Education Cannot Wait announced today an additional US$19 million in education in emergency response funding to the COVID-19 pandemic across 10 crisis-affected countries. With this new funding, ECW’s total COVID-19 response now spans 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with US$43.5 million in funding approved so far.
ECW’s First Emergency Response allocations focus on refugee, internally displaced and host community children and youth
22 July 2020, New York – Education Cannot Wait announced today an additional US$19 million in education in emergency response funding to the COVID-19 pandemic across 10 crisis-affected countries. With this new funding, ECW’s total COVID-19 response now spans 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with US$43.5 million in funding approved so far.
“The time has come for decisive and game-changing measures to ensure that every refugee child accesses a quality education. Education Cannot Wait is taking such measures and we must scale up our support for this effort,” said the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group.
This new funding will be delivered in partnership with national governments, UN agencies and a significant number of civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
These First Emergency Response (FER) grants focus on refugee, internally displaced and host community children and youth: 876,392 in total, of whom 461,706 are girls and 405,886 are boys. In all, 25 grantees will implement the second phase of ECW’s COVID-19 education in emergency response. In the majority of countries, this response is being coordinated by respective governments and UNHCR.
“Children and youth displaced by armed conflicts and climate-induced disasters are especially at risk and doubly affected by COVID-19. This investment is dedicated to them, but much more needs to be done. We call on partners to contribute substantive financial resources for those left furthest behind as a result of brutal conflicts and punishing crises,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.
68 per cent of the children and youth targeted through the investments are refugees, with 32 per cent being internally displaced and host community children and youth. With continuity of education disrupted by the global pandemic, ECW’s education in emergency response covers the entire 3-18 years of age spectrum with a holistic package of support. 23 per cent of the beneficiaries are at the secondary level to ensure their learning can continue. At the other end of the age-spectrum, 19 per cent of the beneficiaries will benefit from holistic early childhood development activities. In addition to access to learning, the investments include child protection, mental health and psychosocial support services, as well as expanded access to life-saving water and sanitation services.
These new grants build on the rapid response by ECW and its partners to the global pandemic, which has pushed well over a billion children out of school and is having broad, negative social and economic impacts globally. Before the pandemic, 75 million children and youth impacted by emergencies and protracted crises did not have access to the safety, hope and opportunity of an education. The pandemic now puts even more children and youth at risk, and ECW and its partners have issued an urgent global appeal to mobilize US$310 million to reach vulnerable girls and boys most at risk of being left behind.
ECW Second Tranche COVID-19 First Emergency Response
Bangladesh: US$600,000 allocated. Grantees: Norwegian Refugee Council ($300,000), Plan International ($300,000)
Democratic Republic of Congo: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: AVSI with AIDES ($900,000), Terre Sans Frontières (TSF), with Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne-Dungu ($1.4 million)
Ethiopia: US$2.8 million allocated. Grantees: UNHCR ($1.86 million), Plan International ($440,000), Save the Children ($500,000)
Iraq: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($580,000), People in Need ($430,000), Public Aid Organization ($430,000), Intersos ($430,000), Norwegian Refugee Council ($430,000)
Kenya: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: UNHCR ($1.84 million), Save the Children ($460,000)
Lebanon: US$2.8 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($715,000), AVSI ($695,000), NRC ($695,000), IRC ($695,000)
Libya: US$1.5 million allocated. Grantees: UNICEF ($750,000), Norwegian Refugee Council ($750,000)
South Sudan: US$2.32 million allocated. Grantees: Lutheran World Federation ($1.5 million), World Vision International ($345,000), Across ($487,000)
Tanzania: US$1.5 million allocated. Grantee: International Rescue Committee ($1.5 million)
With funding from Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR is helping refugee children get back to the safety and protection of learning through the Government of Uganda’s Education Response Plan
With funding from Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR is helping refugee children get back to the safety and protection of learning through the Government of Uganda’s Education Response Plan
Stories from the Field
Special Contribution by Tukundane Yonna and Gerald Musoke, UNHCR
In Adjumani district in northern Uganda – home to more than 214,000 refugees – David Malou Nyankot, a refugee from South Sudan, is the best student in his class. David came to Uganda alone in June 2016 following clashes between warring forces in his home village in Jonglei State.
With funding from Education Cannot Wait, Uganda’s Education Response Plan (ERP) is providing hundreds of thousands of refugee children like David with the safety, protection, hope and opportunity of education.
