marriage and pregnancy and child labour.
Children in the North-West and South-West regions have also been exposed to numerous traumatic incidents including witnessing violence from military and/or non-state armed groups, destruction of homes and villages, torture and killings, and mass displacement. After three years of conflict, children are suffering from prolonged toxic stress which has had a severe impact on their well-being and has diminished children’s natural resilience.
Children require urgent support to manage their emotions, understand the normal reactions they are having to an abnormal situation, and improve their psychosocial well-being and resilience through play-based learning and positive social interactions with peers and adult role models. It is imperative to provide children with safe, inclusive and protective learning environments as a first step to reduce exposure to harm and to re-establish a routine and a sense of normalcy.
ECW: How do you see the education sector in relation to other sectors, in achieving the Global Goals, and what importance does it have to you in leading the UN country team and humanitarian community in Cameroon?
Allegra Baiocchi: Education is a fundamental right and is also essential to achieve the 17 Global Goals; nothing should restrict children’s access to quality learning. Education is also a main vehicle for development and is essential to reduce poverty and inequality, to strengthen peace and institutions, to increase economic growth and to improve the overall well-being of populations.
The UN team and the humanitarian community are highly concerned about the current situation. What will be the future for an entire generation of children when so many are out of school? In recent years, Cameroon’s school enrolment rates for both boys and girls has been increasing as a result of development policies. As humanitarians, we must pursue all possible avenues for providing access to quality education, even in circumstances in which education is under attack.
ECW: What is the funding situation for education in the humanitarian appeals and among donors in Cameroon, as well as globally towards Cameroon?
Allegra Baiocchi: The humanitarian response plan for Cameroon requires funding of US$298.9 million, but to date is only 19.7 per cent funded. Education is one of the worst funded sectors; prior to receiving Education Cannot Wait (ECW) funding, only 6 per cent of the financial requirement for education in North-West and South-West regions had been met. With ECW funding, 23 per cent of the funding gap will now be covered. Source : https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/718/summary
ECW: What made you reach out to Education Cannot Wait and what were your expectations?
Allegra Baiocchi: Because Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises, it is essential for Cameroon to have the Fund’s support for the education response. This also helps underline education as a priority within the country humanitarian agenda.
Receiving funding and support from ECW is also important for advocacy, to raise the profile of the severity of the education crisis in the North-West and South-West regions. Not only is Cameroon’s humanitarian response the worst funded in Africa, but the education response for the North-West and South-West was almost entirely un-funded prior to receiving ECW support.
With Education Cannot Wait funding, we will be able to ensure 18,386 children have access to quality education; the vast majority of these children were previously out of school. This funding will also highlight the severity of the crisis and the humanitarian commitment to ensuring children are able to fulfil their right to education. It is hoped that this will encourage other international donors to also fund the education response so that we can reach significantly more children with subsequent funding.
ECW: How did you find the ECW response? Did it support you in your responsibilities as the RC/HC? What will the ECW investment do to (strategy and activities) to achieve change?
Allegra Baiocchi: Education Cannot Wait’s funding is aligned with the inter-agency humanitarian appeal and covers 23 per cent of the current funding gap for the North-West/South-West education response. It will support 18,386 children (of whom 9,505 are girls) of pre-primary, primary and secondary school age in accessing quality formal and non-formal education learning opportunities in the two regions.
Education activities will support the resumption and continuity of learning for crisis-affected children and youth – a majority of whom have been out of school for three years now. There will also be a focus on protection to reduce risks of exploitation, child labour, early marriage, early pregnancy and recruitment into armed forces and armed groups. Psychosocial support, school feeding programmes, vocational training for youth, community reintegration and school readiness will also be supported.
ECW: Any final words from your side?
Allegra Baiocchi: The situation for children in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon is alarming. Almost all schools have been closed and nearly all children are currently out of school. In an area of active conflict, this puts children in immediate danger – outside of a protective school environment, children are regularly exposed to traumatic incidents and are at risk of being directly harmed.
Hundreds of thousands of children have now missed all of secondary school or half of primary school. Illiteracy is on the rise. Families, communities and children themselves are losing all hope for the future. It is the responsibility of the humanitarian community to protect children’s right to education and to get these kids back on track with their learning. With Education Cannot Wait funding, this is what we will be doing.
ECW: Thank-you so much for your time and your dedicated efforts in Cameroon, Allegra.
About Ms. Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon
Ms. Allegra Baiocchi is the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon, since July 18, 2017.
Prior to her appointment as the highest ranking United Nations official in Cameroon, Ms. Baiocchi held the position of Regional Representative for West and Central Africa for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), based in Dakar, Senegal.
