EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND UNICEF ACCELERATE COVID-19 INTEGRATED EDUCATION RESPONSE IN LIBYA

Special contribution by UNICEF Libya (View Original)

The “Education Cannot Wait” Fund allocated US$750,000 towards a UNICEF-initiated education in emergency response programme to support 9,000 girls and boys affected by the ongoing protracted crisis in Libya which is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protracted crisis in Libya is now entering its ninth year and has left over 400,000 people in displacement, including nearly 120,000 children. Since 15 March 2020, schools and non-formal learning centres in Libya have remained closed to limit the spread of COVID-19; this has left at least 1.3 million students out of school.

The closure has also left conflict-affected children and adolescents unable to access various essential services including psychosocial support, as schools and non-formal learning centres serve as access points for these services.

“With more than eight months into the pandemic, children’s education is significantly disrupted. With education on hold, their future will be on hold. We cannot allow that,” said UNICEF Special Representative in Libya, AbdulKadir Musse. “This initiative will enable UNICEF and its partners to help children in Libya, including the most vulnerable, such as children with disability and refugee and migrant children. We must act now to ensure they are not left behind.”

The initiative will help to minimize the impact of disruption in education by increasing accessibility while maintaining the safety of children and educational personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF, as the sector lead and in partnership with the “Education Cannot Wait” fund and other stakeholders, has prioritized distance learning, capacity building of educators for mental health and psychosocial support to children, catch up classes, water and sanitation activities, and supplementary food distribution in selected schools.

“This initiative has been most timely, offering hope and assistance to vulnerable boys and girls who have already suffered too much,” said Yacoub El Hillo, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya. “We are very proud of this partnership with “Education Cannot Wait” and hope to work with more partners to meet the full scope of the needs in Libya.”

The “Education Cannot Wait” Fund is deeply appreciated by UNICEF, the larger UN family and implementing partners in Libya. This initiative helps to ensure that 4,050 children receive individual learning materials, 2,500 children benefit from supplementary food distribution and 4,000 children receive water, sanitation, and hygiene support. Students with disabilities and children from vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons, migrants, refugees and host communities, are key beneficiaries of the initiative.

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.

DESPITE CONFLICT AND COVID-19, CHILDREN STILL DREAM TO CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION, IPS REPORTS

For each of the past five years, Afghanistan has been identified by the United Nations as the world’s deadliest country for children and, despite progress made in peace talks between the government and the Taliban, child and youth casualties from the ongoing conflict continue to mount in 2020.


DESPITE CONFLICT AND COVID-19, CHILDREN STILL DREAM TO CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION, IPS REPORTS by Education Cannot Wait on Exposure

ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY, ECW, GPE, UNESCO & UNICEF CALL FOR THE RESUMPTION OF SALARY PAYMENTS FOR TEACHERS FOR THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR IN YEMEN

5 October, 2020 – This World Teachers’ Day, celebrated under the theme, “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”, the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, UNESCO and UNICEF are calling for the resumption of salary payments for around half of the Yemeni teachers and school-based staff (estimated 160,000) who have not received regular salary payments since 2016. With suspended salary payments and schools regularly coming under attack, many teachers have been forced to find alternative sources of income to provide for their families.

The dire situation in Yemen, including ongoing conflict, natural disasters (flooding), wide-spread diseases (cholera, measles, polio), and poverty has pushed over two million children out of school and put at risk 5.8 million children who have been enrolled in school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers and school-based staff are critical to ensure continuation of education services and learning for every child in Yemen. Further delay in paying teachers will likely lead to the total collapse of the education sector and impact millions of Yemeni children, especially the most vulnerable and girls, putting them at risk of engaging in negative coping mechanisms such as child labor, recruitment into armed groups and forces, child marriage, trafficking and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The global community must unite to end violence against children in Yemen and protect their health and right to education. Without a collective commitment to action, we will fail to meet the 2030 Agenda – Leaving no child and no teacher behind. A minimum of 70 million USD is needed to help address this gap and ensure teachers can receive a payment during the 2020-21 school year.

Education Cannot Wait, the Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO and UNICEF are committed to continuing our support for equitable, inclusive quality education for all Yemeni children. We join our voices to call on the international community and the authorities in Yemen to resume the payment of salaries to teachers in all parts of the country.

Above all, the parties to the conflict in Yemen should work towards peace to allow for recovery and a return to normalcy especially for the children who have suffered the tragic consequences of a conflict not of their making.

For more information, please contact:

UNESCO, UNHCR & EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT CALL FOR THE INCLUSION OF REFUGEES IN THE POST-COVID19 EDUCATION EFFORT

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 July 2020 – 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. 

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EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INVESTMENTS REACH REFUGEE AND OTHER VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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, Mali and Uganda, 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.

Priscille with her family. Photo © Save the Children

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

Grace is finding new hope through the ECW-financed response. Photo © UNICEF

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.

Learn more in this BBC French report.

Photo © UNHCR

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.

Preventing the spread of the virus through education in Chad. Photo © JRS.

