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Press release

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

BAMAKO/BRUSSELS, 15 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 ECHO funding for UNICEF’s 2013-2014 “Back to School” campaign will help to get children back to learning and to stay to finish their education.

The education system in Mali has been severely disrupted since the end of 2011 due to conflict in the North; political instability in the South; a food and nutrition crisis caused by drought; and flooding. The situation further deteriorated in January 2013 after a military coup. According to the Ministry of Education, at least 800,000 children have been affected by the crisis in different ways. Some schools in the North had to close their doors. Some children were displaced, in overcrowded classrooms, in temporary learning spaces, while others were faced with the reality that their teachers had fled.

The funding will benefit 200,000 children and 4,000 teachers in the North (in the regions of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu) and Mopti (in the districts of Douentza, Tenenkou, Youwarou) in 824 primary schools and 200 centres for early childhood development. In addition, other institutions, such as local education authorities, school committees (parents, parents’ associations and village leaders), and teachers’ unions, will also receive support. Classrooms and furniture will be provided, as well as teacher training and educational and recreational kits.

"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.

“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.


About UNICEF            

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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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, hcalderon@unicef.org

Cindy Cao, Public Information & Media Officer, UNICEF Mali, Tel: +223 75 99 58 46, ccao@unicef.org

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, anouk.delafortrie@echofield.eu





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