EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO DELIVER EDUCATION TO CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CRISES IN ETHIOPIA

Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies, has announced a three-year, US$165 million initiative to provide education to 746,000 children affected by crises in Ethiopia. Simultaneously, ECW announced a planned seed grant of US$27 million to support initial efforts that include mobilizing US$138 million needed to fully fund the programme.

The three-year, US$165 million investment will provide education to 746,000 children in areas affected by conflict

14 February 2020, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies, has announced a three-year, US$165 million initiative to provide education to 746,000 children affected by crises in Ethiopia. Simultaneously, ECW announced a planned seed grant of US$27 million to support initial efforts that include mobilizing US$138 million needed to fully fund the programme.

Speaking at the launch in the Ethiopian capital, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif said the programme is designed to address the specific challenges holding back access to quality education of children and youth in communities – these are the children left furthest behind due to violence, drought, displacement and other crises.

“Working with the Government and all our Education Cannot Wait partners, this investment provides protective learning environments and inclusive quality education to girls and boys living in very difficult circumstances,” she said. “We must not leave them behind. They too have a right to develop and thrive. They have so much to achieve and give. By working together in mobilizing all the required resources, we now have a chance to ensure that no child in Ethiopia is left behind.”

State Minister of Education H.E Tsion Teklu and Yasmine Sherif talking with crisis-affected children in the Oromiya region

The multi-year resilience programme was developed by the Ministry of Education with support from Education Cannot Wait and a range of partners – United Nations agencies, civil society organisations and donors – to address the educational needs of displaced children.

Ethiopia has an estimated 1.4 million displaced, returnee, and refugee children, mostly resulting from conflicts and natural disasters. One million of these children are out of school, 527,000 of them girls. Latest data shows that 728 schools have been damaged by conflict or natural disasters.

The ECW programme will provide educational opportunities to 746,000 children – 380,000 boys and 365,000 girls, including 74,600 children with disabilities. Of these, 213,000 children will access early childhood education and 532,000 will receive primary education. The programme will further build the capacity of 1,200 refugee teachers to achieve diploma level certification.

ECW has earmarked seed funding of US$27 million to address the educational needs of 60,487 displaced children, returnees, and children from host communities in Amhara, Oromia and Somali regions. Part of this money will also support efforts to mobilize the funding gap of US$138 million needed to fund the whole programme.

The Ministry of Education will lead the programme in partnership with Save the Children International, UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait, and the Education Cluster. UNICEF and Save the Children will implement Education Cannot Wait’s planned $27 million three-year grant.

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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.

Please follow on Twitter: @EduCannotWait  @YasmineSherif1   @KentPage

Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

For press inquiries, please contact:

Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820

Victor Chinyama, vchinyama@unicef.org, +251-911-255-109

Wossen Mulatu, wmulatu@unicef.org, +251-911-308-483

Hiwot Emishaw, Hiwot.Emishaw@savethechildren.org

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT EXPANDS FIRST EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN SAHELIAN NATIONS OF MALI AND NIGER

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.

The new funding will expand support from ECW’s initial US$6 million First Emergency Response grant announced for Sahel this July / Le nouveau financement s’ajoute à l’allocation de 6 millions de dollars (USD) de première réponse en situation d’urgence annoncée en juillet par ECW pour la région du Sahel.Photo UNICEF Mali/Dicko

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.

The new funding will expand support from ECW’s initial US$6 million First Emergency Response grant announced this July.

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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For press inquiries, please contact:
Pour toute demande médiatique, veuillez contacter :

Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org, +1-917-640-6820

For any other inquiries:
Pour toute autre demande:
info@educationcannotwait.org

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ANNOUNCES A RECORD-HIGH US$64 MILLION INVESTMENT TO SUPPORT NEW MULTI-YEAR EDUCATION PROGRAMMES IN CHAD, ETHIOPIA, SOUTH SUDAN AND SYRIA

Seed funding grants from Education Cannot Wait will meet pressing educational needs of girls and boys caught up in the four protracted crises and help catalyze resources to fill the education funding gap

11 December 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has allocated US$64 million in seed funding grants to support four new multi-year resilience programmes in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria. This is the largest new investment announced by the Global Fund for Education in Emergencies to date.

