15 May 2015: As Nepal defers reopening schools following a second major earthquake on 12 May, education campaign A World at School and child rights organisation Plan International are making a joint call to the international community to back a platform to ensure education in emergencies is prioritised and funded.
The majority of schools in the worst affected districts in Nepal have been destroyed or rendered unsafe. According to the UN close to a million children in Nepal will not be able to return to school unless urgent action is taken to assess affected schools and provide temporary learning spaces.
“Out-of-school children, particularly during disasters, are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Despite these urgent needs, just over $300,000 of the $21 million requested to support education for affected children in Nepal has been met so far,” said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International.
Children denied education by emergencies
Over half of the world’s out-of-school children - 28 million children - are denied an education because they live in conflict or emergency affected areas. In the last year, the world witnessed the highest number of attacks on schools and education, and over 5 million children forced out of school due to the Ebola crisis. Millions of Syrian refugees remained out of school alongside nearly 800,000 children forced out of school in northern Nigeria due to the current crisis. Yet, in 2014 only 1% of humanitarian funds deployed went to education, and there is currently no mechanism to fund the education of refugee children or those affected by disaster.
Out-of-school children are much more at risk of early marriage, being recruited as child soldiers or in other forms of child labour, and being trapped in poverty
Sarah Brown, co-founder of A World at School said: “We know that education can provide hope and a better future especially in an emergency but shamefully only 1% of humanitarian funding went to education last year. Out-of-school children are much more at risk of early marriage, being recruited as child soldiers or in other forms of child labour, and being trapped in poverty.
Fund to get children back to school quickly
Over the next month, A World at School, Plan International and others will be calling on world leaders to back a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies. The fund, a topic of discussion at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in July, looks to finance the delivery of education at the onset of disasters and emergencies to ensure that children can return to school as quickly as possible. It will look to strengthen existing mechanisms so that partners are incentivised to develop a coordinated, strategic multi-year response for delivering and resourcing education in an emergency situation, with a defined process by which money can be rapidly disbursed.
Mr Chapman added: “Our work on the ground shows that schools are not just a place to access education and information, but a safe sanctuary and stable environment to help children rebuild their lives after the trauma and losses they have experienced as a result of a conflict or emergency.”
Mrs Brown said: “We must ensure that an entire generation of children in Nepal do not pay the price because their education is neglected, nor the 28 million children around the world suffering the same consequence. We need to join together and make a call to ensure that world leaders are committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable children in the world.”
- A global consultation coordinated by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. http://www.ineesite.org/en/global-consultation-on-eie will take place over the next week to gather ideas and insights into solutions to be presented at the Oslo Summit in July.
- Photos with credits can be downloaded here.