GENEVA, 14th December, 2015 (WAM) — Educate A Child, EAC, a global programme of the Education Above All Foundation, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are launching a new three-year partnership that will provide access to education for 710,000 children affected by conflict and forced displacement in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Building on a partnership that has given more than 260,000 vulnerable children access to primary school since 2012, the new EAC-funded programme will continue to support the education of these children and help enroll a further 450,000 in schools over the next three years. About half of the beneficiaries are expected to be children displaced by the Syria crisis, with the rest coming from Chad, Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.
Wars, conflict and persecution in recent years have forced millions to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere. The number of forcibly displaced people stood at almost 60 million at the end of 2014. Children make up half of the world’s refugees, and they face the greatest risks from conflict and displacement.
The need to ensure an education for children in crisis settings has never been more urgent. Refugee children are often the most marginalised and hardest to reach and help. They face challenges to get a proper education, including extreme poverty, social exclusion, trauma and language barriers.
Marcio Barbosa, Chief Executive Officer of Education Above All, welcomed the new agreement. “Despite progress, the number of out-of-school children is increasing, in part due to the refugee crisis driven by conflict and insecurity. It is therefore crucial to act now through initiatives such as this partnership to put measures in place for the hundred thousands of displaced children to continue their education wherever they may be,” he said. “After the successful completion of our previous project with UNHCR, which provided access to education for over 260,000 out-of-school children, we are confident that this project will make an impactful, positive difference to the lives of children and families who need our help the most,” Barbosa added.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, said, “Education helps protect refugee children, and investing in a child’s education is an investment in their future and in the generations to come. This important partnership will help UNHCR overcome some of the most pressing barriers to education for hundreds of thousands of refugee children, which will give them both a safer childhood and a better future.”
The new US$ 57.9 million donation from EAC will focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning, ensuring safe learning environments for children, promoting awareness and advocacy on the importance of education for refugee children and strengthening capacity and partnerships with ministries of education and other actors to enable more refugee children to access educational opportunities.
Education projects will include innovative activities, tailored to address key gaps which limit access to quality education for out-of-school children. Examples of these activities are special support for girls through peer support groups and school clubs in Uganda, a savings and loans programme for parent teacher associations in Sudan, a summer camp with educational activities for forcibly displaced children in Syria and the provision of tablets to enhance access to reading material in Sudan, Rwanda and Ethiopia.