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ECHO and UNICEF join forces for crisis affected children to go back to school

© UNICEF Mali / 2013 / Dicko

BAMAKO/BRUSSELS, 09 January 2014 - The Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO) is providing EUR 3 million for children’s education in crisis affected in Mali. The European Union and UNICEF join forces to support the 2013-2014 “Back to school” campaign which will help provide children with access to quality education in a healthy and safe environment for learning.

This funding will directly support 200,000 children and 4,000 teachers affected by the conflict in the North (Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu) and Mopti (Douentza, Tenenkou, Youwarou) in 824 primary schools and 200 centres for early childhood development. In addition, the campaign involves key education institutions including: academies, peripheral education centres, teachers' unions, etc. These major actors will ensure the improvement of the education system in the long term.

In the context of ECHO-UNICEF partnership, awareness-raising and mobilisation activities will encourage the return and retention of children in school. 300 temporary learning spaces will be provided and 50 schools will benefit from school furniture. In addition, the targeted children and teachers will receive educational and recreational kits. In order to improve the quality of education, teachers will strengthen their skills through trainings focused on five themes linked to emergency.

"Education is the foundation of society. Education can rebuild the country," ensured Gianfranco Rotigliano. "One of the teacher’s training subjects, 'education for a culture of peace & reconciliation', is a long term investment for the future of Mali. We need to work together, from the earliest age, to build a lasting peace" he ended.

The education system has been severely affected by multiple crises since the end of 2011: conflict in North, political instability in the South, food and nutrition crisis and flooding. The situation further deteriorated as a result of the events in January 2013, and today at least 800,000 children have been affected by the crisis according to the Ministry of Education.

“In terms of education, major challenges remain and require an urgent response. Additional ECHO funding will help ensure continued access to quality and equitable education for all,” said Cornelis Wittebrood, ECHO's Head of Unit, East, West and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean.


UNICEF works in more than 190 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, good 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.

About European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2012 alone, it provided over 70 million Euros for UNICEF’s projects worldwide to support children.

For further information, please contact:

Contact UNICEF

Hector Calderon, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Mali, Tel: +223 75 99 40 89,

Cindy Cao, Public Information & Media Officer, UNICEF Mali, Tel: +223 75 99 58 46,

Contact ECHO

Anouk Delafortrie. Coordinatrice régionale de l'information – ECHO Afrique de l'Ouest
Tel.: +221  33 869 60 92 / Mobile: +22177 740 92 17,

Press release
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