EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ALLOCATES US$7 MILLION TO SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL RESPONSES IN COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY THE VENEZUELA CRISIS

On 25 April 2019 in Cucuta, Colombia, Venezuelan children wait in the queue at the migration center. There remains a US$50 million funding gap for the educational response in the countries supported through these grants, according to in-country partners. © UNICEF/ Arcos

FUNDS WILL BENEFIT 84,500 CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PERU

4 June 2019, New York – In a coordinated response to the Venezuela regional crisis, Education Cannot Wait announced today a US$7 million allocation to support first emergency response grants in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The grants will focus primarily on out-of-school children and adolescents from Venezuela and host-communities to get them back in protective, quality learning environments. In all, some 84,500 children and youth, including 42,600 girls, will benefit from the fast-acting investment.

“Children and youth who are uprooted and forced to flee are haunted by fears and uncertainty. They do not lose their right to education because they are on the move, but they will lose their hope and opportunities without education. Education provides a sense of stability, protection and hope to turn around their lives and positively impact the region. The ECW catalytic investment will, however, require additional funding for education that matches the immense need and hospitality shown by host-countries in the region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a global fund for education in emergencies hosted by UNICEF that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach close to 9 million children living in crisis.

The Venezuela crisis has displaced 3.7 million people, with an estimated 1.2 million children and youth affected in the four countries that will benefit from the grant. On average 50 per cent of the refugee and migrant children from Venezuela are not enrolled in formal schooling across the four countries.

While schools in these countries are generally well-resourced, the influx of children is pushing local coping mechanisms and resources to their breaking points. In this volatile and complex context, children – especially girls – are at greater risk of gender-based violence, child labor, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

The Education Cannot Wait allocation aligns with the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan led by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), for which there is a US$50 million funding gap for the educational response in these countries, according to in-country partners.

Education Cannot Wait’s allocation accounts for 14 per cent of this total funding gap and adds to the US$4.6 million already committed by other donors to respond to educational needs.

The funds will help sustain, rehabilitate and establish temporary learning spaces, facilitate access to formal education, support local education authorities in absorbing new students, create community-based back-to-learning campaigns, promote gender-equality and inclusion, and provide learning and teaching materials. Teachers and education professionals will also be trained to provide support to children living in such a volatile context.

On a regional level, the funds will improve coordination and cross-country collaboration and the monitoring of activities across the four countries. It will also strengthen the availability of data to facilitate policy dialogue to ensure the inclusion of children in national education systems.

The funding from Education Cannot Wait will be implemented by a wide range of international and national partners. It will be managed through four main grantees at the country level: in Brazil by UNICEF (US$749,000), in Colombia by Save the Children (US$2.6 million), in Ecuador by UNICEF (US$1.9 million), and in Peru by Refugee Education Trust (US$1.2 million). In addition, UNICEF will manage the US$376,000 allocation for regional support.

On 25 April 2019 in Cucuta, Colombia, Venezuelan children play at the UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space. © UNICEF/ Arcos

RESILIENT EDUCATION

Photo © UNESCO
Photo © UNESCO

RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND A FIERCE EL NIÑO THAT DEVASTATED PORTIONS OF NORTHERN PERU, EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND UNESCO WORK TO GET CHILDREN BACK TO SCHOOL AND REDUCE FUTURE RISKS

When Peru suffered unprecedented damage from floods and mudslides induced by the El Niño phenomenon in 2017, Education Cannot Wait sprang into action to fund a rapid response to restore educational services for affected children.

In all, 162 people died in the disaster and over 66,000 homes were destroyed, leaving a quarter of a million men, women and children homeless. The Piura Region in Northern Peru was especially hard hit. Around 100,000 people were made homeless, and the education of an estimated 37,000 children was interrupted as their classrooms were destroyed.

Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crisis, allocated a fast-acting US$250,000 grant to UNESCO that was implemented in coordination and close collaboration with the Government of Peru, UNICEF and other frontline agencies to build new schools and get children back in the classroom.

The grant helped build prefabricated classrooms in nine schools. In addition, gender-segregated bathrooms were built to ensure a better protection for girls in the precarious environments that often follow natural disasters of this magnitude.

Beyond this immediate response to restore infrastructures, Education Cannot Wait also supported efforts to “build back better.” This meant helping to develop the response plans necessary to insulate children from future risks.

This was done through 27 workshops organized to map community risks, especially around schools, create family emergency plans, and build improved disaster and risk management plans, strategies and frameworks.

The family emergency plans helped households to identify better housing materials, reduce risks, identify hazards, and protect children when disaster strikes.

With the new school facilities in place, some 590 students were able to return to school, including 288 girls. The project closed in September 2018 but has had a lasting impact.

“This isn’t just about building infrastructure, but also about building happy spaces,” said UNESCO Representative Magaly Robalino.

Peru-Impact

THE LINK WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is affecting educational outcomes the world over – and putting children at ever greater risk.

Rising seas, more extreme weather, drought, floods and rising temperatures push resources, economies and livelihoods to the edge. Farmers in poor countries are seeing decreasing yields and are struggling to adapt. Nations are seeing vast economic impacts that are syphoning off resources. And families are struggling to find the resources they need to send children to school, feed children healthy meals, and save money for the future.

With more frequent and severe risks from sea-level rise, stronger and more intense hurricanes and other natural disasters, the world’s most vulnerable children face ever-increasing risks. This will make it harder to reach global goals of achieving universal and equitable education by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The economic returns for investing in education in emergencies are significant. For each dollar invested in education, more than US$5 is returned in additional gross earnings in low-income countries and US$2.50 in lower middle-income countries.

In the same way, investments in disaster risk reduction also have similar benefits, with recent World Bank reports indicated that risks from climate change, of which natural disasters are a core component, could cost up to 20 per cent of GDP.

Education Cannot Wait’s modalities, designed to link emergency relief and development efforts are well placed to support disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness from the onset of responses through to recovery.

In the end, the goal is not just to get children back in school, but to also insulate these communities from future shocks to build a brighter future for generations to come.

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