Koranic schools in Nigeria join the drive for universal education
Millions of children in northern Nigeria are not receiving a formal education. One way UNICEF is addressing the issue is to help traditional Koranic schools like Maiunguwa Shuaibu’s include basic subjects such as English and maths in their curricula.
Angélique Kidjo shows support for out-of-school children in Benin
In Benin, a flexible, accelerated course of learning is giving children a second chance at obtaining the formal education that they need to fulfil their dreams. Long-time UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo recently paid a visit to a participating centre and spoke with students about what they hope to achieve, with their education.
In Haiti, a long walk for education
BEUDORET, Haiti, 16 December 2014 – The eyes of Joel Matthieu, 35, light up when he talks about his love for teaching. He makes a lot of sacrifices every day, starting with the 90-minute journey he takes every day on foot and motorcycle over precarious roads to reach Beudoret, a small locality in Haiti’s North department.
Podcast #95 – Hearing a solution: Student creates technology to help people with visual impairments learn science
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 November 2014 – Students of science frequently deal with detailed information expressed in charts, graphs and diagrams. For Kartik Sawhney, who has been blind since birth, the visual demands of his science studies presented a challenge. So he devised a solution: software that allowed him to hear the graphs.
Podcast #94 – Day of the Girl 2014 – Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence
NEW YORK, United States of America, 9 October 2014 – The theme this year for Day of the Girl is ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’. To mark the day, this edition of Changing the World for Girls focuses on violence and girls, especially school-related gender-based violence.
Overcoming loss in the rubble of Gaza
GAZA, State of Palestine, 29 September 2014 - Ten-year-old Shaima lives in Shuja’iyeh in eastern Gaza City, a crowded neighbourhood now mostly reduced to a vast expanse of rubble. The threat of explosive remnants of war looms around every corner.
New supplies bring hope to Syrian schools
DAMASCUS, Syria, 26 September 2014 – “I love my new school bag,” says Dania*, a fourth grade student at Abdurrahmaan Khazen elementary school in Damascus. As part of a UNICEF back-to-learning campaign, Dania and 1,500 other students in her school received their school materials for this year.
In Egypt, preschool brings a sense of normalcy to Syrian refugee children
CAIRO, Egypt, 22 September 2014 – As his kindergarten teacher coaxes Oudi to talk about his favourite activity, the 4-year-old twists his fingers and stares straight past her, fixing his large eyes on something only he can see.
In Gaza, children go back to school after a devastating summer
GAZA, State of Palestine, 16 September 2014 – Early on Sunday, Gaza woke at last to a familiar sight: streets crowded with children dressed in school uniforms. Half a million students have returned to school this week, with memories still fresh of 50 days of violence that engulfed the coastal enclave this summer and delayed the start of classes by three weeks.
In Ghana, an effort to abolish violent discipline in schools
ASSASSAN, Ghana, 3 September 2014 – When Benedicte Bon-Forson was a young girl in grade 3, she didn’t want to go to school. “Anytime I got up to go to school, I feel like, ahh!” she recalls, many years later.
Finding a safe space for learning in a country beset by violence
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 20 August 2014 – The grounds of the Boy Rabe Monastery in Bangui are filled with the sounds of children – singing, counting, reciting lessons. With almost two thirds of schools closed in the Central African Republic as a result of fighting and instability, the monastery has become home to one of 144 temporary learning spaces UNICEF has set up across the country.
A young girl dreams, despite adversity
PUERTO FALCÓN, Paraguay, 13 August 2014 – Amada Zuleide Maldonado, 7, is the kind of girl the indigenous Guarani culture describes with the word juky – graceful. Amada comes from Chaco'i, where the Parana and Paraguay rivers converge, 30 miles (50 km) from the capital, Asunción.
A Malian refugee girl in Niger chooses school over marriage
INTIKANE, Niger, 1 July 2014 – Aïchatou Mohamed attends primary school in Intikane, in northern Niger, where more than 10,000 refugees from Mali are living. Aichatou likes school and is always on time.
In South Sudan, educating children in crisis
JUBA, South Sudan, 24 June 2014 – It is a rainy morning in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Despite the weather, people appear to be going about their activities as normal at the Mahad settlement for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Adolescent theatre builds peace in Sierra Leone
KENEMA, Sierra Leone, 23 June 2014 – As the growing crowd waits expectantly in a square in Sierra Leone’s Kenema district, 17-year-old Ibrahim Jalloh and his fellow actors are brimming with excitement, ready to perform their new play. The group have created a production that is meant not just to entertain, but also to educate.
In Nigeria, bringing the message of education for all
TORO, Nigeria, 13 June 2014 – Kasimu Limon Toro beams with pride as his 12-year-old daughter Nailatu talks about her dream: One day, she will become a doctor. “I will support her in this with all my heart, until the day I die,” Mr. Toro says.
A bright future for girls: UNICEF Executive Board focuses on achieving gender equality
NEW YORK, United States of America, 9 June 2014 – To secure and fulfil equal rights for girls creates a brighter future for all children. Imagining the life of the world’s future girls is what guided UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake’s opening remarks at the 2014 annual session of UNICEF’s Executive Board.
In Bolivia, working towards a brighter future for children
POTOSÍ, Bolivia, 6 May 2014 – Echoing the words of a mural behind him at his school in Potosí, 11-year-old Roberto Canaza believes that education will provide a good foundation for his life. “I want to study agronomy, in order to care for plants, animals and the environment,” he says.
Syrian children with disabilities are back to learning, at Homs school club
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 7 April 2014 – Ramez, 10, walks up to the whiteboard and writes his name.
Podcast #93 – Power to young advocates
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 August 2014 – One quarter of the world’s population today is youth. Like never before, young people are using emerging technology and new media to voice their opinions, influence change and build the future they want.
Podcast #92 – More funding needed to keep the promise of education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 20 June 2014 – On 25 June, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will hold its second Replenishment Pledging Conference, with the goal of raising US$3.5 billion to address global education issues in access, equity and learning, for 2015–2018.
Podcast #91 – Innovations in peacebuilding: How technology is changing the way we see the world and respond to violent conflict
NEW YORK, United States of America, 6 June 2014 – ‘Innovation’ has been a buzzword of this decade for good reasons. The world has changed in front of our eyes, and we have become witness to the ways in which innovative ideas can drive industry transformation, market creation and humanitarian response, to name just a few. But what does innovation mean in the context of peacebuilding?
"We try to make the violence disappear": The challenge of teaching amid conflict
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 17 April 2014 – “We, the teachers, we try to make the violence and the war that we have experienced disappear,” says Nguinissara Rita, a primary school teacher at the St. Charles Louanga Missionary displacement site in Bangui, capital of Central African Republic.
Podcast #89: Investing in education through public–private partnerships
NEW YORK, United States of America, 28 February 2014 – Business leaders and heads of governments from around the world will gather at Dubai’s Global Education and Skills Forum to strengthen collaboration and further engage the business sector in building a better educated and more equitable society.
A community in Yemen transforms its school – and its environs
SANA’A, Yemen, 20 February 2014 – Stray bullets had turned the schoolyard into a battleground.
In Bangladesh, learning why children stop learning
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 28 January 2014 – Jibon is 12 years old and works at a fish market in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. He lives alone with his mother, who works in a garment factory.
Podcast #88: Shining a light through education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 22 January 2014 – As the world’s private and public sector leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, UNICEF and its partners have one message: Invest in girls’ empowerment.
In the Philippines, children ring in the new school year
SAN ROQUE, Philippines, 8 January 2014 – As the morning sun rises over the ocean, the neighbourhood of San Roque is buzzing with activity. Children are bathing, having breakfast and preparing to go back to school – a big day just two months after Typhoon Haiyan tore across the country.
No lost generation – we must act now
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 January 2014 – As the Syrian crisis rages on, approaching its fourth year, an entire generation of children is being shaped by violence, displacement and a persistent lack of opportunity – and could be lost forever, with profound long-term consequences for the Syrian Arab Republic, the region and beyond.
Child club helps Nepalese children find their voice
Democratic Republic of Nepal, 3 January 2014 – Vabendra Kumar Yadav prepares
for school. A visitor to his family’s small walk-up apartment asks Vabendra
what he likes most in life.
Podcast #87: Building a peaceful society through education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 31 December, 2013 – In this year-end episode of Beyond School Books, we bring you perspectives on peacebuilding from our guests this past year.
On Universal Children's Day, young activist receives EU's top human rights award
STRASBOURG, France, 20 November 2013 – It was an award befitting the day. On Universal Children’s Day, European parliamentarians presented the Sakharov Prize, Europe’s highest human rights award, to Malala Yousufzai, the first child to receive the annual prize since it was established 25 years ago.
Podcast #86: Peacebuilding through early childhood education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 19 November 2013 – Evidence shows that the early years of life are strong predictors for individual health and development, as well as cognitive and social-emotional development.
Programme provides a full courseload for pastoralist girls in Somalia
SOMALILAND, Somalia, 18 November 2013 – Somali children who once would have bypassed schooling to herd animals are now receiving a basic education, thanks in part to a UNICEF programme focused on rural and pastoralist communities.
Government and UNICEF provide support and training for Syrian teachers in Turkey's refugee camps
ADANA, Turkey, 7 November 2013 – When Muhammed Ismael, 41, first arrived in Turkey from Edlib, in the Syrian Arab Republic, he did not want just to sit idle. After settling in the Altinozu camp in Hatay, the father of six decided to put his skills and experience as an English language teacher in service to children who, like him, are living as refugees.
Podcast #85: Changing the world for girls
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 November 2013 – Girls’ education is an indispensable tool for female empowerment and directly leads to other development goals such as poverty reduction, better reproductive and family health, lower fertility rates, lower child mortality rates and reduction in the rate of infection and spread of HIV/AIDS.
In Guinea, groups of mothers work together to keep girls in school
MANDIANA DISTRICT, Guinea, 5 November 2013 – At the end of her first shift at the mine, Saran realized she had made a terrible mistake. Just 13 years old, she had been lured by the promise of wealth to be found in the gold mines of Siguiri. She had dropped out of school and, together with her friend Mariam, found her way to a mining camp 55 km away.
New programme in Iraq aims to bring education, and hope, to children in prison
BASRA, Iraq, 4 November 2013 – Mohamed is the oldest of six children. In primary school, he was among the best students in his class.
Water for one million Afghan schoolchildren
HERAT, Afghanistan, 30 October 2013 – When you enter Tajrabavi Girls School in Herat, your eyes are drawn to the shiny, pastel-green pipes that skirt the new sink, and the sparkle of the water droplets that dance about as children drink clean water and wash their hands and faces.
Continuing studies amid continuing unrest, in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 October 2013 – It’s morning, and Widad, 19, waits impatiently for Douaa, 18, in the alley outside her house.
Podcast #84: Let us learn, everywhere – towards equality in education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 October 2013 – Despite tremendous gains in education, more than 57 million children around the world are still out of school. Poverty, gender discrimination, poor health and nutrition, disability, child labour, migration, geographical disadvantages, conflict, poor learning conditions and unsound education systems are some of the main reasons that these children are not in school. To make matters worse, aid to basic education fell by 7 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
Melissa Kasoke raises her voice for girls' education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 22 October 2013 – Not all girls in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have access to education. Melissa Kasoke, 14, does. “I like studying because I’d like to help my family someday, so I won’t always depend on my family and I’ll be able to help my parents and those who suffer,” she says.
After fleeing violence and looting, a teacher returns to school
BRIA, Central African Republic, 22 October 2013 – A group of children are lined up in the schoolyard singing lightheartedly as Aristide Modest Feikoumo listens on. He has not heard these voices in months.
Young Ugandan Leila Nassanga is a university student, a youth leader – and a U-Reporter
KABOWA RUBAGA, Uganda, 22 October 2013 – Leila Nassanga distinctly recalls the negative attitudes people had about her dream of becoming a civil engineer, when she was a young girl growing up in Kabowa Rubaga.
Using innovation and technology to erase barriers to girls' education
NEW YORK, United States, 18 October 2013 – A portable, hand-cranked radio receives texts and transmits lectures or tests from teachers to students in South Sudan, where Internet access is a rarity and schools can be distant and difficult to reach. In Rwanda, sanitary pads made of banana fiber, produced locally by women for women, tackle the lack of affordable, eco-friendly menstrual products and help keep girls from missing school. And in Uganda, a system that uses text messages to connect students and schools with UNICEF allows them to report on the quality of education, teacher attendance and violence in their schools.
A fellowship programme in the Niger gives rural girls access to secondary education
ZINDER, Niger, 18 October 2013 – Balkissa Ado is 17 years old. She is bright and cheerful. And she is the first girl from her village of Garin Touji, in Zinder, in the eastern part of the Niger, who has continued her studies after primary school.
In Malaysia, a preschool teacher goes the extra mile
KAPAR, Malaysia, 17 October 2013 – Lata Rajoo works at a carwash to make a living. But her passion is education, and her mission is to provide schooling for disadvantaged children. So she spends the better part of her day using much of her own money to run Tadika Senyuman Manja, a pre-primary school in Kapar, about 45 km from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
Schools in the Niger try a new approach to bring more girls into classrooms
MARADI, Niger, 14 October 2013 – There are more girls than boys at Saran Maradi primary school. But, in this part of southern Niger, cultural pressure against girls’ education remains strong. Nearly 36 per cent of girls are married before the age of 15.
Podcast #83: Girls who code can change the world - towards gender parity in computing fields
NEW YORK, United States of America, 10 October 2013 – On 11 October, UNICEF and its partners around the world will celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year’s theme is innovating for girls’ education, in recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward.
International Day of the Girl Child 2013: Innovate to ensure all girls are educated for the twenty-first century
NEW YORK, United States of America, 11 October 2013 – This year, on 11 October, the International Day of the Girl Child focuses on Innovating for Girls’ Education. The day provides a platform to highlight the continued importance of girls’ education as well as examples of successful, scalable and innovative approaches for tackling lingering challenges related to access, keeping girls in school and ensuring that their education is relevant and meaningful to their future.
Simple solutions to keep girls in school in Bangladesh
MAULVIBAZAR, Bangladesh, 9 October 2013 – Imagine a school with just two toilets for 1,400 students, who wait in long queues just to use them.
On International Day of the Girl Child, a spotlight on innovation
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 October 2013 – On 11 October, UNICEF and its partners are marking the International Day of the Girl Child, a day established by the United Nations to highlight the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
Podcast #82: Mariam Khalique, a teacher of Malala Yousafzai’s, is building futures under extreme circumstances
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 October 2013 – 5 October marks World Teachers’ Day, this year celebrated under the theme ‘A Call for Teachers!’. The day honours teachers who are working to build a sustainable future, with citizens who are fiercely changing their communities and the world around them. To commemorate the day, we spoke with a teacher who is doing just that, but under extreme circumstances.
Amid an uncertain future, Syrian children attend a newly opened school in Iraq's Baherka refugee camp
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 October 2013 – Imagine what it’s like to sit idle all day, with trauma behind you, and uncertainty ahead.
Event calls for more leadership and better coordination of funds to achieve global education goals
NEW YORK, United States of America, 27 September 2013 – An event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) brought together governments, youth, activists, education leaders and artists at United Nations headquarters on 25 September. The event was convened by the GEFI Secretariat and UNESCO and moderated by United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown.
At Education Cannot Wait event, global leaders stress need to fund education - especially in emergencies
NEW YORK, United States of America, 25 September 2013 - Global leaders from governments, international organizations and civil society met at UNICEF on 23 September to increase urgency and renew commitments to help the now 28.5 million children in countries affected by conflict who are denied an education.
For Syrian children, education needs are urgent, and urgently underfunded
NEW YORK, United States of America, 24 September 2013 – A roundtable discussion on the educational needs of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon is among events on the agenda of United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Gordon Brown, during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Brown’s role as Special Envoy includes garnering support for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Education First Initiative, which strives to achieve quality education for all children.
Plan calls for funds to support education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 September 2013 – In a press conference today convened by A World at School and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, new financial commitments and a youth mobilization committee were announced to help Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon.
Podcast #81: The role of business in delivering on the global promise of education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 19 September 2013 –25 September marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Global Education First Initiative. Led by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, the initiative’s goals are to put every child in school, to improve quality of learning and foster global citizenship. To deliver on the global education promise, the initiative has, among other efforts, tapped into the private sector for a stronger commitment in education.
Kurdish students help prepare Syrian refugee children's return to school in northern Iraq
SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, 17 September 2013 – It’s over 40 °C in the new Arbat refugee camp in northern Iraq. But, the heat hasn’t stopped dozens of young Syrian refugee children from lining up for something they’ve been eagerly looking forward to – the first day of school.
US basketball star Kyrie Irving visits schools in South Africa with UNICEF
PRETORIA, South Africa, 29 August 2013 –Kyrie Irving, an All-Star in the United States’ National Basketball Association (NBA), recently concluded a visit to Gauteng, South Africa, where he participated in a variety of educational programs supported by UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative.
In Ghana, changing the belief in violent discipline
TAMALE, Ghana, 14 August 2013 – Emmanuel Holortu sees some of the worst cases of violence against children – when discipline goes to the extreme. Mr. Holortu is the head of the Domestic Violence and Victim’s Support Unit in Tamale. His duty is to protect children in Ghana’s Northern Region against abuse in all forms. UNICEF has supported the unit in building a national database of reported child abuse cases, as well as training its staff. The unit is playing a critical role in the strengthening of child protection systems, supported by UNICEF. Emmanuel speaks to UNICEF about his work.
Podcast #79: Two young activists on driving change
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 July 2013 – Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history, and young people have positioned themselves as a vital force of economic and social progress. But what motivates young people, and what empowers them to ‘be the change they wish to see’?
In Madagascar, 'back to school' means including those left out
ANTANANAVIRO, Madagascar, 18 July 2013 – Like any 7-year-old, Clarisse should be in school, but she isn’t – although it’s not a matter of choice. Her mother explains that Clarisse was excluded from attending class because of her disability.
Mobile kindergarten for nomadic Mongolian children
KHUVSGUL PROVINCE, Mongolia, 17 July 2013 – Six-year-old Erbenebayar, ‘Erka’ for short, lives with her semi-nomadic herder family in the remote Khuvsgul province of Mongolia. They are based in a bagh about 20 km from the nearest settlement, Tsagaan-Uur soum. There are no proper roads.
Students walk a rough road to secondary education in Papua province, Indonesia
MEGAPURA, Papua province, Indonesia, 16 July 2013 – It has been four years since Markus last saw his parents, and it will be at least one more before he can go back to his village, Kalbok. But he knows he would not be in school today had he stayed home.
They thought a bullet would silence us, but they failed, Malala Yousafzai tells United Nations Youth Assembly
NEW YORK, United States of America, 12 July 2013 – United Nations Headquarters hosted a very special birthday celebration today.
Deaf students take the stage and look to the future
QUEENS, New York, United States of America, 9 July 2013 – It’s an exciting morning at the Lexington School for the Deaf in East Elmhurst, a residential neighbourhood in New York City. Evans, Chen and Chelsea are rehearsing a play in the school’s theatre. Active members of the school’s drama club, they are especially proud of this production, Double Trouble, because student club members wrote the play themselves.
Podcast 78: Africa's young innovators at the center of sustainable development
NEW YORK, United States of America, 1 July 2013 –With technological innovation increasingly playing a central role in social and economic development, young people are positioning themselves as key actors in creating tools and strategies for achieving equitable, sustainable development.
In Kabul, Afghanistan - 1,000 classrooms, a world of difference
KABUL, Afghanistan, 27 June 2013 – Mursal Tura dreams of being a successful businesswoman. Her interest lies in the garment industry. The 21-year-old university student hopes one day to be a leading fashion entrepreneur in Afghanistan.
UNICEF and Globo launch partnership to promote education in Brazil
SAO PAULO, Brazil, 27 June 2013 – In partnership with Globo, the largest communication group in South America, UNICEF has launched a new initiative to guarantee the right of all Brazilian children to learn.
Podcast #77: Putting learning at the centre of education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 June 2013 – Recent data show that progress towards universal primary education has slowed, with the poorest and most marginalized children affected most. In 2011, 57 million primary school-age children were out of school. According to the most recent estimates, about 250 million children of primary school age cannot read, write or count well, whether or not they have been to school.
A new chapter of the Schools for Africa initiative offers new possibilties for the continent's children
NEW YORK, United States of America, 21 June 2013 – The third phase of the Schools for Africa partnership launched on Monday at UNICEF headquarters in New York. UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Peter Krämer Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the initiative and provide more girls and boys with a chance for a better future.
In Haiti, portable playgrounds lay a new foundation for learning
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 13 June 2013 – Across Haiti, students at 10 select schools are getting a chance to test an unusual kind of playground that encourages them to build forts, cars, towers and anything else that stimulates their young minds.
For Syrian children in Turkey, school brings choices and challenges
URFA, Turkey, 10 June 2013 – It’s 10 a.m., and the children in the front yard of the Information and Education Centre for Syrian Guests are getting restless. They are waiting to see what their new classrooms look like, and they are hot, thirsty and impatient.
Podcast #76: The right of indigenous peoples to education that's appropriate to their culture is recognized. But is it realized?
NEW YORK, 10 June 2013 – Of the 370 million indigenous people in the world, approximately 67 million are youth. Know Your Rights! – the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) written specifically for indigenous adolescents – is aiming to do exactly that: encourage young people to know their rights, protect them and become an active part of decision-making in their community.
Two years on, flood-affected communities in Pakistan find hope in schools
SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 10 June 2013 - Ghulam Rasool, 11, doesn’t remember much about the floods that ravaged his village in Thatta district, Sindh province, forcing his family to flee.
A perilous journey to school through Homs, Syrian Arab Rebublic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 June 2013 – The more than two-year conflict in Syria has long made it difficult to drop my children off at school. But, I never imagined that, one day, all the roads except one would be closed – and that it could keep my daughter from completing ninth grade. We had come too far to let that happen.
New study brings violence against indigenous girls and women into focus
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 June 2013 – The issue of violence against indigenous girls and women is not only under-discussed and under-studied, but it also remains concealed, in most countries. Indigenous communities have been historically marginalized and continue to be discriminated against, and it’s young girls and women who pay the highest price.
Amid Haiti's reconstruction, a chance for a more inclusive approach
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 31 May 2013 – When the 2010 earthquake struck, Jean Saint-Phar was buried and knocked unconscious by the collapsing walls of the classroom where he was studying engineering. After he woke up, hours passed with no sign of rescue. He feared he might die like the lifeless student beside him.
In a refugee camp, getting more children in school and more schools for children
MBERA CAMP, Mauritania, 20 May 2013 – Although he is only 15, Malal Guisse has already had a hard journey. When crisis arose last year in his native Mali, he moved from his village of Léré, in Timbuktu Region, to the region of Segou in the south, where he lived with his aunt in Niono. He then moved across the border to the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania.
Podcast #75: UN Special Adviser says gender equality and girls' education critical in post-2015 goals
NEW YORK, United States of America, 16 May 2013 –Gender equality and education will be critical in planning the development agenda that succeeds the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina Mohammed.
Back to school after Typhoon Bopha
NEW BATAAN, Philippines, 13 May 2013 – Glenn Larabez can’t wait to go back to school. The 8-year-old usually attends second grade in his village in New Bataan in the province of Compostela Valley. As he speaks about the typhoon that destroyed his family’s home and stole away his pet bird, Alimokon, his voice becomes quiet, matching his tiny frame.
How can innovation improve access to quality learning?
NEW YORK, United States of America, 3 May 2013 – Last week, the Government of Denmark and UNICEF hosted the interactive discussion ‘Breaking barriers: Innovative partnerships creating exponential change in access to quality learning’. Moderated by journalist Femi Oke, the lively discussion brought together government representatives, leaders from the private sector, civil society and others to explore how innovations can surmount barriers for children in fulfilling their right to access to a quality education and, more importantly, quality learning.
Podcast #74: Young people provide strategic advice on education issues
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 April 2013 – Members of the Youth Advocacy Group (YAG) gathered last week in Washington, DC, to advise high-level policy-makers on issues around education. Over the next year, the young leaders will provide strategic advice on young people’s priorities, mobilize youth groups and act as a connector between the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) and young people all over the world.
Weekly boarding schools provide education and security for vulnerable children in Viet Nam
DIEN BIEN PROVINCE, Viet Nam, 16 April 2013 – At 6:30 a.m. in this remote, mountainous region of northern Viet Nam, the day has begun at the Tua Thang boarding school.
Activist Grace Akallo says stay steadfast and committed to bring peace through education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 10 April 2013 – Teaching children to make peace in the classroom, on the playground, at home and in their communities can have a lasting impact on children to live in a world free of violence and conflict, said Grace Akallo, activist, formerly associated with an armed group.
Early intervention and quality education to end violence against girls
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 March 2013 – On the eve of International Women’s Day, a panel of five experts representing academia, government, civil society and the United Nations called for an end to violence against girls through better and earlier monitoring and interventions, improved education systems, and a coordinated multi-sectoral response.
To school, not to the mines: Investing in primary education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
LIKASI, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 18 March 2013 – Every day, Aurelie and her brother carry water to the mine, a two-hour walk, to sell to the miners for a meagre income of some 100 francs (US$0.10) per glass.
In Pakistan, addressing the root causes of child labour
BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan, 18 March 2013 – Iqra Khalid, 13, dreams of becoming a teacher. “I would like to help those who cannot afford to go to school,” she says, with a bright smile.
Podcast #73: Girls advocate for girls' education and gender equality
NEW YORK, United States of America, 15 March 2013 – Three young women from quite different parts of the world, but with very similar goals, met at UNICEF House recently to talk about their passion for promoting girls’ rights.
Risk is inclusive: Young Armenians portray disaster risk reduction through film
GYUMRI, Armenia, 14 March 2013 – Margarita Sargsyan, 14, and her classmates at School #1 in Gyumri, the second biggest city of Armenia, are taking part in school lessons that might save their lives. They are learning about disaster risk reduction (DRR).
UNICEF Executive Director and President of UNICEF Executive Board visit youth programmes that strike at HIV/AIDS in Botswana - and beyond
GABORONE, Botswana, 5 March 2013 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and President of the UNICEF Executive Board, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations H.E. Mr. Jarmo Viinanen, are currently in Botswana to attend the global thematic consultation on health in the post-2015 development agenda.
Podcast #72: Khan Academy brings education to the wired masses
NEW YORK, 4 March 2013 – In 2004, hedge fund analyst Sal Khan started to make YouTube videos to help his younger cousin learn. Soon enough, Mr. Khan had developed a following, and, in 2009, he quit his job to start Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that produces free educational videos.
Podcast #71: Ahmad Alhendawi, newly appointed UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, on his new role
NEW YORK, 22 February 2013 – On 15 February 2013, the newly appointed Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, was sworn in at United Nations (UN) headquarters. A native of Jordan, the 29-year-old Alehndawi comes to this position with extensive experience working on youth issues at the local, regional and international level. On his second day in this new position, Mr. Alehndawi spoke with UNICEF’s podcast moderator Femi Oke about his role and the post-2015 development agenda.
In Kenya, educating nomadic pastoralist children with low-cost schools
TURKANA, Kenya, 20 February 2013 – Eight-year-old Peter Ekutan and his brother, 7-year-old Emanuel Lowar, had never been to school. They tended their father’s goats in a remote village in Turkana County, northwestern Kenya, unaware that other children were in class getting an education.
UNICEF officer shares the story of one young girl in Tartous, Syrian Arab Republic
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 February 2013 - During my recent mission to Tartous, where approximately 200,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, I went to assist with the distribution of family hygiene kits to affected families. Distribution was implemented by UNICEF’s local partner Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
Quick response to Cyclone Giovanna had 20,000 children back in the classroom in Madagascar
BRICKAVILLE, Madagascar, 13 February 2013 – Marie Helene is visiting the ruins of her former school. Among the rubble under the destroyed thatched roof, she points to where her desk used to be, before Cyclone Giovanna lashed the east coast of Madagascar and left more than 1,400 classrooms destroyed in Brickaville and Vatomandry districts.
Podcast #70: Towards education for all in Haiti
NEW YORK, United States of America, 15 February 2013 – Three years after the devastating earthquake of 2010, the education of children in Haiti has seen significant improvement. Many schools have been reconstructed, and more children are going to school now than before the earthquake.
Transforming the lives of children with disabilities through inclusive education
NEW YORK 14 February 2013—Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and excluded in the world. Their rights are often violated.
In remote, winter-blasted regions of Mongolia, inclusive education for children
KHUVSGUL, Mongolia, 13 February 2013 – The Khuvsgul region of northern Mongolia is a land of mountains, yurts, nomads and herds.