The primary gross enrolment ratio for refugee children has improved by 22 per cent in Uganda – from 53 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2019 (reaching 71.4 per cent for girls) – according to ECW’s upcoming 2019 Annual Report.
In 2019, David scored an aggregate 4 on his Primary Leaving Examinations, the highest mark you can achieve.
“I had totally lost any hopes of ever joining school again,” says David.
Although David fled alone, he was later united with his uncle who had arrived in Adjumani two years earlier. When David started back in school at Ayilo 1A Primary School the following year, he had to repeat Primary 5.
“My uncle had enough problems at home; he could hardly buy me even a book. I remember walking to school barefooted for a full year,” David says.
The Education Response Plan was launched in September 2018 with financial support from ECW and other partners. It seeks to find a long-term solution for the half-a-million refugee children that are out of school in Uganda. In delivering on the plan’s overall targets, UNHCR and its partner Windle Trust provided exercise books, pens, and other scholastic materials to David and other refugee students like him.
“The teachers in my new school were great. We were over 250 students in my class, but I insisted on using this opportunity to study hard,” David says.
With this expanded support, David is now one of the three top refugee pupils that sat for same exams in 2019.
Top of the class
Mayen Abraham Bol and Deng Awan Deng, both age 15, scored a remarkable aggregate 5 and 6 all in division one.
Abraham fled South Sudan in August 2016 with his younger sister after a violent conflict in his village. They later joined his maternal aunt who had already arrived in Adjumani’s Nyumanzi refugee settlement a year earlier.
“I had completely lost hope. I had no mother, no father, no brother, not any one of my close relatives when I fled,” says Deng.
Awan Deng arrived in Uganda in November 2014 following the brutal conflict in South Sudan.
“When the fighting begun, I was at school. I did not have any opportunity to go back home. I followed the direction in which most of the people were running,” Deng says.
On arrival at Nyumanzi refugee settlement in Adjumani, Deng was placed under foster care, but was later reunited with his aunt who came in a separate convoy.
When he joined school at Nyumanzi II Primary School in 2015, Deng was made to repeat Primary 3 despite having almost completed it back home in South Sudan. He studied here up to Primary 5 before joining Mummy’s Care School in Adjumani Town.
While David, Abraham and Deng were in their Primary 5, Uganda launched the Education Response Plan, paving the way for UNHCR and partners to provide essential learning materials, build new classrooms and repair existing ones to make schools safer and more accessible.
Continuing their learning
Supported by the new education plan, at the end of their Primary 6 district promotional examinations, David and Deng were the best students in the entire district. This earned them an all-expenses-paid scholarship in Mummy’s Care Primary School, a top boarding school in Adjumani Town from where they excelled in their final examinations.
Over 45,000 refugee and host community children in Adjumani go to the 32 primary schools in the refugee settlements of the district. Twelve of these schools are government aided while the rest were established by the communities. Under the ERP, all these schools receive support from UNHCR and partners.
Speaking at a recognition ceremony for best performers, Robert Dima, Adjumani District Education Officer said, “It is our responsibility to support refugee children to achieve their full potential in life. They are simply our brothers from across the border.”
General performance of schools in refugee hosting districts had improved with the implementation of the ERP. Temporary classroom structures have been replaced with permanent buildings and the number of teachers has increased.
With COVID-19 pandemic, schools are currently closed indefinitely. For many refugees like David, Abraham and Deng, who had been admitted at St. Mary’s College School in central Uganda on a partial scholarship, this is a big blow to their dreams. But they are waiting patiently for their return to school and for a future filled with new opportunities.
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.
We must not leave young refugees by the wayside, urged UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Education Cannot Wait as they urged more support in favour of young refugees’ education during an online debate today, moderated by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, on how best to provide them with improved learning during and after the pandemic.
New York, 13 July2020 – We must not leave young refugees by the wayside, urged UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Education Cannot Wait as they urged more support in favour of young refugees’ education during an online debate today, moderated by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, on how best to provide them with improved learning during and after the pandemic.
“Mobilizing for refugees is extremely urgent at a time when they are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, as she opened the meeting. “The Covid-19 crisis is jeopardizing everything we have done for the education of refugees and migrants, their integration and chances of self-realization. We must strengthen our action in favour of the most vulnerable in order to guarantee them this fundamental right.”