Ms. Baiocchi has held several positions within the United Nations, she has also worked in NGOs and academia. She has held several international postings, including in Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan and South Sudan and at the UN Secretariat Headquarter in New York.
An Italian and Venezuelan bi-national, Ms. Baiocchi holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and Development Economics from the University of Rome, Italy. She speaks French, Spanish and English.
Education Cannot Wait announces a US$2.7 million allocation to support the emergency education response in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon where the ongoing crisis has left more than 90 per cent of school-aged children without access to any education opportunities.
Funding will help restore learning opportunities for more than 18,000 children and youth affected by the crisis
9 July 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait announces a US$2.7 million allocation to support the emergency education response in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon where the ongoing crisis has left more than 90 per cent of school-aged children without access to any education opportunities.
Over the last three years, escalating violence and attacks against civilians in these two regions of Cameroon have forced half a million people to flee their homes. Schools, education personnel and students have been targeted by violence and threats, and 80 per cent of schools have closed, according to estimates from humanitarian agencies. More than 670,000 children in the two regions have been forced to leave school.
“Hundreds of thousands of girls and boys in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon are currently out of school. Outside of a protective school environment, they are in immediate danger of recruitment, of exploitation, of sexual abuse and early pregnancy,” said Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon. “As illiteracy sets in, the future of these children, of their families and their communities is also at risk. When it comes to education, it cannot be an if, but a how. As Humanitarian Coordinator, I am committed to protect children’s right to education and to get these kids back on track with their learning. With Education Cannot Wait’s funding, this is what we will do,” she said.
Education Cannot Wait’s funding will support 18,386 children (of whom 9,505 are girls) of pre-primary, primary and secondary school age in accessing quality formal and non-formal education learning opportunities in the two regions.
“The sheer scale of the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has brought the future prospects of an entire generation to a standstill. It is unacceptable that children stay out of school for years and are left behind. Working closely with the Government and through the Education in Emergencies Cluster, UN agencies and NGOs will jointly implement this Education Cannot Wait investment and provide urgently needed response to restore learning opportunities for affected children and youth,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Access to continuous quality education is crucial to protect the girls and boys caught up in such distressing and abnormal circumstances. It nurtures their resilience and helps them develop the skills to thrive while also contributing to the recovery of their communities,” she added.
Education activities will support the resumption and continuity of learning for crisis-affected children and youth – a majority of whom have been out of school for three years now. There will also be a focus on protection to reduce risks of exploitation, child labour, early marriage, early pregnancy and recruitment into armed forces and armed groups. Psychosocial support, school feeding programmes, vocational training for youth, community reintegration and school readiness will also be supported.
Education Cannot Wait approved a US$639,000 allocation to get 27,000 children and youth back into safe and protective learning environments in Comoros after Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread destruction in the small island developing state in late April.
27,282 CHILDREN TO BENEFIT FROM RAPID EDUCATIONAL RESPONSE
1 July 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait approved a US$639,000 allocation to get 27,000 children and youth back into safe and protective learning environments in Comoros after Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread destruction in the small island developing state in late April.
The Education Cannot Wait grant will reach 61 per cent of the Comoran children and youth affected by the devastating cyclone, including 14,000 girls. It will be implemented in partnership with the Government of Comoros by UNICEF.
With a US$1.4 million funding gap remaining for the educational humanitarian response, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors and partners to step up to meet the full scope of needs.
“This is an unexpected and extremely traumatic experience for children and youth. By providing them with safe and protective learning environments, they are better equipped to cope with their fears and more empowered to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.
Cyclone Kenneth affected approximately 400 schools across the three islands of Comoros. In all, 213 classrooms were totally destroyed and 465 were partially damaged. This has left approximately 44,800 learners without access to safe schools.
Entire communities were shattered, and many teachers and families lost their homes and were displaced by the disaster. The country also faces multiplying risks like the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases.
The cyclone and flooding happened right around the annual harvest season causing devastating impacts on agriculture, livestock and fisheries. With communities’ livelihoods under such stress, children’s access to education is even more at risk, particularly for girls.
Education Cannot Wait’s allocation focuses on supporting a swift return to school for affected children. It will help: repair damaged school buildings; provide children, teachers and communities with educational supplies and life-saving messaging on disaster risk reduction and hygiene; and, support the government and communities in building back better after the cyclone.
The allocation also focuses on promoting gender equality and equity. This includes ensuring that the estimated 775 pupils with disabilities living in areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth will not be further disadvantaged in the response and recovery phases.
