Educación básica e igualdad entre los géneros

Países en crisis

Imagen del UNICEF
© UNICEF/HQ07-0244/ Pirozzi
Girls stand outside their school, waiting to greet UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow (not pictured), at the Djabal refugee camp in Chad.

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Crises can explode without warning, devastating societies in a minutes: Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Sichuan earthquake. Crises can also be ongoing, raging for so long they become part of a nation's psyche: Sudan, Gaza, Columbia.

Whether natural disaster or armed conflict, crises create an environment of trauma and destruction in which children are extremely vulnerable.

UNICEF is committed to protecting children's rights, regardless of the circumstance. In the education sector, we are dedicated to being the first responder in an emergency, establishing spaces for learning that safeguard and nurture children, protecting their rights while re-establishing a sense of normalcy. Within the first six to eight weeks after a crisis, we set up tents or other temporary learning spaces equipped with teaching and learning materials. We also organize sports and other recreational activities that have proved invaluable in helping children recover from trauma.

Beyond this initial response, we believe in "building back better." While working towards the permanent re-establishment of educational systems, we focus on improving the status quo. In addition to teacher training, we introduce critical life skills education in such areas as HIV and AIDS prevention, reproductive health and landmine awareness. We also establish community services such as safe water supplies, adequate sanitation and emergency health services, including psychological counselling.

Where countries remain in chronic crisis, UNICEF endeavours to maintain educational services, even in extremely hostile environments. Children do not lose their right to education because they are in a country that is badly governed or ravaged by violent conflict. Children in these countries need education all the more.

UNICEF is one of the agencies likely to be operating fully during ongoing crises. Due to our operational capability on the ground and wide network of partners, we are often able to help restart and maintain educational services. Programmes operate through formal and informal channels, as the circumstances dictate, and are typically run through partnerships with local communities and civil society groups. One example is the provision of home schooling for girls in Afghanistan, a country plagued by multiple natural disasters and protracted armed conflict, at a time when its government was hostile to girls' education.

As UNICEF works to heal children's wounds and create spaces for learning, we commit ourselves to building a brighter, healthier future. Both during and after a crisis, we maintain dialogue with governments to garner their commitment and support for education and other social services for children. We strongly believe that, together with our partners, we can create a better world - even in the worst of circumstances, the most devastating crises.

Whether their lives have been shattered by armed conflict or nature's unpredictable brutality, society's traumatized and vulnerable children need help picking up the pieces. And UNICEF is committed to helping them do so.