UNICEF in Action
In South Asia UNICEF is working with governments and other agencies to influence legislation, improve infrastructure and teaching abilities, provide access through community and mobile schools, provide emergency services where required and motivate and raise awareness among parents, families and communities.
Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan have spearheaded advocacy campaigns for girls’ education. Following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, 1.2 million girls – up from zero – streamed into government schools during 2003, though these gains are sadly being comprised by the recent upsurge in violence.
Collaboration between the UNICEF Regional Office and the UN Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) has led to publication of a series of papers on girls’ education intended to spark debate, share ideas on best practices, break new ground for all engaged in educational policy and implementation, and address issues such as social exclusion. An agreement between UNICEF and the Asian Cricket Council has led to major events promoting girls’ education in Pakistan, Bangladesh and at the Asia Cricket Cup in 2004.
UNICEF provides governments and partners guidance on child-friendly concepts including improved teacher training, better textbooks and learning materials, safer and healthier school infrastructure, and the involvement of communities themselves in school planning and management to enhance sustainability. UNICEF has helped install or revitalize sanitation in thousands of schools across Asia.
UNICEF has produced an Emergency Education Package to increase the capacity of education officers in South Asia to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Providing education is part of both normalizing the environment for children in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or during an ongoing conflict, as well as providing an essential basic right and service.