EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT APPROVES US$6 MILLION FIRST EMERGENCY RESPONSE FOR SAHEL REGIONAL CRISIS

In response to the worsening crises that have affected over 2.3 million children in the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, Education Cannot Wait today announced a new US$6 million allocation to support education in emergencies responses that will benefit 187,000 children and youth.

Photo © UNICEF Mali

187,000 Children and Youth in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to Benefit from Education Opportunities in Protective Learning Environments

22 July 2019, New York – In response to the worsening crises that have affected over 2.3 million children in the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, Education Cannot Wait today announced a new US$6 million allocation to support education in emergencies responses that will benefit 187,000 children and youth.

This ‘First Emergency Response’ allocation was developed to help address the urgent education needs faced by so many children and youth affected by the Sahel regional crisis – identified as an urgent priority by G7 leaders in Paris earlier this month.

At least 1.5 million children require education assistance, including more than 460,000 who have been forced to drop out of school. Hundreds of schools are closed in the region due to insecurity and violence. Schools and teaching personnel have been attacked and threatened.

Boys and girls in areas affected by violence face increased risk of recruitment into armed groups, exploitation and abuse, sexual violence, child marriage. Compounding factors in the region include insecurity, extreme poverty, impacts of climate change and epidemics.

“Children in the Sahel are among the most vulnerable in the world. We must act now to respond to the education crises in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn and thrive in a safe and protective learning environment,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “For these girls and boys living with the uncertainty, fear and insecurity of violence, drought and hunger, access to quality education is a beacon of hope.”  

  • According to analysis of ongoing humanitarian response plans and flash appeals, a US$41 million funding gap for the education humanitarian response remains across the three countries.
  • In Burkina Faso, over 1,800 schools are closed in areas impacted by violence and targeted attacks against schools, affecting some 380,000 students.
  • In Mali, a quarter of a million students and close to 6,000 teachers have been affected by violence and insecurity, which has resulted in the closure of over 950 schools.
  • In the Tahoua and Tillabéri regions of Niger, an estimated 114,000 school-aged children require humanitarian assistance, with 60 schools closed in Tillabéri.

The 12-month Education Cannot Wait ‘first emergency response’ grants will help restore access to education for affected children and youth, with an emphasis on access to education for girls, the creation and maintenance of safe, protective learning environments, teacher training and community mobilization.

The planned responses were developed in partnership with national governments, education clusters, local and international NGOs, and civil society organizations. They will be implemented by: Plan International (US$700,000), Save the Children (US$700,000) and UNICEF (US$800,000) in Burkina Faso; Humanity and Inclusion (US$700,000) and Save the Children USA (US$1.2 million) in Mali; and, by UNICEF ($1.9 million) in Niger.

KEY PROGAMME OUTPUTS

  • Construction and rehabilitation of classrooms for close to 41,000 out-of-school, crisis-affected children
  • Construction and rehabilitation of latrines in schools and learning spaces to benefit approximately 47,000 students
  • Distribution of learning materials for over 94,000 students
  • Hygiene promotion, including menstrual hygiene management for over 68,000 students
  • Psychosocial support, risk mitigation and other capacity building on protective learning environments for 187,000 students
  • Teacher training for over 3,000 teachers on psychosocial support, risk mitigation, protective learning environments and inclusive education for 187,000 students
  • Mobilization of over 83,000 community members to support the creation of protective learning environments (including enhancing environments surrounding schools)
  • Radio education programming in Niger and Burkina Faso

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ALLOCATES US$2.7 MILLION TO SUPPORT EMERGENCY EDUCATION RESPONSE FOR CHILDREN AFFECTED BY THE CRISIS IN CAMEROON

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.

Education Cannot Wait’s funding is aligned with the inter-agency humanitarian appeal and covers 23 percent of the current funding gap for the education sector. Photo © UNHCR/Catianne Tijerina

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.

The crucial grant will be implemented over the next 12 months by Plan International (US$750,000), UNESCO (US$1.1 million), the Danish Refugee Council (US$400,000) and the World Food Programme (US$500,000) in collaboration with the Government of Cameroon and the national Education Cluster.