The seed funding will roll out interventions that are part of wider multi-year programmes facilitated by Education Cannot Wait to support quality inclusive education for marginalized and vulnerable girls and boys affected by the protracted crises in the four countries.

Taken together, the multi-year programmes aim to mobilize over US$1 billion across the four countries over the next three years to provide about 5 million children and youth with improved access to inclusive, equitable, safe and protective learning environments.

“Across the world, the number of children and youth suffering the brunt of wars, disasters and forced displacement is on the rise, as humanitarian crises are lasting longer than ever before. Girls and boys living in the most challenging conditions in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria have been waiting for too long for the hope and protection that only education can offer,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Today, together with our partners, we are taking action to end this interminable wait. We are investing in the opportunity of a brighter future for these children and youth, their communities and their countries.” 

The multi-year resilience programmes are designed to bridge the gap between emergency response and long-term development. In ensuring no one is left behind, the programmes all have specific focuses on reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable children and youth, such as girls and children with disabilities.

The programmes were developed on the ground in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders – national   governments, UN organizations, donors, private sector and civil society. Interventions are designed to provide whole-of-child solutions in protracted crises situations where armed conflict, forced displacement, climate change, poverty, hunger, gender-based violence and discrimination are jeopardizing children’s future and derailing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Programme interventions include everything from building protective learning spaces, training teachers and expanding school feeding programmes. Specific retention initiatives for girls and boys whose education has been interrupted due to harmful practices such as early marriage and forced recruitment are also included, as well as targeted psychosocial and mental health support to help children and youth cope with the stress and adversity that stems from living through conflict and displacement.

 

Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Chad  [Read the full announcement here: En, Fr]

  • US$16 million in seed funding grant allocated by ECW to UNICEF to support the first two years of the programme and help catalyse additional funding
  • Total cost of the multi-year programme: US$51 million over three years

The programme includes comprehensive interventions to reintegrate out-of-school girls and boys into learning and training programmes, improve learning environments and train teachers, support early childhood education, increase enrolment and retention and strengthen the education system in emergency situations. Psychosocial and school feeding services are also included. Out-of-school adolescent girls and boys will also benefit from non-formal education and skills development to gain basic literacy and improve their employability.

 

H.E. Aboubakar Assidick Tchoroma, Minister of National Education and Civic Promotion of Chad, said: “With generous funding from Education Cannot Wait, this new programme will reach girls and boy that have been left behind as the result of ongoing crises and emergency in the region. It’s an investment in our children and in a more prosperous future for the country.”

 

Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Ethiopia  [Read the full announcement here

  • US$17.9 million in seed funding grants allocated by ECW to UNICEF and Save the Children to support the first two years of the programme and help catalyse additional funding
  • Total cost of the multi-year programme: US$161 million over three years

The programme supports the delivery of learning through equitable access to relevant (crisis-sensitive) and quality education. Interventions target displaced children and youth, host communities as well as refugee and national teachers. The programme will bridge short-term humanitarian education responses; medium to longer-term capacity development and resilience building efforts of key education systems, institutions, and constituencies.

 

H.E. Dr. Tilaye Gete, Minister of Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said: “This multi-year investment from Education Cannot Wait will help address one of the most important yet often overlooked needs for vulnerable children and youth in times of crisis. By building a programmatic response that brings together multiple stakeholders including the local community, this is a sustainable investment in the future of our children and in the prosperity of our country.”