“The Global Compact on Refugees rests on an important foundation: responding to crises of forced displacement needs to bring together governments, civil society, networks like Education Cannot Wait, businesses like Vodaphone and above all, refugees,” said the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
“ECW sees that all too often, refugee children and youth – among the most vulnerable people in the world – are left out of COVID-19 responses. It is important that ECW’s responses reach those left furthest behind. For this reason, we dedicated our newest round of education in emergency funding for COVID-19 to support refugee children and youth, especially girls,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are also looking at distance learning to open up access to education for forcibly displaced children and youth.”
The roundtable was attended by young refugee students and graduates, the ministers of Education of Cameroon, Kenya and Pakistan, and representatives of the Global Coalition for Education established under the auspices of UNESCO. The debate was moderated by the United Nations Special Envoy, actor Angelina Jolie, a displaced persons’ advocate of long standing.
Introducing the discussion, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, said, “As the world is still dealing with the devastating impacts from the pandemic, we must ensure that displaced and refugee youth can continue to learn. Every child deserves a quality education in an environment that is safe and inclusive.”
Concluding the meeting, the United Kingdom’s Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Sugg, stressed that “Education must be prioritized in the global recovery from coronavirus. This epidemic is not just a health crisis, it is an education crisis, especially for refugee children. Without school and an education, they will be unable to rebuild their lives and achieve their full potential.”
Speakers warned that the pandemic risked jeopardizing the progress made in education in recent years, especially for young girls, at least 20% of whom are at risk of not resuming the studies they had to interrupt during school closures, according to a UNHCR estimate. However, a number of governments are planning to include refugees in post-pandemic response measures, such as distance education, in line with their commitments under the Global Compact on Refugees.
The event was co-sponsored by Canada, the United Kingdom and the global Education Cannot Wait fund, which channelled its second COVID emergency allocation to refugees.
With US$24.5 million in currently committed funds – and more on its way – ECW-financed COVID-19 education in emergency responses are now deployed across 27 countries and emergency contexts. For children and youth in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad and Mali, these life-saving responses are allowing girls and boys to continue their education through distance learning, protecting lives with enhanced water and sanitation services, and slowing the spread of the virus through community awareness campaigns.
ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN UGANDA WITH SAVE THE CHILDREN
With support from Education Cannot Wait, Save the Children Uganda is distributing home learning kits and extending educational opportunities through innovative radio programmes to provide refugee girls and boys – and host community children and youth – ongoing remote learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schools are still closed in Uganda – possibly for the remainder of the year. For these vulnerable refugee children and youth, life-saving education and health awareness materials are essential in keeping children safe, extending learning and slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Still, half of the primary school refugee children in Uganda have yet to receive home learning materials, highlighting the need to expand the global education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Imagine… I am in P7 (the seventh and final grade of primary school). As a girl, I am very proud to have reached this class. This virus should stop so that I can sit the Primary Leaving Examination since many girls cannot make it. This makes me happy and keen to complete my studies!” – Priscille, 15, refugee girl Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Western Uganda. Full Story
ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN BURKINA FASO WITH UNICEF
In Burkina Faso, ECW funding is keeping girls and boys safe within the fast-evolving ‘crisis within a crisis’ affecting refugees, especially girls in the Sahel. For girls like Grace, the support provided by ECW partner UNICEF, in coordination with the Government of Burkina Faso, is making a difference. This includes the training and deployment of 15,000 volunteers who provide COVID-19 hygiene and prevention sensitization amongst refugee populations and host communities.
“At school we have to wear the mask, stay at least 1 meter apart, wash hands with water and soap and raise awareness of friends who don’t know how to fight this pandemic.” – Grace, Peniel High School in Tanghin.
ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN MALI WITH UNHCR
“UNHCR Mali has now received money from Education Cannot Wait for distance learning, targeting 10,000 refugee and displaced children in Mali. With the money we aim to provide solar radios to refugee children, children who are internally displaced, and those from the host communities. These radios will ensure these refugee, displaced and host community children’s right to education, even in low-tech resource areas of Mali. The Ministry of Education together with teachers are now recording lessons for all levels so that they are ready to be aired on the radios.”- Leandro Salazar, Education Expert, UNHCR Mali.
ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN CHAD AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC WITH JRS
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown and confinement measures have brought new challenges for educational facilities in both Chad and the Central African Republic. In addition to being central to learning, schools are crucial for raising community awareness to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
With the support of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) adapted its activities in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in Eastern Chad to ensure continued education, health and hygiene awareness raising and protection for refugee children and youth – already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and protracted crises – and now doubly hit by COVID-19.
