Education for disaster risk reduction, social cohesion and peace-building

Ensuring uninterrupted, safe and quality education for children affected by natural disasters and conflict in South Asia for peace and social cohesion.

Rohingya children going to temporary school
UNICEF/UN0158133/Sujan;

Challenge

Children are extremely vulnerable during emergencies. South Asia is prone to yearly flooding, landslides, droughts and earthquakes. It is also a conflict-affected region. The frequency and pervasiveness of natural or human-made disasters in South Asia puts a large number of children at risk. According to the Global EFA monitoring report 2015, out of the total 34 million children and adolescents living in conflict-affected countries globally, 7 million are in South Asia. 

With the increase in environmental degradation, climate change and unplanned development, there is a rise in occurrence of disasters. According to the SAARC Disaster Management Centre, South Asia accounted for 96.5 percent of the total numbers of disasters recorded globally in 2011. This has serious implications for such a highly populous region, where a large number of people are poor, marginalized and at risk.  

Solution

After any crisis, UNICEF’s first priority is always the immediate needs of those who are suffering, but we also plan for long-term restoration. Providing education is a first step in getting countries back on the path to development, a step that can help restore even the most wounded societies. Education is not only an end in itself, it is part of an ongoing solution. 

Educational institutions are a repository of a society’s knowledge, values and traditions, which serve to bind people together as they work to improve their country’s future. Conflict and violence have a profound impact on children, and education has the potential to provide knowledge and skills needed to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.  

In South Asia, UNICEF advocates for mechanisms of care, safety and psycho-social support for young children and the provision for relevant quality educational options for youth, particularly those out-of-school and within the contexts of conflict and war. We support our country offices to ensure the continuity of education during and after emergencies. We document and disseminate good practices throughout the region. 

UNICEF advances work on social cohesion and conflict sensitive education in South Asia through research, partnerships, capacity-building and advocacy. We promote the SAARC Comprehensive School Safety Framework at the regional level and support our country offices in implementing it at the national and sub-national level. We not only want to get children into schools but ensure the education system promotes peace, social cohesion and resilience.  

 

Resources

These resources represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in the region. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information. 

  • Comprehensive School Safety Framework 2017; UNISDR and Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector. 
  • Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction in South Asia: Basic Concepts, 2015 UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and SAARC Disaster Management Centre 
  • Report on the South Asia Regional Symposium on Sustainable Peace and Education, 27th May 2016. UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka. 
  • A Mapping of SZOP Programs in Nepal Bhushan Shrestha, Partnership Nepal, Kathmandu, Save the Children Nepal. 
  • Conflict Sensitive Education Policy: A Preliminary Review 2012, Education Above All, Doha 
  • Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding in UNICEF Technical Note June 2012 
  • Evaluation of UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA) November 2015 UNICEF, New York. 
  • Towards a Learning Culture of Safety and Resilience (Technical Guidance for Integrating DRR in School Curriculum) UNICEF, UNESCO 2012.