 

Multi-Year Resilience Programme in South Sudan [Read the full announcement here]

  • US$20 million in seed funding grant allocated by ECW to Save the Children to support the first two years of the programme and help catalyse additional funding.
  • Total cost of the multi-year programme: US$189 million over three years

The programme is grounded in the reality of South Sudan, where systemic change in the education sector is needed to drive results for all children, with a focus on girls and children with disabilities, while also supporting recovery and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons and the transition from emergency to development. Given the impact of displacement, conflicts and crises, and extreme levels of poverty, the programme ensures a holistic support to learners and teachers to achieve quality education outcomes.

 

Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Syria

  • US$10 million in seed funding grant allocated by ECW to UNICEF to support the first year of the programme and help catalyse additional funding
  • Total cost of the multi-year programme: US$783 million over three years

As the war in Syria enters its ninth year, the three-year “Reaching Syria’s Underserved Children” programme is designed to get children and youth back in safe, protective and equitable learning environments, prevent future drop-outs, and scale up the results of the Education Cannot Wait-financed two-year Initial Investment in the country.  

 

To download the press release as PDF, please click here.

 

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.

Please follow on Twitter: @EduCannotWait  @YasmineSherif1   @KentPage  

Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4education.org

For press inquiries, please contact:
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org, +1-917-640-6820

 For any other inquiries, please contact:
info@educationcannotwait.org

MORE THAN 24 MILLION CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT NEED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

Millions of children living in war zones or forced to flee as refugees will require support to address mental health concerns, according to a new briefing paper released by Save the Children today, ahead of critical meetings at next week’s United Nations General Assembly. 

Photo UNICEF Ukraine.

7.1 million children at serious risk of developing severe mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or PTSD

Stories from the Field

Originally published on Save the Children Australia

11 September 2019 – Millions of children living in war zones or forced to flee as refugees will require support to address mental health concerns, according to a new briefing paper released by Save the Children today, ahead of critical meetings at next week’s United Nations General Assembly. 

Road to recovery: responding to children’s mental health in conflict’ reveals that of the 142 million children living in conflict zones, more than seven million are at serious risk of developing severe mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression or anxiety, and severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

At least 24 million children – four times the child population of Australia – require some form of mental health support, either now or in the future.

“We know that mental health is a really big issue facing many Australians. But imagine being a child who’s seen family members killed in front of their eyes or fled to a refugee camp with no idea what the future holds or who is living in a war zone where it’s too dangerous to go to school because of the risk of shelling,” Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director Archie Law said.

“Tens of millions of children are in this position, having had their lives turned upside down because of war and conflict. They are suffering a range of mental health problems, yet rarely are the services needed to treat and support these children available because it simply isn’t being adequately funded.”

Save the Children’s analysis found that just 0.14 percent of all official development assistance between 2015-2017 went to programs related to child mental health support. 

At the same time the number of children living in conflict zones has increased by 37 percent since 2010, while the number of verified grave violations against them – including killing and maiming, recruitment into armed forces and sexual violence – has increased by 174 percent.

“The scale of the mental health crisis for children in conflict is enormous, yet we don’t have the funding to match the need,” said Mr Law, who has a long history working in conflict and post-conflict settings including Iraq, Cambodia and several parts of Africa.

“That’s why we’re calling on countries meeting at the UN General Assembly this coming week, including Australia, to commit to increase funding to help the recovery of children affected by conflict.”

Specifically, Save the Children is urging donors like Australia to support the replenishment of the US$1.8bn Education Cannot Wait fund – providing nine million conflict affected children with the opportunity to learn and recover – and commit dedicated funding to integrate mental health and psychosocial support services within education in humanitarian settings.

Among those children requiring mental health support is 12-year-old Fatima*, who was in her home in Hajjah, Yemen, when an airstrike killed both of her parents and five siblings. Fatima’s leg was badly injured, and she needed operations to remove the shrapnel.

“I was unconscious and buried in the sand and rescue people were only able to help me and my sister. They took us to the hospital and that’s it. My leg was injured very badly to the extent that it was with no flesh. They (seven members of my family) were buried in the village,” Fatima said.

Fatima* now lives with her sister and aunt, Arwa*, who worries about her nieces’ mental state. Arwa* told Save the Children:

“Both girls wake up at night talking to us unconsciously. They are so sensitive. At night, they become angry and start crying.”

