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Building back better: 200th school opened in Indonesia

All UNICEF schools childf-riendly and earthquake resistant

BANDA ACEH, 19 February 2009 – UNICEF and the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency for Aceh-Nias (BRR) today opened SDN 34, the 200th school built by UNICEF. As with all UNICEF schools, SDN 34 is earthquake-resistant and child-friendly. Aside from the 200 completed schools, 146 more are under construction and scheduled to be completed by September 2009.

“I very much appreciate UNICEF’s efforts in constructing safe and appropriate schools for our children.  Aceh and Nias may be the only places in Indonesia with a large number of earthquake resistant and child friendly public school buildings,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Director of BRR. “What UNICEF has done is a great example of our common rehabilitation and reconstruction goal to build back better."

Built by UNICEF’s implementing partner UNOPS, SDN 34 is the largest school constructed by the UN’s children’s agency, featuring 22 classrooms and housing over 1,000 students from three elementary schools. The original buildings were destroyed and heavily damaged by the earthquake and tsunami which struck the province on 26 December, 2004. Since then, classes have been held in double shifts in the remaining parts of one of the schools until the new SDN 34 was completed in early February.

“With its child-friendly and earthquake resistant schools, UNICEF has been setting new standards in reconstruction in Indonesia,” said Jean Metenier, Chief Field Officer of UNICEF Aceh and Nias. “However, it is equally important that the schools are filled with motivated students, knowledgeable teachers and supported by local authorities and a lively and involved community.”

That is why I am encouraging all students, teachers, parents and school committees to take ownership of their school and ensure that generations of Acehnese children will receive quality education in an appropriate and safe learning environment,” he continued.

UNICEF also encourages education authorities to allocate a budget for school maintenance.

UNICEF’s school reconstruction program covers 13 districts. Seven districts were originally agreed upon in 2005 – Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, Aceh Jaya, Aceh Barat, Nagan Raya, Nias and Nias Selatan, which were all affected by the earthquake and tsunami in 2004. However, after the signing of the peace agreement in August 2005, UNICEF expanded its construction programme to include 6 conflict-affected districts (Pidie, Pidie Jaya, Bireuen, Bener Meriah, Aceh Selatan and Aceh Singkil).

As all UNICEF schools, SDN 34 is a childfriendly and earthquake-resistant school and consists of well-lit and well-ventilated classrooms, separate toilets for boys and girls, a teacher’s office and a library. In addition, schools include child-friendly features such access ramps for handicapped students and a large courtyard, as well as measures to ensure adequate lighting and ventilation. They are setting new standards in earthquake resistance and safety, by providing two wide exit doors per classroom and emergency stairs.

UNICEF is working with three implementing partners: UNOPS (226 school sites in Aceh and Nias), Bita (66 sites in Aceh) and Nippon Koei (54 sites in Nias).

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 further information, please contact:

Anna K. Stechert, Tel  + 0812 699 0493,  astechert@unicef.org




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