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The Initiative on Education in Situations of Emergency and Crisis

Members of flagship programme

Other non-governmental organizations (NGOs):

Background and objectives

Crisis situations caused by political instability, armed conflicts and natural disasters are today a worldwide reality. This is the case of more than a third of UNESCO Member States, notably in Africa, Asia and Central America. In these situations, millions of refugees and displaced people, the majority of them women and children have lost everything.

The provision of education in all circumstances is a fundamental principle that guides UNESCO's emergency strategies and programmes. Action at the country level takes place in partnership with the other Agencies as well as with NGOs working towards the same goal.

Hence, at the World Education Forum in Dakar, April 2000, a Strategy Session on Education in Situations of Emergency and Crisis decided to develop a process of inter-agency cooperation to improve the emergency education response, in accordance with the Dakar Framework for Action.

An Inter-Agency Consultation (Geneva, November 2000) served to launch this process and to establish the Emergency Education Network, open to interested organizations and professionals. An Inter-Agency Steering Committee was set up, comprising UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, NGOs and bilateral donor agencies.

The Consultation decided that there would be no new organizational structure. To ensure a dynamic approach, however, resources would be sought for a Secretariat hosted by UNESCO.

One of the main goals of the Inter-Agency Education Network is to assist Member States in situations of emergency and crisis to cope with their immediate problems related to education The following major activities should support and improve this Initiative.

Activities

Activity 1

The organization of the Inter-Agency Consultation including NGOs and bilateral and multilateral donors involved in education in situations of emergency and crisis. The aim of this meeting is to develop follow-up strategies and mechanisms to achieve more effective inter-agency collaboration at global, regional and country levels. The consultation will take place in Paris, France, in December 2001 and will be attended by some seventy participants.

Activity 2

Support to four Inter-agency Working Task Teams on the following technical themes:
  • Resources and supplies for teaching and learning in emergencies.
  • Monitoring of emergency education programmes: norms, indicators, procedure.
  • Post-primary formal and non-formal education.
  • Information and networking, data-base for decision making in situations of emergency.

These task teams will meet at workshops between March and November 2001.

Activity 3

Regional consultative meeting in Africa with bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and governmental representatives concerned by education in situations of emergency and crisis (twenty countries). The purposes: to define the strategic approach (at national and regional levels) and to provide effective assistance to Member States in terms of priorities, strategic planning, resources support, capacity-building and preventive policy. The meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2001 and will involve some 45 participants.

Activity 4

Conception and development of the Emergency Education Inter-Agency Interactive Website in co-operation with Pittsburgh University/GINIE and open for inputs (including database) and sharing information to all agencies and Member States. Although a preliminary version is already available online, the website was officially launched in June 2001.

Activity 5

Reinforcement of UNESCO's field offices - the OFNET Network - to provide support to Member States through training programmes and technical assistance, as well as local and regional inter-agency co-ordination at country level. This activity, planned for one year (January-December 2001), will involve about fifty participants.

Activity 6

Inter-agency staff training in Emergency Education (policies, strategies, planning, management, content, teacher training, resources, supplies and norms and indicators). These training sessions will be done in collaboration with UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and will take place from June 2001 to June 2002. Some sixty participants are expected to attend this training.

Activity 7

Assistance to Member States in preparation of National Plans of Emergency Education. To this end, consultations, meetings, training, surveys and technical assistance will be provided to some thirty countries (from April 2001 to December 2002).

Activity 8

Inter-Agency Assessment Study in Education in Situations of Emergency and Crisis to collect and promote best practices in emergency education, including success stories and lessons learnt, which should be shared between countries and bilateral and multilateral agencies at regional and sub-regional meetings. The study is expected to be ready by December 2002.

Contact information:

Kacem BENSALAH
Director
Education in Crisis and Post-Conflict Situations
Division of Educational Policies and Strategies
Education Sector
k.bensalah@unesco.org / ed.emergency@unesco.org
Website: http://www.unesco.org/education/emergency