Through Save the Children’s global Stop the War on Children campaign, the organisation is campaigning to keep schools safe, stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, seek accountability for crimes against children and pursue new ways to support their recovery from the horrors of conflict. To find out more go to www.stopthewaronchildren.org.au

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For media inquiries contact Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937 or Licardo Prince on 0401 777 917.

*Name changed to protect identity.

Notes to Editor: 

In 2019, the World Health Organization estimated that 17% of adults living in conflict zones have mild to moderate mental health disorders, which would require non-specialised mental health support. Assuming that similar rates apply to children and adolescents, it is estimated that approximately 24 million children living in conflict today have mild to moderate mental health disorders needing an appropriate level of support. Of these, 5% (7.1 million) were estimated to be at risk of developing severe mental health disorders.

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.

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

THE GOVERNMENT OF PUNTLAND STATE OF SOMALIA, EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND SAVE THE CHILDREN LAUNCH MAJOR NEW EDUCATION PROGRAMME FOR CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT AND DROUGHT

US$5.6 million catalytic grant kickstarts resource mobilization efforts to fully fund the US$60 million education response to reach approximately 400,000 children and youth

‘Puntland welcomes the new funds which bridge the humanitarian and developmental gaps within the education sector in the region. Save the Children and its partner Education Cannot Wait are responding to the chronic underfunding of education in emergencies and crises by placing education as a priority,’ H.E. Said Abdullahi Deni, President of Puntland said. Photo © Save The Children

$5.6 million catalytic grant kickstarts resource mobilization efforts to fully fund the $60 million education response to reach approximately 400,000 children and youth

20 July 2019, Garowe, Puntland, Somalia—The Government of Puntland, Education Cannot Wait and Save the Children launched a comprehensive new multi-year education programme today to improve learning and wellbeing of children affected by crises in Puntland.

The three-year 5.6 million seed-funding grant from Education Cannot Wait is designed to catalyse contributions from additional donors to cover the remaining $54.4 million required to implement the full programme over the next three years.

The programme will be implemented by Save the Children in partnership with the Government of Puntland to bridge the education gap for children and youth who have been forced out of education due to conflict and drought.

Access to education in Puntland is still limited with more than 41.2 per cent of children still out of school. Many of these children are recovering from being recruited into armed groups or have suffered significant psychological distress as the result of the on-going drought and conflict in the region. Girls are especially at risk for gender-based violence, early marriage and being left behind. The programme puts special emphasis on reaching children with disabilities.

H.E Said Abdullahi Deni, the President of Puntland, said the programme is a new beginning for Puntland’s children, and is a critical part of the state’s education in emergency strategy, which was finalised in December 2018.

“Puntland welcomes the new funds which bridge the humanitarian and developmental gaps within the education sector in the region. Save the Children and its partner Education Cannot Wait are responding to the chronic underfunding of education in emergencies and crises by placing education as a priority,’’ H.E Said Abdullahi Deni said. 

“It is our collective moral obligation to fulfil every child’s right to education. Girls and boys in Puntland deserve no less,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “With Education Cannot Wait’s catalytic grant, today’s launch marks a milestone in global efforts to ensure universal and equitable access to education as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG4). We must now work together to mobilize the resources for the full scope of the programme to ensure we leave no child behind in Puntland.”

Save the Children’s Country Director in Somalia, Mohamud Mohamed Hassan emphasised the importance of funding education for children in crises. 

“This new initiative comes at the right time. Many children in Somalia have missed years of education because of the massive disruption caused by conflict, loss of livelihoods through natural disasters, and insecurity. Children from this region deserve the opportunity to learn and develop, so they are fully able to participate in society when they get older. Children cannot miss out on education, even in emergencies, and for that, we thank Education Cannot Wait and the Government of Puntland for their timely support,” Hassan said.  