Three years after the devastating earthquake, a survey sheds light on the current status of children and women in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 14 January 2013 – For the first time since 2005–2006, Haiti has updated data on the situation of children and women, enabling analysis of the earthquake response and helping establish where and who the most vulnerable children are.
Syrian refugee children adjust to their new Lebanese schools
SIDON and BAALBECK, Lebanon, 8 January 2013 - Abdullah says that hygiene issues forced him to leave his country. At least, this version of his family’s flight is the one he prefers.
In Zimbabwe, the disability that prevents Munashe from using his hands proves no barrier to his education
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, 28 December 2012 – At King George IV School of the Disabled, 17-year-old Munashe Chikuvanyanga, a Form 1 student, is taking a final examination in mathematics.
The classroom offers a 13-year-old Somali refugee sanctuary from the rigours of life in Kenya's Dadaab camp
DADAAB, Kenya, 27 December 2012 – Hawa Osman, 13, never attended school until she arrived at what’s described as the world's largest refugee camp, here in northeast Kenya.
In Nepal, a conference on early childhood development advocates for an integrated approach to education
KATHMANDU, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, 13 December 2012 – A two-day national early childhood development (ECD) conference concluded in Kathmandu with a strong call from the 400 participants for increased investment for ECD, and for the establishment of a high-level national body for necessary coordination and convergence.
European Union donates portion of Nobel Peace Prize money to UNICEF's work educating children in conflict-affected Pakistan
NEW YORK, United States of America, 18 December 2012 - The European Union is donating part of its Nobel Peace Prize money to UNICEF’s work educating children in northwestern Pakistan.
Podcast #68: Musician Emmanuel Jal on his music, his work as a peace activist, and South Sudan
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 December 2012 – At the age of 7, Emmanuel Jal walked hundreds of miles in search of an education. Born in a war-torn area that is now part of South Sudan, he joined thousands of children who were told schools awaited them in Ethiopia.
In Ukraine, a city adapts to the needs of children with disabilities and opens new doors for them
VINNYTSYA, Ukraine, 4 December 2012 - Oleksandra (Sasha) Berehuta, 13, recently went to school for the first time.
Podcast #67: 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report calls for investment in developing young people's skills
NEW YORK, United States of America, 30 November 2012 – One in five young people aged 15 to 24 in 123 low- and middle-income countries has been left out of primary education and lacks skills for work. Of these people, the majority are young women.
In Gaza, children returning to school are scarred by violence
GAZA CITY, occupied Palestinian territory, 27 November 2012 – As schools reopen across Gaza, children have only one thing on their minds – the violence they have witnessed and cannot forget.
A school census has collected crucial data to help Somalia achieve quality education for all
HARGEISA/GAROWE, Somalia, 27 November 2012 - UNICEF and the Ministries of Education in Puntland and Somaliland have put education reform in the spotlight through the launch of the School Census Statistics Year Book 2011/2012.
Podcast #66: Promoting youth engagement in education and peace-building
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 November 2012 – Engaging young people in education policies and programmes is crucial to building peace and promoting social transformation, according to a global policy forum hosted by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) Policy Forum in Paris, France, last month.
In Haiti, library project opens doors - and minds
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 November 2012 – Sadrac Neolin, 13, lives in the most disadvantaged and dangerous slum in Port-au-Prince. The sounds of gunshots and police sirens in Cité Soleil have been a staple of his childhood. Like most of his neighbours, Sadrac has no running water or electricity.
At Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, UNICEF supports Syrian refugee families
AMMAN, Jordan, 7 November 2012 - As the canvas roof of her family’s tent flaps in the wind, Fatma* holds her son close, gently brushing dust from his face.
In Ethiopia, a community takes measures to protect girls from harmful practices including child marriage
BOSET WOREDA, Ethiopia, 24 October 2012 - A beautiful landscape surrounds the well-fenced and clean Borchota Primary School compound in Boset Woreda. The school has 168 female and 197 male students.
In Haiti, reuniting separated children with their families
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 October 2012 – Seven-year-old Mitchialine Innocent plays with her cousin in the courtyard of their home in Port-au-Prince. You wouldn’t be able to tell that, only a year ago, she was rescued, half-starved, from an ‘orphanage’, or residential care centre.
In Pakistan, UNICEF and partners provide essential services in area devastated by monsoon floodwaters
JACOBABAD DISTRICT, Pakistan, 19 October 2012 - Reshma is a cheerful first-grader with hopes and aspirations for her future. She makes beautiful dolls in her spare time.
In Nepal, celebration focuses on enabling girls to reach their potential
KATHMANDU, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, 18 October 2012 - On the occasion of the first International Day of the Girl Child, the global community focused its attention on the challenges girls face and promoted the empowerment of girls and the fulfillment of their rights.
In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic face new challenges
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 16 October 2012 - Ten-year-old Ahmed* and his family have come to Lebanon from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian Arab Republic. They fled their camp near Damascus when fighting intensified. One day, Ahmed’s 12-year-old sister Mona had stumbled across a bloody corpse close to their home.
In Azerbaijan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira meets with girl footballers to promote girls’ development through education and sport
BAKU, Azerbaijan, 15 October, 2012 – World-famous singer–songwriter and Goodwill Ambassador Shakira recently met with teenage footballers from a UNICEF-supported national girls’ football league. She encouraged the athletes to inspire their peers to grasp their future, including through continuing to seek an education.
UNICEF supports the Government of Haiti to bring free quality education to as many children as possible
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 9 October 2012 – Six-year-old Gloria Lincee is attending school for the first time this year.
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children continue education as first school opens at Za’atari refugee camp
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 8 October 2012 – “I’m very happy that school has started,” says Tabark, 12, who is in her fifth day of class at Za’atari refugee camp’s new emergency school. “I enjoy Arabic and writing the most. I would like to be an Arabic teacher.”
In India, village committees take on child marriage, convincing families to reject the age-old practice
MIRZAPUR, Uttar Pradesh, India, 8 October 2012 - Pratigya hears that Chandra Devi is planning to marry off her daughter Basanti. She picks up her shoulder bag and calls on Chandra Devi.
Podcast #64: On World Teachers' Day, UNICEF honours teachers and their role in shaping the future
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 October 2012 – 5 October is World Teachers’ Day. Each year, education and development organizations worldwide mobilize to honour the teaching profession and its essential role in providing quality education for future generations.
In the Central African Republic, parent-teachers provide basic education in conflict-affected area and beyond
OBO, Central African Republic, 3 October 2012 - Since 2009, when attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began in the area, the number of people fleeing their homes in and around the rural town of Obo, Central African Republic, has increased significantly.
Scholarships help Somali girls cross barriers to education
HARGEISA, Somalia, 2 October 2012 - For 14-year-old Filsan Faisal Ismail, who lives in Hargeisa district, Somaliland, a school degree would be a bridge to a brighter future.
United Nations Secretary-General launches global education initiative
NEW YORK, 26 September 2012 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a global education initiative designed to get every child into school.
Global leaders demand urgent action for education in emergencies
NEW YORK, 25 September 2012 - At a high-level meeting at UNICEF’s New York headquarters yesterday on delivering education in humanitarian environments and conflict-affected states, global leaders demanded urgent action to deliver quality education for children who live in countries scarred by war, conflict and other humanitarian emergencies.
Tennis champion Novak Djokovic visits kindergarten in Serbia
BELGRADE, Serbia, 20 September 2012 – Tennis champion and UNICEF Ambassador Novak Djokovic visited the Beneath the Linden Trees kindergarten in the village of Lesnica to raise awareness of the importance of investment in early childhood learning.
Ensuring Palestinian children the right to a quality education
YANOUN, occupied Palestinian territory, 18 September 2012—For many of the 1.2 million students living in the occupied Palestinian territory, returning to school last week was an enjoyable experience. But for students living in Yanoun, a village in the northern West Bank, returning to class was stressful.
Amidst talk of relocation, internally displaced children express themselves through recreational activities
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 September 2012 - “Where we will be taken?” “Where are they going to put us?” “What will happen to us?” Such are the concerns of internally displaced persons housed in schools in the Syrian Arab Republic. As the school year approaches, rumours have spread that the families will be moved.
Podcast #62: Inspiring children to dream, through play
NEW YORK, United States of America, 6 September 2012 – Two years ago, when big blue blocks made of moulded foam appeared at Burling Slip in New York City, parents and children from the neighbourhood rushed to try out the unusual playground. The blocks were lightweight and easy to move around. Children immediately started using them to form shapes, build different structures and create entire new environments of their own.
Partnership opens new doors for preschoolers in rural Georgia
KHASHURI, Georgia, 4 September 2012 - The kindergarten in Tezeri village, in the Khashuri district of Georgia, may seem like any kindergarten, anywhere in the world. A dozen children, 3 to 5 years old, play with plastic building blocks, piece together puzzles and draw pictures. Encouraged by their teacher, some proudly recite traditional nursery tales.
With cholera cases on the increase worldwide, UNICEF develops a 'Cholera Toolkit'
NEW YORK, United States of America, 24 August 2012 - Cholera is a significant public health priority currently making headlines, including The New York Times article of 22 August ‘Cholera Epidemic Envelops Coastal Slums in West Africa’.
Summer school at a refugee camp for Syrians in Iraq gives children a sense of stability
DOHUK, Iraq, 22 August 2012- The first thing that strikes you as you walk into the Domiz refugee camp is the number of children – running, playing or just sitting by their tents. When I mention this to the local camp administrator, he tells me that almost all the Syrian refugee families that have been registered here are young; no family members are over 50.
Syrian refugees struggle to adapt to new surroundings in Za’atari camp
ZA'ATARI, Jordan, 17 August - The number of Syrian refugees crossing to Jordan is rising. To date, more than 7,000 people live in the tented Za’atari camp in Mafraq, north of Jordan. They are battered with frequent sand storms, hot weather and lack of natural shade.
Child Friendly Spaces Restore Normalcy in Syrian Children’s Lives
HERMEL, Lebanon, 20 July 2012 – 13-year-old Hiba* has a determination rarely seen in a child of that age. “I want to go back home, I loved it back there in Syria,” she says. “For now, I want to do French classes here to be able to go to school. I have lost one year. I do not want to lose another one.” Her classroom in Syria was destroyed by a bomb, an act she witnessed, but she remains strong and looks to the future. “This is all I wish for - to go back to school.”
In Benin, a 17-year-old girl pays a heavy price for not being registered at birth
COTONOU, Benin, 31 July 2012 – Since January 2011, 17-year-old Irene Godonou A. has been an apprentice at a sewing programme in Agblangandan, located a half-hour’s drive from Cotonou.
UNICEF helps children affected by armed conflict in North Kivu, in DR Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 30 July 2012 – “In the centre, I learn how to knit gloves and make baskets. I love to participate in the discussion groups here,” said Zele Flora, 15. Since she arrived in Mugunga, a site for internally displaced persons (IDPs), last April, she has frequented one of the child-friendly spaces (CFS) that UNICEF and its partner AVSI established in order to give children affected by conflict a place where they can be what they are: children, who play, learn and hope.
Teaching the principles of good hygiene to school children
KATSINA STATE, Nigeria, 30 July 2012 – Nigeria has a vast coastline and river tributaries that irrigate the south, yet insufficient access to clean water contributes to millions of deaths every year. One in seven children will die in Nigeria before they reach the age of 5, many of them from waterborne illnesses.
In Lebanon, summer camp offers safety, education and care for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children
BEQAA VALLEY, Syria, 27 July 2012 – “Why [do] all beautiful things have an end?” said 8-year-old Chadi* at the end of a five-week summer camp for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children. “I was so happy here; I played, learned and made so many friends.” The camp, organized by UNICEF and the Lebanese nongovernmental organization IQRA’ Association, offered a safe place for these children to learn, play and receive psychosocial support.
Aid for children abducted and exploited by armed groups in the Central African Republic
OBO, Central African Republic, 25 July 2012 – “I was at home asleep with my mother, brothers and sisters. In the night some men came with weapons and torches. They took me and two other children away from my family and many others from our village,” said Sophie*, recalling her abduction and enslavement by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic.
The Barrier makes getting to school a daily ordeal for children in Abu Dis, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 July 2012 – Karimeh Khatib wakes up every morning at 6 a.m., worried about her journey to work. She had been a teacher at the Comboni Convent pre-school centre in East Jerusalem for 20 years when, two years ago, her commute to school turned from a simple 10-minute walk to a daily trial involving escorting 4- and 5-year-olds through an Israeli-controlled checkpoint, with a bus ride at either end.
Ambitious UK aid plan delivers strong, measurable results for the world's poorest
NEW YORK, USA, 20 July 2012 – More than 12 million children have been vaccinated against preventable diseases, 6 million people have received emergency food assistance, and 5.3 million children have secured schooling. These are among more than a dozen achievements made by UNICEF’s long-time partner, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), over the last two years.
One year after the declaration of famine, Somalia sees signs of progress
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 18 July 2012 – Dressed in helmets and body armour, UNICEF Emergency Specialist Maulid Warfa takes an armed convoy through Mogadishu, passing through the strategic K4 crossroads.
In Ethiopia's refugee camps, life-saving assistance for Somali arrivals
DOLLO ADO, Ethiopia, 20 July 2012 – Mariami Ibrahim raised her hand in protest. “Never,” she declared when asked if she plans to return to Somalia.Ms. Ibrahim arrived in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, near the borders of Somalia and Kenya, twelve months ago, following a harrowing trek from her home near Baidoa, Somalia.
UNICEF celebrates tenth anniversary of ‘Football for Life’
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, 18 July 2012 – Hundreds of children and adolescents participated in the tenth anniversary of ‘Football for Life’ in Honduras. This programme, supported by the Central District Municipality Mayor’s Office and UNICEF, has provided access to sport, education and health care to more than 40,000 children in the most vulnerable neighbourhoods of the capital over the last decade.
In India, women-led self-help groups empower women and improve health
VALSAD, Gujarat, 16 July 2012 – Twenty-two-year-old Sharuben Kurkutiya feared her family would not be able to save the money needed to have her first child delivered at the local hospital in her remote village of Ozharaifaliya in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
In Georgia, a quiet revolution in pre-school education
KUTAISI, Georgia, 16 July 2012 – Kindergarten No. 17 in Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, seems at first glance like a typical Soviet-era establishment: large, imposing and utilitarian, surrounded by run-down apartment blocks.
In north-western Pakistan, UNICEF provides safety and education for displaced children
Jalozai Camp, Pakistan, 17 July 2012 – Safia Bibi, 11, recalls the day her house in Khyber Agency was riddled with mortar shells and bullets.
Day care opens up the world for children with disabilites in Georgia
TBILISI, Georgia, 17 July 2012 – It is play time at the First Step Georgia day care centre for children with disabilities. There, about a dozen children of different ages choose games or activities while teachers keep a watchful eye over them. Some race around on tricycles or wheelchairs, some play with toys, while others simply sit or lie silently, lost in their own thoughts.
Locally sourced teaching aids are engaging students and improving education
NJOMBE REGION, Tanzania, 11 July 2012 – “Previously, we didn’t use as many classroom aids like we do today,” said 12-year-old Hekima. “These days, teachers conduct lessons using aids, and you get to understand things better. We also get the chance to make these tools ourselves, which increases our skills and memory.”
In Myanmar, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan visits children affected by human trafficking
YANGON, Myanmar, 11 July 2012 – 12-year-old Zaw* is a boy trying to build a future. Life has not always been kind to Zaw, who was trafficked as a young child to Malaysia and then forced to beg in the streets.
In Zimbabwe, the Education Transition Fund is rewriting Zimbabwe’s education system
Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 July 2012 – Using a machine resembling a typewriter, 15-year-old Kubulani Mbusa creates an embossed pattern on a white page. “This is my name,” he said proudly.
UNICEF supports efforts to eradicate child marriage in Niger
MARADI, Niger, 12 July 2012 – In the small village of Madarounfa, in eastern Niger, Sani Barmo, 81, and his second wife Hadisa Abdou, 40, were preparing for their daughter Zahara’s wedding. She is 12 and a half years old.
Student penpals in Afghanistan and Japan share hope amid hardship
FUKUSHIMA, Japan/KABUL, Afghanistan, 6 July 2012 – Sara's dream of seeing Yuka has finally come true. The two teenagers were great friends although they had never actually met.
UNICEF-supported summer camps are helping Syrian and Lebanese children integrate into public schools in Lebanon
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 6 July 2012 – “I was here at seven this morning because I did not want to be late for class,” said 8-year-old Razan*, looking up from her drawing book. “Here we get to read stories and learn new words, and sing and dance.”
Summer camps help Syrian refugee children recovery, regain missed education
AMMAN, Jordan, 5 July 2012 – At a large primary school on the outskirts of the capital Amman, 11-year-old Basma* and her 7-year-old sister are among around 180 children, most of them Syrian refugees, taking part in a summer camp.
Namibia launches agenda with special emphasis on children living with disabilities
WINDHOEK, Namibia, 5 July 2012 – This year’s Day of the African Child was commemorated under the theme ‘The Rights of the Children with disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfil’. The event served as a platform to launch Namibia’s National Agenda for Children (2012-2016), a document demonstrating and articulating the country’s commitment to the rights of its children.
UNICEF-constructed schools are inaugurated in earthquake-affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
GARI HABIBULLAH, Pakistan, 22 June 2012 – Eleven-year-old Khadija Riaz recalls the earthquake that devastated north-western Pakistan in 2005. She was then a second grade student in the mosque school of Paksayr Village, not far from the town of Gari Habibullah in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Podcast #60: Day of the African Child draws attention to children living with disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 14 June 2012 –The Day of the African Child commemorates the day in 1976 when hundreds of black schoolchildren were killed in Soweto, South Africa, as they took to the streets to protest against an inferior education system and to advocate for the right to be taught in their own language.
In Afghanistan, UNICEF and the Government of Japan support the construction of child-friendly schools
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan, 14 June 2012 – It’s a long walk down a steep hill for 37-year-old Abdullah and his three daughters as they head to the local mosque that doubles as a make-shift school.
Executive Board reviews efforts to promote gender equality
NEW YORK, USA, 6 June 2012 – On the second day of its 2012 Annual Session, the UNICEF Executive Board reviewed recent efforts to promote gender equality through all of UNICEF’s humanitarian and development programmes.
Podcast #59: Games that improve education and bring social change
NEW YORK, USA, 1 June 2012 – Since their invention in the late 1940s, electronic games have been an integral part of our culture. But recently, games have been doing a lot more than just entertaining: They promote health, education and human rights, and bring about social change, among other things.
As strikes grip Nepal, children demonstrate against efforts to close schools
BIRATNAGAR, Nepal, 25 May 2012 – About 250 children in their school uniforms marched noisily around the central market in Biratnagar, in eastern Nepal, behind a banner proclaiming ‘Allow us to study’.
In Bangladesh, early childhood education is a strategic investment for the future
NEW YORK, USA, 24 May 2012 – Five-year-old Shawpona lives in a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In this overcrowded urban community, row after row of straw and iron shacks are squeezed tightly together. Living conditions are difficult.
Immunization and education for Malian refugees in Mauritania
M’BERA, Mauritania, 23 May 2012 – Conflict in Mali has displaced hundreds of thousands. Around 64,000 Malian refugees, including 39,000 children, are now living in a refugee camp at M’Bera in the far south-eastern corner of Mauritania. The camp is now the largest settlement in the district, three times larger than the capital Bassikunou.
In Sri Lanka, child-friendly schools transform communities
TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, 21 May 2012 – My name is Sivatheepan Kajanika. I study in Grade 5 at Nilaveli Tamil Mixed School in Trincomalee District. I wake up early each morning happy because I know I’m going to school. In 2008, I didn’t like to go to school. I wasn’t happy with the way of teaching. The teachers weren’t friendly. Because of this, I hated studying.
Countries learn from Nepal's 'Schools as Zones of Peace' programme
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 16 May 2012 – Participants from five countries and various ministries and international NGOs gathered in Nepal last week to learn about the ‘Schools as Zones of Peace’ (SZOP) programme.
Seam Zone keeps Palestinian children in limbo, disrupting education
AL SEEFER, Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 16 May 2012 – Every morning at dawn, Khalil* wakes up and hurries to class. While his school is a mere 15-minute walk from his house, the 14-year-old boy has no idea how long it will take him to get there. The Israeli-manned Beit Yatir checkpoint, which stands between his house and Imneizil School, can turn the 15-minute walk into an hour-long wait.
Partnership helps restore public services in rural Sri Lanka
TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, 15 May 2012 – It’s the morning rounds of the village mothers’ support group. Today, they’re visiting one of the poorest families in this remote village in eastern Sri Lanka.
FC Barcelona and UNICEF strengthen their shared commitment to children's sports and education
BARCELONA, Spain, 11 May 2012 – In an event held yesterday at Camp Nou, the stadium of legendary football team FC Barcelona (FCB), the FC Barcelona Foundation and UNICEF reaffirmed their promise to work together to improve the lives of millions of children through sports and education.
In southern Turkey, Syrian refugee children are caught between a harrowing past and an uncertain future
HATAY, Turkey, 10 May 2012 – In a quiet house outside Antakya in southern Turkey, parents fleeing 14 months of violence in Syria have set up a makeshift school for their children. The sounds of lessons in maths, English, Turkish and the Koran ring through the living rooms and bedrooms, and the garden has become a lively playground.
Saudi Fund for Development and UNICEF revive education in the Swat Valley
NAWAY KALAY, Swat Valley, Pakistan, 9 May 2012 – Students of the Naway Kalay Government Boys’ School wore crisp uniforms and carried shiny blue school bags. Their faces glowed with excitement at meeting the special guests who were coming to their school.
Podcast #58: Mia Farrow on visiting the crisis-afflicted Sahel region
NEW YORK, USA, 3 May 2012 – Poor harvests, drought and high food prices, combined with increasing insecurity, have pushed the Sahel region into a malnutrition crisis. Some 15 million people in the region are directly affected, including over one million children under age 5 who are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition, this year.
Podcast #57: Pau Gasol on making early childhood a priority
NEW YORK, USA, 27 April 2012 – Sixty-four years ago, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, education was declared a basic human right for everyone, no matter their circumstances, gender, location, religion, language, ethnicity or socio-economic background. Yet, according to UNESCO, 67 million children of primary school age are out of school and being denied the opportunity to fully reach their potential.
In Guinea, UNICEF supports an innovative school programme for children in conflict-affected communities
CONAKRY, Guinea, 26 April 2012 – At a new school in the town of Pamelap, students are benefiting from the ‘Learning Along Borders’ project.
In South Sudan, sanitation and hygiene education helps fight disease
TORIT, South Sudan, 25 April 2012 – After sweeping the yard, washing up the latrine, and taking out the garbage, 12-year-old Klementina Arakajilo joined the rest of her family for a break. As they chatted, Klementina shared important messages about hygiene and health.
Podcast #56: Global Action Week promotes early childhood education
NEW YORK, USA, 23 April 2012 – Every year, more than 200 million children under age 5 are not able to reach their full potential in cognitive development potential due to poverty, conflict, malnutrition, inadequate care and lack of educational opportunities.
Youth advocates help enrol of out-of-school children in Pakistan
LAHORE, Pakistan, 17 April 2012 – Walking through the narrow streets of Ahmedabad, an urban slum on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan, 22-year-old Syed Mohsin Raza saw a barefoot school-aged girl playing outside her house.
In Chad, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow meets with refugees from Darfur waiting to go home
GOZ BEIDA, Chad, 4 April 2012 – “There were strangers that came,” said Aisha Mahamat, speaking slowly as if reliving the ordeal. “They raped women and killed men. They attacked all of the small villages around Tandusa, and the people fled, and they came to Tandusa for protection because it was the biggest village in the area. But the strangers found out they were there and they attacked. They burned down the whole village.”
In DR Congo, a UNICEF programme is empowering communities to improve water and sanitation
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 23 March 2012 – Years of civil war have limited progress in improving health and sanitation services throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Today, half the population of 66 million still has no access to clean water sources, and one out of every five children under age 5 suffers from persistent diarrhoea.
In Mexico City, community centres provide learning opportunities for indigenous children
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 23 March 2012 – The journey to the hospital begins early for 13-year-old Lucía Argüelles.
UNICEF Executive Board visits Fiji and Solomon Islands, assessing UNICEF's work in the Pacific Islands
GIZO, Solomon Islands, 22 March 2012 – The white sand beaches and emerald green waters of Solomon Islands offer the perfect setting for a holiday – but the islanders who live here are freighted with worries.
Podcast #55: What does achieving the MDG target on water mean for schoolchildren?
NEW YORK, USA, 21 March – UNICEF and the World Health Organization recently announced that the world had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, well ahead of the 2015 deadline.
In post-flood Philippines, UNICEF provides crucial help on the ground
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines, 20 March 2012 – Twelve-year-old Hannah Monsalan lives in Mandulog, one of the villages worst-hit by the flash floods that swept through northern Mindanao in December, following Tropical Storm Washi. The equivalent of one month’s rain fell overnight, swelling the Mandulog river to a destructive torrent, which crushed hundreds of families’ homes.
After storm and floods in the Philippines, school helps children return to normalcy
ILIGAN, Philippines, 16 March 2012 – Ten-year-old Joy Crizelle lives with her grandfather, sister, two aunts and uncles, and a nephew in a small one-room hut at an evacuation centre in Barangay Mandulog, in Iligan. Their village was one of the worst affected by the flash floods that followed Tropical Storm Washi in December.
In post-flood Pakistan, temporary learning centres offer education amid uncertainty
NAUKOT, Pakistan, 15 March 2012 – On a lonely roadside in Naukot, Sindh Province, is a small collection of shabby tents. Many of them are makeshift constructions, plastic sheets covered in clothing, barely large enough to accommodate an adult standing upright. But for 10-year-old Laxmi and her family, one of these tents is home.
Children living in Nairobi's informal settlements lack access to basic services and opportunities
NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 March 2012 – As his peers in Korogocho, an informal settlement in Nairobi, leave for school, 15-year-old John Kinuthia sets off too. But instead of heading to school, he walks half a kilometre to the city’s largest dumpsite to eke out a living.
UNICEF partners with the Malaysian Government to address child poverty
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 14 November 2011 – Since mid-2010, 14-year-old Esther Vishvani has lived with her parents and three siblings in a rented low-cost flat in Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the 1,896 units in the complex, a high-rise project that is part of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government’s initiative to provide low-cost housing for households with a monthly income of less than $478. The family moved there after they lost their previous low-cost flat to foreclosure.
Transforming lives of marginalized girls through new information and communication technologies
NEW YORK, US, 9 March 2012 – How can researchers and aid organizations use technology to make the voices of the most marginalized girls heard? How can adolescent girls in the hardest-to-reach rural communities use mobile phones and the Internet to gain critical life skills?
In Benin, help for women confronting HIV and stigma
ABOMEY, Benin, 8 March 2012 – “Shh! Please, there should be no mention of 'it' in the street,” said 20-year-old Leonie Sossou* as she led visitors to her home.
Helping children living and working on the streets in Thailand
CHIANG MAI, Thailand, 5 March 2012 – Poon* left home more than a year ago, escaping an abusive mother. She was an alcoholic, he said, and he thought life on the streets of Chiang Mai would be preferable to her regular beatings.
Podcast #54: What does it take to educate a girl?
NEW YORK, USA, 5 March 2012 - Significant progress has been made towards providing education for all, yet according to UNESCO an estimated 67 million children still remain out of school – and over half of them are girls.
Reaching the vulnerable Ik community of Uganda’s Karamoja Region
KARAMOJA REGION, Uganda, 5 March 2012 – Magdalena, 12, is eager to go to school. She dreams of becoming a nurse or a doctor one day, to serve her people when she grows up.
New UNICEF-constructed school meets needs of flood-affected children
MUZAFFARGARH, Punjab, 2 March 2012 – The entire community of the small village of Peer Dargai Shah, in the Muzaffargarh District of southern Punjab, turned up to celebrate a special occasion. The new primary school, built with funding from UNICEF and the Government of the Netherlands, was being inaugurated.
Rural adolescent girls call for their voices to be heard at side event of the Commission on the Status of Women
NEW YORK, USA, 1 March 2012 – The 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women takes place in New York this week. To mark the event, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), in partnership with UN Women, UNICEF and Plan International, hosted a side event today, bringing together adolescent girl delegates and key UN representatives to discuss the complex realities and challenges facing rural girls.
Rural adolescent girls call for their voices to be heard at Commission on the Status of Women side event in New York
UNICEF and partners support victims of inter-communal conflict in Jonglei, South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 1 March 2012 – It was an ecstatic scene as Nora Wacha, a 20-year-old woman who had been abducted during the recent fighting between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, was reunited with her family in Pibor.
