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28 March 2010 - Japan contributes almost $6m to build schools across Darfur

Khartoum – The Japanese Government has given $5.89 million to UNICEF in Sudan for the construction of hundreds of new classrooms at schools across the remote western region of Darfur.

“This very generous contribution by the Government of Japan will create great opportunities to make up for the education debt we owe children in Darfur after years of conflict,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan Nils Kastberg.

Since 2005, UNICEF has supported the Government of National Unity to get hundreds of thousands of children into school, many of them in Darfur.

But latest statistics by the Federal Ministry of Education from 2008 to 2009 show that there are still 874,030 children in Darfur who are out of school.

The Japanese funding will enable UNICEF to focus its education programmes on those deemed to be the most disadvantaged, remote and difficult to reach children in DarfurThe Japanese funding will enable UNICEF to focus its education programmes on those deemed to be the most disadvantaged, remote and difficult to reach children in Darfur.

The contribution will be used to build 200 new classrooms at primary schools in rural communities in North, South and West Darfur. It will also be used to provide education to nomadic children and to build and restore 150 classrooms in camps for people who have been forced to flee their homes during the last seven years of fighting in Darfur.

“The construction of the classrooms is one of the key actions in our efforts to not only enrol but also increase school completion and improve quality of education for all children in Darfur. We look forward to working with the Government of National Unity, under the leadership of the Federal and State Ministries of Education to ensure these schools get the other resources they need,” added Mr Kastberg.

One priority for the Government of Sudan is to address the shortage of teachers. In 2009 schools in Darfur needed 10,880 teachers to fill existing gaps and that figure looks set to rise this year

Part of the Japanese contribution will be used to teach peace-building skills to school pupils across Darfur.

Japan’s Ambassador to Sudan, H.E. Mr Akinori Wada, said "Darfur is a high-priority region in Japan’s emergency and humanitarian assistance. Recently the Government of Japan provided $40 million USD to support consolidation of peace in Sudan, $18 million of this was given to programmes in Darfur.”

“Consolidation of peace is one of the main pillars of Japan’s foreign policy to Africa. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Government of Japan has extended grant assistance to the Sudan amounting to 467 million US dollars mainly through international organizations,” Mr Wada added.

A grant agreement was signed by the head of Japan’s International Cooperation Agency in Sudan, Kenichi Shishido and UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan, Nils Kastberg at 10am on March 28th 2010. A formal note has also been exchanged between Japan’s Ambassador to Sudan, H.E. Mr. Akinori Wada and Mr Kastberg. The signing of the agreement and the exchange of notes are witnessed by the State Minister for General Education, Ustz. Halima Hassaballah.

About UNICEF:
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:
 
Valentina Rios, Officer-in-charge, Media & External Relations UNICEF Sudan,
Mobile+249 (0) 912174640, Email: ovrios@unicef.org

Amber Henshaw, Media & External Relations UNICEF Sudan, Mobile +249 (0) 912 177 291
Email: ahenshaw@unicef.org

Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Regional Chief, Communication, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa. Mobile: +962 (6) 550 2407, Email: arghandour@unicef.org

 

 
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