Save the Children is a close global partner with Education Cannot Wait. ln 2015, Save the Children published a report supporting the creation of a new funding mechanism for education in emergencies, which contributed to the development of the Fund. On the global level, Save the Children represents civil society organizations through Education Cannot Wait’s central governance structures, both in the High-level Steering Group and in the Executive Committee.

Education Cannot Wait and its wide range of partners – governments, UN agencies, international and national NGOs, the private sector and philanthropic foundations -are working to mobilize $1.8 billion by 2021 to support quality education for 9 million children living in conflict and protracted crisis.

# # #

 

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. 

 

Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org

 

 

About Save the Children

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. Around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

 

Contacts

For press enquiries, contact:

Said Isse, Media Coordinator, Save the Children in Somalia

said.isse@savethechildren.org, +252907847640


Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1 917 640-6820

For any other enquiries, contact:
info@educationcannotwait.org  

 

Mohamed Ali Farah, Director General, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Puntland,

DGoffice.moepl@gmail.com, +252907796450

 

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

NO MORE LIMITS

May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day, which connects people across the globe ‘To create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame, where no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.’
May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day, which connects people across the globe ‘To create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame, where no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.’

TABOOS ON MENSTRUAL HYGIENE ARE KEEPING GIRLS OUT OF SCHOOL – ESPECIALLY IN CRISIS AND EMERGENCY SITUATIONS – OUR SPECIAL GUEST CONTRIBUTOR FROM SAVE THE CHILDREN LAYS OUT THE WORK BEING DONE IN THE EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT-SUPPORTED MULTI-YEAR EDUCATIONAL RESPONSE AND OTHER RELATED INITIATIVES IN UGANDA TO ENSURE DIGNITY, ACCESS AND EMPOWERMENT

Special Contribution by Rachael Corbishley, Save the Children

Imagine being in the middle of your science class and your period starts. There’s no clean water to wash, no proper toilet to use, and you don’t have any pads. Sadly, that’s the reality for many refugee girls in Uganda.

As we call on education leaders, countries and other key partners to take action on Menstrual Hygiene Day, it’s important to remember the specific needs and risks for refugee girls, displaced girls, and girls whose dignity and access to the safety and opportunity of an education are being pushed aside by taboos, misconceptions, and lack of proper training and materials.

Uganda is home to 1.25 million refugees. Inadequate access to clean and safe hygiene facilities, shame and embarrassment while on their period, and lack of sanitary materials are some of the main reasons that adolescent refugee girls give for why they do not attend school regularly here.  Girls across the country do not attain success at primary school at the same rate as boys. In the Primary Leavers’ Exam, a national examination that all children in school sit at the end of Primary 7, boys consistently pass at a higher rate than girls. Education disparities between boys and girls increase as they get older, as is seen in the Accelerated Education Programme (AEP).

The Accelerated Education Programme is an approach funded by Education Cannot Wait and other donors to help children that previously dropped out of school to attain a basic education. It provides age appropriate learning for children aged 10 to 18 that had their education interrupted due to poverty or conflict, and condenses seven years of the Ugandan Primary curriculum into three years. Data from the programme shows that girls are less likely to sit for the Primary Leavers’ Exam in the first place (72 per cent of all learners that sat for the exam across 13 centres in December were boys) and then are less likely to pass when they do sit (48 per cent of girls passed the exam, as opposed to 72 per cent of boys).

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, NGOs in Uganda are working to address these challenges and reverse these trends. Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities includes activities for “menstrual hygiene management” to enable girls to stay in school.

WHAT DOES MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT LOOK LIKE IN PRACTICE?

Globally, half a billion women and girls lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. If those girls and women were to join hands, they would stretch clear around the globe – 10 times!

We need some no-nonsense approaches to ensure universal menstrual dignity – especially for girls living in crisis settings. First, schools need to have appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, but in poor rural environments sometimes this isn’t the case. At a bare minimum,  it is critical that toilets are separate and clearly sign-posted for both boys and girls and male and female teachers; that the doors have locks and are well lit; and that there is a space and clean water for washing and changing, and that there is a means for girls to dispose of sanitary materials.