In Chad, ECW partner JRS is supporting improved water and sanitation services and training education professionals on COVID-19 prevention measures to help them raise awareness within the communities. In Central African Republic, radio programmes are providing psychosocial support and ongoing lessons, with a special focus on refugee girls’ rights to access quality education.
¨We started some initiatives to be in contact with the students. This includes awareness raising activities with their parents and students on COVID-19 prevention measures through WhatsApp groups and home visits.¨ Tadjadine Abdallah Mansour, a secondary teacher at Kounoungou Refugee Camp, Chad.
“For the moment, and until the end of the pandemic, we will continue teaching our students within their areas through home-based learning.¨
We are delighted to announce the launch of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) suite of reports on strengthening coordinated education planning and response among humanitarians, and with development actors. Independently researched and produced by ODI, the reports were commissioned in partnership by the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with funding from the Education Cannot Wait global fund for education in emergencies (ECW).
Education is a powerful tool and a source of hope for children and youth affected by humanitarian emergencies, providing knowledge, skills, and competencies for a better future. Yet over 75 million children currently have their education disrupted by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises – a situation further compounded by the current COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, generous support from ECW enabled the GEC, INEE and UNHCR to come together to strengthen joint planning, coordination and response, with the ultimate goal of supporting the education of children and youth living in emergencies and protracted crises contexts.
ODI was commissioned to undertake independent research to develop this evidence base, comprising of an analytical framework, 6 country case studies covering Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Bangladesh, Chad and Syria, and a synthesis report which outlines recommendations for action from key stakeholders and actors across diverse contexts.
At the Global Refugee Forum, Education Cannot Wait commits to investing in multi-year programmes for refugees and host-community children
As part of our commitment to support refugee education, at the Global Refugee Forum, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) pledges to: Facilitate and invest in multi-year programmes for refugee and host-community children to access quality education, particularly in secondary education.
Taking as a model the ECW-facilitated Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda, ECW pledges to facilitate and invest in similar multi-year resilience programmes (MYRPs) that ensure that refugee and other forcibly-displaced children and youth, as well as children and youth from affected host communities, are fully included and have access to quality education, including in national programmes.
Moreover, ECW pledges to ensure that such programmes have a strong secondary-education component, including by providing funds for secondary education in MYRP countries through any established UNHCR internal funding mechanism specifically designated for secondary education.
With this pledge, ECW seeks to mobilize support for refugee and host-community children and youth to be able to complete their education, so that they can successfully transition to becoming self-sufficient as adults.
EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT IS PARTNERING WITH HP TO PILOT EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY INTERVENTIONS FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN IN UGANDA
By Michael Corlin and Johannes Kiess
Uganda hosts 1.3 million refugees – the highest number of refugees in any country in Africa and the third largest in the world today. Half are children.
These girls and boys live in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Food can be hard to come by, and access to safe, reliable education, learning materials, qualified teachers is an ongoing challenge. Access to any sort of learning technology (even a simple computer) is extremely limited.
The good news is that the Government of Uganda is committed to continue helping these refugee children to access quality education.
Education Cannot Wait – a new global fund that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion to provide access to education for 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021 – facilitated the development of the Uganda Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities and contributed US$11 million in seed funding to launch it.
Overall, the 3.5-year plan seeks to mobilize US$389 million to benefit half a million refugee and host community children and youth. This includes recruiting 9,000 teachers each year, and building 3,000 classrooms annually.
To more effectively pilot technology deployments in these settings, Education Cannot Wait has brokered a collaboration with HP, Learning Equality, the Global Business Coalition for Education, and UNHCR. HP pledged to donate technology and resources to leverage Learning Equality’s Kolibri offline learning platform to improve the learning outcomes of Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities. The collaboration builds on existing collective work in Uganda by UNICEF, UNHCR, Learning Equality and others.
“Technology is a tool that has the potential to elevate millions of young people out of marginalization and poverty. It empowers girls and boys with previously unavailable information, new networks and channels to learn and develop 21st century skills,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Technology partnerships like this mean a brighter future for the 1.3 million refugees in Uganda, and the 75 million children and youth living in crisis worldwide that are in need of immediate educational support.”
ECW Director Yasmine Sherif at #HPReinvent19 during the announcement of ECW partnership with tech giant @HPSustainable, Learning Equality, GBCE, and UNHCR to pilot educational technology interventions for refugee children in Uganda.
Technology can be a game changer, if put to work properly. Contextualization is essential. Technology deployments for education in crisis, in particular, need to be specifically designed with the user, work within the existing technological and societal ecosystem, and be collaborative, scalable, data-driven and open-sourced.
