New funding will provide children and youth displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado and doubly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with safe and protective learning environments
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.”
The new 12-month grant builds on ECW’s COVID-19 response and cyclone relief grants, which have already benefited hundreds of thousands of children in the country. The new funding grants will be implemented in coordination with the Government of Mozambique and the Education Cluster through Save the Children (US$341,000), UNICEF (US$341,000) and Plan International (US$316,000).
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.