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

Education Cannot Wait announces a US$2.7 million allocation to support the emergency education response in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon where the ongoing crisis has left more than 90 per cent of school-aged children without access to any education opportunities.

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

Funding will help restore learning opportunities for more than 18,000 children and youth affected by the crisis

9 July 2019, New York –  Education Cannot Wait announces a US$2.7 million allocation to support the emergency education response in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon where the ongoing crisis has left more than 90 per cent of school-aged children without access to any education opportunities.

Over the last three years, escalating violence and attacks against civilians in these two regions of Cameroon have forced half a million people to flee their homes. Schools, education personnel and students have been targeted by violence and threats, and 80 per cent of schools have closed, according to estimates from humanitarian agencies. More than 670,000 children in the two regions have been forced to leave school.

“Hundreds of thousands of girls and boys in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon are currently out of school. Outside of a protective school environment, they are in immediate danger of recruitment, of exploitation, of sexual abuse and early pregnancy,” said Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon. “As illiteracy sets in, the future of these children, of their families and their communities is also at risk. When it comes to education, it cannot be an if, but a how. As Humanitarian Coordinator, I am committed to protect children’s right to education and to get these kids back on track with their learning. With Education Cannot Wait’s funding, this is what we will do,” she said.

Education Cannot Wait’s funding will support 18,386 children (of whom 9,505 are girls) of pre-primary, primary and secondary school age in accessing quality formal and non-formal education learning opportunities in the two regions.

“The sheer scale of the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has brought the future prospects of an entire generation to a standstill. It is unacceptable that children stay out of school for years and are left behind. Working closely with the Government and through the Education in Emergencies Cluster, UN agencies and NGOs will jointly implement this Education Cannot Wait investment and provide urgently needed response to restore learning opportunities for affected children and youth,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Access to continuous quality education is crucial to protect the girls and boys caught up in such distressing and abnormal circumstances. It nurtures their resilience and helps them develop the skills to thrive while also contributing to the recovery of their communities,” she added.

Education activities will support the resumption and continuity of learning for crisis-affected children and youth – a majority of whom have been out of school for three years now. There will also be a focus on protection to reduce risks of exploitation, child labour, early marriage, early pregnancy and recruitment into armed forces and armed groups. Psychosocial support, school feeding programmes, vocational training for youth, community reintegration and school readiness will also be supported.

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

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