Podcast #53: Ensuring children’s right to education in rapidly growing urban areas
NEW YORK, USA, 1 March 2012 – More than one billion children live in urban areas according to UNICEF’s flagship report, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World’.
UNICEF and partners promote girls' education in Darfur, Sudan
NYALA, South Darfur, Sudan, 29 February 2012 – No one quite knows how Qud al Haboob elementary school got its name. From its location, on the dusty outskirts of Darfur’s largest town, Nyala, one may surmise it refers to the blinding haboob dust-storms that sweep periodically across much of Sudan.
Connecting Classrooms youth advocates meet Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
MONROVIA, Liberia, and New York, USA, 28 February 2012 – When Benkie and Moses, both 18, joined the Connecting Classrooms programme in Liberia, they had no idea that they would soon meet the President of their country.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Berliner Philharmoniker gives the gift of music to Haitian schools
PORT-AU-PRINCE/JACMEL, Haiti, 23 February 2012 – While the UNICEF truck was being unloaded, dozens of heads peered through the narrow windows of the classrooms. The students from Vision Nouvelle School – which was reconstructed by UNICEF after the 2010 earthquake – were curious about the musical instruments slowly emerging from the truck.
Girl wins International Children’s Peace Prize for promoting the rights of children with disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 22 February 2012 – Seventeen-year-old Michaela ‘Chaeli’ Mycroft was recently awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for her work promoting the rights of children with disabilities in South Africa.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, improving rural lives with essential services
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 16 February 2012 – Rasema lives with her husband and two boys, aged 3 and 6, in the rural community of Gornja Tuzla, some 10 km from the industrial town of Tuzla.
Podcast #52: Education is key to peace and social development
NEW YORK, USA, 9 February 2012 – Currently, more than 1.5 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected states. Children living among armed conflict are subject to violence, deprived of basic needs and robbed of developmental opportunities.
Improving water and sanitation in Haiti’s schools
PORT-AU –PRINCE, Haiti, 7 February 2012 – Eighteen-year-old Yves Nolly Lindor is teaching students at Pétion-ville National School about the importance of improved sanitation.
Food shortages force children to drop out of school in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 6 February 2012 – The effect of food insecurity on children’s health is obvious; children, particularly those under age 5, are vulnerable to life-threatening malnutrition.
In Uzbekistan, child-friendly preschools are engaging children and improving education
BUKHARA, Uzbekistan, 2 February 2012 – In Bukhara, southern Uzbekistan, music and laughter drifted across Preschool Number 11.
Field diary: In Sudan, a long wait for the journey home to South Sudan
KOSTI, Sudan, 1 February 2012 – A raggedy doll is all that 18-year-old Sabina Saisa has left to remind her of her best friend, Jacqueline.
UNICEF helps Rwandan community build back after devastating earthquake
RUSIZI DISTRICT, Rwanda, 31 January 2012 – One Sunday morning three years ago, a devastating earthquake ripped through Rusizi and Nyamasheke, two of Rwanda’s south-western districts, injuring 643 and killing 36.
Podcast #51: An innovative program provides media training for youth in Haiti
NEW YORK, 30 January, 2012 – With 43 per cent of its people under 18 years old, Haiti has one of the youngest populations in the world. Yet the country’s young people continue to suffer from a lack of opportunities and remain vulnerable in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
In Yemen, day care centres offer safe haven and education to Somali refugee children
ADEN, Yemen, 30 January 2012 – The voice of Miryam Mohammed, a 10-year-old Somali girl, echoed around the small rooms of her day care centre. She and the other children are singing the Somali national anthem.
After flooding in the Philippines, teachers help students recover and resume studies
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines, 25 January 2012 – In City Central School, in Cagayan de Oro City, two teachers recently held their first day of classes since the devastating floods that swept through their community – even as their own futures looks uncertain.
In post-quake Haiti, early childhood development aids recovery
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 January 2012 – It might look like simple fun, but the dominos, colouring pencils, construction blocks, hand puppets, puzzle pieces and memory games in Jean Pierre’s school are about more than just a good time.
UNICEF and EU-supported training for teachers boosts education quality in Angola
LUANDA, Angola, 17 January 2012 – Just off the main road, next to the ruins of a whitewashed chapel, a jacaranda tree is in bloom. Beneath the petals, children sit on brightly coloured plastic chairs, watching their teacher attentively. Lucrecia Agostinho draws apples and oranges to illustrate an arithmetic problem on a blackboard.
Prioritizing education and promoting gender equality in South Sudan
WESTERN EQUATORIA, South Sudan, 17 January 2012 – Education is a key priority for the government of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.
Improving schools for children with disabilities in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 17 January 2012 – Five years ago, students with disabilities at Murama, a child-friendly school in Rwanda’s southern Bugasera District, felt isolated from their classmates, unable to participate in even a simple game of hide-and-seek or football. Today, thanks to a better understanding of their special needs, this has changed.
A brighter future for Rwanda’s girls
KIGALI, Rwanda, 16 January 2012 – On the outskirts of Rwanda’s capital, a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school is helping to transform the way girls access education.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake lauds the role of women and children during Nepal visit
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 13 January 2012 – On his first visit to Nepal, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake lauded the role played by Nepalese women and children in trying to better their lives.
Over 1.2 million Libyan children return to school after months of conflict
TRIPOLI, Libya, 13 January 2012 – On 7 January, nearly a year after conflict broke out in Libya, more than 1.2 million children returned to school, many for the first time in many months.
At Bangladesh drop-in centre, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake visits a bank operated by vulnerable girls
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 11 January 2012 – Masuda, 10, eagerly greeted UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake at the gate of a five-story drop-in-centre, a safe haven for girls living and working on the streets of Dhaka.
Somalia’s refugees return home to rebuild the country’s education system
SOMALILAND, Somalia, 10 January 2012 – Ali Abdullah stands at the front of the class asking students their ages, how long they take to walk to school, whether they are orphans, and whether any have learning or development needs.
Taleem-ul-Amal project helps child labourers obtain an education in Pakistan
SIALKOT, Pakistan, 10 January 2012 – Sadness fills the eyes of 12-year-old Chand Khushi Mohammad as he recalls walking the streets, collecting garbage, near Sialkot, a city known for sporting goods manufacturing, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
UNICEF launches Schools for Asia to improve education for millions
NEW YORK, USA, 10 January 2012 – UNICEF is launching Schools for Asia today, an international fundraising initiative to improve the access and quality of education for disadvantaged children living across Asia and the Pacific.
UNICEF plans to expand innovative pre-school programme
NEW YORK, USA, 9 January 2012 – A quality education is the cornerstone of every child’s rights, yet across the developing world millions of children’s futures are stunted because they don’t have the opportunity to learn.
In Ghana, accelerated, flexible learning through 'School for Life' helps children go to school
TAMPION, Ghana, 6 January 2012 – Amama Abdullai was the first girl in her family to walk into a classroom, sit at a wooden bench and learn the alphabet.
Thanks to supporters, the Schools for Africa programme is reaching millions
NEW YORK, USA, 5 January 2012 – As the 2012 begins, UNICEF reflects on its past challenges and successes, including those faced by the Schools for Africa initiative.
UNICEF education staff look back at a year of challenges and inspiration
NEW YORK, USA, 5 January 2012 – UNICEF education staff around the globe share the most inspiring moments they experienced in 2011, events that that reminded them why they chose their professions. Below is a selection of their stories. More stories can be found here.
UNICEF helps young people address and prevent sexual violence in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 4 January 2012 – Despite increasing stability in many areas, violence still prevails in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Civilian populations continue to endure frequent small-scale attacks by armed groups and armed forces.
Accelerated learning offers disadvantaged children in Mali a chance to go to school
BAMAKO, Mali, 4 January 2012 – “My dream is to become a doctor, to treat children in difficult circumstances,” said Assan Coulibaly, 10. Her father passed away, and she now lives with her mother, who gets by with the income from a small business. Assan has three sisters and a brother. Helping at home has meant missing the opportunity to be enrolled in school.
Vulnerable children struggle to cope with the aftermath of floods in Pakistan
BENAZIRABAD DISTRICT, Pakistan – 29 December 2011 – In the Quaid-e-Awam relief camp, 11-year-old Tariq Ali’s eyes are rimmed with shadows.
Podcast #50: Significant progress seen in education in 2011
NEW YORK, USA, 28 December 2011 – In 2011, significant strides were made in improving the education of children around the world: More children are now enrolled in primary schools than ever before. Still, in spite of remarkable progress, civil unrest and natural disasters have slowed down improvements in affected areas.
UNICEF Ambassador Novak Djokovic marks holiday season by supporting children
NEW YORK, USA, 21 December 2011 – World number-one ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic continues to serve up aces for children. The UNICEF National Ambassador to Serbia marked the holiday season by lending his voice and financial support for vulnerable children both in his native Serbia and around the world.
Educating children with disabilities in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 19 December 2011 – “‘Dream on.’ That was how everyone responded to our ideas in those days,” says Fatou Sidibé, head of the Division for Special Education at the Ministry of Education in Niger. “No one could figure out how to create specialized educational services for children with disabilities.”
In Kenya, school offers meals, shelter, education and hope
TURKANA District, Kenya, 16 December 2011 – Gabriel Ekalale, the head teacher of Napuu Primary School in the north-western Turkana District, proudly displays the certificates and awards his school has received. There is one for ‘most disciplined school’, another celebrating the school’s achievements in national exams, and many more for participation in culture, music, tourism and environmental activities.
A child-centred approach to learning in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 15 December 2011 – It was one of the noisiest games of the session. As a team, a group of adolescents raced to guide a long metal rod – supported by just their extended index fingers – down to the ground without dropping it. It was a test of concentration and co-operation, and it was the highlight of the morning at this UNICEF-supported team-building camp at Tashkent’s School No. 66.
In Zimbabwe, school grants provide equal learning opportunities to girls
BULILIMA, Zimbabwe, 7 December 2011 – After completing the fourth grade at the top of her class, 13-year-old Ellen Mbedzi was forced to drop out of Mafeha Primary School in Bulilima, a district in south-western Zimbabwe. Her unemployed father did not see the value of spending the family’s limited resources on a girl.
First inclusive film festival on child rights unveiled in Croatia
RIJEKA, Croatia, 2 December 2011 - For the first time in Croatia, visually and hearing-impaired children enjoyed screenings of more than 30 movies mostly produced for and by kids during a recent UNICEF-supported Child Rights Film Festival “Cinequity”.
Mobile school is the answer to a Turkana girl’s prayers
TURKANA COUNTY, Kenya, 5 December 2011 – Rebecca Ekusi remembers what life was like before she came to Kalokutanyang Mobile School. In those days, she spent her days tending her family’s goats as they grazed in the vast, semi-arid expanse of Turkana, north-western Kenya.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira promotes girls' education in India
UDAIPUR, Rajasthan – 21 November 2011 - Their worlds could hardly be more different – Shakira, the pop superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, 34, independent, sassy, a household name – used to the glitz and glamour of the world stage. And a group of poor, young Rajasthani girls – four of them already married off before they turned 11; all of them the first females in their families ever to be educated.
Podcast #49: On the anniversary of the CRC, children’s right to education remains a challenge
NEW YORK, USA, 21 November, 2011 – This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ratified by 193 states, the Convention has gained wide support worldwide and transformed the way children are treated around the globe. Yet children’s right to education as a fundamental human right remains a challenge – especially for those living in conflict areas.
Zimbabwe’s successful Education Transition Fund enters second phase
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 18 November 2011 –Following the successful distribution of 15 million textbooks countrywide, the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, UNICEF and the international donor community, will distribute an additional seven million textbooks to all 2,345 secondary schools while simultaneously launching the second phase of the Education Transition Fund.
In Haiti, art is helping children cope with life-changing situations
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 16 November 2011 – “We stand up and life goes on come join us in our celebration of life.” a chorus of Haitian voices sings. “We are singing this song to invite children to join us and have fun,” explained Bertrand Labarre, Executive and Artistic Director at Haiti en Scene. This UNICEF partner NGO specializes in using art to help children express their feelings and thoughts, reinforcing their resilience and facilitating their healthy psychosocial development.
Techno Girl programme teaches essential skills to young South African females
GAUTENG, South Africa, 15 November 2011 - South Africa has a shortage of skills in science, technology and engineering. But surprisingly, the country’s girls have not been encouraged to pursue these traditionally male-dominated subjects, and often perform poorly in these fields when compared with boys. This contributes to reducing career opportunities – and earning potential – that girls would otherwise enjoy. But a dynamic programme called Techno Girl is set to turn this around.
Early Childhood Development providing a better start for South African children
CAPETOWN, South Africa, 14 November 2011 - The day begins early for Lindiwe Lindiwe, a 21-year-old mother of two. Before the sun has broken over the horizon, she has already started cooking the porridge for two-year-old Vuyelwa while she also feeds and dresses four-week-old Siya. Once the two girls are dressed and ready, she walks ten minutes up the hill to the Imizamo’yethu Day Care Centre.
UNICEF-supported initiative aims to make girls’ education a priority in Kenya
TURKANA DISTRICT, Kenya, 11 November 2011- Lowa Lokopu, lost her husband four years ago after he fell ill. Forced to take up the responsibility of running a family alone, she struggles to provide for her five children.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake meets with Brazilian youth and addresses their concerns
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, 9 November 2011- “Listening to the challenges you face as adolescents, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that you, the adolescents, are the ones most able to find new solutions," said UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake as he addressed a gathering of young people during a recent four-day visit to Brazil, which focused on the promotion of children’s rights through sport and ways in which Brazilian youth are currently empowering themselves in order to meet the growing needs of their communities.
Disaster Risk Reduction training helps build a culture of safety in Kyrgyzstan
CHENGEN, Kyrgystan, 9 November 2011 - In the village of Chengen in southern Kyrgyzstan, the sights and sounds of the continuing clean-up are everywhere. Less than two weeks after a massive mudslide ripped through here, claiming scores of homes, the memory of it is still intensely painful for 10-year-old Ruslan Omurbaev and his three brothers and sisters.
Donors pledge more than US$1.5 billion to Global Partnership for Education
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 9 November 2011 - Leading donors at the first-ever Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Pledging Conference promised an initial US$1.5 billion over the next three years to put millions more children in school.
Ensuring quality education for children with disabilities in Cambodia
PREY VENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 4 November 2011 – Soun Vanna, 13, sits quietly amongst her classmates while she completes the morning’s assignment. Partially deaf, Vanna receives support and encouragement from her teachers at Wath Prasat School, attending classes like any other child her age.
Podcast #48: Discussing the importance of achieving universal quality education for all children
NEW YORK, 4 November, 2011- In Copenhagen, Denmark, representatives from governments, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society will gather to take part in a conference in support of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
As the Presidential Elections loom, change may soon come to DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 3 November 2011- With the official campaign for the second Presidential Elections in Congo’s history underway, the Democratic Republic of Congo may be on the verge of a major change.
UNICEF aims to ensure all children in Côte d’Ivoire receive an education
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 3 November 2011 – Despite the official reopening of schools in Côte d’Ivoire for 2.5 million primary school children, the recent crisis in the aftermath of the presidential elections has slowed down the economy, leaving a majority of the nation’s families unsure whether they’ll have the means to cover all the miscellaneous school fees.
Angola social services struggle to keep pace with swelling population
LUANDA, Angola, 31 October 2011 – Today, as the world welcomes its 7 billionth person, Angola is straining to address the needs of its rapidly expanding population.
UNICEF education initiative provides support to thousands of Zimbabwean children
ZAKA, Zimbabwe, 28 October 2011 – “My mother was buried among those trees,” eight-year-old Esnat said solemnly as she pointed to her mother’s grave in Zaka district, in southern Zimbabwe. “I was then taken in by the neighbours – they say they can only give me food and shelter, but cannot pay my fees."
A new government program aims to provide a free education for all Haiti's children
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, October 21, 2011 – Lucien, 11, is the only child in his class not wearing a uniform. Sporting a t-shirt and jeans, he looks out of place amid throngs of children wearing neatly ironed, identical blue and white uniforms.
UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Schools initiative aims to improve sanitation facilities in Rwandan schools
UGESERA DISTRICT, Rwanda, 21 October 2011 – The promotion of health and hygiene in schools is an essential part of the Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) package, introduced by UNICEF to Rwanda in 2004. As a result of this initiative, children all over Rwanda are benefitting from improved sanitation facilities in their schools, which UNICEF hopes will lead to a major reduction in student drop-out rates.
In Benin, care centre offers a path away from poverty
PARAKOU, Benin, 19 October 2011 – Two years ago, Eric N’Koue was nearly sold by his father to child traffickers. Fortunately, he was intercepted by police and brought to the UNICEF-supported Saint Joseph Centre, a facility providing care and opportunities for vulnerable children in the eastern city of Parakou.
Podcast #47: Summit participants join efforts to educate and empower girls
NEW YORK, USA, 17 October 2011 - Representatives from United Nations agencies, governments, the private sector and civil society recently gathered at the Women and Girls Education Summit in New York, to explore linkages between girls’ education and economic development.
In Ethiopia, students learn environmental responsibility through active participation
DEBRE MARKOS, Ethiopia, 13 October 2011 – According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ethiopia and most countries in Africa suffer from several forms of environmental degradation, leading to desertification and a detrimental impact on food and agricultural productivity and production.
In Sudan, a photo contest offers children an opportunity to document daily life
KHARTOUM, Sudan, 12 October, 2011 - A line of children walk to school; a group of men take shelter under a truck in order to escape the hot African sun; a child reads the Koran on a brightly-coloured prayer mat; a man leads a camel through the dust. These are just a handful of scenes from daily life in the Sudanese state of North Darfur captured by child photographers as part of an unusual photography project.
UNICEF and partners work to provide a free education for all Haiti’s children
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 7 October 2011 – The Haitian government has taken a big step toward realizing its goal of providing a free education to all the country's children. On Monday, President Michel Martelly announced that 772,000 children will receive free schooling this year, including 142,000 children who have never attended school before. His announcement came at Ecole Nationale de Tabarre on the first day of the new school year.
Back-To-School campaign facilitating access to schools amid continuing violence in Yemen
SANA’A, Yemen, 5 October 2011 - Two weeks after the belated launch of the new school year in Yemen, many thousands of children in the capital city of Sana’a are either still at home or in the process of finding a safe and available school.
UNICEF and partners aim to end harmful practices towards children and women in Guinea-Bissau
CANQUEBO, Guinea-Bissau, 4 October 2011 - Thanks to the intervention of the NGO Tostan, whose ongoing actions are helping to change long-held erroneous attitudes, customs, and traditions, the inhabitants of Canquebo village can now rest assured that the days of harmful practices towards women and children are numbered.
Podcast #46: On World Teachers Day, three educators share their unique perspectives
NEW YORK, USA, 4 October 2011 - As school enrolment continues to climb throughout most of the developing world, the roles teachers play in our lives have become even more crucial. Tasked with providing a quality education to our current generation of students, teachers also have a significant hand in shaping the future by instilling in children essential cultural and social values such as tolerance, gender equality and open dialogue. Despite the heavy responsibility placed on their shoulders, in many parts of world they are rewarded poorly and in some countries even subject to deadly attacks.
In Yemen, one female student is speaking out for girls’ education
IBB, Yemen, 3 October 2011 - There is a spirit of harmony in this classroom packed with teenage students at the Al-Hussein Ben Ali School in Al-Mazahin; where the boys happily take their place on the floor, leaving the few available desks for the girls. “As long as our sisters keep coming to school, we have no problem sitting on the floor,” said Ismail, 15, as the other boys around him all nodded in agreement.
Ugandan children work with community leaders to end violence in schools
KAMPALA, Uganda, 30 September 2011 - Emmanuel, 17, from Masindi District, Uganda, sits contemplatively near a window, with an expression of quiet determination on his face. Bathed in the golden light spilling forth through the pane, his academic journey thus far has been anything but sunny.
UNICEF provides support to Palestinian students through rehabilitation and psychosocial sessions
DKAIKA, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 29 September 2011 - Located just 70 metres away from the Green Line - the 1949 Armistice Line – in Israeli-controlled Area ‘C’, the villagers of Dkaika are forced to suffer under the daily risk of home demolition and harassment.
Podcast #45: Regional conference to focus on inclusive education for children with disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 22 September 2011 – Over 1.5 million children in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) live with disabilities. Commonly locked up in segregated institutions or hidden away in their homes, children with disabilities are one of the most marginalised groups in our society. They are often denied their basic right to quality education and lack opportunities to interact with their peers and actively participate in society.
A future prison provides educational opportunity for Pakistan’s flood-displaced children
THATTA DISTRICT, SINDH, Pakistan, 26 September 2011 - Inside the high walls of a prison near Thatta city, children displaced by Pakistan’s recent monsoon floods are enjoying the opportunity to return to class. A prison may seem a surprising place for a relief camp, but this jail is only partially completed, and the large empty, flat space inside the walls make for an ideal location to set up row upon row of tents.
Ali’s story: In drought-ravaged Kenya, education is the key to a brighter future
WAJIR, Kenya, 26 September – 2011 - In a futile attempt to save the last of the goats, Ali Yusef Omar, 16, and one of his younger sisters had no other option but to feed the ravenous animals handfuls of shredded-up cardboard boxes they had scavenged from the local town. Kept in a make-shift pen made of thorn bushes, only three remain out of a herd that had once numbered two hundred.
UNICEF-supported Sports for Development programme scores a goal with South African students
SOWETO, South Africa, 29 September 2011 - In its fourth year of implementation at the Senaoane Secondary School in Soweto, the UNICEF-supported programme Sports for Development, has gone a long way in turning around what was once identified as the most ‘critical’ school in Gauteng Province, into a veritable success story.
UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, Novak Djokovic, visits an inclusive kindergarten in Smederevo
SMEDEREVO, Serbia, 27 September 2011- UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, Novak Djokovic, recently paid a visit to a unique kindergarten or “Pcelica” in Smederevo, some 50 kilometres south east of the Serbian capital of Belgrade. An excellent example of an inclusive pre-school institution, the kindergarten is attended by the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the Republic of Serbia, including children with developmental disorders and disabilities and those living in Roma settlements.
UNICEF-supported initiative providing essential school supplies to Palestinian children living in Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 27 September 2011 - Noha Sbahi, 11, lives in Beirut on the outskirts of the Shatila Palestinian camp. Every morning, she walks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’s (UNRWA) school of Yabad with her eight-year-old sister Sawsan. At the top of her sixth-grade class, Noha is an excellent student, who dreams of becoming a math teacher one day.
Life skills clubs teach Rwandan students universal values and leadership skills
BUGESERA, Rwanda, 26 September 2011 – Twice a week, students at the Murama Child Friendly School, in Rwanda’s Bugesera district, participate in Life Skills Clubs where they are taught to think creatively, problem-solve and build healthy relationships, while discussing topics that are often too difficult to broach in their homes.
In Azerbaijan, members of the Berliner Philharmoniker advocate for the rights of children with disabilities
BAKU, Azerbaijan, 23 September 2011 - On their first ever field trip, four musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, visited the shores of the Caspian Sea in Baku, Azerbaijan, to advocate for the rights of children with disabilities.
Achieving equity through early childhood development
MDANTSANE, South Africa, 23 September 2011 - Just 19-years-old and already a mother of two, Thandeka Sqoko lives in the two-room home of her boyfriend, with his parents and four siblings. Her own mother kicked her out when she became pregnant. Thandeka’s day ends at 11pm, 18 hours after it began. Well before sunrise she gets her two babies ready, prepares breakfast and cleans the house. On her way to school, she drops off her one-month old, Ithandile, and two-year old, Lethokuhle, at a day care centre.
Liberia rebuilds education system after years of civil war
GANTA TOWN, Liberia, 16 September 2011 – War, bullets and bloodshed – words which generations of Liberians are still more familiar with than books or schools. It’s only been eight years since the country knew peace; the scars from its paralyzing 14-year civil war remain visible as its people try to heal. Today, the government is working to rebuild the infrastructure that was completely destroyed – large parts of Liberia doesn’t have roads and millions are living without basic access to water, healthcare or electricity. But ask any Liberian what they need most and the answer is the same – education.
Zimbabwe’s children advocate for Bill of Rights in the new Constitution
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 16 September 2011 – This past July, the 19th Session of Zimbabwe’s Junior Parliament officially opened, with the incoming Child President, Anesu Rangwani pledging a greater role by children in the crafting of a new constitution that should incorporate a separate Bill of Rights for children.
Displaced youth in South Yemen cope with the effects of war
ADEN, Yemen, 15 September 2011 - It is the fourth day of Ramadan in Aden, a port city in the south of Yemen, and the temperature has reached over 40 degrees centigrade. Although it is summer holiday, the yard of Belqis School in Aden is full of children. Some play under the sun, while others attend educational sessions in a tent organized by UNICEF. The children are from families displaced by fighting in the restive region of Abyan between government troops and militants suspected of links to al-Qaeda.
UNICEF aims to ensure that schools throughout Libya are open in September
BENGHAZI, Libya, 14 September 2011 – Unable to attend school due to the uprising in mid-February, Hesham, 10, has been temporarily minding a family-run shoe shop in Meydan Albaladya, near Benghazi’s city centre. The majority of schools have been closed across Libya since the first days of the conflict, affecting the lives of an estimated two million children.
Podcast #45: Ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa threatens the new school year
NEW YORK, USA, 12 September 2011 - As the emergency escalates throughout the Horn of Africa, the numbers of those in crisis continue to grow. Currently, 13.3 million people in the region are in need of humanitarian assistance. Somalia is the worst-affected country, with more than 750,000 people at risk of death.
For Somali refugee children in Kenya, the new school year offers a fresh start
DADAAB, Kenya, 9 September 2011 – For children around the world, the end of the school holidays usually comes with mixed feelings. That was surely the case as schools re-opened their doors this week in the Dadaab refugee camps in north-eastern Kenya.
Against the odds, students start school in a Bedouin community on the West Bank
AL-KAABNEH, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 9 September 2011 – Every day, 12-year-old Tahreer Ali walks through a mountainous dirt road in the extreme heat to reach her school. “I enjoy learning, even if it’s difficult to reach my school,” she says.
Kenyan schools struggle to cope with influx of children displaced by drought
GARISSA, Kenya, 8 September 2011 – Dekha Mohamed Noor, 15, has not seen her family for more than a month. At the end of July, after schools closed for the August holidays, they sent her to live with a relative in Garissa, a bustling commercial hub 165 km west of her home village, Modogashe. The drought in north-eastern Kenya and much of the Horn of Africa had decimated their livestock, throwing the family into a desperate scramble for survival.
School clubs provide normalcy for children affected by unrest in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 6 September 2011 – Civil unrest has disrupted normal life in Syria since mid-March, taking a serious emotional toll on children, in particular. Between witnessing violence and having their family lives and routines upended, children are paying a heavy price.
Children help younger friends and neighbours prepare for primary school in Ethiopia
NEW YORK, USA, 1 September 2011 – Shefena Gebre Egziabeher, 12, is in the sixth grade and excels at school. “Of all the subjects I take, my favourites are math and English. I like them because they are simple if you apply yourself,” she says.
Over a year later, children return to rebuilt school in post-conflict Osh, Kyrgyzstan
OSH PROVINCE, Kyrgyzstan, 1 September 2011 – Hundreds of children from Shark village have settled down in the new Tolstoy School following a year-long journey.
School is a safe haven for children displaced by famine and conflict in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 30 August 2011 – Nearly 100 Somali schoolchildren flip through paperback books with as much excitement as if they were the latest comics fresh off the presses. The pages, however, are covered with maths, science formulas and handwriting exercises.
‘International Inspiration’ initiative helping Mozambique’s vulnerable children develop through sport
SOFALA, Mozambique, 23 August 2011 – The young crowd of students standing on the perimeter of the sandy football pitch erupts into shouts of joy as a goal is scored. In this poor coastal province of Sofala in central Mozambique, football is a game of great dreams and aspiration.
'Girl friendly/child-friendly' schools provide a brighter future in Mali
BENENA, Mali, 18 August 2011 - At a public meeting in the village of Benena, in Mali’s Segou Region, a gathering of women collectively shot their hands up in the air when asked why girls’ education in their community had been neglected in the past. Florence Koné, wearing a dress made of colorful fabric to commemorate International Women’s Day, stood up with a rush of enthusiasm. “You want to know why previously we didn’t educate our girls?” she exclaimed. “I’ll tell you. We were afraid they might get in trouble - maybe they would get pregnant, maybe they would leave school.”
In Gaza, poverty forces children to choose between survival and school
GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 17 August 2011 - Ayman, 15, lives in Khuza’a, an impoverished village in southern Gaza, where extreme poverty has dramatically increased due to the blockade. For Ayman, whether or not he’s able to go to school each day is determined by how much food is left in the cupboards.