Education Cannot Wait’s funding is aligned with the inter-agency humanitarian appeal and covers 23 percent of the current funding gap for the education sector.

 

Opinion: World leaders can and must do more for girls’ education in emergencies

That’s why we’re calling on the U.K. government to build on its leadership to date, including by increasing support for the Education Cannot Wait fund to £75 million ($94.7 million) over three years and supporting the fund to increase the amount it allocates to secondary education.

Multiple crises in neighbouring countries has triggered an influx of 450,000 refugees into Chad over the last several years, critically burdening an already strained education system. Recent analysis indicates ECW investments have already reached over 180,000 children in Chad alone. Photo © Devaki Erande/JRS

By Yasmine Sherif and Stephen Twigg

Originally published on Devex

16-year-old Kwanye’s education came to an end after militants started kidnapping girls from her school. She lives in the Lake Chad Basin, where one of the world’s most severe and underreported humanitarian crises has left 2.2 million people displaced, half of them children. The conflict has already claimed her parents and siblings and left her struggling to survive.

Now she reads her old school books so that she doesn’t forget. “I always thought education would give me a better life,” she said. “I can’t go to school when I can barely afford to eat.”

Right now, around the world, there are 39 million girls, who, like Kwanye, have had their education disrupted as a direct result of humanitarian crisis. Of these, 13 million have been forced out of school completely. That’s the equivalent of three girls for every girl in school in the U.K. — three girls whose full potential may never be realized.

World leaders are starting to listen, but more can be done to tackle this. In 2015, they launched the Sustainable Development Goals, promising that every young person completed a good quality education by 2030. Yet a new report published this week by Plan International UK warns that they are way off-track. At current rates of progress, it will be a further 150 years before the goal is reached. By 2030, 1 in 5 girls in crisis-affected countries still won’t be able to read a simple sentence.

For girls affected by crisis, education is a lifeline — and it mustn’t just be primary but a full 12 years of education. Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable in times of disaster or conflict due to their age and gender. They’re more likely to be married by 18 than to finish school. They’re at greater risk of exploitation, gender-based violence, and early pregnancy. In fact, there’s a two in three chance they won’t even start secondary school.

Education can offer these girls a safe space to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and contribute to the peaceful recovery of their communities. Secondary education also provides an entry point for girls to access health services including mental health support and information about staying safe during natural disasters.

There are some signs of progress. In 2016, the Education Cannot Wait fund, which delivers life-changing education for girls and boys living in humanitarian crises, was established and continues to receive strong and growing support, including from the U.K. government.

Nevertheless, funding for education in emergencies remains much too low, especially for secondary education. As Plan International UK’s report shows, governments and the international community need to take much bolder action if they are to deliver on their promises.

That’s why we’re calling on the U.K. government to build on its leadership to date, including by increasing support for the Education Cannot Wait fund to £75 million ($94.7 million) over three years and supporting the fund to increase the amount it allocates to secondary education.

However, this is a global challenge and requires a global response. All governments and donors must play their part.

In times of crisis, girls want to be able to go to school. They want to be doctors, pilots, and engineers. They want to rebuild their countries. But too often their dream remains just that.

Right now, millions of girls are being left behind, and without committed political leadership, increased resourcing, and targeted action, their chance for a decent education may be lost forever. We can and must do more. Their right is our obligation.

About the authors

Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine Sherif is the director of Education Cannot Wait, a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crisis established at the World Humanitarian Summit and hosted by UNICEF. A human rights lawyer with 30 years of experience in international affairs, Yasmine joined the United Nations in 1988 and served in New York, Geneva, and in crisis-affected countries in Africa, Asia, Balkans, and the Middle East.

Stephen Twigg

Stephen Twigg is a Labour MP and chair of the U.K.’s International Development Select Committee. He was previously shadow secretary of state for education and served as a government minister from 2001-2005, first as deputy leader of the House of Commons and later as an education minister.