|Broadcast news presenter Katie Couric moderates questions to the panel at the UN ‘Girls Speak Out’ event.|
When a crisis hits, and in the transitional period that follows the actual emergency, children’s needs increase exponentially. UNICEF works to save lives and provide children with quality education, enormous undertakings requiring tremendous resources and complex logistical coordination. So it is essential that UNICEF have strong, collaborative partners.
At the international level, three partnerships stand out:
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Cluster for Education in Emergencies is part of larger UN reform efforts to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian relief. UNICEF and Save the Children Alliance are the lead agencies for the education cluster, whose task at the country level is to clarify roles, responsibilities and accountability of UN and non-UN partners seeking to restore schooling in specific crisis situations. The cluster also seeks to better coordinate efforts by multiple partners to rebuild education systems in the early recovery period after the crisis.
The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) was created in 2000. Its open membership includes UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donors, development practitioners, researchers and other individuals who share a common interest in ensuring the right to education in emergencies and post-crisis reconstruction. The network engages in advocacy, coordinates capacity-building opportunities, identifies and disseminates information resources and develops technical materials. Its most notable achievement to date is the INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction, a global tool developed by more than 2,250 individuals from 50 countries to facilitate the promotion, training, monitoring and evaluation of minimum standards for education in emergencies around the world. The INEE is managed by a small secretariat supported by an inter-agency steering group, of which UNICEF is a member.
The Fast Track Initiative, launched by the World Bank and other partners in 2002, is a global partnership between donors and developing countries to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015. All low-income countries that demonstrate serious commitment to the goal are eligible for technical and financial support for education. The Fragile States Task Team of the Education for All–Fast Track Initiative (EFA–FTI) seeks to support the expansion of the FTI to fragile states, which are home to a large proportion of the world’s out-of-school children. The Fragile States Task Team is composed of representatives from donor organizations, the UN (including UNICEF), humanitarian agencies and the FTI Secretariat.
UNICEF continues to build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones, updating the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In times of crisis and their aftermath, raising a child may actually require not only a village, but a global community of concerned, collaborative and energized partners.