Promoting education and investing in the future in Côte d'Ivoire
TCHELIBEGUEVOGO, Côte d'Ivoire, 17 August 2011 – UNICEF in collaboration with Ivorian Regional Direction of National Education recently lent its support to a new community school constructed in the rural village of Tchelibeguevogo in northern Côte d’Ivoire. 11 neighbouring villages joined in a collective effort to build the centrally located school that will provide educational opportunity to an area, which previously had to rely on one school in Korhogo over 100 km away.
In Somalia, schooling continues for IDPs and incoming children amidst drought crisis
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 16 August 2011 - Nearly 100 young Somali children flip through paperback books with as much excitement as if they were reading the latest comic book hot off the presses. The pages, however, are covered with maths and science formulas and handwriting exercises.
UNICEF aims to ensure the right to education for young parents in Argentina
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 12 August 2011 – Jonathan Pavon, 17, is finishing up the last year of secondary school in Quilmes, a medium-sized municipality in the suburbs of the nation capitol of Buenos Aires. As a young father to two eight-month-old twin girls, Maia and Umma, he constantly struggles with the idea of dropping out of school and entering the work force.
Mobile Schools aim to ensure education in Kenya
NASIGER, Kenya, 11 August 2011 – Across this vast and semi-arid north-western corner of Kenya, threatened by alarmingly high malnutrition rates, live the Turkana, a traditional ethnic group who work the dry plains as shepherds. In a valley of microclimates, when water and green brush run dry and brown, the communities move on foot to new areas - roaming for life’s essentials.
Preparedness programme helps young people to build a better future in Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan, 11 August 2011 - “I want to be a professional photographer and I will get there,” said Fadi Salameh, when asked about his dream for the future.
UNICEF supports transitional schools for children in post-flood Punjab, Pakistan
PUNJAB, Pakistan, 3 August 2011 – “Before the floods, this village had a one-room Masjid [mosque] school. Most of the children sat under a tree. We now have this beautiful school, and the children love it,” says Mukhtar Ahmad, Headmaster of the Government Primary School in Mullanwala village, located in the Muzaffargarh District of Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
Podcast #43: One year on, flood disaster's impact lingers in Pakistan
NEW YORK, USA, 3 August 2011 – The unprecedented monsoon floods that hit Pakistan a year ago claimed hundreds of lives, washed away 2 million hectares of cropland and damaged or destroyed 1.7 million homes. Nearly 10,000 were schools also damaged or destroyed, taking a heavy toll on the education system.
'Schools of Quality' reach under-served rural children in Lao PDR
LUANG PRABANG, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 26 July 2011 – Sipai, 10, works diligently at her desk in a fifth-grade classroom in Long Lao village, located 30 minutes outside the beautiful, historic city of Luang Prabang in northern Lao PDR. Outside, rugged mountains encircle the village and rise above the red earth.
Of bullets and blackboards: Libya’s war-weary children hope for return to the classroom
BENGHAZI, Libya, 26 July 2011 – Aisha and Aya in Benghazi, Hassan in Al-Bayda and Haya from Nalut all tell me the same thing: They want to go back to school. In fact, virtually every child I speak with in Libya expresses hope for a return to the classroom as soon as possible.
UNICEF Regional Director hears the concerns of a gathering of youth in Honduras
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras 25 July 2011- Adults must make more of an effort to listen to our children, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Bernt Aasen, told a gathering of fifty children and adolescents in Honduras in May.
Mobile schools provide primary education in Sudan’s nomadic communities
WHITE NILE STATE, Sudan, 21 July 2011 – Zahra Mohamed Ahmed, 15, has every reason to feel pleased with herself. She just received the results of the eighth-grade exams she took in March, and they show she got 239 marks out of 280.
Liberian host communities support education for Ivorian refugee children
GRAND GEDEH, Liberia, 20 July 2011 – In a nation still recovering from a ruinous civil war – a place where many people have no access to electricity, safe water or health care – hundreds of communities have opened their doors to refugees from neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.
Creating a safe environment for children in divided schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina
NEW YORK, USA, 13 July 2011 – Many schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina still reflect the ethnic tensions that triggered protracted armed conflict in the region in the mid-1990s. They are divided into ‘two-schools under one roof’ and mono-ethnic schools, where children are segregated based on their ethnicity or nationality in mixed regions.
Challenges ahead to strengthen children’s rights as South Sudan prepares for independence
JUBA, South Sudan, 8 July 2011 - The celebrations on the streets of Juba have already begun. School children waving flags and carrying banners have joined tribal warriors and soldiers in rehearsals for Saturday’s big celebrations. As South Sudan gets ready for becoming the world’s newest nation, the pride and excitement is visible on every face.
Podcast #42: As South Sudan looks to nationhood, education is pivotal
NEW YORK, USA, 6 July 2011 – At the end of this week, on 9 July, Southern Sudan will become an independent nation. Citizens of the newest country in the world, the people of Southern Sudan face immense challenges and immediate threats.
In Zimbabwe, Braille textbooks provide more chidren with equal access to learning
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 30 June 2011 – Laura Muzambi, 12, is reading a story which begins with the author writing about a girl called Mary. He describes in detail her glossy red hair, dazzling eyes and colourful dress.
In Kabul, the Government of Japan funds new classrooms to improve education
KABUL, Afghanistan, 5 July 2011 – New classrooms, chairs and desks mean better education at Shirino High School, one of the schools renovated and refurbished with funds from the Government of Japan as part of its ‘1,000 Classrooms’ initiative.
Field Diary: Life as a UNICEF Emergency Coordinator in Yemen
HARADH, Yemen, 29 June 2011 – It’s noon and we are in a UNICEF-supported school in Haradh, north-western Yemen, close to the Saudi border. The bell in the schoolyard has just rung, telling more than 1,000 students that it’s time for recess.
Prime Minister launches UNICEF-supported free and compulsory education campaign in Lesotho
MASERU, Lesotho, 16 June 2011 – Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and UNICEF Representative in Lesotho Ahmed Magan have been backing a new nationwide campaign to boost school enrolment in the African nation.
UNICEF supports rebuilding and reconciliation efforts in DR Congo
DONGO, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 June 2011 – "Children are the first victims of this conflict. We have a shared responsibility to build a better future worthy of them,” said UNICEF Representative in DR Congo Pierrette Vu Thi on a visit to Dongo in north-western Equateur province this week.
Education a catalyst: a conversation with Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
NEW YORK, USA, 8 June 2011 – In 1976, Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary actions to end violence in Northern Ireland, her native country.
Child-friendly schools inspire a brighter future for South Africa's young people
LIMPOPO PROVINCE, South Africa, 3 June 2011 – The school stands in the middle of dry grass at the end of a dirt road. Its classrooms are neatly aligned around an open courtyard where hundreds of children play noisily in their brightly-coloured uniforms.
Early education programme increases access for ethnic children in Lao PDR
BAN LONG LAO MAI, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 27 May 2011 – In Long Lao village in northern Lao PDR, 10-year old Thao Lee starts his morning helping his family with chores. His job is to let out the cows to graze, before sitting down to a breakfast of rice and meat.
In Somalia, UNICEF constructs classrooms and trains teachers for children displaced by conflict
BOSSASO, Somalia, 26 May 2011 – In classroom number two at a primary school located in Shabelle camp for displaced people in Bossaso, Deputy Headmaster and maths teacher Abdijabar Odol Mohamed has neatly written down a set of quizzes on the blackboard.
Indigenous Indian children thrive in child-friendly residential schools
DALEIGUDA, India, 24 May 2011 – Krupasindhuv Pangi knows the challenges that indigenous communities face. At the age of five, his family lost their land when it was taken from them to build a factory.
Child-friendly spaces provide refuge for families in war-torn Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya, 20 May 2011 – Etaj, 11, and Hanni, 12, (not their real names), are taking their drawing very seriously amid the surrounding clatter of chairs and chatter of other children.
After the floods, new schools provide normalcy and opportunities for communities in Pakistan
MUZAFFARGARH, Pakistan, 19 May 2011 – Children in the small village of Mullan Walla, in flood-affected Muzaffargarh District, were all smiles when they started class in a recently-opened UNICEF-supported school.
Education and sport empower a young woman to pursue her dreams in Timor-Leste
DILI, Timor-Leste, 19 May 2011 – One of few girls on the basketball court, Inácia Aleta Gomes Fernandes, 15, must fight to hold her ground against taller, more aggressive male opponents. She takes a pass from a teammate, dribbles half way down the court and passes to another teammate, who shoots and scores.
UNICEF helps provide counselling support for school children in post-crisis Côte d'Ivoire
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 18 May 2011 – The on-going political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire has had a tremendous effect on the country’s adolescents and children. Since the crisis began last November, more than 300,000 Ivorians have fled their homes.
In Malaysia, UNICEF equity programme enables undocumented children to enrol in school
KAMPUNG NUMBAK, Malaysia, 16 May 2011 – For residents of the village of Kampung Numbak, on the coast of Malaysian Borneo, home is a community built on stilts above the seaside – a cluster of creaking walkways and steel rooftops.
In Timor-Leste, UNICEF joins government child-friendly efforts to rebuild education
LACLUBAR, Timor-Leste, 13 May 2011 – High along the mountainous spine of Timor-Leste, one of Asia’s poorest countries, children in the remote town of Laclubar head for class. Yet the tranquil setting of this quiet place, nestled under the canopy of tall trees, masks a darker history that is only now beginning to fade.
Podcast #40: Safe schools and education can reduce the impact of disasters
GENEVA, Switzerland, 13 May 2011 – Last year, children bore their share of natural disasters and the economic crises that followed. Millions of children suffered as a result of floods in Pakistan and the earthquake in Haiti. Millions more around the world suffer every year, as such disasters prevent them from accessing a quality education.
Belgian Minister President's visit highlights 'Healthy Villages, Healthy Schools' in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12 May 2011 – “Your school has become a model of a modern school, which will hopefully set an example for other students and schools in Congo,” declared Rudy Demotte, Minister President of the Walloon Government and the French Community in Belgium, speaking to residents of Mbimi village on the outskirts of DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
In Turkey, the 'friendship train' encourages children to visit museums
ANKARA, Turkey, 12 May 2011 – Thirty-three child members of Turkey’s provincial child rights committees undertook a train journey of almost 2,000 km in April, as part of a UN joint programme targeting the development of Eastern Anatolia through cultural tourism.
A UNICEF transit camp school brings hope to children on the Tunisia-Libya border
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 12 May 2011 – Gleaming in the sunshine, the white tent of the new UNICEF-supported school at Shousha camp in Ras Jdir stands like a beacon of hope.
Hundreds of thousands of children return to school in Côte d’Ivoire
MAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 11 May 2011 – Ange Michel Kouakou, 13, is enjoying her first day back at school in Koumassi in the city of Abidjan. She’s only recently returned after escaping violence that hit her neighbourhood. For the last two months, she took shelter in her father’s village in eastern Côte d’Ivoire, where the situation was less tense.
Podcast #39: The role of education in protecting children when disaster strikes
NEW YORK, USA, 9 May 2011 – More than 175 million children are estimated to be affected each year by climate-related disasters. While coping with climate change is becoming essential, so is preparing future generations to deal with the aftermath of disasters and adapt to the ever-changing climate.
Podcast #38: The role of education in empowering young Egyptians to shape their future
NEW YORK, USA, 2 May 2011 – The 18 days of protests in Egypt at the beginning of the year led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime. Although thousands of people spent days and nights protesting at Tahrir Square in Cairo, the uprising became known as ‘The Youth Revolution’ because of the prominent role of young activists.
In Côte d’Ivoire, schools re-open slowly in wake of post-election violence
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 29 April 2011 – This week schools have slowly started to re-open in Côte d’Ivoire’s largest city, Abidjan, and across the country. Many challenges remain.
UNICEF Executive Board visits development programmes in Bolivia
CHUÑU CHUÑUNI, Bolivia, 27 April 2011 – Officers of the UNICEF Executive Board this month received a first-hand look at how their efforts are helping to improve the lives of children in the poorest country in South America.
In Benin, new monitoring tool engages illiterate parents in their children's education
SINENDE, Benin, 14 April 2011 - Bana Lafia, 12, can do something her parents cannot - read. Illiteracy is a serious problem in Benin, with nearly two-thirds of the adult population unable to read or write. Up until now, Bana’s parents have not been able to play a significant role in her education. However, a new monitoring sheet created by UNICEF in cooperation with Benin’s Ministry of Education is empowering parents like Bana’s to be active participants in her schooling.
Adolescent clubs empower young girls to resist early marriage in India
DIBRUGARH, India, 13 April 2011 – Rumi Hemrom, 13, and her friend, Seema, 14, attend the same adolescent girls’ club in their local village. The result is a bond that’s changed the course of Seema’s life.
Students in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture return to school a month after the quake
TOKYO, Japan, 12 April 2011 – For four weeks, the Second Onagawa Primary School building in Miyagi Prefecture was empty, but now students are back in its classrooms and filling its corridors with their laughter. Nearly 800 children returned to the school today, a month after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March.
Despite tragedy at home, Japan continues support for schools in Guinea-Bissau
BUBA REGION, Guinea-Bissau, 11 April 2011 – The Nhala Primary School classroom in Buba is filled with extraordinary excitement when students hear that they are about to receive textbooks. This textbook distribution, part of a major UNICEF programme supported by the Government of Japan, is the first one since 2004 in this fragile West African country stricken by political instability and poverty.
UNICEF and the AusAID support improved sanitation for Palestinian students
HEBRON, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 11 April 2011 – For the first time ever, students at the Al Shioukh elementary school for girls in the West Bank city of Hebron have access to their own sanitation facilities.
UNICEF supports the reconstruction of schools in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 8 April 2011 – Reconstructing damaged or destroyed schools has been a UNICEF priority since last year’s earthquake. It’s one of the most effective ways of reintroducing normalcy to the shattered lives of children in this small Caribbean nation.
In DR Congo, child-to-child teaching in pre-school bolsters primary school readiness
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 8 April 2011 – DR Congo is a difficult country for children to grow up in. It’s the second poorest country in the world and more than half the adult population has either never attended school or only completed primary school.
Reviving education in the aftermath of Sierra Leone's civil war
KAILAHUN DISTRICT, Sierra Leone, 7 April 2011– Burned-out buildings and bullet holes serve as constant reminders of a turbulent and horrific past in the remote eastern border district of Kailahun, one of the areas that was hardest hit by Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war.
In Pakistan, UNICEF-supported temporary learning centres create opportunities for girls
LAYYAH DISTRICT, Pakistan, 6 April 2011 – Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding last summer is leading to a change in attitudes towards sending girls to school.
Nearly 6,000 people complete a fundraising race to promote education for all in Argentina
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 31 March 2011 – Nearly 6,000 people participated in the fourth annual ‘Running for Education’ race earlier this month, setting a new attendance record as they showed their support for quality education for all children in Argentina.
Gender equality classes help Somali teenage girls stay in school
BURTINLE, Somalia, 28 March 2011 – At first, the class of teenagers is a little shy when asked whether menstruation or early marriage is the more common reason why girls drop out of school.
A UNICEF-supported music school helps young Haitians dream of a better future
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 25 March 2011 – In one of the classrooms at Vision Nouvelle School sits a large wooden box filled with broken instruments – violins, violas, flutes and even piano parts.
Local launch of 'The State of the World's Children 2011' in Nepal
ACHHAM, Nepal, 24 March 2011 – Shuffling their feet backward and forward, a dozen boys and girls moved gracefully in circles singing a ‘deuda’, a traditional form of song and dance popular in the far western hills of Nepal.
UNICEF report: Rights of women and children remain critical in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 22 March 2011 – Tanaka Zoma, 14, is in seventh grade at Musarava Primary School in Zaka, Masvingo Province. He should be in ninth grade like most of his friends.
Teachers and students thrive in child-friendly schools in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 22 March 2011 – Rubingo Primary School was transformed into a UNICEF-supported centre for learning excellence seven years ago. Since then, teachers and parents have witnessed a significant change.
Escalating violence affects children attending school in Yemen
SANA’A, Yemen, 21 March 2011 – For Yusuf Al-Nihari, 10, and his older brother, Abdul Mutaleb, walking to school every day past anti-government protester tents and security force checkpoints has become a real struggle.
An education programme empowers adolescent girls to thrive in rural India
CHANDRAPUR, India, 17 March 2011 – In some of India’s most remote tribal areas, adolescent girls are finally being given the opportunity to thrive.
Children swap floors for desks at Malawi school with MSNBC-US Fund for UNICEF support
NEW YORK, 16 March 2011 - Chimwala primary school in Lilongwe, central Malawi, serves 3,000 students in multiple shifts. For years, a severe shortage of classrooms and school furniture meant they studied in discomfort – on dirt floors or even on the ground outside under shade trees.
UNICEF works to convince remote communities in Pakistan to abandon child marriage
SALEWALA, Pakistan, 16 March 2011- Pakistan’s disastrous flood last July has created an opportunity to convince rural communities to stop pushing girls into child marriages.
International Women’s Day in Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 10 March 2011 - Burkina Faso has come a long way in addressing the education needs of its children. In 2000, just 44 per cent were enrolled in primary schools. By 2010, this had increased to almost 75 per cent.
Podcast #37: Ensuring human rights key to educating children in conflict zones
NEW YORK, 10 March 2011 – This year’s ‘Education for All’ Global Monitoring Report warns that armed conflict is robbing 28 million primary school-aged children of their education. The comprehensive analysis – ‘The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education – finds that wars and violence are taking an unprecedented toll on children’s access to education.
Vocational training lifts adolescents out of poverty in Uttar Pradesh, India
MORADABAD, India, 10 March 2011 – There were times when Noorjahan Khan’s family didn’t eat for three days at a time.
Children struggle to access basic education as schools remain closed in Côte d’Ivoire
BOUAKÉ, Côte d’Ivoire, 9 March 2011 – Since last November’s disputed presidential election, many schools in Côte d’Ivoire have remained closed. There are now nearly 800,000 children waiting to get back to learning.
International Women’s Day in Madagascar
VANGAINDRANO, Madagascar, 8 March 2011 – Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. This year’s theme – ‘Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women’ – focuses on promoting the education of women and girls worldwide.
Podcast #36: Facing challenges, young people become agents of change
NEW YORK, USA, 8 March 2011 – Syed Aown Shahzad, 17, is a youth activist and vocal environmentalist from Lahore, Pakistan. He contributed an essay to ‘The State of the World’s Children 2011’ about the impact of climate change on children living in developing nations.
2011 International Children's Day of Broadcasting examines gender roles
NEW YORK, USA, 4 March 2011 – This Sunday, broadcasters around the world will show special programmes and feature young people’s opinions to mark the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB), an annual UNICEF initiative begun in 1991 to encourage quality children’s programming and the participation of young people in the media.
Adolescents search for normalcy through education in DR Congo
WALIKALE, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 4 March 2011 – Twelve-year-old Ujumbe Kiwabantu’s life was abruptly uprooted two years ago by civil conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). She and her family have traumatic memories of armed forces repeatedly looting their home and setting others in their village on fire.
New report details armed conflicts’ toll on education and calls for boost in international aid
NEW YORK, USA, 3 March 2011 – More than 40 per cent of the world's out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries, according to UNESCO’s newly released 2011 ‘Education for All’ Global Monitoring Report (GMR), which details how the humanitarian community is failing to provide critical educational needs to 28 million children around the world.
Philanthropists and private-sector leaders join special UN panel on funding for education
NEW YORK, USA, 2 March 2011 – Four hundred philanthropists, corporate and civil society leaders met in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations headquarters on Monday to boost private investment in education at a special event marking International Corporate Philanthropy Day.
UNICEF and UNFPA launch report: ‘Women’s and Children’s Rights: Making the Connection’
NEW YORK, USA, 1 March 2011 – UNICEF and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a joint publication, ‘Women’s and Children’s Rights: Making the Connection,’ last week with a panel session on tensions and opportunities in their shared goal of securing the rights of women and children worldwide.
Podcast #35: Partnering with the philanthropic community to promote education for all
NEW YORK, USA, 28 February 2011 – The United Nations Economic and Social Council is meeting at UN Headquarters in New York this week on partnering with the philanthropic community to promote education for all children.
Jean's story: An adolescent girl’s belief in education provides hope in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 25 February 2011 – When we met Jean Bernite just six weeks after the January 2010 earthquake here, she was living in a tent with four family members. She was no longer attending school but was eager to return to the classroom.
Education plants the seeds of a better future for adolescents in Sierra Leone
KAILAHUN, Sierra Leone, 25 February 2011 – In this rural district of Kailahun, everyone takes part in farming on some level, whether you are a child helping your mother sort seeds or an old man weeding a field. However for David Vandy, 15, farming is no longer just about putting food on the table. It is about his education.
UNGEI event highlights importance of technology in girls' education
NEW YORK, USA, 24 February 2011 – As the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women takes place in New York this week to promote women’s and girls’ access to education, training, science and technology, the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) brings together a diverse group of partners from governments, civil society, private sector and girls themselves to explore how technology can empower and promote girls’ development.
Gender disparities: Empowering adolescent girls for social change
AHMEDABAD, India, 23 February 2011 On the streets of Ahmedabad, India, hearing the cheerful shouts of adolescent boys playing gully cricket is as common as seeing girls of the same age waiting in long queues to fill water containers or walking miles to collect fodder or fuel, fearful of any delay that may entail reprimands.
UNICEF aims to place further emphasis on children’s issues in Tunisia
TUNIS, Tunisia, 17 February 2011 – Hamza lives in Sidi Hcine, a working class neighborhood in the outskirts of Tunis. He is working at the fish market in central Tunis, on a weekday, at a time when he should be in school.
'City of Joy' assists and empowers survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 February 2011 – Under a blue sky, the air is filled with women’s laughter and songs. It is the perfect setting for the opening of ‘City of Joy,’ a joint project of UNICEF and the non-governmental organization V-Day, providing a safe haven for survivors of sexual violence.
Child Friendly School manual outlines a brighter future for Kenyan children through education
NAIROBI, Kenya, 7 February 2011 - The foundation for key improvements in the quality of teaching and learning was laid in Kenya with the launch of the manual on implementation of the Child Friendly School concept.
Podcast #34: Experts discuss the challenge of achieving universal, quality education
NEW YORK, USA, 4 February 2011 – At the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) held recently in Davos, Switzerland, leaders from business, politics, academia and other fields met to discuss solutions for pressing global challenges, including the challenge of achieving universal, quality education.
After floods and conflict, schools in Pakistan's Swat Valley welcome children back
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA, Pakistan, 21 January 2011 – As farmers busily work in their fields in the beautiful Swat Valley village of Sheen Patay – located in Pakistan’s troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where both conflict and floods have taken a toll – students excitedly rush to the newly renovated Government Girls’ Primary School.
UNICEF and Japan support improved education and health for vulnerable Somali children
BURAO, Somalia, 13 January 2011 – Teacher Faisal Ahmed turns from the blackboard and asks his class of eager teenagers about metres squared and metres cubed. In the third row from the front, Hibaq Abdirahman glances down at the math textbook on the desk before her, then shoots her hand up to explain the difference between area and volume.
Christine's story: A 14-year-old Haitian student braves the aftermath of the earthquake
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 11 January 2011 – Last month a UNICEF communications team met up with Christine, 14, outside her family’s tent in a displacement camp near the Port-au-Prince airport. Five months earlier, the team had followed the young earthquake survivor for several days to see how she managed to achieve top marks in school while living in a cramped shelter with her mother, brother and sister.
Education and health care help quake-affected children start fresh in a Haitian mountain village
JACQUOT, Haiti, 10 January 2011 – Until recently, health care and education facilities were non-existent in the Haitian mountain village of Jacquot, near the capital, Port-au-Prince. But 12 months after the earthquake that devastated this Caribbean nation, local residents now have both.
Podcast #32: Rebuilding Haiti’s education system one year after the earthquake
NEW YORK, USA, 10 January 2011 – UNICEF Radio podcast moderator Amy Costello spoke late last month with Carlos Vasquez, architect and UNICEF Education Specialist, and Tania McBride, UNICEF Communication Specialist, to find out how the education system in Haiti is managing to move forward a year after the earthquake that devastated the country’s schools, affecting millions of children.
A Haitian engineer helps UNICEF rebuild education from the ruins
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 7 January 2011 – From a hill in the densely populated Delmas area of Port-au-Prince – where vendors hawk household goods, charcoal, vegetables and multi-coloured paintings – there is a stunning postcard view of the ocean.
UNICEF supports new curriculum and training to help overhaul Syria's schools
DAMASCUS, Syria, 29 December 2010 – “Repeat, repeat, repeat.” These three words used to be the mantra of a Syrian schools system built primarily on rote learning. But the launch of a new curriculum implemented by the Ministry of Education is effectively chipping away at those foundations – replacing them with something stronger and more sustainable.
UNICEF and partners help educate children displaced by conflict in DR Congo
WALIKALE, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20 December 2010 – Ujumbe Kiwabantu and her family were displaced by the conflict in DR Congo two years ago, when they fled their home and came to live with distant relatives in Walikale, a remote rainforest territory.
In Senegal, Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo addresses violence in schools
DAKAR, Senegal, 20 December 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo, known throughout West Africa and around the world for her powerful singing voice, urged students at a Dakar elementary school to speak up about what is often a silent crime: violence in schools.
UNICEF and Japan support '1,000 Classrooms Project' in Afghan capital
KABUL, Afghanistan, 17 December 2010 – Girls and boys were thrilled with the recent inauguration of a new high school in the Afghan capital, built as part of a major project in which the government will construct over 1,000 new classrooms in 58 schools in and around Kabul. The project is supported by UNICEF and the Government of Japan.
Child-friendly schools improve the learning environment for Angolan youth
SIKATO, Angola, 1 December 2010 – Albano Natal expertly twists and cuts a length of metal reinforcement rod for the school latrine he is helping to build. To watch him work, you would hardly guess that he learned the skill less than a year ago. He beams proudly with the dual satisfaction of a job well done and a new toilet block for his children's school.
Child-friendly schools create opportunities for all in targeted districts across Yemen
SANA’A, Yemen, 2 December 2010 – Schools in developed countries might take some basics for granted, including skilled teachers and an atmosphere that is conducive to children’s well-being. But in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East and North Africa, few schools took such measures into consideration until recently.
Podcast #31: Young people call for post-primary education opportunities
NEW YORK, USA, 29 November 2010 – In efforts to address and prevent the often overlooked global youth population from falling through programming, policy and funding cracks, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) held a policy roundtable on ‘An Enabling Right: Education for Youth Affected by Crisis’ in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month.
Community pre-schools as building blocks for access to primary education in Benin
SINENDE, Benin, 26 November 2010 – Despite Benin’s worst flooding in recent history, which inundated two-thirds of the West African country this past fall, UNICEF-supported education initiatives here continue to thrive.
Complementary education programme puts children back to school in Eritrea
JENGERJIBA, Eritrea, 23 November 2010 - In a sustained effort to provide primary education for all, a UNICEF-supported programme of Complementary Elementary Education (CEE) is attempting to reach children and young adults in Eritrea who initially missed the opportunity to attend school.
Schoolchildren in Mozambique pick up radio skills as they learn about their rights
CHIBUTO, Mozambique, 18 November 2010 – Raissa, 12, is a radio reporter and one of the young hosts of a weekly programme called ‘Voices of Youth’ in Mozambique’s Chibuto district.
For returned refugees in eastern Afghanistan, a community school make a difference
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, 16 November, 2010 – Until a few years ago, Nadak Bilak, a small village on a dusty plateau in eastern Afghanistan, had no access to safe water and little in the way of infrastructure. Twenty-eight former refugee families who had returned from Pakistan were settled here by the government, living in nothing more than mud houses.
Senegalese girls forced to drop out of school and work as domestic help
DAKAR, Senegal, 16 November 2010 - When she was eight years old, Aisatou Ba quit school and began working as a maid. Though she begged her parents to let her stay in school, the economic pressure on the family proved too strong. The Senegalese teenager has been cleaning houses and cooking in restaurants instead of studying textbooks and learning arithmetic for the past seven years.
UNICEF supports a pitch for peace at cricket camp in war-torn Afghanistan
JALALABAD, Afghanistan, 15 November 2010 – In a city where girls are rarely seen on the streets without burquas, this past 11 October marked a special day for 140 girls here, as they donned cricket whites and took to the pitch to learn the basics of batting and bowling.
UNICEF school kits support children returning to classrooms in flood-ravaged Benin
KPOTO, Benin, 4 November 2010 – As floodwaters slowly recede in Benin, the magnitude of the tragedy is being revealed. The recent floods here and elsewhere in West Africa have killed almost 400 people and affected 1.5 million. Children are the hardest hit.
