Minister of Education, UNICEF and partners hold first meeting of the Education Cannot Wait programme steering committee in Peru

10 March 2021

Lima, March 2021.- “On behalf of the Government of Peru, I would like to thank the commitment of the United Nations, partner governments such as Canada and civil society organizations for working together on the challenges we face in education, especially those that affect the most disadvantaged children and adolescents, such as migrants". With these words, Peru´s Minister of Education Ricardo Cuenca welcomed the first meeting of the Steering Committee of the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Programme, which seeks to respond to the challenges of education in emergencies.

ECW is a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. "We first worked with ECW in 2019 to respond to the Venezuelan migration crisis and now we are starting a multi-year development programme that will allow us to directly reach the migrant population settled in Lima and the region of La Libertad," said Ana de Mendoza, UNICEF Representative in Peru.

The multi-year programme called "Promoting Inclusive Education with equal opportunities for migrant and refugee children and adolescents in host communities in Peru" will be implemented from 2021 to 2023. The goal is to improve the education of 30,000 children, adolescents and their families. The programme starts with a "seed" fund of US$ 7.4 million and seeks to raise an additional $ 13 million.

Igor Garafulic, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Peru noted that this multi-year programme focuses on the social integration of refugees and migrants, including the full inclusion of children and adolescents in quality education. "We welcome efforts to open doors for them. The evidence we have from before the pandemic confirms that migration has had a positive impact and can have an even greater positive impact on our economy and our society."

As the Steering Committee met for the first time on International Women's Day, Minister Cuenca highlighted that migrant girls and adolescents face a triple challenge to stay in school: "They must ask for permission to study because often there are no conditions for them to keep doing so; they have to try to insert themselves into spaces that are not theirs; and, finally, they must break with cultural norms that tell them that what is different is scary and challenging".

Ralph Jansen, Ambassador of Canada to Peru, stated that interventions such as this one must have a clear gender approach: "This approach guarantees the fulfillment of other rights and helps to guarantee a dignified life. Everything done for the benefit of migrant children and adolescents has an impact on their emotional health, and this is a fundamental aspect in this intervention”.

The programme has five expected outcomes. The first is to improve access to an inclusive and quality education; the second is ensuring they stay in the education system. The third objective is for teachers, children and families to develop life skills and socio-emotional capacities. The fourth is to help authorities and officials improve decision-making on education access and inclusion based on available data and evidence. Finally, the ECW programme will promote the mobilization of resources to amplify the initiatives goals and reach.

This new multi-year ECW programme was designed by a working group made up of the Ministry of Education, RET, Plan International, Save the Children, UNESCO and UNICEF. An independent committee established that UNICEF would lead the programme once it was approved. The multi-annual programme launched on 4 January  2021.  The Steering Committee, which will provide strategic guidance to the programme, is made up of the Ministry of Education, the Embassy of Canada, the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office and the Roundtable for the Fight against Poverty.

Media contacts

Marilu Wiegold
Especialista en Comunicación y Alianzas
Tel: 997-573-218
Sandra Esquén
Oficial de Comunicación


UNICEF promotes the realization of rights and equitable opportunities for every child and adolescent, regardless of gender, ethnicity, place of residence, living condition or of any other nature.

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