In addition to Education Cannot Wait’s support to the emergency response to Cyclone Kenneth in the Comoros, the Fund is also responding to the urgent educational needs of children in the aftermaths of this year’s cyclone season in Southern Africa in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES ON THE ALLOCATION
Support to reach 27,282 children in 45 affected communities across the Comoros archipelago
Repair damaged roofs in priority schools for a total of 50 classrooms
Repair and maintenance of gender-sensitive water and sanitation facilities including the restoration of water connection in affected schools
Provide desks for 2,800 pupils
Supply schools with quality learning materials, including 100 ‘schools in a box’ and recreational kits
Train 700 teachers (50 per cent of whom are women) on the use of educational materials, disaster risk reduction and other mechanisms to make schools a safer place to learn and thrive.
Yasmina is an enthusiastic 10-year-old Rohingya student. She’s different from other girls her age. Not just because she’s dealt with the horrors of fleeing her home in Myanmar and losing her father. And not just because she has an infectious smile and her eyes light up when you call her by name. Yasmina has special needs.
For girls like her, living in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, accessing quality education is difficult to say the least. Even harder is finding a qualified teacher that can help her overcome her special needs and find a place to be safe and thrive.
With the support of Education Cannot Wait’s US$3 million First Emergency Response Grant to UNICEF, there is new hope for Yasmina and hundreds more children like her.
Yasmina’s positive demeanor belies the tragedy her family dealt with in Myanmar. Her father was killed in the violence, and her family was forced to abandon their home and seek safety in Bangladesh.
Her mother, Abia Hatan, now takes care of Yasmina and her three siblings in their small shelter in the Kutupalong refugee camp.
Yasmina faces additional challenges in the classroom because she has learning difficulties, physical disabilities and a severe speech impediment. The brave young girl started back to school last year at her nearest learning centre. But she wasn’t attending regularly. In December 2018, with financial support from the Education Cannot Wait First Emergency Response, UNICEF and partners launched a major education drive through the “Back to Learning” campaign. Thousands of community mobilizers encouraged parents and caregivers to send their children to learning centres to receive an education through the new improved structured-learning programme.
The community mobilizers worked closely with parents, teachers and local leaders to encourage students who had dropped out or were not attending regularly to return to the classroom for enhanced learning opportunities.
A widescale assessment was completed for 180,000 children, who were grouped in learning centres according to the results and their competency levels. Yasmina’s mother brought her to the learning centre to undertake the assessment. Yasmina took more time than the other students but she completed the test and was placed in a new learning centre.
As part of the comprehensive education response in Bangladesh, the programme works to ensure that children with disabilities have inclusive access to learning opportunities.
This means that children like Yasmina can be included in the mainstream education programme. Extra training has been provided to teachers to ensure they can successfully integrate children with disabilities into the classroom and actively engage these students in their lessons.
To date, 181 children with disabilities have been enrolled in learning centres through the Education Cannot Wait investment. By the end of 2019, UNICEF aims to include all the children identified with disabilities into learning centres to give them the opportunities they need to flourish.
Yasmina’s mother is extremely proud of her daughter’s progress.
“I can see a big difference in Yasmina over the past few months. She was so happy to receive her first set of school books. She takes them home to study each night. She feels very excited and encouraged to learn,” says Abia, Yasmina’s mother. “I can also see some improvements in her speech. She is growing in confidence and much more content, now that she is going to the learning centre six days a week.”
Working in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR, the Education Cannot Wait-supported multi-year educational response in Bangladesh is mainstreaming and accelerating the impact of the First Emergency Response. Launched last November, the programme is already yielding results.
According to reports from March, UNICEF, through its implementing partner BRAC are supporting the continued operational costs for 189 learning centres, providing salaries for teachers, schools supplies and learning materials, and providing vocational skills training for youth. UNICEF has also developed a learning competencies framework and approach that will guide the delivery of the overall education response, and has trained 59 master teachers to date to improve the skills, responsiveness and quality of teaching. Through improved planning, coordination, and a harmonized approach to professional development for teachers, the programme will roll out a unified curriculum.
From Education Cannot Wait’s initial US$12 million catalytic grant, US$8.4 million is being channelled through UNICEF. The multi-year response is also working with multiple stakeholders to fill the funding gap for the educational response, which has been calculated at US$60 million for 2019 alone.
This systems-wide approach will reach half a million children and youth, and 9800 teachers over the next three years, and bring new light and hope for children caught up in one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises.
Education Cannot Wait’s ‘Stories from the Field’ series features the voices of our implementing partners, children, youth and the communities we support. These stories have only been lightly edited to reflect the authentic voice of these frontlines partners on the ground. The views expressed in the Stories from the Field series do not necessarily reflect those of Education Cannot Wait, our Secretariat, donors or UN Member States.