Activism for change: A conversation with Nobel Laureate Jody Williams
NEW YORK, USA, 2 November 2010 – In a recent conversation with UN and UNICEF Radio moderator Amy Costello, activist Jody Williams talked about her leading role in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and about leading a women’s peace delegation to the Middle East. Her experiences hold potential lessons for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.
Girls’ Education Week: Advocating for equity in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 1 November 2010 – Fatmata Musa Kula Sowa, 12, a high school student from southern Sierra Leone, recently made a journey to the nation’s capital, Freetown, in order to help promote Girls’ Education Week.
New programme brings child labourers back to school in Bihar
NALANDA DISTRICT, Bihar, India, 25 October 2010 – Wearing a clean, navy-blue school uniform with a sky-blue shawl draped over her shoulders, Khaushaliya Kumari, 14, is sociable and relaxed as she goes through her daily routines. Khaushaliya and 46 other girls staying at the Residential Bridge Centre, or RBC, wash their own clothes and dishes, and are in charge of cleaning up the classroom where they all both sleep and study.
'Child-Friendly Schools' initiative makes strides in Mozambique
CHIBUTO DISTRICT, Mozambique, 22 October 2010 - 11-year-old Phumzile Nkavele loves to go to school and to learn; she also loves playing games, but most of all she loves her classmates and has already decided that they will be going to college together.
Podcast #30: Building hope for adolescent girls in post-earthquake Haiti
NEW YORK, USA, 20 October 2010 – As schools open for the new academic year in Haiti, the hope is to bring all boys and girls to school – both those who attended before the earthquake struck in January and those hardest to reach, who will go to school for the first time.
UNICEF Emergency Director spotlights successes and challenges in DR Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19 October 2010 – UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Louis-Georges Arsenault has just concluded a six-day trip to DR Congo that highlighted the challenges facing children and families here.
Afghan Female Literacy Centres bring knowledge and new priorities to remote areas
NILI, Afghanistan, 11 October 2010 – Around 30 girls and women ranging in age between 12 and 70 sit in a small room in Nili, the capital of Afghanistan’s remote Daikundi province. Some have brought their children to the class, where they are learning to read for the first time.
In Pakistan, UNICEF and partners promote hygiene in schools amidst conflict and floods
SWAT DISTRICT, Pakistan, 4 October 2010 – Water levels along the Swat River have returned to normal, but evidence of the devastation from recent floods is everywhere. Bridges, roads, schools, health facilities, water supply and sanitation systems in Swat Valley – which were already suffering from the effects of military conflict over the last two years – are severely affected.
Early childhood education centres make strides in Malawi
CHITETA, Malawi, 4 October 2010 – Every weekday morning, Leviticus, 5, wakes his mother early. He is eager to get to the community-based childcare centre, a red brick building in eastern Malawi’s Chiteta village and a 2 km walk from Leviticus’ home.
Gaining ground on the Millennium Development Goals, with equity, in Nepal
KAVRE DISTRICT, Nepal, 24 September 2010 – From a distance, perched on a pretty Himalayan hilltop, Shiradi village looks like many other villages in the far west of Nepal, but it’s not.
Ghana strives for universal access to primary education by abolishing school fees
NEW YORK, USA, 23 September 2010 – School fees are widely recognized as a major barrier to achieving Millennium Development Goal 2 on universal access to primary education. Adams Abdulai Iddrisu is the head teacher at Zoozugu Primary School in the Tamale region of northern Ghana – one of a few countries that has abolished school fees in recent years. He spoke to UNICEF Radio about how taking away the price tag has helped many students stay in school.
MDG summit events close at UNICEF with a call to action on helping the most vulnerable
NEW YORK, USA, 23 September 2010 – At UNICEF’s closing event for the UN Millennium Development Goals summit last night, experts and world leaders gathered to highlight the importance of reaching the world’s most disadvantaged and hardest-to-reach children in order to achieve the MDGs with equity by 2015.
MDG summit events seek progress for all, including the most vulnerable
NEW YORK, USA, 22 September 2010 – The UN Millennium Development Goals summit wrapped up with a strong emphasis on targeting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in order to meet the MDGs by their 2015 target date. In the final stretch of the busy three-day meeting, UNICEF participated in side events on three critical MDG target areas: maternal health, water and sanitation, and education.
Education key to achieving Millennium Development Goals
NEW YORK, USA, 21 September 2010 – With 69 million children still not enrolled in school, and only five years remaining until the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline, the State of Qatar, Save the Children, UNESCO and UNICEF are co-hosting a high-level round table luncheon on 22 September in New York. The topic is ‘The Central Role of Education in the Millennium Development Goals’ and the importance of placing education, particularly for the most marginalized, higher on the global agenda.
UN Millennium Development Goals summit kicks off with events on education and child survival
NEW YORK, USA, 20 September 2010 – The United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals – the MDGs – kicked off today in New York with side events highlighting the goals on education and child survival. Discussions echoed the key conclusion of UNICEF’s recent ‘Progress for Children’ report: that an equity-based approach, targeting the poorest of the poor, offers the best hope of achieving the MDGs by their 2015 target date.
Raising clean hands in Afghanistan's 'WASH' friendly schools
KABUL, Afghanistan, 16 September 2010 – Designed to increase investment in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for Afghan schools, a new Call to Action has been jointly issued by the government’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Its intent is to engage policy makers at all levels, involve multiple stakeholders and monitor WASH in schools.
Gender equity beyond primary education
NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2010 - If girls and women in the developing world are to escape the cycle of poverty, the actions and investments that have helped more girls go to school need to be expanded beyond the primary level.
UNICEF supports emergency education for children displaced by floods in Pakistan
SUKKUR, Pakistan, 13 September 2010 – Over the past several weeks, monsoon floods in Pakistan have displaced millions and destroyed or damaged some 1.8 million homes and over 9,000 schools. The latest UN estimates place the total number of people affected at 20.5 million – including, of course, millions of vulnerable children and women.
In Panama, Casa Esperanza helps children become students and leaders
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 7 September 2010 – Look beyond Panama's famous canal, and you'll find a world where an estimated 55,000 children under 18 are working in the streets, on farms, in fisheries and in coffee plantations.
Life skills courses brighten the future for Syrian Arab Republic's refugees
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 1 September 2010 – Ibrahim, a refugee from Iraq, admits that he hasn’t been this nervous since his arrival in Syria. His eyes flicker around a large room in the heart the Jaramana refugee suburb, which is filled to capacity with other young refugees.
Christine’s story: Escaping poverty through education in post-earthquake Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 31 August 2010 – Christine, 14, lives in a camp for displaced people near the international airport here in the Haitian capital. “The only thing I know is that I know nothing,” says this energetic girl, who cites Socrates as her motivation for going to school.
Podcast #29: Pakistan floods and education
NEW YORK, USA, 30 August 2010 – Pakistan has experienced some of the worst monsoon-related floods in history, devastating large parts of the country, wiping out towns and villages, and displacing entire communities. Millions of children have been affected, losing their homes, loved ones, and schools, leaving them vulnerable to disease and abuse.
Child-friendly schools make a progressive leap in Cambodia
STUNG TRENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 25 August 2010 – Long Kan Buthom, 11, performs a traditional Khmer dance with ease. Her radiant smile, expressive hand movements and precise choreography come from long hours of practice.
UNICEF-supported child-friendly schools bring education to rural Ghana
TARIKPAA, Ghana, 17 August 2010 – Elizabeth, 12, is fighting to achieve a dream that was once also her father’s – completing an education.
Education reaches girls at a child-friendly school in rural Egypt
CAIRO, Egypt, 16 August 2010 – Yusriya, 13, wears her teacher-made crown with pride. A confident smile spreads across her face as she begins her class presentation on sanitation.
In Côte d'Ivoire, mothers start a club to invest in the future of girls' education
ABOBO, Côte d’Ivoire, 16 August 2010 – Habibata Ouattara was 17 years old when she was removed from school and forced to marry a man her family had chosen for her. Today, as the Secretary-General of a local School Girl Mothers’ Club – known by the acronym CMEF – Ms. Ouattara strives to ensure that girls in her community stay in school and complete their education.
In rural India, improved sanitation and iron supplements help girls stay in school
LALGANJ, India, 13 August 2010 – Rina, 16, has copper-painted toenails and a matching floral ‘kurta,’ or blouse. A pendant of the local tribal goddess Sarna hangs from her neck.
'Beyond School Books' - a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 13 August 2010 – More than 2 billion people worldwide are under the age of 18, and nearly 90 percent of them live in developing nations, according to UNICEF's estimates. Yesterday, International Youth Day, kicked off the International Year of Youth, which aims to advance the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society worldwide.
East Jerusalem's young people find inspiration in new programmes
East Jerusalem, 12 August 2010 – Growing up in East Jerusalem is not easy. According to a recent study, 65 per cent of the population – including some 95,000 children – live under the poverty line. Political tensions produce violence and interfere with a healthy, productive childhood. According to city data, half of post-elementary age children drop out of school.
Schools in Southern Sudan offer new hope to children affected by war
JUBA, Sudan, 11 August 2010 – Mark, 19, is a young man of exceptional resilience and determination. He is also a former child soldier. Like many thousands of young people in his country, he comes from a family that was broken by civil war.
Unique education programmes brighten the future for Afghanistan's young women
HERAT, Afghanistan, 10 August 2010 – The city of Herat is the setting for ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ – Khaled Hosseini’s powerful, best-selling novel about the harsh conditions faced by women in Afghanistan.
David's story: Life and learning at a child-friendly school in rural Nicaragua
PUNTA ARENA, Nicaragua, 9 August 2010 – David Zamora Muñoz, 10, is a bright, motivated pupil who lives with his two older brothers and their parents in a one-room house without electricity, outside the village of Palacaguina in a rural area of Nicaragua.
In rural India's 'cotton corridor,' UNICEF and IKEA partner to tackle child labour
RAICHUR, India, 5 August 2010 – Mani, 14, was beaten when she tried to chat with other children working in the cotton fields. If the children attempted to sing, play a brief game or slowed their work – due to dizziness from pesticide fumes or the intense heat – the landowner would hit them with a tree branch.
A multi-cultural school in Bosnia and Herzegovina brings out the best in children
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4 August 2010 – Eldina Ismailij, 11, loves to dance. The wild rhythms of Roma dancing set her free. Last year, she won a dance competition and her picture was in the newspaper. She blushes when asked about her accomplishment, and her mother, Dzemila Bostandzija, beams with pride. The best thing about winning, said Eldina, was the prize cake.
Indigenous leaders in Panama promise a better future for their children
YAVIZA, Panama, 29 July 2010 – In the small remote community of Yaviza, in Panama’s Darién province, the ‘caciques’ – leaders of the communities in the Emberá Wounáan Indigenous Territories – gathered together and promised that they would become a ‘child-friendly’ area. It is the first time that leaders of an indigenous territory have prioritized children in this way.
Support for Malaysian children affected by HIV and AIDS
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 29 July 2010 – Thirteen-year-old Aina (name changed) is determined to be a filmmaker when she grows up. She knows she’s talented and isn’t too shy to talk about it.
Life in war-torn Yemen slowly returns to normal
SA’ADA, Yemen, 29 July 2010 – When you walk down the Al-Shara’a Al-A’am main road to the old town of Sa’ada, through the main gate of Bab Al-Yaman and pass by the ancient mosque of Emam Al-Hadi, you are immediately drawn into the past. The town, deeply rooted in history, used to be a beacon of Islamic teaching and a symbol of tolerance. From there you idle through the small but bustling ‘souq,’ or traditional market, and into the maze of the ancient mud houses where you can literally smell the scent of history.
New child-friendly schools bring new hope to communities in Sri Lanka
AMPARA DISTRICT, Sri Lanka, 15 July 2010 – Thousands of schoolchildren in Ampara district, eastern Sri Lanka, recently cheered in a new era in education, with marching bands playing and UNICEF flags waving during official ceremonies in their villages.
Free primary education: A stepping stone towards a better future for Liberia
GANTA, Liberia, 15 July 2010 – At 6 a.m., Atleta Suomie is already hard at work sweeping the floor and arranging the merchandise in her family’s small store. Atleta is a top mathematics student and this comes in handy through the morning’s roaring trade. But come lunchtime, she hands the shop over to her stepmother, changes into her school uniform, collects her books and leaves the shop.
'Second-chance' examination for schoolchildren affected by conflict in South Darfur
SOUTH DARFUR, Sudan, 14 July 2010 – UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in the South Darfur region of Sudan have witnessed the successful completion of a key goal: providing a ‘second-chance examination’ for eighth-grade students affected by conflict in the locality of East Jabel Marra.
Life skills-based education builds young Somalis' self-confidence
NAIROBI, Kenya, 12 July 2010 – Muna Ali Hirsi, 24, is a vibrant and motivated life-skills mentor who works with young people aged 12 to 21 in north-west Somalia (Somaliland).
Podcast #27: Educating Haiti’s children, six months on
NEW YORK, USA, 12 July 2010 – Today marks the six-month anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, killing more than 220,000, displacing many more and severely affecting the education system.
Six months on, UNICEF reviews Haiti quake-relief milestones, and looks forward
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 12 July 2010 – Six months after the earthquake that ravaged Haiti on 12 January, UNICEF has released a detailed report chronicling relief efforts to date. Titled ‘Children of Haiti: Milestones and looking forward at six months,’ the report begins by implicitly asking the question: What did not happen following the earthquake?
UNICEF and Japanese Government support new child-friendly schools in Angola
DAMBA MARIA, Angola, 25 June 2010 – Japan’s Ambassador to Angola, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, has officially handed over the first of 20 child-friendly schools, financed by the Government of Japan, to Angola’s Ministry of Education.
In Istanbul, UNICEF and UNESCO Institute for Statistics launch joint education project
ISTANBUL, Turkey, 30 June 2010 – While Turkey has made significant progress in reducing the number of out-of-school girls in recent decades, the number of girls in school continues to decline sharply by the fifth and sixth grades.
Vulnerable children get behind the lens in South African photo workshop
ESTCOURT, South Africa, 29 June 2010 – Slightly built Nokwanda Mchunu, 12, buried her head in her hands every time someone asked her a question. Her participation in a recent UNICEF-supported photography workshop here looked like it would be limited.
Algeria's forgotten refugees: After 35 years, conditions in Sahrawi camps remain harsh
TINDOUF, Algeria, 24 June 2010 – “I want to become a teacher,” says Maimouna, 10. Yet in her fifth-grade math class, she is struggling to sum the three parts of her triangle. She finally does, with a little help from a classmate.
Rwandan student films premier during FIFA World Cup 2010
GISENYI, Rwanda, 23 June 2010 – Aspiring filmmakers in a remote village in Rwanda now have an exciting opportunity to share their vision of the world.
Podcast #26: Targeting education on World Refugee Day
NEW YORK, USA, 21 June 2010 – This year, World Refugee Day – which is commemorated each year on 20 June – had ‘Home’ as its theme, in recognition of the many millions of people around the world uprooted by conflict, persecution or natural disasters.
Syrian students speak out on rehabilitating over-stretched schools
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 June 2010 – When it comes to the needs of the local school, everyone has an opinion.
Barbados works to change attitudes, implement positive discipline in schools
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 10 June 2010 – Beyond the postcard-perfect beaches of Barbados, there is a controversial issue dividing much of this small island nation. A debate is raging about whether to continue using corporal punishment when disciplining children.
Executive Board concludes meeting with an eye on gender equality, resources and results
NEW YORK, USA, 7 June 2010 – On Friday, 4 June, the final day of the UNICEF Executive Board’s 2010 Annual Session, delegates were briefed on the progress of the organization’s efforts to promote gender equality and heard Executive Director Anthony Lake reaffirm UNICEF’s dedication to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Janitor-training programme strengthens schools and communities in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 May 2010 – With time and constant use, schools get worn out. Natural erosion is caused by the ebb and flow of hundreds of excitable young children. Without proper maintenance, no school building can endure forever.
Regional Director sees educational and security challenges facing children in Gaza
GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 27 May 2010 – On a visit to Gaza this week, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Sigrid Kaag highlighted the plight of Palestinian children and the many threats they face.
UNICEF supports resumption of education in China earthquake zone
BEIJING, China, 27 May 2010 – As relief pours into Yushu County, the epicentre of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck China’s Qinghai province on 14 April, outlying areas on the Qinghai Plateau still require urgent attention.
Safe havens protect children from abuse and exploitation in Benin
PARAKOU, Benin, 24 May 2010 – Sophie, 13, was promised into an arranged marriage by her older brother. When she refused, he physically abused her. “He beat me up and told me he was going to kill me,” Sophie said. She escaped and hid on the outskirts of the village. A policeman found her three days later, tired and scared.
First Lady and UN Deputy Secretary-General look to the future of Rwanda's girls and women
KIGALI, Rwanda, 21 May 2010 – Her Excellency Jeanette Kagame, the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, inaugurated the Kacyiru Police Hospital here earlier this week. With support from UNICEF, the Office of the First Lady and the Imbuto Foundation, Kacyiru Police Hospital delivers services to over 61,000 people – primarily women and children.
In rural India, IKEA solar-powered lamps light a path for girl students
UTTAR PRADESH, India, 20 May 2010 – When Mantasha was 13, her mother brought her to the home of a rich family to work. She told her daughter that if she worked hard the family would put her through school and eventually help her to marry.
Poverty, conflict and girls' right to education
New York, USA, 20 May 2010 – More than half of the 72 million primary school-aged children out of school are girls. These children mostly come from the world’s poorest communities and, in many cases, from nations with long histories of conflict.
In Trinidad and Tobago, 'International Inspiration' programme guides young leaders
PIARCO, Trinidad and Tobago, 19 May 2010 – Last winter, as their airplane took off for chilly Vancouver, Trinidadian schoolmates Mikyle Chaitsingh and DiAndra Joseph could scarcely believe where they were headed.
In Senegal, UNICEF Executive Director cites the urgency of education for all
DAKAR, Senegal, 18 May 2010 – Surrounded by the concrete bricks and flood-stained walls of her school, Anta, 11, attends classes and dreams of becoming a paediatrician. She knows she is lucky.
'Leaders for Education' talk about lives and societies transformed
NEW YORK, USA, 18 May 2010 – In the lead-up to the global ‘Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality’ conference now under way in Dakar, Senegal, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) has developed a series of web profiles called Leaders for Education. The series aims to raise awareness about girls' education and gender equality, highlighting many of the issues that are being discussed by UNGEI partners in Senegal.
UNICEF Executive Director speaks out on girls' education and empowerment
NEW YORK, USA, 17 May 2010 – Speaking at an international conference on education and gender equality, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake today called for accelerated efforts on behalf of “forgotten children” in the run-up to the 2015 deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Breaking the silence on gender-based violence in schools
NEW YORK, USA, 17 May 2010 – For millions of children worldwide, physical and emotional abuse and gender-based violence are a harsh daily reality.
In Angola, child-friendly schools bring new life to primary education
LUANDA, Angola, 17 May 2010 – Angola’s Minister of Education, Pinda Simão, kicked off the country’s second national workshop on child-friendly schools on 12 May. The concept – which centres around the needs and rights of each individual child – is fast becoming a national standard for primary schools in Angola.
Judith's story: In the face of grief, education brings hope in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 14 May 2010 – On the day of the quake, Ms. Lambert, our school director, sent us home early. I usually stayed after class to help clean the trash in the schoolyard. But that day, Ms. Lambert had heard that not far from our school a university teacher had been killed and there was fear of rioting. She insisted that we rush home and not linger on the streets.
Visiting Somalia, UNICEF Regional Director notes progress made on safe water
BOSSASO, Somalia, 13 May 2010 – Bossaso, a busy port town on the northern coast of Somalia, is an economic hub in the semi-autonomous Puntland region. Tens of thousands of Somalia’s estimated 1.5 million internally displaced people live here, shielded from the intense heat only by cardboard and bits of rags.
Free primary school becomes a reality in Swaziland
ENTFUBENI, Swaziland, 14 May 2010 – At sundown, Thulani Gama tells his 10-year-old twin siblings to collect firewood while he grinds corn for their supper. At sunrise, he wakes the twins and tells them to wash. Without breakfast, all three children begin their hour-long walk to school in rural Swaziland.
In Central African Republic, newly settled nomadic children go to school
YALOKE, Central African Republic, 13 May 2010 – Fatima Yadik, a mother of 12 and grandmother of 18, recently settled in the Central African Republic town of Yaloké after 60 years with her nomadic community. Her camp of Peuhl nomads was attacked by bandits who killed all the men and stole their cattle.
In the face of challenges, award honors Rwandan girls
KARONGI, Rwanda, 12 May 2010 – Among grazing cows in the heart of western Rwanda, three hours away from the nation’s capital, Kigali, First Lady Jeannette Kagame recently helped celebrate some of Rwanda’s most talented young students.
Beyond access: Quality education for life
NEW YORK, USA, 6 May 2010 – The Millennium Development Goals call for universal access to primary education by 2015. However, simply getting children into school may not be enough to improve life opportunities for boys and girls and reduce the gender gap.
Education revitalizes displaced communities in Sri Lanka
BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka 4 May 2010 – In a remote part of eastern Sri Lanka, the rhythmic chant of children’s lessons reverberates through one of the region’s newly re-established schools. Students here are learning the basics of reading and writing after having their education interrupted by armed conflict.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 3 May 2010 – Every day, despite significant risks to their safety, journalists bring stories from disasters and conflict zones to people around the world. These stories can shape the international response to humanitarian emergencies and, ultimately, have an impact on the lives of children.
UNICEF Executive Board sees unity in diversity among UN partners in Rwanda
MURAMA CHILD-FRIENDLY SCHOOL, Rwanda, 30 April 2010 – Members of the UNICEF Executive Board, along with colleagues from other United Nations agency Executive Boards, recently visited Rwanda to better understand how reforms in the UN system are working on the ground.
Nicholas Kristof cites gender inequity as the central moral challenge of the century
NEW YORK, USA, 29 April 2010 – Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has told a UNICEF conference that gender inequity is the central moral challenge of the 21st century.
International seminar puts girls' rights in the spotlight as key to development
NEW YORK, 26 April 2010 – International experts have gathered in New York this week to find new ways to strengthen the rights of adolescent girls.
Support for every child’s right to education in Syria
AL-HASSAKAH, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 April 2010 – Schools are similar across the world: boisterous students, playground noise and homework to be done.
Barclays invests in the future of Rwandan children through child-friendly schools
KIGALI, Rwanda, 21 April 2010 – In November 2008, more than 3,500 employees of Barclays, the global financial services provider, voted to make UNICEF’s ‘child-friendly schools’ project in Rwanda the focus of their 2009 fundraising efforts.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 21 April 2010 – The global economic downturn, escalating conflicts and widespread disasters threaten to reverse advances made in the last decade in increasing enrolment and reducing the gender gap in schools around the world.
Justice for girls in Afghanistan
MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan, 20 April 2010 – The six girls huddle together over tea, giggling and pulling at each other’s veils and talking ‘girl talk’. They’re keen to show off their English, talking about their favourite Bollywood stars and imitating their moves. But under the veils, behind the lightness, there’s tragedy here.
It takes a community to educate a girl, or a boy, in Benin
BEMBÉRÉKÉ, Benin, 20 April 2010 – Going to school can be a long, lonely walk for a young girl in Benin. That’s if her parents even let her pursue an education. But a UNICEF-supported scheme of ‘big sistering’ in 16 districts of this West African country makes the journey enjoyable – and serves as a monitoring system to ensure that girls get to school each day.
Chilean earthquake takes a toll on education and security
NEW YORK, USA, 16 April 2010 – More than six weeks after a major earthquake struck Chile, survivors in some areas are resuming their normal routines. For young people, that means getting back to regular classes.
Acrobatics help to keep children off the streets in Guinea
CONAKRY, Guinea 15 April 2010 - Bangali just turned 19. He lives in a very poor neighborhood of Conakry, next to a garbage dump. But, recently, Bangali’s life took an exciting new turn when he began learning acrobatics at Tinafan Centre.
Engaging communities to prevent malnutrition in Benin
ALIBORI DEPARTMENT, Benin, 14 April 2010 – More than one in three Beninese children under the age of five show signs of chronic malnutrition. In the drier, northernmost part of the country, most families harvest crops for both income and their own consumption, feeding their children whatever is available from this yield.
Non-formal education aims to end cycle of poverty for kiln workers in Pakistan
LAHORE, Pakistan, 13 April 2010 – Mohammad Kabir and his family struggle to earn a living at the brick kilns on the outskirts of Lahore, the provincial capital. Toiling in the oppressive heat, the Kabir family is paid $4 for every 1,000 bricks they produce.
A nationwide call to return to school brings hope to children in Haiti
JACMEL, Haiti, 5 April 2010 – Almost three months after the massive 12 January earthquake that devastated the country, the Haitian Ministry of Education, with the support of UNICEF and its partners, has issued a nationwide call for children to return to school.
Thousands take part in Argentina’s ‘Race for Education’
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 5 April 2010 – A few days before the start of classes, some 5,000 people took part in Argentina’s ‘Race for Education’, a three- and seven-kilometer foot race that was organized by UNICEF for the third consecutive year.
Child-friendly schools making inroads in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 5 April 2010 – Children from 850 schools in Uzbekistan will enjoy reading the classics as part of a child-friendly schools programme being implemented there with UNICEF and IKEA Social Initiative Fund support.
Female mountaineer inspires girls to greater heights at 'Meena Radio' event
LUCKNOW, India, 1 April 2010 – Santosh Yadav twice accomplished her dream of climbing Mount Everest, so it is fitting that she was chosen to address the crowd at a launch event for Meena Radio, a radio programme that aims to inspire young girls to stay in school and achieve their own dreams.
Field Diary: Camp's children excited about return to learning in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 31 March, 2010 – You only have to mention the word 'school' and a sparkle comes into Taïma Celestin's dark brown eyes. It's not hard to understand why. The scheduled reopening of Haiti's schools on 5 April will be the first real opportunity for this confident 10-year-old to leave what is today her home – a tiny lean-to covered with a blue tarpaulin in a former sports ground in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince.
UNICEF supports a revived commitment to nomadic education in Eritrea
ASMARA, Eritrea, 30 March 2010 – Delivering education to children in remote rural areas is a major challenge in Eritrea.
Girls’ education is key to stopping forced and early marriages in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 30 March 2010 – Narwin is just 14 years old, but she is already engaged to a man that she has never set eyes on. “My parents say they do not care if I’m happy or not,” she says. “They want me married, and that’s it.”
From a straw hut to a classroom: Progress on education in Côte d'Ivoire
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 March 2010 – In a rural corner of north-eastern Côte d’Ivoire, three new classrooms have revolutionized education for local children.
European Union grant supports textbooks for every child in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 24 March 2010 – The European Commission has given $10.6 million to help ensure that every schoolchild in Zimbabwe has textbooks.
Forced and early marriages still common for girls in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 17 March 2010 - Narwin is just 14 years old, but she is already engaged to a man that she has never set eyes on.
Panel cites women's critical role in building sustainable peace in Afghanistan
NEW YORK, USA, 9 March 2010 – More than eight years after the fall of the Taliban regime, the women of Afghanistan still face enormous challenges. Perhaps the most daunting of these are the continuing violence and insecurity that disproportionately impede women's access to essential rights and services for themselves and their children.
UNICEF helps children overcome language barriers at schools in Lao PDR
TAMY VILLAGE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 2 March 2010 – Breakfast in the household of a rice farmer named Mr. Sutcha is a hearty affair that includes grilled fish cooked over a fire, a mound of sticky rice, and fresh spring onions dipped in a hot chilli sauce. It’s the kind of sustenance that Mr. Sutcha’s eldest daughter, Chapa, 9, needs for the school day ahead of her.
UNICEF supports free primary education initiative in Swaziland
SHISELWENI, Swaziland, 25 February 2010 - Last month, schools in Swaziland opened their doors to all of the nation's children after a Supreme Court decision fast-tracked the implementation of a free primary education initiative.
Global economic crisis is the focus of 'child-friendly budgets' forum in New York
NEW YORK, USA, 24 February 2010 – UNICEF and Fordham University, with the support of the European Commission, hosted a two-day policy forum and workshop – Child Friendly Budgets for 2010 and Beyond.
Fundraising cyclists visit UNICEF child-friendly space in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arabic Republic, 23 February 2010 – Fundraisers worldwide go to extraordinary lengths to help UNICEF alleviate child suffering. And going to great lengths is something Andreas, Øyvind and Jørn, three UNICEF fundraisers from Norway, know a lot about.
Tent classrooms and school kits help restart education in Haiti’s quake zone
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 17 February 2010 – The first day of school in a UNICEF tent classroom was a happy day for Yolanda Senatus, 9 – and a far cry from the tragic day she had experienced just a month earlier.
