Additional support from Education Cannot Wait to scale up the education in emergency response in Niger
This new funding support will enable UNICEF to improve access to protective learning environments for a total of 12,000 crisis-affected children
NIAMEY (Niger), 11 August 2020 – UNICEF has received additional funding support of US$1.15 million from Education Cannot Wait, as part of a total envelope of US$4 million intended for the country and implemented by several partners. The US$4 million First-Emergency Response ECW investment is focused on inclusive access to safe and protective learning environments, psychosocial support for internally displaced, refugee and host community children and youth, vocational training courses to support out-of-school adolescents, and targeted support for girls.
This new contribution to its education programme will enable UNICEF to improve access to protective learning environments for a total of 12,000 crisis-affected children in the Diffa and Maradi regions, responding to pre-existing crises and to the compounding effect of COVID-19.
“This support will allow us to support thousands of children who are not in school – for whom we need to provide education quickly so they do not become part of the lost generation – while we are also finding the longer-term solutions so all children can reach their full potential. We are deeply grateful that Education Cannot Wait has once again demonstrated its commitment to the children of Niger” says Dr. Felicite Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger.
In Niger, more than 2.6 million children and youth were already out of school, according to data from 2018. COVID-19, displacements following attacks by non-state armed groups on the borders with Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, and an increase in climate-changed-induced natural disasters such as floods and droughts are putting even more girls and boys at risk and inhibit access to education.
UNICEF is working to help conflict-affected and displaced families reintegrate children into formal education. Where integration into formal schools is not possible, UNICEF works with partners to create alternative, safe, and temporary learning environments for children.
Activities covered by this new funding include building and rehabilitating classrooms (including temporary learning spaces), training teachers on gender-related topics and inclusion, supporting children with disabilities, and supporting all schools to adopt a code of conduct for providing a safe learning environment. Moreover, 50 schools will benefit from improved WASH facilities.
“Without education, children face a future without hope. The life of a child excluded from school is a tragedy of unfulfilled potential and lost opportunity. In a region facing increasingly complex conflicts and instability – compounded by the impacts of COVID-19 – education can never be an option, it is a necessity, a matter of survival, and a key to social stability” says Dr. Felicite Tchibindat.
This year, in the midst of COVID-19, Education Cannot Wait funding supports students through school closures due to prevention measures by offering distance learning options and catch-up courses. Furthermore, funds contribute to the improvement of sanitary conditions in schools: hand-washing devices were installed to allow for effective prevention of transmission, and latrines were built. UNICEF is also implementing an ECW COVID-related grant to support the distribution of learning materials during school closures and the reopening.
Previous contributions from Education Cannot Wait also helped UNICEF to build 179 new temporary learning spaces in Tillabery and Tahoua regions and to rehabilitate at least 26 existing ones. These learning spaces as well as more permanent classrooms were equipped with learning materials.
Niger continues to experience rising insecurity and instability. The threat of attacks creates a sense of fear in local communities, forcing schools to close, teachers to flee, and schoolchildren to remain at home, unable to learn in classrooms with their peers. UNICEF’s support to the sector has helped a total of 301,000 children in 2019, including through the distribution of school kits and supplies.
Note to editors
Education Cannot Wait launched its ‘Stronger Together in Crises - Annual Results Report 2019’ today, reaffirming itself as the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. Since the fund’s inception in 2016, its investments have reached nearly 3.5 million children and youth in many of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The report provides evidence that ECW’s partnership model is spurring progress in delivering inclusive, equitable quality education for children and youth caught in emergencies and protracted crises. For more information, click here.
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 for children, visit www.unicef.org.