Technological solutions that may prove highly effective in the United States or Denmark, may need to be shifted to meet local needs and capacities in other places. For hardware, technology that is energy efficient, user-friendly and durable will be essential for deployment in these hardship locations. Most importantly, perhaps, technology needs to do no harm.
In November, UNICEF organized a field visit for HP, Learning Equality and Education Cannot Wait to Kampala-area sites to assess hardware and software needs in local schools, consult with government and local stakeholders, and identify suitable solutions. This included a visit in two secondary schools where students have access to resources to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and practical skills through the Kolibri software.
The field visit confirmed the popularity of technology with students, the potential of supporting teachers in classrooms and the opportunity to complement teacher-led instructions with technology.
For this pilot, we determined that both hardware and software are needed. In this case, HP will be providing the hardware – an HP School Cloud – while Learning Equality will be providing the software – Kolibri, which has already been tested in the country and contains content that has been vetted and organized according to the Ugandan curriculum.
We believe that integrated technology can be a key component in delivering lessons, and connecting teachers with training materials to improve educational outcomes in refugee hosting districts in Uganda. Through this pilot program in Uganda, we aim to identify the right tools and technology to support larger deployments for multi-year education programmes that the Fund is helping to develop and launch in other countries affected by crisis.
PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS
To effectively deliver technology as a learning solution for the children and youth uprooted by conflict, or living in the midst of war zones, emergencies and disasters, we need to take a multi-pronged approach that leverages multiple partnerships, context-specific technology and human-based solutions, and to empower people with the training and tools they need to effectively integrate technology into mainstream education.
Partnership with HP
HP is an industry leader for education technology. The technology super giant aims to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025. For the pilot project in Uganda, HP will engage Learning Equality as a key collaborator to deploy its HP School Cloud and the Kolibri learning platform in select schools delivering education to refugee and host communities children in the spring of 2019. The project will be extended to a number of additional schools over the course of the year to benefit thousands of children.
“Education Cannot Wait is the ideal partner to identify and deploy effective, scalable education solutions to marginalized populations. Together with Learning Equality and ECW, it is HP’s intention to amplify our work in Uganda to serve refugee students around the world,” said Gus Schmedlen, Vice President for Education, HP.
To engineer sustainability into this pilot in Uganda’s refugee-hosting districts from the start, UNHCR will integrate the HP school cloud in existing initiatives and plans that align to governmental priorities and ensure all children will benefit from transformative learning labs. These initiatives already deploy the Kolibri learning platform in schools and refugee centers in Uganda and other countries.
Ensuring linkages with national EdTech stakeholders
Education Cannot Wait and UNICEF organized an “EdTech event” to bring together a wide range of Ugandan and international stakeholders including Aga Khan Foundation, Maarifasasa, Response Innovation Lab, Maendeleo Foundation, Save the Children, War Child Holland, Windle, Woman in Tech, World Bank, Xavier Project, and Yarid with an interest in improving learning outcomes through information and communications technology (ICT). It was encouraging to see other pilot programmes/approaches which also have accessibility, learning, scalability and sustainability at their core. The EdTech event took place at the Hive Colab, the first technology and innovation hub for ICT entrepreneurs in Kampala.
This was also an opportunity for representatives from HP, Learning Equality, Education Cannot Wait and the Ugandan National Curriculum Development Centre to share lessons on sustainability, curricula, teacher empowerment and community involvement, providing precious guidance for effective project formulation and to ensure linkages to the wider EdTech environment in Uganda.
DEPLOYING TECHNOLOGY AS A LEARNING SOLUTION IN CRISES SETTINGS
The key element to deploying technology in emergencies is about Connecting People with Technology.
Not all refugee settlements benefit from 4G internet connectivity. In Uganda, this challenge is being addressed by creating local networks within the pilot sites. These work basically as an intranet to run offline server platforms like Kolibri, connect people, and ensure access to educational materials. Power – or the lack of electricity grid – is another obstacle to address to ensure connectivity. Yes, you need to power these devices and we will rely on existing solar powered systems or the grid, where available, and if not, bring solar power to schools.
No matter how successful one is at setting up the necessary hardware, the most important element is the human factor. You can’t just give people a computer and expect them to assimilate the new technology. The success of the pilot will lie in the users’ agency and involvement. This is why engagement with communities, and sharing lessons learned with other EdTech providers, is key for all partners involved.