To help Haiti’s children heal, build back education better than before
NEW YORK, USA, 25 January 2010 – With nearly half of the country's population under the age of 18, children have been significantly affected by the 12 January earthquake in Haiti. Schools have been destroyed, and children are taking shelter in camps for the displaced. Many have been orphaned or separated from their families.
Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo visits child mothers in Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 20 January 2010 – West African singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo recently visited Tanzania to highlight issues related to girls’ education, particularly early pregnancies, which have forced many girls to drop out of school.
Essential education and health supplies reach Somali children
HARGEISA, Somalia, 14 January 2010 – Until the most recent school semester, every textbook at Sheikh Nur Primary School was shared by at least four students. But thanks to a new supply, students can now follow their lessons in their very own textbooks.
Childs rights advocates help young people stay in school in Rwanda
HUYE, Rwanda, 07 January 2010 - Aphrodite, 14, and her friend Joselin used to spend their days working on a rice plantation. It was back-breaking work, toiling in the hot sun from dawn until dusk.
Angélique Kidjo visits programmes for vulnerable children in Benin
COTONOU, Benin, 31 December 2009 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo made a two-day visit to Benin, her native country, to witness first-hand the UNICEF supported programmes that are helping vulnerable children there.
Providing education to conflict-affected children in the remote regions of Central African Republic
BOCARANGA, Central African Republic, 31 December 2009 – After years of conflict in the rural north of Central African Republic, dozens of simple 'bush schools' are helping many children displaced by the fighting to return to full-time education. For many, it is the only chance they have to study.
Child-friendly schools benefiting students in the Maldives
MEEDHOO, Raa Atoll, Maldives, 22 December 2009 - The session is interactive, spontaneous and fun. Led by a teacher who turns the pages on a book to reveal different animals, the children eagerly raise their hands wanting to mimic the sound each makes. This pre-school has, like so many other schools here, undergone a child-friendly transformation since the tsunami five years ago.
Country’s first centre for youth and children opens in post-conflict Georgia
GORI, Georgia, 18 December 2009 - On the edge of Gori, a small town in central Georgia still recovering from the conflict that erupted in the region in August 2008, there is a large building that until recently showed signs of dereliction and bombing.
Faith-based organizations focus on children’s rights in Botswana
GABORONE, Botswana, 17 December 2009 - The devastating impact of HIV and AIDS in Botswana has directed much of the country’s attention to children’s survival. To ensure that children’s rights remain a priority here as well, faith-based organizations are lending a hand.
Education in emergencies programmes provide a lifeline to Colombia's children
BOGOTA, Colombia, 16 December 2009 – For over 40 years, Colombia has been a nation not only in the throes of conflict, but one that is consistently hit by natural disasters.
Mobile classrooms give pastoral children new hope
KOMARET, Uganda, 14 December 2009 – It’s just after dawn in Uganda’s northeastern Moroto District. Although it’s still quite early, queues of children are flocking into the Namatwae Alternative Basic Education for Karamoja (ABEK) centre.
UNICEF child-friendly school designer focuses on climate change
NEW YORK, USA, 11 December 2009 – Architect Carlos Vasquez designs child-friendly schools for UNICEF. This past week, he had the opportunity to give presentations about his schools, which are built to withstand disasters caused by climate change, at the Children’s Climate Forum in Copenhagen.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 10 December 2009 – This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, yet challenges remain in ensuring that its promise becomes a reality for all of the world’s children.
Schools adapt and continue despite post-typhoon flooding in the Philippines
MANILA, Philippines, 25 November 2009 – Most schools in metropolitan Manila have reopened after four typhoons caused massive flooding in September and October, but teachers and students in the flood zone are still in urgent of school supplies.
Mothers’ campaign promotes girls’ right to schooling in northern Cameroon
PERMA VILLAGE, Cameroon, 17 November 2009 – Hawa Mahmadou, 12, was devastated when she was forced to drop out of school two years ago because her parents couldn’t afford the fees. She spent her days doing household chores.
Education brings promise to Malaysia’s remote interior
LONG LUTENG, Malaysia, 16 November 2009 – Meriam Anyie was born deep in the rainforest of Malaysian Borneo. As members of the Penan ethnic group, a nomadic indigenous people in the state of Sarawak, she and her family spent most of their life in the jungle, never living in a permanent home throughout her childhood.
IKEA Soft Toys embrace children’s right to education
NEW YORK, USA, 6 November 2009 – This holiday season it will once again be possible to give the gift that gives back. IKEA soft toys are now on sale, and proceeds will continue to help support global UNICEF and Save the Children education programmes.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 3 November 2009 – Too often around the world, in countries affected by conflict, violence and poverty, education is denied at the most basic level.
UNICEF supports education on remote Indian islands
MESAKI ISLAND, India, 29 October 2009 – Juri Gogoi makes her way along a path that twists from the shores of this island on the Brahmaputra River to the school, a 20-minute walk away.
Education provides a way out for indigenous children in Republic of Congo
TOANGANA, Republic of Congo, 7 October 2009 – It’s a sunny morning, and Rufin Kokolo, 8, is getting ready to go to school. He lives in Tosangana village on the outskirts of Impfondo, capital of Likouala province.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 5 October 2009 – In some parts of the world, teaching can be a deadly profession. To commemorate World Teachers’ Day, which is being observed today, UN and UNICEF Radio moderator Amy Costello recently spoke with two experts about targeted attacks on teachers in Colombia and southern Thailand, and their devastating impact on education.
H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan joins UNICEF in congratulating young women of Harlem
NEW YORK, USA, 22 September 2009 – The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem serves students from minority and low-income families. It is a pioneer in all-girl public education, and a model of success.
Schools for Africa partners sign new agreement for better education
NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2009 – The highly successful Schools for Africa partnership entered its second phase today with a memorandum of understanding signed by its three main partners – UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Democracy and International Law.
Liberia’s first post-war generation starts primary school
GANTA, Liberia, 11 September 2009 – Salomie Kieah is one of many six-year-old children starting school this month in Liberia. After a final adjustment to fit her new uniform and a stop at the stationery shop to buy supplies, she is ready for her first day in primary school.
New teaching strategy helps young students excel in Argentina
RESISTENCIA, Argentina, 8 September 2009 – For the first six months of first grade, Maria Angel Gomez struggled to keep up with the other students. She showed little interest in her school work and was slowly falling behind. She couldn't read and her mother worried that Maria Angel would fail and need to repeat first grade, a common problem in Argentina.
Breaking the barrier of exclusion
NEW YORK, USA, 30 July 2009 – Worldwide, more than half of the children not attending school are from minority or indigenous populations, according to a report released this month by Minority Rights Group International, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Global economic downturn worsens already harsh conditions for rural Tajiks
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 29 July 2009 – It would be hard to find a more beautiful region than Tajikistan's Rasht Valley. It looks like a land of plenty, its people tilling the soil and herding cattle. But appearances are deceptive.
In remote areas of Viet Nam, UNICEF supports teaching children about rights
LAO CAI, Viet Nam, 23 July 2009 – Against the dramatic backdrop of the foothills of northern Viet Nam, students at the Kim Dong Lower Secondary gather for their morning exercises. In perfectly straight lines, and with impeccable timing, they go through their routine, which heralds the start of the school day.
Japanese Government partners with UNICEF for ‘Thousand Classroom Project’ in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 17 July 2009 - Sonia is one of the 2,800 students at the Soraya Girls’ High School located in the Karta-i-Char area of Kabul. Just 13 years old, she has already decided on a career.
Report finds minority and indigenous children disproportionately excluded from school
NEW YORK, USA, 17 July 2009 – Article 30 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child provides specific protection for children from ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities. But today, 20 years after the adoption of this international treaty, children from marginalized communities and indigenous groups continue to face extraordinary barriers.
Dutch delegation commended for aiding education in crisis and post-crisis situations
NEW YORK, USA 9 July 2009 – Representatives of UNICEF and the Dutch Government met at UNICEF House yesterday to review progress achieved under the Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition Programme funded by the Netherlands.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 1 July 2009 – After participating in the Second Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction – held in Geneva in mid-June – UNICEF Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist Antony Spalton and Rhee, a 16-year-old boy from the Philippines, spoke with UNICEF Radio’s Amy Costello about the role of children in protecting their communities from natural disasters.
Workshop in Benin tackles challenges of school fee elimination
COTONOU, Benin, 29 June 2009 – Four years after the launch of the School Fee Abolition Initiative (SFAI), 40 representatives from Congo, Mali, Togo and Benin convened a five-day workshop in Cotonou last week to assess the programme’s results and share their experiences.
Ethnic minority communities struggle to break a cycle of poverty in Kosovo
PRISTINA, 29 June 2009 – In a desolate corner on the outskirts of Pristina, Kosovo, two men sit on the bare ground, mending a bicycle that is a lifeline for their families.
New publications on tackling school fees in a time of economic crisis
NEW YORK, USA, 12 June 2009 – As the economic crisis continues to take a toll on the world's poorest families, UNICEF and its partners have released two books to boost the global effort to abolish school fees.
In Georgia, old schools find new ways to teach young children
TBILISI, Georgia, 9 June 2009 – At Kindergarten No. 31 in the city of Rustavi in Georgia, many teachers still conduct their classes using methods developed during the former Soviet era.
One year after China earthquake, schools bring hope and opportunity
XIHE, China, 11 May 2009 – Well before dawn, sixth-grader Yang Mei, along with her younger brother Yang Zhen and sister Yang Yamei, leave their home in rural Gansu province for school.
Safe spaces help children deal with aftermath of China’s 2008 earthquake
FEISHUI, China, 5 May 2009 – Tang Xiaoping used to own one of the most popular private kindergartens in Feishui, a small township in Anxian, part of southwest China’s Sichuan Province. She had thought she would spend the rest of her life doing just that.
Education for All Week: Gaza’s students struggle to return to damaged schools
NEW YORK, USA, 29 April 2009 – While the world celebrates Global Action Week 2009 with a focus on education for all, the children of the Gaza Strip are still struggling to return to school in the aftermath of the conflict that ended there in January.
In Armenia, the chance to develop schools that children love to attend
SYUNIK PROVINCE, Armenia 17 April 2009 – Located 200 km from Armenia's capital, Yerevan, the village of Ishkhanasar in Syunik province represents a sad picture of rural poverty.
Beyond School Books – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 16 April 2009 – The UN General Assembly last month hosted a thematic debate on access to education in crisis and post-crisis situations. Experts from the development community were on hand to press for outcomes benefiting children who are suffering in emergencies that deny them their right to an education.
A safe haven for displaced children in Georgia
SAKASHETI, Georgia, 30 March 2009—Tens of thousands of Georgians suffered temporary or permanent displacement as a result of the August 2008 conflict. Currently, estimates suggest that some 30,000 people – the majority originating from Abkhazia and South Ossetia – remain internally displaced. And approximately 12,000 of these displaced persons are children.
Life skills training gives young Palestinian refugees new hope
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 26 March 2009 – In the refugee camps of Syria, life for Palestinian adolescents is challenging. Although better off than many in the region—with civil rights almost equal to those of Syrian citizens—poverty, violence and alcoholism are common. Adolescents often lack opportunities to develop important skills relevant to life outside of the camps.
'Child-to-Child' programme blends learning with playtime in Ethiopia
DIMA GURANDA, Ethiopia, 25 March 2009 – Wenishe, 12, is a grade six student at the Dima School in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. It was there that she volunteered to become one of 30 Young Facilitators for the 'Getting Ready for School: A Child-to-Child Approach' project.
Rwanda’s First Lady awards girls for their academic excellence
KIGALI, Rwanda, 24 March 2009—Rwanda’s First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, recently presented the annual Imbuto Foundation Awards in Kigali, which honour academic excellence among primary and secondary school girls.
Global youth forum in Liberia stresses importance of education for all
MONROVIA, Liberia, 20 March 2009 – More than 80 young delegates from around the world gathered in Liberia for the Emerging Leaders Forum earlier this month, in preparation for the International Colloquium for Women's Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security.
Learning the child-friendly way at UNICEF-supported schools in Nepal
SUNSARI, Nepal, 19 March 2009 – It's the start of a typical day for first graders in the Kachana Mahadev Secondary School as they happily sing a rhyme describing the seven days of the week. This school in Itahari, located in Sunsari district, eastern Nepal, is among those implementing the country’s Child Friendly School Initiative.
Education in emergencies discussed at UN high-level thematic debate
NEW YORK, USA, 18 March 2009 – The United Nations General Assembly hosted a thematic debate on education in emergencies today, with participation by representatives of Member States, academia and civil society, as well as UN experts, teachers and students.
Beyond School Books - a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 17 March 2009 – The recent Gaza conflict left about 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead and many more injured. Children, who make up more than half of Gaza’s population, have born the brunt of the conflict and its aftermath.
Executive Board delegation visits urban and rural projects in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya, 13 March 2009 – The members of the Bureau of the UNICEF Executive Board have concluded a weeklong field visit to Kenya, where they observed huge disparities in education and health care in the country.
A day in the lives of two homeless brothers in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 12 March 2009 – The sun had not yet risen when the two boys woke up. By 4 a.m., the port on the River Buriganga here in the capital of Bangladesh was alive and bustling. The ‘bed’ where Yusef,14, and his younger brother Smaile,10, slept was made of hard wooden planks on the pier.
‘I Have Something to Tell You’ – documentary gives voice to young Liberian women
KAKATA, Liberia, 10 March 2009 – After two decades of civil war, girls in Liberia must overcome many obstacles to achieve their dreams. A new documentary film, ‘I Have Something to Tell You’, is giving voice to a group of 10 ambitious young women who met in a workshop at the Liberia Youth Network’s centre in Kakata.
Executive Director starts Middle East visit with tour of school projects in Jordan
NEW YORK, USA, 4 March 2009 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman has just concluded a two-day mission to Jordan as part of a Middle East trip that includes planned visits to Israel and to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Getting ready for school in Tajikistan with the ‘Child-to-Child’ pilot programme
RUMI DISTRICT, Tajikistan, 29 January 2009 – A new initiative called ‘Getting Ready for School: A Child-to-Child Approach’ is being used for pre-school students in Tajikistan, where early childhood education is typically not an option.
A second chance at education for children in Eritrea
JENGERJIBA, Eritrea, 29 January 2009 – Halima, a shy 11-year-old, is among the first groups of children who have been enrolled in a new elementary school in Jengerjiba. A small village located 110 kilometres from the capital Asmara, Jengerjiba is dotted with mud huts and concrete houses. The closest primary school is more than 10 kilometres away, a distance which has long hampered access to primary education for many local children.
Radio project gives a voice to indigenous children in Mexico
TENANGO, Mexico, 21 January 2009 – When a 2006 teachers' strike in the State of Oaxaca caused students to miss school for several months, UNICEF and its education partner, Ciesas, saw an opportunity to help children in the poorest and most vulnerable communities. The resulting project gave these children their own radio programme and, more important, a voice.
Giving juvenile detainees the right to education in Moldova
CHISINAU, Moldova, 20 January 2009 – With support from the Swedish International Development Agency, UNICEF has recently launched basic education programmes for children at four preventive detention facilities in Moldova.
Digital Diary: Bernice reports on the benefits of giving bikes to Ghanaian schoolgirls
NEW YORK, USA, 7 January 2009 – In much of the developing world, young girls are often left behind when it comes to their education. While sons are encouraged to attend school and strike out on their own, many daughters find that their education is of secondary importance to parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
Leaders pledge that ‘Education for All’ will not suffer during economic crisis
OSLO, Norway, 22 December 2008 – Heads of State, Ministers, leading officials from international organizations and agencies, and representatives from civil society and the private sector gathered together at the Education for All (EFA) High-Level Group meeting in Oslo, Norway last week. Their common goal: to accelerate progress towards achieving quality education for all girls and boys by 2015.
UNICEF brings schools to Thai hill tribe children
BAN MAE SURIN NOI, Thailand, 17 December 2008 – In the highlands of Thailand's Mae Hong Son province there is a newly constructed three-room structure. It is a simple building, made of rough plank floors, partial bamboo walls and a tin roof, but it offers the children in the area something they did not have before: a formal primary education.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 11 December 2008 – Ishamel Beah, Grace Akallo and Kon Kelei know the consequences of war. All three have lived through and participated in conflict in their native countries of Sierra Leone, Uganda and Sudan. They share not only common experiences as former child soldiers, but also agree that it was education that enabled them to become the writers and advocates they are today.
Mira Nair film highlights plight of Ugandan children
GENEVA, Switzerland, 4 December 2008–The voices of Uganda’s most vulnerable children are being heard, thanks to a documentary film produced by the critically acclaimed director Mira Nair, in association with UNICEF.
Aichatou’s story: New skills protect a former street vendor from exploitation in Niger
MARADI, Niger, 17 November 2008 – A respected tailor within her community, Aichatou has a life today that is a far cry from the one she was living just over two years ago. Back then, she worked as a street vendor in the busy town of Maradi, eastern Niger, on the border with Nigeria.
UNICEF condemns attacks on schools in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 14 November 2008 – UNICEF has condemned the increasing number of attacks on schools and students in Afghanistan. A recent acid attack on 15 female students walking to school in the southern city of Kandahar blinded two of the girls and injured two others.
Mothers join the campaign to scale up girls’ education in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 4 November 2008 – Aminata Mansaray, 16, was born in Mankneh, a small community in the Bombali district of northern Sierra Leone. She is the third of five children – three boys and two girls – and for much of her young life she was not enrolled in school.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 28 October 2008 – High-level talks about progress towards the Millennium Development Goals took place last month during the United Nations General Assembly. Special attention was paid to commitments and progress in some of the poorest African nations, particularly in the area of education.
Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan visits a UNICEF-supported school project in Brazil
SÃO PAULO, Brazil, 27 October 2008 – As part of an official state visit to Brazil, UNICEF's Eminent Advocate for Children, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, visited the UNICEF-supported Aprendiz City-School, a non-governmental organization located in the Vila Madalena district of São Paulo last week.
On visit to Argentina, Queen Rania of Jordan promotes quality education
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 23 October 2008 - Children at a UNICEF-supported school in Argentina received a royal visitor this week, when Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan dropped by.
Primary education is now free for all children in Togo
AKODESSEWA, Togo, 13 October 2008 – At the Akodessewa school, roughly 15 km outside the capital city of Lomé, this year’s preparations for school enrolment have been marked by a major change: School fees have been abolished, and all primary schooling in Togo is now free.
'All Girls to School': Niger launches communications campaign on girls' education
NIAMEY, Niger, 9 October 2008 - Ahead of the new school year that started this week in Niger, the Nigerien Government, with UNICEF's support, launched a communications campaign called 'All Girls to School for a Brighter Future'.
Schools for Africa Initiative backs new school block to change lives of pupils in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, 6 October 2008 – From a distance, Miteme Junior Primary School looks like a marketplace with vendors in school uniform. On close inspection, one realizes this is a school without a single classroom. Classes one to five are all held under trees; only class five has desks.
Haiti’s flood-damaged schools struggle to reopen
GONAIVES, Haiti, 3 October 2008 – Venette and her sister arrived at their school around mid-morning. They were handed a shovel. Then they joined a crew of mud-splattered men and waded into what used to be their cafeteria.
New programme in Mauritania increases school enrolment, especially for girls
NEW YORK, USA, 1 October 2008 – Mariem Saidou Sall, 11, is in sixth grade at the Sarandougou School in the remote and poor Brakna Region of Mauritania. Like most of her friends and neighbours in the village, she rides the bus to school every morning.
UN event features $4.5 billion pledge to support ‘Education for All’
NEW YORK, USA, 26 September 2008 – Devli Kumari, now 11, came a long way from a stone quarry in India, where she grew up as a child labourer, to United Nations headquarters in New York, where she spoke at the launch of an ‘Education for All’ campaign during the General Assembly session this week.
Classrooms in Syria crowded with Iraqi children whose families have fled conflict
DAMASCUS, Syria, 25 September 2008 – It is the beginning of the new school year in Syria, but a majority of the students are not Syrian. They are Iraqis whose families have fled conflict. When the lives of children like these are turned upside down, going to school can provide the stability they need.
UN schools in Syria serve thousands of Palestinian refugees
DAMASCUS, Syria, 2008 – Palestinian children residing in Husseiniyeh camp here are suffering from overcrowded classrooms and double-shift schools. Faced with staggering challenges outside the classroom, children are now in danger of losing their right to a quality education.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2008 – The ongoing conflict in Iraq continues to have a devastating impact on children and schools there. Insecurity and violence have forced teachers to flee, kept students at home and, in some cases, closed schools completely.
At UNICEF seminar, students from region seek changes in secondary education
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 15 September 2008 – Students at the Institute Filii Dei in the Retiro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires recently welcomed a delegation of their peers participating in an international seminar on secondary education organized by UNICEF.
Sara Communication Initiative helps a young widow return to school in Eritrea
HASHISHAY, Eritrea, 2 September 2008 – Amid the dry heat and the scorching sun of Hashishay village in the north-west of Eritrea, there lies an oasis of huts made of mud-brick walls and grass-and-bamboo roofs. Meriem Abubeker, a 22-year-old widow, lives in Hashishay with her four-year-old son.
UNICEF Executive Director’s Togo visit focuses on education
LOME, Togo, 2 September 2008 – Ann M. Veneman, on the first-ever visit by a UNICEF Executive Director to Togo, promoted the importance of education to advance development.
‘Dubai Cares’ and UNICEF aim to improve classroom conditions in Djibouti
DJIBOUTI, Djibouti, 31 July 2008 – Hadj Dideh Primary School is one of the many schools in Djibouti that are in urgent need of repair. It will also be one the first schools in the country to be rehabilitated with support from a partnership between UNICEF and Dubai Cares – a Gulf based initiative that has raised $1 billion to help educate 1 million children in poor countries.
Women parliamentarians lead major changes in African politics
NEW YORK, USA, 22 July 2008 – Several African countries are at the forefront of a growing trend to substantially increase female representation in parliaments around the world.
UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces use movement and dance to help children heal
NEW YORK, USA, 21 July 2008 – The tragedies of war and natural disasters leave children struggling to cope with deep psychological wounds. One of the ways that UNICEF and other organizations have helped to alleviate children’s emotional scars is through dance and movement.
Aid for cyclone-affected schools, still struggling in remote areas of Myanmar
NEW YORK, USA, 17 July 2008 – In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, up to 1 million people were displaced from their homes and villages in Myanmar. Over the past two months, a massive effort has sought to repair the damage caused by the storm – especially in the Irrawaddy Delta, where it hit hardest.
Child-friendly schools help young Rwandans rediscover childhood
NEW YORK, USA, 8 July 2008 – In Rwanda, which is still recovering from its 1994 genocide and now faces the spread of HIV, UNICEF and its partners have established child-friendly schools to help young students rediscover what childhood is all about.
Mia Farrow sees children returning to schools in northern Central African Republic
KAGA BANDORO-KABO, Central African Republic, 27 June 2008 – On a recent visit to the northern regions of CAR, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador witnessed first-hand how schools have begun to reopen, improving the lives of children affected by conflict here.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 25 June 2008 – With an estimated 10,000 child fatalities from school collapses in the Sichuan earthquake in China, safe school construction has become a central issue for parents, governments and the international development community.
Adolescent-friendly learning centres support young Palestinian refugees in Syria
HUSEINEYEH CAMP, Syria, 24 June 2008 – If Aziza Melkash were not in this yellow-curtained room among 31 other teenagers intently discussing research findings, she would be holed up at home with little to do and nowhere to go.
Using folklore to promote and enrich education for Malaysia’s indigenous children
TASIK CINI, Malaysia, 17 June 2008 – Assembled around a village elder, members of the younger generation listen to tales of their ancestors. Clad in a traditional headpiece made of dried leaves, Awang Bin Alok, 67, shares his stories with young students sitting on the porch of a wooden house.
A month after deadly cyclone, classes resume in Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar, 3 June 2008 – A new school year has begun as children head back to classes, just one month after Cyclone Nargis damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 schools in Myanmar.
Special podcast: Women and girls tell their stories through film and radio documentaries
NEW YORK, USA, 3 June 2008 – UNICEF Radio podcast discussion on documentaries about women and girls in southern Africa featuring: Ann Cotton, Executive Director of the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed, a non-governmental organization fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS in rural Africa); David Eberts, director of the film ‘Where the Water Meets the Sky’; and Joe Richman, award-winning independent producer, and executive producer of the radio production ‘Thembi’s AIDS Diary.’
Rural preschools create a supportive environment for children in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 27 May 2008 – The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNICEF held a signing ceremony today in honour of their new partnership, which aims to create at least 100 rural integrated community preschools in Niger over the next two years.
‘Gender and Equity’ campaign shows success, as more parents are putting girls through school
ATENTOU, Togo, 20 May 2008 – According to her school principal in Atentou, 12-year-old Céline is a model student. Four years ago, along with some 60,000 Togolese children, Céline went back to school as part of the UNICEF programme ‘Gender and Equity’. She is still in school today.
UNICEF, Mandela Foundation and Hamburg Society consolidate ‘Schools for Africa’
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 16 May 2008 – UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society today signed a memorandum of understanding at the foundation’s headquarters in Johannesburg to consolidate their partnership promoting the six-nation ‘Schools for Africa’ campaign.
First Lady of Rwanda awards young women for their scholastic achievements
MUHANGA, Rwanda, 12 May 2008 – Earlier this month, 58 young women had their moment in the spotlight as Rwanda’s First Lady awarded them with prizes to celebrate their outstanding academic achievements.
Somalia takes part in ‘World’s Biggest Lesson’ for equality in education
NAIROBI, Kenya, 8 May 2008 – More than 7.5 million people from over 100 countries joined together to simultaneously express their feelings about the importance of education last month, as part of a unique event called the ‘World’s Biggest Lesson.’
‘Beyond School Books’– a podcast series on education in emergencies: Segment #7
NEW YORK, USA, 8 May 2008 – Exactly one month ago, Rwanda commemorated the 14th anniversary of its genocide. By this time in 1994, some half a million Rwandans had already been killed in an ethnic-cleansing campaign.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits school in Burkina Faso
OUGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 7 May 2008 – “When I was a child I studied in more difficult conditions than those I can see today. In my country, schools were seriously damaged as a result of the war. Therefore I schooled under the trees trying to be sheltered from the rain. The UN and UNICEF in particular greatly supported my country at that time.”
Community radio encourages girls’ education in Mozambique
MAGANJA DA COSTA DISTRICT, Mozambique, 2 May 2008 – For almost a year, many families in Mozambique have been awakened at daybreak by the pleasant voice of the young announcers at Erive Community Radio, the Maganja da Costa District’s new UNICEF-supported radio station.
Football star and UNICEF Ambassador Ole Gunnar Solskjær visits schools in Angola
LUANDA, Angola, 29 April 2008 – Superstar footballer and UNICEF Norway Goodwill Ambassador Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently visited Angola to witness the educational reconstruction still required in a country devastated by a civil war that ended nearly six years ago.
‘Beyond School Books’– a podcast series on education in emergencies: Segment #6
NEW YORK, USA, 29 April 2008 – At the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women last month, global leaders met to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing women and girls today. The theme this year was financing for gender equality and empowerment of women.
‘Young Champions’ support girls’ education in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 28 April 2008 – Faiz Mohammad Fayyaz, now in his early twenties, lost his father when he was seven years old. His mother cannot read and write, because her father did not allow her to go to school, and married her off at the age of 14. Despite all this, Faiz’s mother made sure that he and his three sisters got an education.
Violence in Iraq disrupts lives and education
AMMAN, Jordan, 21 April 2008 – Over the last two weeks, families in Basra and Baghdad’s Sadr City have been plunged into one of the most violent episodes in Iraq’s recent history. As Iraq’s security forces mobilized against militia groups, widespread clashes and curfews kept families trapped indoors and led to shortages of water, food and medical supplies.
Reforming Armenia’s education system to benefit all children
YEREVAN, Armenia, 17 April 2008 - School number 27 is unremarkable from the outside. It is large, brown and grey, typical of Soviet-era public buildings.
UNICEF and British Telecom launch ‘edu-communication’ project in São Paulo
SÃO PAULO Brazil, 11 April 2008 – The excitement was palpable at the recent launch of the new UNICEF and British Telecom youth participation programme focusing on education and communication in low-income communities in Brazil.
UNICEF and partners lay new foundations for education with child-friendly schools in Lao PDR
BAN DONGE, Lao PDR, 8 April 2008 – The residents of Ban Donge in Xieng Khuang Province are accustomed to the foreign tourists who drop by to have a look around their village. However, the most recent group of visiting foreigners was welcomed with a grand spectacle that included local students performing Lao and Japanese dances, a gymnastics demonstration and even a recital by a famous Japanese violinist.