Next, girls need to have access to suitable sanitary materials. The Education Cannot Wait-funded programme is bringing together a range of different approaches to menstrual hygiene and different partners across Uganda are trialling different methods. One approach is to distribute reusable sanitary materials to girls. The packs often come with soap and knickers to ensure that the user is able to hygienically wash the pads. Another approach is to train girls and their teachers on how to make their own reusable sanitary pads from locally available materials. Menstrual cups are a relatively new approach in northern Uganda, and through this programme girls will be introduced to the cup and trained on its use.

These different options are not mutually exclusive. Girls have the right to be provided with a choice between options and enough information and counselling to make a well-informed choice. Thanks to Education Cannot Wait’s support for these menstrual hygiene management activities, more than 18,000 girls in Uganda will access these rights.

PROVIDING INFORMATION IS A CRITICAL PART OF THE SOLUTION

It is really important that we do not just hand out sanitary materials, without accompanying this with training, counselling and guidance. Girls need to understand what is happening to their bodies during menstruation – and why. It is also critical that boys, as well as male teachers and members of school management have a good understanding of menstruation as well as the needs of girls. This programme will train all stakeholders in the school community on menstrual hygiene through information sessions. By bringing boys and men on board, too, this can reduce stigma, embarrassment and shame. Involving the whole community has also then resulted in school management committees taking steps to ensure that sanitary materials are included in school budgets and school improvement plans.

When this all happens it can make a huge difference not just to girls’ attendance and attainment at school, but also their self-confidence and active participation in class.

‘If my period being unexpectedly, I don’t feel nervous or embarrassed anymore. I don’t miss school anymore because of my period. I am now able to attend every day.’ - Mary attends the Accelerated Education Programme supported by Save the Children in the Palorinya refugee settlement. Through the Education Cannot Wait-financed multi-year educational response in Uganda, 18,000 girls like Mary will be provided with the dignity and essential human right of safe menstrual health. Photo: Save the Children
‘If my period being unexpectedly, I don’t feel nervous or embarrassed anymore. I don’t miss school anymore because of my period. I am now able to attend every day.’ – Mary attends the Accelerated Education Programme supported by Save the Children in the Palorinya refugee settlement. Through the Education Cannot Wait-financed multi-year educational response in Uganda, 18,000 girls like Mary will be provided with the dignity and essential human right of safe menstrual health. Photo: Save the Children

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Corbishley is the Education Corsortium Manager for Save the Children in Uganda

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE DAY

Learn more about Global Menstrual Hygiene Day |#MHDAY2019

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HEALING AND RECOVERY THROUGH EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

Children at one of Save the Children’s temporary learning spaces in Qayyara Airstrip IDP Camp, Iraq © Dario Bosio/DARST/Save the Children
Children at one of Save the Children’s temporary learning spaces in Qayyara Airstrip IDP Camp, Iraq © Dario Bosio/DARST/Save the Children

CRITICAL IMPACT OF CONFLICT ON CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WELLBEING

By Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait, and Leslie Snider, Director MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families

‘Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account for three quarters of child deaths and injuries across the world’s deadliest war zones.’

Humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises currently affect millions of children around the world with serious consequences for their ability to learn, grow and develop. 420 million children – nearly one-fifth of children worldwide – are living in a conflict zone. Children are especially vulnerable in conflict situations, because a child’s experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on their physical and mental development.

Save the Children’s new research shows just how much bombs and explosives in the world’s worst war zones are hurting children both mentally, as well as physically. Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account for three quarters of child deaths and injuries across the world’s deadliest war zones. Our research shows how children are uniquely injured and impacted by explosive weapons compared to adults, and that children exposed to explosive weapons are at increased risk of long-term physical and psychosocial disabilities and mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

For children in conflict, the combination of exposure to bombs and explosive weapons, grave violations of their human rights and chronic adversity, insecurity and deprivation can lead to ‘toxic stress.’ Furthermore, many children impacted by conflict do not have access to the protective environment of schools and to quality education. As a result, conflict imposes yet another significant cost on future generations and severely undermines the potential for peaceful, prosperous societies.

MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHO-SOCIAL SUPPORT IN AND THROUGH EDUCATION

Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for children in conflict is essential to overcome the impact of toxic stress and gives children the chance to develop to their full potential. Integrating MHPSS programming into the existing structures that support and protect children, such as educational systems, is essential to ensure children can access opportunities for healing, recovery and learning at larger scale. Education, delivered in safe, nurturing environments, is critically protective for children in conflict, and has the potential to support their healing and recovery.

LACK OF SERVICES AND SUPPORT EXACERBATE CHILDREN’S TRAUMA

However, the huge need borne from protracted crises and mass displacement are not being matched with funding and support to ensure the inclusion of MHPSS services

An 8-year-old refugee from Afrin in Syria now living in Iraq. Despite huge needs, mental health services for children affected by conflict are very limited, with just one psychologist per one million people in Iraq. © Panos/Save the Children, 2018
An 8-year-old refugee from Afrin in Syria now living in Iraq. Despite huge needs, mental health services for children affected by conflict are very limited, with just one psychologist per one million people in Iraq. © Panos/Save the Children, 2018

in emergency responses. Mental health care treatment gaps are greater than 90 per cent in the least resourced countries, and for child and family MHPSS, there is a lack of targeted, evidence-based programmes, workforce capacity and sustained funding.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO SCALE UP MHPSS FOR CHILDREN IN CRISIS: ECW AND THE MHPSS COLLABORATIVE

The MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families, hosted by Save the Children, serves as a global platform for research, practice, learning and advocacy, that aims to build meaningful partnerships to address the critical MHPSS needs of children and families in fragile contexts at scale. Education Cannot Wait has partnered with the Collaborative in order to support the Global Education Cluster and other interagency partners to mainstream evidence-based, contextualized MHPSS into education in emergency programmes – closing the critical gap in treatment and providing safe and healing learning environments for the millions of children affected by conflict.

DEVELOPING AND DELIVERING A MINIMUM PACKAGE OF MHPSS SERVICES FOR EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS

There are practical actions all countries can take to provide the help that children affected by conflict need to make a full recovery. This must include ensuring there is the mental health support on the ground to help children recover both in the immediate aftermath, and through the crucial months afterwards.

Education Cannot Wait, together with the MHPSS Collaborative and its partners, are calling on governments, donors, private sector companies, philanthropic foundations and global leaders to support efforts to increase the provision and quality of MHPSS via education in emergencies with US$50 million in dedicated financing to be channeled through Education Cannot Wait over three years through 2021. Immediate additional funding for MHPSS services will ensure the development and demonstration of the UNICEF and WHO MHPSS ‘Minimum Service Package ‘ within education, and also support the implementation of the package in five Education Cannot Wait Multi-Year Resilience Programme countries between now and 2021.

The MHPSS Minimum Service Package will build capacity across the education sector to deliver lifesaving MHPSS for an estimated 9 million children by 2021, and ensure educational systems are effectively linked to health, protection and social services, ensuring a critical safety net for children and their caregivers. For the millions of children around the world exposed to bombs, explosive weapons, conflict, insecurity, and toxic stress, this support is urgently needed to ensure their learning and wellbeing.

For more information, read the full briefing Healing And Recovery Through Education In Emergencies

www.stopwaronchildren.org | #STOPTHEWARONCHILDREN

 

‘THE LONGEST NIGHT’

Photo Noreen Chambers/UNICEF
Photo UNICEF/Noreen Chambers

WITH SUPPORT FROM EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT, TEACHERS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA ARE HELPING CHILDREN TO RECOVER FROM THE TRAUMA OF THE 2018 EARTHQUAKE WITH TEMPORARY LEARNING SPACES, GENDER-SENSITIVE APPROACHES AND NEW TRAININGS TO DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGING TIMES AHEAD

Ms. Julie James Rodney, the teacher in charge of the Injua II Elementary School in Papua New Guinea’s remote and wild Kutubu District describes living through the horrors of the February 2018 earthquake and its aftershocks as “the longest night.”