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.¨

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT EXPANDS ITS EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY COVID-19 RESPONSE TO INCLUDE 3.9 MILLION CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN CAMEROON

US$1.5 million grant in Cameroon brings total ECW COVID-19 First Emergency Response to US$24.5 million across 27 countries and emergency contexts

20 May 2020, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announces a US$1.5 million allocation to support the education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon. The new funding brings ECW’s total response to the pandemic to US$24.5 million across 27 countries and emergency contexts, through its first emergency response window.

The new funding will ensure access and continuity of children’s learning in crisis-affected areas in Cameroon, reaching 3.9 million children, of whom 2.2 million are girls, as well as 8,600 teachers, 60 per cent of whom are women.

Funds are allocated to UNESCO (US$1 million) and UNICEF (US$500,000) in country. The grantees will implement the investment in collaboration with and support of the Education Cluster, the Government of Cameroon and civil society organizations.

The funding will support a range of educational activities, including scaling up an existing ECW investment that provides a hybrid learning platform with internet connectivity solutions, and radio access for non-formal and formal education and providing children the opportunity to sit for exams. It will also support life-saving risk-mitigation measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which builds upon the UNICEF, WHO and IFRC Safe-Schools’ Protocols for the Reopening of Schools.

To date, ECW’s total emergency funding for COVID-19 education in emergency responses across 27 crisis-affected countries/emergency contexts has been allocated to a total of 57 grantees comprising UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations. These implementing agencies are coordinating their efforts together with host-governments and other partners to deliver lifesaving and life-sustaining education in emergency responses with speed and agility.

Grants duration varies between six to 12 months and focus on ensuring continuous access to education, including distance, online and radio learning; information campaigns, risk communications and community engagement in local languages, including psychosocial and mental health support; and water and sanitation facility upgrades in schools and learning centers as a first line of defense.

Donors are stepping up to fill ECW’s recent global appeal for US$50 million in immediate funding to support the education in emergency response to the global pandemic. Notably, the Lego Foundation recently announced US$15 million in funding for ECW, and the UK has provided £5 million in additional funding.

Updated analysis from UNESCO indicates that 1.2 billion learners are currently affected by the pandemic, with 154 current country-wide closures. For the 75 million children and youth already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and protracted crises, COVID-19 and its ongoing economic and social impacts amplifies risks for girls and boys already pushed aside.

Additional information on ECW COVID-19 emergency grants per country/crisis (updated 20 May 2020):

ECW First Emergency Response grants announced on 2 April (learn more here)

  • Afghanistan: Total of $1.25 million allocated. Grantees: UNICEF ($1.25 million)
  • Bangladesh: Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: BRAC ($900,000), Save the Children ($600,000)
  • Brazil: Total of $250,000 million allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($250,000)
  • Burkina Faso: Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: EDUCO ($300,000), Plan International ($500,000), Save the Children ($250,000), UNICEF ($300,000), UNHCR ($150,000)
  • Colombia: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($1 million)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: AVSI ($340,000), Save the Children ($140,000), UNESCO ($520,000), War Child Canada ($500,000)
  • Ethiopia: Total of $1million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($500,000), UNICEF ($500,000)
  • Palestine: Total of $850,000 allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($400,000), UNICEF ($450,000)  
  • Somalia – Federal Government of Somalia and Member States: Total of $800,000 allocated. Grantee: ADRA ($800,000)
  • Somalia – Puntland: Total of $650,000 allocated. Grantee: Save the Children ($650,000)
  • Somalia – Somaliland: Total of $700,000 allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($700,000)
  • Syria: Total of $500,000 allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($500,000)
  • Uganda: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($525,000), UNHCR ($475,000)
  • Venezuela: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($1 million)
  • Zimbabwe: Total of $500,000 allocated. Grantees: Plan International ($75,000), Save the Children ($175,000), UNICEF ($175,000), World Vision ($75,000)
  • Regional Response for Palestine Refugees: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantee: UNRWA ($1 million)

ECW First Emergency Response grants announced on 3 April (learn more here)

  • Central African Republic (CAR): Total of $1 million allocated. Grantees: Jesuit Refugee Service ($75,000), Norwegian Refugee Council ($175,000), UNICEF ($750,000)
  • Chad: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantees: Consortium Humanity International & Cooperazione Internazionale-COOPI ($300,000), UNHCR ($400,000), WFP ($300,000)
  • Ecuador: Total of $550,000 allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($550,000)
  • Malawi: Total of $325,000 allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($125,000), UNICEF ($200,000)
  • Mali: Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: UNICEF ($750,000), UNHCR ($750,000)
  • Mozambique: Total of $325,000 allocated. Grantees: Plan International ($100,000), UNICEF ($150,000), World Vision International ($75,000)
  • Niger: Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: Plan International ($225,000), Save the Children ($225,000), UNICEF ($450,000), WFP ($375,000), World Vision International ($225,000)
  • Nigeria: Total of $1 million allocated. Grantees: Plan International ($125,000), Save the Children ($125,000), Street Child ($125,000), UNICEF ($625,000)
  • Peru: Total of $300,000 allocated. Grantee: RET International ($300,000)
  • Yemen: Total of $500,000 allocated. Grantee: UNICEF ($500,000)

ECW First Emergency Response grant announced on 20 May

  • Cameroon: Total of $1.5 million allocated. Grantees: UNESCO ($1,500,000), UNICEF ($500,000)