Fatuma’s Digital Diary: Girls’ education in Kenya’s largest slum
KIBERA, Kenya, 4 April 2008 – Kibera is Kenya's largest slum, right in the heart of the capital city, Nairobi. The slum's million-plus inhabitants struggle with extraordinary poverty and high crime rates. As is true throughout Kenya, the vast majority of Kibera's residents are under the age of 30, and less than half of the district's youths ever begin secondary school.
UNICEF-supported programmes bring improved learning facilities to Malawi
BLANTYRE, Malawi, 3 April 2008 – Blessings Molles, a 12-year-old student at the Thembe School, tells a story that is all too familiar in Malawi. When he was eight, his father died, leaving his mother to care for her six children.
Yemen makes progress in girls’ education with UNICEF-supported literacy programmes
SANA’A, Yemen, 31 March 2008 – Umm Nooruddin, mother of three, is among the first generation of women in her village to get a second chance at learning to read. She is one of 35 young women in Sanhan District, on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, who are taking part in a UNICEF-supported literacy class.
Communities 'stand up to violence' as the new school year begins
KABUL, Afghanistan, 24 March 2008 – Afganistan continues to progress in the field of education, as more than 6 million children attended the first day of school this week – including approximately 800,000 children who are now enrolled for the first time in their lives.
Denise’s story: Small grant brings wealth of knowledge to Mozambican youth
NEW YORK, USA, 17 March 2008 – The 52nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which concluded recently in New York, could have been just another annual gathering at the United Nations where ambitious commitments are made but soon forgotten – until the next meeting, when they are made yet again.
Schools for Africa: Portrait of a role model for girls and women in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, 11 March 2008 – Zile Shumba is the Executive Director of CKK Building and Civil Contractors, a company hired by UNICEF Malawi to build new classrooms as part of the Schools for Africa initiative.
Rehabilitation and training programmes give girls a better education in Guinea-Bissau
CASSACA, Guinea-Bissau, 3 March 2008 – Like many girls in Guinea-Bissau, Mariama Sambu, 10, has a busy life. She rises at six each morning to help with household chores, which is no easy task when you share your small home with 18 other people.
Mobilizing resources for girls' education during the Commission on the Status of Women
NEW YORK, USA, 26 February 2008 – The 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women is under way at the United Nations. Focusing on the priorities of financing gender equality and empowering women, the annual forum commenced yesterday with a panel of experts hosted by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), UNICEF and the Working Group on Girls of the NGO Committee on UNICEF.
Promoting a passion for reading on remote Malaysian islands
TIMANG ISLAND, Malaysia, 20 February 2008 – As bursts of pink and orange peek through the cloudy morning sky, two young boys hop into a long wooden motorboat with their mothers. They are heading for Timbang Island, a half-hour journey away, where the two mothers work as teachers and the boys attend classes.
UNICEF and Dubai Cares support quality education to break the cycle of poverty
NEW YORK, USA, 19 February 2008 – “If we want to champion prosperity and progress, we cannot ignore poverty,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, has said. “We should therefore emphasize the role of education as the most powerful weapon in breaking the vicious circle of poverty.”
Innovative methods bring quality schooling to poor children in Indonesia
SOLO, Indonesia, 15 February 2008 – Ifah, 12, wakes up every day before dawn to get ready for school, reading over her lessons as she packs her bag. For this sixth-grader, learning is fun. “I love school, especially English,” she says.
UNICEF Representative leads 1,000-km horseback trek for Uruguay’s children
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 10 December 2007 – The town square of Bella Unión in the northernmost tip of Uruguay was buzzing with excitement one day last month. The population of the border town had gathered to cheer the ‘UNICEF Cabalgata’ team, which was leaving for a four-week, 1,000-km cross-country trek on horseback that concluded here in the capital yesterday.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies: Segment #3
NEW YORK, USA, 16 November 2007 – Providing education to children in regions and societies affected by conflict – or emerging from it – is a major challenge.
'Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies: Segment #2
NEW YORK, USA, 29 October 2007 – In countries emerging from conflict, getting children into school is the first and most critical challenge for international development agencies, governments and communities.
'Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies: Segment #1
NEW YORK, USA, 22 October 2007 – In countries caught in a cycle of ongoing conflict, as well as those emerging from war, the rights of children and the right to education are most at risk.
Norway affirms support for children with $100 million toward UNICEF programmes
NEW YORK, USA, 26 October 2007 – UNICEF and the Government of Norway recently signed a new programme cooperation agreement providing for a contribution of 535 million kroner (approximately $100 million) toward UNICEF’s work in a wide range of areas, with a major focus on basic education and gender equality.
Former child soldiers trade guns for textbooks in rural Southern Sudan
RUMBEK, Southern Sudan, 15 October 2007 – At 15, he was a soldier. At 18, he traded his gun for a textbook and went back to school. Today, at 24, Mayom Mabuong is a community leader and a teacher at Deng Nhial School, one of the only institutions in Southern Sudan created specifically to address the needs of former child soldiers.
New permanent schools in post-tsunami Banda Aceh set new standards
ACEH AND NIAS, Indonesia, 11 October 2007 – UNICEF has built more than 50 schools since opening its first permanent education facility in tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh a year ago.
Iraqi children celebrate their return to school
AMMAN, Jordan, 9 October 2007— The first day back at school for students at Baghdad’s Al-Amal Primary School is a reason to celebrate. Children squeal with excitement as they see old friends. The playground, so bare and empty over the summer holidays, has filled with colour and sound.
Palestinian children face the challenges of getting an education during conflict
HEBRON, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 5 October 2007 – Ongoing conflict poses threats to the education of Palestinian children. Not only is their safe access to school often jeopardized, but it is hard for them to thrive once they get into the classroom.
Early education makes learning fun for indigenous children in Guatemala
QUICHE, Guatemala, 1 October 2007 – The classroom in the nursery school at Salquil Grande, one of 20 such schools located in the Ixil indigenous area of Quiché, is warmly decorated with bright colours, plenty of toys, drawings and bilingual posters in both the Ixil and Spanish languages. More important, it is filled with smiling children.
Footballer Marcel Desailly teaches girls in Ghana about success on and off the field
TAMALE CITY, Ghana, 26 September 2007 – Accomplished football player and Goodwill Ambassador Marcel Desailly recently visited the Northern Region of Ghana with UNICEF to encourage children, especially young girls, to play football and go to school.
Travelling schools bring education to migrant 'herder children'
ZAVKHAN, Mongolia, 22 September 2007 – A father reins his camel to a halt and coaxes the animal to bend its legs until its belly rests on the dry earth. His son slides off and with a quick wave goodbye turns and runs to a white felt tent known as a 'ger' – the traditional home in this region.
Angélique Kidjo raises awareness on child rights in her native Benin
SÔ-AVA, Benin, 13 September 2007 – World renowned singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo is in her home country of Benin this week to raise awareness about child rights. As part of her tour, she will visit communities across the nation, talking to leaders and parents about the benefits of education for all – especially girls.
FIFA-UNICEF campaign under way to break down gender barriers in schools
SHANGHAI, China, 13 September, 2007 – Eriko Arakawa, 27, fell in love with football at a very early age. “When I was five years old, I used to hear the sound of my older brother playing with his football – throwing it and dribbling it. I really liked that sound and I knew I wanted to play, too,” she recalls.
Mongolia faces challenges keeping ‘herder children’ in school
NARANBULAG, Mongolia, 11 September 2007 – On a windy, treeless plain in Mongolia, 10-year-old Bayarkhuu and his classmate Tsengel are herding goats in search of better grazing grounds. The goats may travel hundreds of kilometres in the summer months, but today the animals have been kept close to town, allowing Bayarkhuu to attend school in the morning and work in the afternoon.
Guinea-Bissau school rehab programme: A better chance for girls and boys alike
CANCHUNGO, Guinea-Bissau, September 2007 – Isabel introduces herself very shyly: “My name is Isabel Luís Gomes. I am 15 years old and I always studied in the Cunha Gomes School. I am a sixth grade student. I should be almost finishing school, but unfortunately I was enrolled late.”
Goodwill Ambassador Marcel Desailly encourages children in Ghana to go to school
SAVELUGU/NANTON DISTRICT, Ghana, 5 September 2007 – UNICEF Ghana recently designated their very first Goodwill Ambassador: accomplished football player Marcel Desailly.
Football helps girls in Brazil put exploitation behind them
OLINDA, Brazil, 31 August 2007 – For 15 years, UNICEF Brazil has supported the Environment and Citizenship Project here in the city of Olinda. Developed by the municipal government, the project offers sport- and music-related activities to girls and boys who have been involved in child labour or are in danger of being exploited.
‘Mirame’ book launch shines a light on challenges facing indigenous girls in Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala 22 August 2007 – Dora Alonzo, 15, was wearing a beautiful, hand-woven dress in yellow, pink and blue. “We’re girls – we like to play, we like to laugh, we like to sing, we like to enjoy life,” she said last week before a gathering of people, many of them young girls like her, at the Children’s Museum in Guatemala City.
Zimbabwean grandmothers help build a school for their community’s children
NYAMKUWARA, Zimbabwe, 15 August 2007 – Standing in a ditch, her feet and knees hidden in soiled water, her face splattered with dried mud and her body tiring from the labour, 60-year-old Agnes Mutima looks like a worker in a diamond mine.
UNICEF Niger works with chiefs to promote child survival and girls’ education
MARADI, Niger, 10 August 2007 – In southern Niger’s Tibiri region, a chief is being coronated. Presiding over the solemn ceremony is Grand Chief Abdou Bala Marafa, one of the country’s most influential traditional leaders.
School campaign supports girls’ education and achievement in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 8 August 2007 – Nathalie Kaligirwa, 17, received the First Lady’s Award for Achievement during a ceremony launching the Rwandan Government’s new five-year campaign to promote gender parity, retention and achievement of girls in school.
Nelson Mandela Institute seeks new solutions to education and development challenges
EAST LONDON, South Africa, 6 August 2007 – Like this country itself, the launch of the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development on 3 August was full of contrasts and surprises.
Child-friendly schools give hope to a young girl in El Alto, Bolivia
EL ALTO, Bolivia, 6 August 2007 – Mariela Mamani lives in Villa Tunari, one of the most populous areas in El Alto, Bolivia. In the vast neighborhoods that seem pressed into the soil of the high plain, it is easy to get lost.
18,000 villages across Gujarat celebrate a massive school enrolment drive
GUJARAT, India, 25 July 2007 - Drums were beating, village women donned their finest saris and the streets were decorated with flowers. It was a big day in the life of Kirti Utana - the five-year old daughter of illiterate parents in the tribal village of Siddumbar was going to school.
With help from the Government of Japan, Southern Sudan rebuilds its schools
NEW YORK, USA, 17 July 2007 – Japan has contributed $8.6 million to Southern Sudan, aiding the region’s school-rebuilding efforts following two decades of civil war that devastated the education system there.
Clubs help girls stay in school and succeed in Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 13 July 2007 – Alice is in a good mood because she has received a high grade in French class. “It is very important to learn in order to understand what surrounds us,” she tells her friends during a break between classes.
UNICEF and local partners promote child-friendly schools in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 3 July 2007 – Rubingo Primary School in Gasabo District, approximately 20 km from Kigali City, has all the hallmarks of a child-friendly school.
In Cameroon, changing attitudes and safe water mean more girls in school
MBANG, MBOUM, Cameroon, 13 June 2007 – In the village of Mbang-Mboum, traditional attitudes toward girls have long kept them out of school. Domestic chores fall to girls and women, and essential tasks like carrying water for the household take precedence over education.
Improved, child-friendly schools offer girls a better future in Sierra Leone
KABUICHA, Sierra Leone, 11 June 2007 – Tapping the numbers on the blackboard with a bamboo cane, four-year-old Aster Kamara confidently counts from 1 to 15. It is an impressive performance and she is deservedly applauded by her classmates as she returns to her seat.
Female teachers help to rebuild Afghanistan’s education system
KABUL, Afghanistan, 8 June 2007 – During the Taliban era in Afghanistan, many female teachers were barred from working and many girls were not allowed to go to school. But that has all changed dramatically.
Chinyanta’s Digital Diary: A Zambian teen fights for child rights and gender equality
NEW YORK, USA, 6 June 2007 – Chinyanta Chimba has a lot of energy. At her school in Lusaka, Zambia, she’s active in the Student Alliance for Female Education, which advocates for the rights of girls. She also travels around the world, speaking about children’s rights.
Life-skills training turns Turkmen students into pioneers of AIDS awareness
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, 30 May 2007 – Knowledge about the risk of HIV and how to prevent AIDS is very low in Turkmenistan. Less than one in eight women is able to identify the four ways the virus can be transmitted.
With mothers’ help, more girls are going to school in Cameroon
GAYAK, Cameroon, 25 May 2007 – In a small village in the northern part of Cameroon, a group of women, both young and old recently gathered to sit under a mango tree. Gayak is in the poorest region of Cameroon where as many as 4 out of 10 people live below the poverty line.
Transitional schools keep children learning in earthquake-affected areas of Pakistan
PAKISTAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR, 15 May 2007 – At 1 p.m., 54 students are actively participating in a mathematics class at Sarikala Government Girls’ Primary School in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. They frown and concentrate on the blackboard but smile mischievously from time to time.
UNICEF helps local government build pre-schools in Cambodia
SVAY RIENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 11 May 2007 – Every weekday morning, Nita, 5, joins her friends at the Banteay Kraing Village community pre-school. Small sandals and shoes are neatly lined up in a row outside the wooden shelter that houses the school.
Children set-up their own school in an Indian village, defying caste barriers
JAMALPUR, India, 16 May 2007 – The steep, narrow path leads you to an enclosure covered by a thatched roof. The floor has been plastered with clay and the walls are built on columns of tree trunks.
‘Girl Stars’ reach out to rural India through films on the power of education
NEW YORK, USA, 9 May 2007 – Starting this week, three colourful trucks will take 15 short films on a road show to 180 villages across three states in India, encouraging a positive dialog with communities on the benefits of girls’ education.
UNICEF provides school supplies to 60,000 children in flood-affected areas of Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia, 8 May 2007 – To help respond to humanitarian needs in flood-affected areas of Zambia, UNICEF has turned over 640 ‘School-in-a-Box’ kits to the country’s Ministry of Education. The kits will provide educational supplies to more than 60,000 children and 1,000 teachers in six provinces.
Learning takes centre stage for displaced adults and adolescents in Timor-Leste
METINARO, Timor-Leste, 8 May 2007 – The Metinaro camp for displaced persons is 30 km east of Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. When widespread violence broke out in Dili in 2006, Metinaro was lined with tents sheltering thousands who had lost their homes or were afraid to return.
A post-tsunami milestone: 100 new schools built or under construction in Aceh and Nias
ACEH AND NIAS, Indonesia, 7 May 2007 – The mayor of Banda Aceh, Mawardi Nurdin, recently opened SDN 96 Primary School in the community of Neusu Aceh, Baiturrahman – thereby reaching a milestone of 100 new schools either completed or under construction since the December 2004 tsunami devasted the education infrastructure in this region.
A letter from Sunita: Keeping our promises on girls’ education
BIRATNAGAR, Nepal – My name is Sunita and I am 15 years old. I live with my mother and sister in Biratnagar in eastern Nepal. When I was still a young child my father abandoned us, leaving us even poorer than we had been before. To make ends meet, my mother took a job in a jute mill, and I started working at matchstick factory.
Overcoming obstacles to child survival and gender equality in Kosovo
PRISTINA, Kosovo, 1 May 2007 – Despite the progress made during the post-conflict period since 1999, the UN Administered Province of Kosovo remains one of the poorest territories with one of the most vulnerable economies in Europe.
Child-friendly schools boost learning in Turkmenistan
KONEURGENCH DISTRICT, Turkmenistan, 30 April 2007 – Two years ago Aigul, Nurgozel and Sahypjemal had never used a computer. Now they use the Internet to browse English-language websites.
UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken visits Afghanistan
NEW YORK, USA, 18 April 2007 – UNICEF National Ambassador Clay Aiken has visited central Afghanistan to see for himself how UNICEF is trying to improve life for children in the region.
Child-friendly schools support girls’ education in Cambodia
KAMPONG THOM, Cambodia, 12 April 2007 – Taxi, 14, lives in a rural community of Kampong Thom Province, central Cambodia. It is the dry season and dust chokes the air in her poverty-stricken village, as in most of rural Cambodia. Small palm-roofed bamboo huts line the dirt road that leads to Sankor School, where Taxi attends sixth grade.
Girls’ Education Project focuses on getting students back to school in Nigeria
BAKORI, Nigeria, 11 April 2007 – Full of energy, pupils run in circles on the playground of Nadabo Primary School in the small town of Bakori, northern Nigeria. They are having fun in gymnastics class, where the female teacher has them exercising.
Despite dangers, an Iraqi mother is determined to educate herself and her children
NEW YORK, USA, 28 March 2007 – Nada, 40, lives in Baghdad with her husband and four children – two boys and two girls, all school age. “Our life is a hard life,” Nada (not her real name) told UNICEF Radio in a telephone interview.
Community contracts help build child-friendly schools in Madagascar
AMBOHITNIBE, Madagascar, 26 March 2007 – In the middle of an isolated community, an hour’s walk from the nearest road, there is a primary school that is setting the standard for child-friendly education in Madagascar.
Literacy empowers women and girls in Northern Nigeria
BABBAN KUFAI, Nigeria, 20 March 2007 – It’s a quiet Sunday in the Muslim community of Katsina, a northern state in Nigeria. While students at the local primary school enjoy their day off, more than 80 women are crammed inside one classroom, busy learning how to read and write, many for the first time in their lives.
Mamiwhe’s story: Advancing girls’ education for the sake of Liberia’s future
MONROVIA, Liberia, 19 March 2007 – After school, Mamiwhe Kpahgbor, 16, goes to the market to help her mother sell fish here in Liberia’s capital.
Displaced with her family in northern Iraq, a girl dreams of education
NEW YORK, USA, 19 March 2007 – Sheelan, 14, has never gone to school. Neither have any of her seven older sisters. Her family is Kurdish and has been displaced for two decades, ever since the Iran-Iraq War.
For a young Iraqi woman, a second chance to learn and grow
WASSIT, Iraq, 9 March 2007 - In a small classroom in southern Iraq, Reem (not her real name), 22, is bent over her books. The stifling air is making it hard to concentrate, but she is determined to finish the lesson. She knows the few hours she spends here could determine the course of the rest of her life.
On International Women’s Day, an Iraqi mother and daughter stay focused on education
NEW YORK, USA, 7 March 2007 – As the 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women comes to close at the United Nations on 8 March, International Women’s Day, women and girls around the world struggle to make ends meet, get an education and stay safe. One of the places where these challenges are most acute is Iraq, where ongoing violence has become the norm.
At UN panel, girls describe challenges keeping their peers out of school
NEW YORK, USA, 1 March 2007 – Youth panellists shared the experiences and challenges of girls growing up in their four different countries today at a discussion hosted by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) in New York.
At 10, a young boy discovers school for the first time in Gabon
OMBOUE, Gabon, 1 March 2007 – "Look, I can write ‘3’,” Yacine exclaims, proudly holding up his slate chalked with many number threes carefully aligned.
Formerly abducted into rebel forces, a Liberian girl makes a new start
GANTA, Liberia, 26 February 2007 – Towards the end of Liberia’s 15-year civil war, Gloria (not her real name) was abducted into the rebel forces by boys she knew. She tried to resist but they forced her at knifepoint. She went on to spend six months cooking, cleaning and learning how to use a weapon.
Youth voices heard at opening of UN Commission on the Status of Women
NEW YORK, USA, 26 February 2007 – The 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women opened at United Nations headquarters in New York this morning, launching two weeks of discussions and events in the run-up to International Women’s Day.
Community-based schools bring hope to Afghanistan’s remote settlements
NEW YORK, USA, 23 February 2007 – Hakima, 9, only recently came to know about her country and its people.
Donors come together for Zimbabwe’s orphans and vulnerable children
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 22 February 2007 – In a one-room hut with a torn blanket for a door, Miriam, 16, lives with her six younger siblings.
Protecting and educating children affected by floods in Mozambique
SOFALA PROVINCE, Mozambique, 20 February 2007 – Orlando and his family were among the first to arrive at Chupanga Camp, near the town of Caia in Mozambique’s Sofala Province, after the recent floods began.
UNICEF Executive Director visits child-centred projects in Egypt
NEW YORK, USA, 20 February 2007 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman has commended Egypt’s progress towards advancing child rights at the end of a three-day visit to the country.
Uganda launches education campaign for war-affected children
NEW YORK, USA, 15 February 2007 – UNICEF Uganda and its partners have put education in the spotlight this week with the launch of their ‘Go to school, back to school, stay in school’ campaign to help 1.3 million children get primary education in the country’s conflict-affected north and northeast.
Partners’ Forum meets to support rebuilding in post-civil war Liberia
NEW YORK, USA, 14 February 2007 – “This meeting is crucial to the future of the people of Liberia,” stated President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Liberia Partners’ Forum held this week in Washington DC.
School restoration campaign builds hubs of stability in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 15 February 2007 – Schools are becoming critical hubs of stability within Iraq, thanks to a UNICEF-supported restoration programme designed to stem school closures and growing drop-out rates.
In India, ‘Girl Stars’ show that determination and education are keys to success
NEW YORK, USA, 26 January 2007 – Laxmirani Majhi, 17, also known as Laxmi, is an international-level archer and a student at the Tata Sports Academy in Jamshedpur, India. Laxmi is also one on India’s ‘Girl Stars’, young women who are breaking away from socio-economic discrimination to achieve success.
Water and hygiene facilities change lives for families in rural Viet Nam
DAI PHAC COMMUNE, Viet Nam, 17 January 2007 – During class break, Nguyen Thi Huyen, 10, and her classmates at An Thinh 1 Primary School crowd the small open area outside their new latrine and washing facilities. They wash their hands vigorously, as instructed by the teacher.
Supporting early bilingual education in rural Viet Nam
SUOI GIANG COMMUNE, Viet Nam, 15 January 2007 – She’s only five years old, but Mua Thi Xay is already learning a second language. She is ethnic Hmong, from a community in the mountains of northern Viet Nam. Until now she knew little of her nation’s main language, Vietnamese.
New educational approach keeps Madagascar’s children interested in learning
DIÉGO-SUAREZ, Madagascar, 28 December 2006 – About 20 feet away from the famous emerald-green waters of Diego, students of Ramena Primary School are discovering that learning can actually be fun.
Mothers Clubs playing a crucial role advocating for girls’ education in Gambia
SARE SAMBA, Gambia, 18 December 2006 – Girls growing up in Gambia’s farming communities are often faced with a tough life. Very little emphasis is put on education. Instead, they are usually forced into early marriages and are expected to do farming work and take care of the home.
Basic school supplies reach children and teachers in post-war Southern Sudan
KWAJOK, Southern Sudan, 20 December 2006 – Angelina Nyanyok, 18, a student at the local primary school, identifies her classroom by the single element that provides any shelter.
School access a challenge for girls at camps in northern Uganda
PABBO CAMP, Acholi Region, Uganda, 19 December 2006 – Christine Lawil remembers vividly the day that the LRA came to her village near Pawel, Uganda. “My husband was working in our garden and the rebels attacked the village,” she says. “They beat him and then killed him.”
UNICEF UK Ambassador Martin Bell witnesses ‘thirst for education’ in Afghanistan
NEW YORK, USA, 13 December 2006 – UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies Martin Bell has returned from a week-long trip to Afghanistan.
Deputy Executive Director talks women’s and children’s rights in the Middle East and Africa
NEW YORK, USA, 10 December 2006 – As UNICEF launches its flagship annual report, ‘The State of the World’s Children’ – which focuses this year on the links between women’s rights and children’s well-being – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah has just returned from an extensive field visit in which those links featured prominently.
UNICEF flagship report says gender equality benefits both women and children
NEW YORK, USA, 10 December 2006 – On its 60th anniversary, UNICEF is launching a report that says gender equality is critical to child survival and development.
Bill Clinton visits rebuilt school in Aceh on final tour as UN tsunami envoy
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 4 December 2006 – Ibu Nurhayati has a big smile on her face. She just met Bill Clinton. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery has come to her school – SDN 1 Peukan Bada, on the outskirts of Banda Aceh – to take a look at UNICEF’s permanent school reconstruction program.
GEM clubs help more girls get to school in Southern Sudan
JUBA, Southern Sudan, 30 November 2006 – Like children everywhere, students in Southern Sudan spend most of their mornings studying textbooks, reciting lessons and trying to keep still. But for two days recently, 55 students and teachers came together to raise education awareness through an exuberant display of song and dance.
Pre-school classes boost girls’ enrolment in northern Nigeria
KAZAURE, Nigeria, 24 November 2006 – Enrolment of girls in early childhood development (ECD) classes is booming in areas of northern Nigeria, where local government authorities, assisted by UNICEF, are using multiple strategies to get more girls into pre-school.
A young Roma woman in Serbia overcomes poverty and discrimination
BELGRADE, Serbia, 21 November 2006 – Ljiljana Ilic, 28, is a Roma woman who has risen above the odds, conquering social, economic and cultural barriers to earn both a college and a graduate degree. But reaching her goal was far from easy.
Far-reaching survey assesses learning spaces in post-war Southern Sudan
JUBA, Southern Sudan, 10 November 2006 – For the first time in the history of this war-torn region, a major survey has made it possible to identify the location and conditions of thousands of learning spaces – many of them ‘bush schools’ consisting of little more than a few benches under a tree.
Educating young children left behind in China’s poor and remote communities
ANSHAN, China, 9 November 2006 – Zheng Qing lives in a remote village in the Cangxi county of China’s Sichuan Province. Her mother left home and her father works as a migrant labourer, so she has been raised by her grandmother. Until she started kindergarten two years ago, she was introverted and unwilling to play with other children.
Life skills-based education gets girls back to school in Tajikistan
ISFARA, Tajikistan, 7 November 2006 – Twenty per cent of young girls in Tajikistan are missing school. Most of them stay home to help their mothers with housework, while others take on seasonal farm work.
Zakia’s story: Support for education in Pakistan’s earthquake zone
BATTAGRAM, Pakistan, 27 October 2006 – Under the watchful eyes of her mother, Zakia Bibi is getting ready for school, diligently packing her books and folders.
Teen speaks out at launch of girls’ education strategic plan in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 18 October 2006 – My name is Fransisca Nyabvure I am 18 years old. I am doing my lower six at Darwin High school, in northern Zimbabwe. I live with my grandparents. My parents are dead.
Youth journalists interview Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza on key issues
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 17 October 2006 – Despite his government’s cautious relations with private radio stations and journalists, President Pierre Nkurunziza last week granted a one-hour candid interview to 14 child journalists and warmly praised UNICEF for training the youths.
Lebanese children returning to school for the first time since conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 13 October 2006 – Children in southern Lebanon will be headed back to the classroom on Monday, 16 October, as part of the National Back-to-School Campaign initiated by the Ministry of Education with support from UNICEF.
Indonesian child-friendly schools provide a haven from abuse
KUPANG, Indonesia, 9 October 2006 – Hundreds of students in red and white uniforms line up neatly in the schoolyard of Inpres Tenau Primary School. It seems a typical start for a day at any school in eastern Indonesia.
Teachers go back to school in southern Sudan
WAU, Southern Sudan, 5 October 2006 – The day begins early and ends late for Clara Royo, a primary school teacher in this bustling market town. Rising before dawn to prepare her family’s breakfast and retiring long after dark, she has recently added another activity to her hectic schedule. At the age of 67, she is going back to school.
Improving quality basic education for children in Brazil's Amazon Region
PARÁ STATE, Brazil, 4 October 2006 – The EducAmazônia project works to improve the quality of basic education for 680,000 children attending rural schools in Pará, the largest state in Brazil’s Amazônia Region.
UNICEF Executive Director: Girls’ education vital for developing world
NEW YORK, USA, 25 September 2006 – More than half of all children who do not go to school are girls. Achieving universal primary education is a Millennium Development Goal and one of UNICEF’s primary objectives.
UNICEF Executive Director speaks up for women at Clinton Global Initiative
NEW YORK, USA, 22 September 2006 – Leading experts on child welfare and global development have been gathering in New York to discuss ways of empowering women to aid progress. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman was one of the key speakers at the special session of the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual meeting organized by the William J. Clinton Foundation to address some of the world’s most serious issues.
Dropping guns for books in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 21 September 2006 – A back-to-school campaign has brought new hope to the children of Cité Soleil, the seaside slum in the Haitian capital that has long been regarded as one of most violent neighbourhoods in the whole Western Hemisphere.
