Education in emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean
Learn about our work in education for the most vulnerable children in contexts of humanitarian crisis
What do we do?
The Education in Emergencies section reflects the work of UNICEF LACRO’s education team to ensure all children and adolescents’ right to education. We particularly focus on the most vulnerable children and adolescents, such as those with disabilities, internally displaced, migrants and refugees, and children whose education has been disrupted due to humanitarian crises, including conflict, disaster and/or health emergencies such as COVID-19, among others.
We help children develop skills to cope with the trauma of crisis and provide them with safe, child-friendly learning spaces equipped with water and sanitation facilities. In addition, we build capacity by training teachers, providing learning materials, and supporting governments to reduce disaster risk.
UNICEF strongly advocates for children's right to education and a protective learning environment. We provide technical assistance to Ministries of Education in countries across the region, building capacity in education in emergencies and creating partnerships at national and regional levels to safeguard learning for all children and adolescents.
The Education in Emergencies (EiE) team focuses its efforts on four main lines of work:
- Emergency preparedness and response
- Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) & Climate Change
- Violence & psychosocial support
Education in emergencies can sustain and save lives by providing physical, psychosocial, and cognitive protection to children and adolescents.
Schools are generally considered the primary spaces that offer a safe environment for children. Besides educational activities, schools offer recreational, sports, and social activities that can be disrupted during emergencies, either because the institutions are used as shelters or because their infrastructure is lost or affected.
When education is part of the first humanitarian response, affected communities can return to normalcy faster, as adults will be able to engage in economic recovery and reconstruction activities.
Evidence shows that without education, children lack opportunities and face significant risks of suffering from poverty and violence, as they have not developed the necessary skills to function in society.
Education helps children and adolescents build resilience and learn fundamental coping and positive adaptation skills, which are instrumental in conflict resolution, tolerance, and peacebuilding. Besides providing children with basic numeracy, literacy, and life skills, schools also teach them how to cope with conflict.
UNICEF's Education in Emergencies team at the LAC regional office provides technical support to country offices, ministries of education and key partners to ensure access to quality education in emergency contexts for all children and adolescents (including children with disabilities, migrants, refugees, indigenous, Afro-descendants, among others).