During that long night, children of Rodney’s school lost everything: their homes were shattered, and their school was destroyed, profoundly wounding the young hearts and minds. In the wake of the disaster, many families struggled to get enough to eat or drink and returning to school seemed like a far-fetched dream for many.

In all, some 127,000 people required emergency humanitarian assistance after the quake. Half of the schools in the affected area were partially damaged with three totally destroyed. Student attendance dropped drastically. As a consequence of the quake, lawlessness and tribal violence spiked, further increasing the vulnerability of people. Girls and women in particular face increased risks of gender-based violence. This affects the academic and social development of girls and boys in the region, putting their futures in jeopardy.

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Photo UNICEF/Noreen Chambers

FROM THE FOUNDATIONS UP

Rodney lives with her husband and three daughters in the school grounds where she teaches. In the morning they assessed the damage from the quake, finding the roof of her home blown away, the foundation of the school building ripped apart, and collapsed buildings and destruction everywhere.

Photo UNICEF/Noreen Chambers
Ms. Julie James Rodney. Photo UNICEF/Noreen Chambers

“People’s houses were flattened to the ground and covered in debris. It was a miracle that no one in my village was killed. We still feel the tremors and they send chills down my spine. We are still so anxious that this thing ­– or something worse – will happen again,” said Rodney. “It was difficult to get the children back into a school routine because they were deeply traumatized. They found it difficult to concentrate and worst of all they would react to any noise or bang and run out of the classroom shouting ‘earthquake.’ They are still scared, and we have not been able to fully re-establish their routine or make them feel safe again. It’s a long process.”

Rodney and hundreds of other teachers like her are receiving support from a fast-acting US$1.5 million emergency response allocation from Education Cannot Wait. Coordinated by UNICEF, the programme is implemented on the ground by trusted local and international partners that include the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the Catholic Diocese of Mendi, The Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea and Save the Children.

The programme was designed to get children back in school, to establish temporary learning spaces, and to support these communities in building back better after the quake.

To build community buy-in and ownership, community leaders, school boards of management, church leaders and provincial and district education office representatives were consulted and involved in the programme from the start and included in ongoing school monitoring visits. Children and youth were actively involved in both the design phase and in selecting sites for water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Hygiene clubs have encouraged children to improve handwashing practices. Parents and community members are being engaged on multiple levels to encourage school attendance.

The programme has made great progress in its first six months (as reported in October 2018): close to 3,000 girls and 3,900 boys were enrolled in safe temporary learning spaces, and more than 7,000 children (43 per cent girls) accessed psychosocial first aid services and were trained on how to best prepare to face such disasters. Training workshops for teachers like Rodney were also provided so they can help children cope with their trauma.

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PUTTING GIRLS FIRST

Even before the quake, Papua New Guinea had alarming rates of insecurity and gender-based violence. Two out of three women have suffered from some sort of physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, while over 40 per cent of men have admitted to raping someone (ODI, 2015). To help address this, ECW’s investment focused on supporting the safety of girls and gender equality. Gender-sensitive facilities where both girls and boys have access to toilets and sanitation facilities and services in schools were designed. This includes provisions to allow girls to manage menstrual hygiene with dignity. In addition, gender topics were included in the training workshops to raise awareness on how disasters exacerbate gender inequalities and gender-based violence and how to foster a more protective environment.

Rodney was one of the teachers that received advanced training from UNICEF in close collaboration with Save the Children through the programme.

“These resources will help us to start teaching again – properly. The children will be so excited to see the [new] resources,” said Rodney.
Papua New Guinea

Story by UNICEF Papua New Guinea, with Greg Benchwick, Education Cannot Wait