Delivering quality, child-centred education in Pakistan’s earthquake zone
BATTAGRAM, Pakistan, 8 September 2006 – Eight-year-old Parveen is once again getting used to life in her new tented classroom, following the end of the summer holidays. When the earthquake that affected so much of northern Pakistan struck in October 2005, her old school building was totally destroyed, forcing teachers to suspend classes due to lack of available shelter.
The long road back to school for children in southern Lebanon
SRIFA, Lebanon, 7 September 2006 – Now that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has ceased, the children of southern Lebanon are trying to return to normal life. But the challenges are enormous. In the village of Srifa, half the buildings have been damaged or destroyed.
Communities find innovative ways to raise money for students in Zimbabwe
BUHERA, Zimbabwe, 5 September 2006 – Like all Zimbabweans, the people of Buhera endure some of the world’s worst inflation, crippling unemployment and an HIV emergency. But there is another basic need the children here are missing – enough money to pay for their ever-rising school fees.
Empowering girls by challenging the tradition of child marriage
CHAPAI NAWABGANJ, Bangladesh, 31 August 2006 – Less than a year ago, Mosamad Mounjera Khatun watched as her future was decided without her consent. Her parents had arranged for her to be married, though she was only 14-years old. Like most young brides, she would have been forced to drop out of school and work in her in-laws’ household.
Back-to-school campaign under way in Aceh
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 28 August 2006 – Basyirah, a third-grade elementary school teacher, could not suppress her glee as she recounted her experience in Indonesia’s tsunami-ravaged region of Aceh.
Child returnees from Côte d’Ivoire go back to school in Burkina Faso
BOBO DIOULASSO, Burkina Faso, 22 August 2006 – Ousmane Nyenyi, 14, has never gone to school. Like many of their neighbors from the Serfalao commune in Bobo Dioulasso, western Burkina Faso, he and his family had to flee from their adopted country, Côte d’Ivoire, when war broke out there four years ago.
Students help make school more ‘child-friendly’ in Mozambique
ZAMBÉZIA, Mozambique, 18 August 2006 – Fourteen-year-old Esperança Soul holds her head high as she sings a welcome song in the local language to a group of visitors. Her melodic voice carries above that of her fellow students who are gathered in an arid playground surrounded by classrooms in various stages of construction.
Communities in remote Kyrgyzstan help students stay in school
NARYN PROVINCE, Kyrgyzstan, 18 August 2006 – The noonday sun scorched Askat, 13, as he used all his strength to finish building a hay pile. The last five bales were extremely difficult as the heavy mound threatened to topple over. After the job was done, he still faced a long walk home. At home, Askat found his grandmother serving tea to three guests. They had come to talk about his problems with school attendance.
Opening school doors for girls and disadvantaged children in Bangladesh
NARSHINGDI, Bangladesh, 16 August 2006 – Down a warren of shanties built with corrugated steel and thatched wood, Morzina Begum and her parents live in a one-room shack, sharing a common kitchen and toilet with several other families.
Emergency education classes in Timor-Leste
METINARO, Timor-Leste, 16 August 2006 – Lurdes Freitas, 10, was all ears as she stood watching her friend name the parts of her body in Portuguese for the rest of the class. Lurdes is one of 300 children who had registered for emergency classes at the Metinaro camp for people displaced by unrest in Timor-Leste.
Donation from the Netherlands supports girls’ education campaign in Benin
COTONOU, Benin, 10 August 2006 – A generous donation of $7.6 million from the Government of the Netherlands is helping UNICEF kickstart the ’All girls to school’ campaign in Benin.
For girls in South Darfur, finishing primary school is a major milestone
DARFUR, Sudan, 18 July 2006 – Fatma Atma Musa,13, goes to school, studies and socializes with her friends – normal activities for children in developed countries. But in Dafur, Fatma is the exception rather than the rule.
Non-formal schooling boosts access to basic education in Nepal
KAPILVASTU, Nepal, 17 July 2006 – Children who were out of school in 15 districts of Nepal now have the opportunity to learn how to read and write, thanks to the UNICEF-supported Out-of-School Programme (OSP).
In Aceh, Indonesia, children’s video diaries document their lives after the tsunami
NEW YORK, USA, 13 July 2006 – At the sprawling Meulaboh camp in Indonesia’s Aceh province, Syahrul, 12, focuses his video camera on a budding yellow flower. Syahrul is one of thousands of Acehnese children living in camps for people displaced by the December 2004 tsunami.
Child-friendly schools give Cambodian children a boost
KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia, 12 July 2006 – At the crack of dawn, the school day swings into motion in Trapaing Chhouk school, several kilometres down a dirt track from the nearest town.
Two girls determined to stay in school in South Kordofan, Sudan
KORDOFAN, Sudan, 11 July 2006 – Girls in South Kordofan, Sudan, like those in many other parts of the world, are more likely than boys to drop out of school. To make matters worse, many girls here have never been enrolled in school at all. Poverty, tradition and inadequate facilities have left a majority of girls without an education.
Enrolment drive sends almost 600,000 girls and boys to school in Gujarat, India
GUJARAT, India, 30 June 2006 – Every one of Gujarat State’s 18,000 villages was celebrating on 17 June, the start of a three-day, statewide enrolment drive that ultimately placed 593,863 children in school. Nearly half of these new students are girls.
Getting children to school in southern Sudan
RUMBEK, Southern Sudan, 30 June 2006 – In this hardscrabble town, where buildings consist of little more than rubble and tending cattle is one of the only realistic careers, getting children into school used to be a nearly impossible task.
Marie Paule’s story: Surviving life on the streets of Kinshasa, DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 22 June 2006 – Marie Paule is in her first year of secondary school. At 14, children her age are usually in their second or even third year. The young teenager may be late in catching up, but she has come a long way.
Colombia education project reaches children kept out of school by conflict
MEDELLIN, Colombia, 20 June 2006 – Every day after school, Johana Agudelo Norena, 11, climbs 300 steps from the road to her house at the top of the Las Mirlas shantytown in Medellin. By now she is used to arriving tired and muddy, but the important thing for her is being able to study again.
Alternative Basic Education keeps pastoral children’s dreams alive
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 19 June 2006 – Ten-year-old Medina Humed Ahmed opens up about her dreams for the future.
A community builds a school for its children with help from the UK and UNICEF
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 19 June 2006 – She has built a family. She has built a business, and built her own home. And now 72-year old Mavis Chanakira is building a school. As bulls heave a cart spilling with sand, builders give free instructions, and men mix and lay cement, Mrs. Chanakira and scores of women act as a conveyer belt, passing bricks down the line.
Closing the gender gap: An Ethiopian girl shines shoes to pay for school
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 8 June 2006 – Meskerem Geremew knew she had to get an education. So the 12-year-old girl from Ethiopia’s bustling capital, Addis Ababa, decided to take action.
‘Welcome to School’: Rallying for universal access to education in Nepal
KAPILVASTU, Nepal, 7 June 2006 – After political unrest that disrupted life in Nepal earlier this year, rallies of quite a different kind have been held in the country’s villages and towns in the last month. They have been led by children chanting slogans such as: “Send children to school ... Don’t discriminate between girls and boys ... Protect child rights ... Spread the wisdom of knowledge.”
As Angola rebuilds, tackling the causes of gender inequalities in schools
LUANDA, Angola, 6 June 2006 – In the face of an education system left in shambles by decades of war, Angola’s goal of reaching a primary school completion rate of 75 per cent by 2008 seems ambitious. But Angola is getting ready to confront the obstacles.
Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo cites benefits of girls’ education in Senegal
DAKAR, Senegal, 24 May 2006 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo walked around the schoolyard visibly at ease, greeting everyone warmly – and with good reason. In time for Senegal’s National Week of Basic Education (22-28 May) the Liberté VI A primary school in Dakar has achieved gender parity: Fifty-two per cent of students enrolled here are female.
In Ethiopia’s troubled Gambella region, a master plan to get children back to school
GAMBELLA, Ethiopia, 17 May 2006 – During a visit to western Gambella, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah laid out a master plan to get more children back to school in one of Ethiopia's most strife-torn regions.
Girls’ education movement in Uganda helps girls – and boys – stay in school
KASESE DISTRICT, Uganda, 12 May 2006 – Sylvia, 18, and Jonas, 14, are classmates in their final year at Kyabikere Primary School. Had it not been for Sylvia’s perseverance, the two friends living here in the rugged and verdant hills of western Uganda might not be moving on to secondary school together.
April 2006: A trip to Huambo, Angola highlights education successes and malaria dangers
HUAMBO, Angola, April 2006 – We arrived in Huambo yesterday and though I’ve been in the country for two weeks only, I’m enjoying the break from Luanda’s heat and constant traffic jams. Today we are heading to Dende, a small village 20 km from Huambo, to visit a primary school built recently with funds from UNICEF Germany. We want to see the finished building and speak to some of the schoolchildren.
Liberia launches Girls’ Education National Policy with support from UNICEF
MONROVIA, Liberia, 18 April 2006 – The education of girls is to become a “cornerstone” of development in Liberia, according to Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, who officially launched a Girls’ Education National Policy today.
Kenya’s abolition of school fees offers lessons for rest of Africa
NAIROBI, Kenya, 17 April 2006 – Maureen Akinyi, 14, dreamt of becoming an accountant and making it to the top of Kenya’s growing corporate sector. She came from a poor but relatively stable family in Kibera, a sprawling slum in Nairobi that is home to over 800,000 people.
Educating Fatna: For a refugee schoolgirl in Chad, a chance to learn
NEW YORK, 13 April 2006 – Today in Dakar, Senegal, the governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and other partners in the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative launched their new Regional Network for West and Central Africa, where increasing girls’ access to quality education has been a challenging task.
UNICEF at Oxford: Education experts to confer on reaching children in conflicts
NEW YORK, USA, 10 April 2006 – Around the world approximately 115 million children are out of school. At least half of those children live in countries affected by conflict, while many others are excluded from the basic right to an education because of natural disasters and other crises.
Lessons learned: African countries share experiences with abolition of school fees
NEW YORK, USA , 5 April 2006 – School fees are keeping the most vulnerable children out of classrooms across the developing world. In countries where conflict, drought, famine and the HIV pandemic prevail, school fees hit these children the hardest. They need the safe environment, routine and services that schools can provide.
‘Techno Girls’ expand their horizons with career mentorship in South Africa
PRETORIA, South Africa, 29 March 2006 – Zoliswa Yoyo is spending her school vacation at the office – and she couldn’t be happier about it. The 16-year-old student from Ndyebo Senior Secondary School is one of 35 girls gaining firsthand workplace experience courtesy of the Techno Girls Career Mentorship Programme.
Students play catch-up with final exams after two years of civil disruptions in Côte d’Ivoire
NEW YORK, USA, 13 March 2006 – After a two-year wait, students in Côte d’Ivoire have at last been able to take their final examinations and complete their education.
UNICEF Mexico’s Advisory Board launches campaign urging voters to focus on child education in upcoming elections
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 23 February 2006 – “If your candidate doesn't know how to improve education, elect another candidate. Cast a vote for education!”
Remedial education helps millions of Palestinian children
AZZUN ATMA, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 16 February 2006 – Education is a daily struggle in the remote northern West Bank village of Azzun Atma where there is only one school. UNICEF is supporting a project that trains teachers and parents throughout the West Bank and Gaza to help students study on their own or at home with remedial worksheets.
Reaching out to India’s poorest: Sister Sudha awarded government distinction
JAMSAUT, Bihar, India, 6 February 2006 – Girls from the Musahar community in the village of Jamsaut are studying at their local school. What looks like a perfectly normal classroom scene makes for an unusual sight here, as these girls belong to one of the most destitute and marginalised groups in Bihar – India’s poorest state.
Girls' education and empowerment in Zimbabwe
HURUNGWE, Zimbabwe, 24 January 2006 - Ten -year-old Mitchell Gwatidzo shudders as she retells the story of her little friend who was abused by her uncle. In her crisply ironed blue uniform, Mitchell boldly raises an issue that more and more Zimbabwean children are speaking out about.
Going door-to-door in Turkey for girls’ education
VAN, Turkey, 29 December 2005 – In schools and homes and coffeehouses across the country, the same question is being asked by teachers, journalists, local activists and religious leaders: “What will it take to get your daughter in school?”
Children strengthen communities in South Africa through the Girls’ Education Movement
GA THOKA, Limpopo Province, South Africa, 20 December 2005 – Many families in this grey, dusty village live without access to basic services like water and sanitation. There is no electricity and health facilities are almost non-existent. Yet Ga Thoka is on the brink of transformation thanks to some of its younger citizens.
‘Telling the Story’ of girls’ education
GABORONE, Botswana, 8 December 2005 – For 21-year-old Boipelo Semere, a third-year student at the University of Botswana, the law degree she will soon receive is only one measure of success.
400,000 Liberian children receive school supplies from UNICEF
HARPER, Liberia, 2 December 2005 – In a symbol of hope for Liberia’s children, UNICEF is distributing educational supplies to some 2,000 public schools across the country, benefiting nearly half a million students.
Delegates at meeting on ‘Education for All’ say urgent work is needed to achieve 2015 goal
BEIJING, China, 30 November 2005 - With more than 115 million children worldwide still out of school, and more than 770 million adults illiterate, delegates to the Fifth Meeting of the High Level Group on Education for All said urgent work must be done to reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015.
Building a just society through gender equality
BEIJING, China, 26-27 November 2005 – A new UNICEF report has proposed critical steps to help the countries that are struggling to achieve educational equality for girls.
Many countries fail to meet goals for girls’ education
NEW YORK, USA, 25 November 2005 – The world has failed in an important step towards achieving educational equality for girls this year; forty-six countries will not meet international goals for gender parity in schools set for 2005.
UN Administered Province of Kosovo: Community alliances keep girls in school
PRISTINA, United Nations Administered Province of Kosovo, 22 November 2005 – Six years after the end of the conflict here – in which bombs turned thousands of residents into refugees and reduced much of the landscape to rubble – schools are recovering with the help of an innovative parent-teacher alliance.
Kenya: Regional disparities threaten progress towards education for all
LOKICHOGGIO, Kenya, 17 November 2005 – Far from the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Nairobi, children in this remote corner of Kenya spend their school days wondering if they will eat a single meal.
Jamaica: Gender-fair schools stem boys' anger
KINGSTON, Jamaica/NEW YORK, USA, 14 November 2005 – School life for boys and girls at Children First in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, is very different from most other schools. Here, students have a say in rules and sanctions, evaluate their teachers’ and director’s performance and make recommendations for faculty behaviour.
Mobile educators brings learning to poor families in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
TETOVO, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 11 November 2005 – A team of travelling teachers is visiting Valbone Mandzukai’s family, to teach her 7-year-old son how to read and write. But he is not the only one learning – Valbone, who was illiterate when she fled Kosovo six years ago, is also taking lessons.
Nicaragua: Child-friendly schools boost girls' self-esteem
LIMAY, Nicaragua/NEW YORK, 28 October 2005 – Victoria Rayo primary school in Limay, Estelí province, northern Nicaragua, has undergone remarkable changes since it joined the country's Child-Friendly and Healthy Schools Initiative in 2003.
Stalled peace process threatens children’s education in northern Côte d’Ivoire
NEW YORK, 6 October 2005 – For the past two years, no school exams have been held in northern Côte d’Ivoire – meaning that children have not been able to advance to the next grade or graduate. Hopes had been high that exams would finally take place this year, but the Ministry of Education has once again decided to postpone them – this time indefinitely – because of the ongoing civil conflict.
Pakistan: ‘Fair Play for Girls’ campaign uses cricket to promote development
LAHORE, Pakistan, 23 September 2005 – On a cool, grey day in September, the voices of thousands of schoolgirls singing filled a packed sports stadium.
Girls’ education advocate delivers message of hope to First Spouses during World Summit
NEW YORK, 23 September 2005 – Like many visitors on their first trip to New York, 26-year-old Lydia Wilbard stopped by the United Nations last week. Unlike most tourists, however, Lydia had arrived to deliver a speech during the 2005 World Summit.
Southern Sudan: Early marriage threatens girls’ education
YAMBIO, Sudan, 7 September 2005 – As schoolgirls here bend their heads over their books, they listen warily for the sounds of angry voices outside.
Burundi: Free primary education for all children
NEW YORK, 7 September 2005 – After 12 years of civil war, Burundi now has a new democratic government, and the reconstruction process is gathering momentum. As part of his programme, President Pierre Nkurunziza has reaffirmed his pledge to provide free primary education for all the country’s children.
UNICEF Executive Director highlights gender equality and girls education during China trip
BEIJING, 29 August 2005 – Speaking today at the opening of ‘Beijing 2005: The 10th Anniversary Commemoration of the Fourth World Conference on Women’, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman emphasized the importance of programmes and partnerships that promote gender equality and empower women.
For Cambodian girls, education is antidote to poverty and sexual exploitation
Bung Preah Commune, Prey Veng Province, Cambodia, 9 August 2005 – Fifteen-year-old Seng Srey Mach had to drop out of school for two years to work in the fields when her mother was ill and too weak to work. For a girl who always was first in class, not going to school was devastating. “I used to cry when I saw my friends on their way to school,” Seng Srey says.
Angola: After 30 years of civil war, school reconstruction helps build a bright future
HUAMBO, Angola, 28 July 2005 – The foundations of peace are now firmly in place in this country, which had been ravaged by civil conflict. Now, another sort of foundations are being laid: Construction of new schools is taking off, as part of the rejuvenation effort for Angola’s shattered education infrastructure.
Madagascar’s ‘big sister’ programme helps girls stay in school
MANJAKANDRINA, Madagascar, 11 July 2005 – Thirteen-year-old Lanee, who lives in this small village, has an important new responsibility: She is now a ‘big sister’ for her first-grade schoolmate, Nadia. Lanee’s new role is to be a helper and friend, by walking Nadia to school, playing with her during recess and lending a hand with homework.
Mothers’ zeal in the Gambia gets girls into school
SARE SAMBA & JATTABA, The Gambia, 27 June 2005 - The young actor steps forward. “My daughter will not go to school. There is no value in these western teachings. She will stay at home, do the cooking and find a husband.” He stamps his foot; the audience laughs.
Girls are equal to boys in Philippine schools. Or are they?
MANILA, 14 June 2005 – “In my class, it’s mostly boys who drop out,” said Vernelou Kidro, 16, during a recent theater rehearsal at a community centre in Tondo, a Manila neighbourhood with thousands of tiny, ramshackle houses. “Often, they lack interest or are just too poor to afford school.”
Model school in Senegal uses partnerships to open school doors for girls
DAKAR, Senegal, 2 June 2005 – It is early in the morning and the school yard at Ndiarème B primary school on the outskirts of this city is already bustling. Girls and boys are busy sweeping dusty floors and filling plastic bottles with water for the flowerbeds outside their classrooms.
New schools and accelerated learning help Liberian students make up for lost time
BUANPLAY, Liberia, 25 May 2005 – Thirteen-year-old Kosaye is the oldest student in her first grade class. Because of Liberia’s 14-year civil war, children like Kosaye missed the vital years of their schooling. With the guns of war now silenced, many schools have finally reopened. Despite her classmates’ constant teasing about her age, Kosaye is determined to stay in school and finish her education.
Combat veteran goes door-to-door to get girls back to school
RUMBEK, Sudan, 1 June 2005 – For six years, Reuben Meen fought on the front lines of Africa’s longest-running civil war.
Children map a brighter future for schoolgirls in Uganda
KAMPALA, Uganda, 13 May 2005 – As the 2005 target for gender parity in primary and secondary education comes due, children across Uganda are busily charting their nation’s progress toward education for all.
‘But Can They Read’: Monitoring educational quality
NEW YORK, 9 May 2005 – On 5-6 May, experts from the World Bank, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF gathered in New York for a workshop called ‘But Can They Read’. The goal was to discuss ways of monitoring educational quality for boys and girls throughout the world.
Bhutan: School shortage forces pupils to leave home
New York, 28 April 2005 - Chandra, 9, Tika, 8, and Lela, 7, are sisters attending Beteni Community School in the district of Tsirang in south-central Bhutan. Because their home is a 6-hour walk from the school, their father, a farmer, has built a small hut for them to live in during the week. The hut is near the school and is made of mud and sticks, with an iron sheet as the roof.
Pakistan: Frontier schools blaze a trail for girls’ education
ISLAMABAD, 25 April 2005 — The students of Pitao Banda Primary Feeder School are among the trailblazers for girls’ primary education in the remote hamlets that are scattered throughout the foothills of the Hindu Kush, in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.
‘Girl-to-girl strategy’ helps girls stay in school in Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 15 April 2005 – In Madagascar, UNICEF is advocating for girls’ education through an alliance with its most important partners: children.
Progress for Children: Despite gains, too many missing out on education
NEW YORK, 15 April 2005 - UNICEF’s latest Progress for Children report says that, while more girls worldwide are going to school, the gender gap in many regions is still unacceptably wide.
Traditional Chiefs encourage girls to go to school
TCHADI, Niger 15 April 2005 - The role of Niger’s Traditional Chiefs has evolved in modern times.
From a vicious to a positive cycle: Girls’ education in Senegal
DAKAR, Senegal, 14 April 2005 – Ndiarème B Primary School is in the poor outskirts of Dakar. The school’s director, Magatte Mbow, earnestly believes that every girl has a right to an education. When she discovered that 8-year-old Aissa was being prevented by her family from going to school, she decided to pay them a visit.
In Hafun, a girl's dream comes true
HAFUN, Somalia, 7 April 2005 – Nine-year old Faduma Farah Aden always wanted to go to school but never thought she would have the chance. Like most of the girls in Hafun, a fishing village in northeast Somalia, she was resigned to spending her days looking after sheep and fetching firewood. However, that all changed the day the Indian Ocean tsunami struck the Somalia coastline.
Indian girls demand equal access to education
NEW DELHI, India, 11 April 2005 – Girls in India are demanding greater, sustained support for equal access to a good education. At a workshop organised by UNICEF in the Indian capital New Delhi on 7 April a group of around fifty girls from seven Indian states came together to discuss and share their experiences of schooling.
Football boosts girls’ education
LABE, Guinea, 6 April 2005 – Guinean girls turned out for a national football tournament this week in a bid to beat the boys at their own game and boost girls’ education.
Communities unite around education in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 7 April 2005 - In war-torn Somalia, where a devastating civil conflict has fractured families and ravaged national institutions, communities are finding common cause in the drive for education for all.
World Premiere of UNICEF song
COPENHAGEN, 3 April 2005 - "Children First," a UNICEF song about the plight of children worldwide, premiered in Copenhagen during the opening ceremony of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary celebration.
Empowering girls through education in India
New York, 4 April 2005 – The state of Bihar, India's poorest, is home to nearly 90 million people. Half of them live in conditions of extreme poverty. Key development indicators, such as those related to public health or literacy, are among the lowest in the nation.
Iraqi children still committed to education despite ongoing violence
Iraq, 31 March 2005 - At the end of each school day, Selma Abbas, a veteran Iraqi teacher, prays that she will see her students return safely the next day.
Campaign urges Afghan families to enrol their daughters in school
KABUL, Afghanistan, 21 March 2005 - A nationwide campaign promoting the value of girls’ education has begun across Afghanistan, as many parts of the country prepare for a new school year commencing at the end of March.
School enrolment in Darfur doubles despite deteriorating crisis
DARFUR, Sudan, 3 March 2005 - School enrolment in Darfur has more than doubled in the last six months. Children under 18 account for more than half of the displaced population in Darfur and UNICEF believes that providing education is a key to stabilizing their lives.
UNICEF brings education to indigenous children in Panama
CHIRIQI, Panama, 17 February 2005 - For many indigenous children in the Mironó district in rural Panama, education is a challenge that goes far beyond the demands of the classroom.
Promoting girls' education in Yemen
SANA'A, Yemen, 15 February 2005 - Getting access to education - even a primary school education – is one of the biggest challenges facing children, especially girls, in Yemen today. Nearly half of primary school age girls do not go to school. Two out of three women in Yemen are illiterate.
Andorra helps UNICEF accelerate girls' education in Eritrea
NEW YORK, 11 February 2005 – Foreign Minister of the Principality of Andorra Mr. Juli Minoves-Triquell today visited UNICEF to discuss the government’s relationship with UNICEF and to present a cheque for $16,834 to Deputy Executive Director Kul Gautam.
Children given chance to resume education in Côte d’Ivoire
NEW YORK, 9 February 2005 - Thousands of children in Côte d’Ivoire may finally get the chance to take their exams following orders from the country’s prime minister Saydou Diarra. An ongoing civil conflict in the country has severely disrupted education, forcing schools to close and causing many teachers in the north to flee the region.
Community-based schools bring hope to Afghan girls
BAGRAMI, Afghanistan, 8 February 2005 - Eight-year old Zakira is a typical girl from Hussain Khel village in Bagrami district, north of Kabul. There were no schools near her village that she or her five siblings could attend.
Girls celebrated for determination to stay in school
MAHARASHTRA, India, 8 February 2005 - Communities in Maharashtra, in the western and central parts of India, are coming together to give special recognition to girls who manage to stay in school against all odds.
First Lady of Zambia: Clean water gets girls into school
NEW YORK, 7 February 2005 - The First Lady of Zambia, Maureen Mwanawasa, has founded a non-governmental organization in order to help improve conditions for children and women in her home country.
Children eager to return to schools in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
PORT BLAIR, India, 7 February 2005 - It is lunch time and the fragrance of cooked food is infusing the air with a sense of expectancy. People seem to have settled into camp life as uncomfortable as it is. In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, food, water and sanitation were the primary concerns for survival; education did not figure as a priority. Now it is back at the forefront of parents’ and teachers’ minds.
Alternative education gives adults a second chance to learn
SAKTEN, Bhutan, 7 February 2005 - Eighteen-year-old Nim Dolma dropped out of school when she was in the fourth grade because her parents could no longer afford to educate her. But thanks to the Non-Formal Education Programme, established by the government of Bhutan in 1992 with the support of UNICEF, Nim has a second chance at an education.
Education and play help children leave the tsunami behind
BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka, 7 February 2005 - In Batticaloa, children describe last month’s tsunami as ‘the lunge of a striking cobra.’ Snakes are a familiar danger to Sri Lanka’s youngsters, and the devastating waves that struck last month seemed to transform their entire environment into a menace.
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy visits Thailand
PHANG NGA, Thailand, 4 February 2005 - UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy was in southern Thailand on Friday visiting schools and coastal areas that were hard hit by December’s devastating tsunami.
European Commission grant boosts education in Somalia
NAIROBI, 3 February 2005 – A new €4.5 million grant (over $5.8 million) from the European Commission will help ensure that 80,000 more Somali girls and boys will be able to go to school.
Children go back to school in tsunami-affected countries
NEW YORK, 1 February 2005 – Many Thai schoolchildren are back at their desks one month after December’s devastating tsunami, but attendance is still low.
Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai to world’s children: ‘The sky is the limit!’
NEW YORK, 28 January 2005 – Professor Wangari Maathai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004, recently spoke with UNICEF about her experiences empowering women and children in her native Kenya for more than 30 years.
Educating girls through important new initiatives
LONDON, England, 26 January 2005 - The United Kingdom has launched a new education strategy with a £1.4 billion pledge to help girls in developing nations get the education they need to improve their futures.
UNICEF and Nelson Mandela launch child-friendly schools programme
NEW YORK, 13 December 2004 – Nelson Mandela, UNICEF and the Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Democracy and International Law have together launched a worldwide campaign in order to build more schools in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ecuador’s ambitious education programme shows positive results
NEW YORK, 1 December 2004 -- UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy has praised the Ecuadorian government for its commitment to get more children to attend school.
International Literacy Day is 8 September 2004
International Literacy Day,8 September 2004, will focus the world’s attention on the millions of children and adults who do not have access to literacy programmes and suffer from lack of education.
World Teachers’ Day, 5 October 2004
World Teachers’ Day, 5 October 2004, will provide an opportunity for the international public to examine the critically important contributions that teachers make, both inside and outside the classroom. On this day, thousands of education professionals around the world will unite to ensure that the educational needs of future generations of schoolchildren are taken into account.
Makka and Chekhadine go back to school in a Chad Refugee Camp
KOUNONGO, 24 May 2004—From the dusty track, coming by car, the white surfaces of the school stand out brilliantly in the midst of the yellow-brown colour of the refugee camp of Kounoungo.
Where have all the school girls in Tajikistan gone? A new UNICEF supported survey explains…
30 April 2004, Dushanbe – Ministry of Education officials, teachers, representatives from a parents and teachers association, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and school children attended a two-day conference (27 and 28 April) at the Central In-service Training Institute in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.