As the UN lead agency for Education, and within the framework of the Education 2030 Agenda, UNESCO ought to play an active role in promoting lifelong quality education for all as part of emergency response and for long-term recovery. A significant proportion of out of school children and adolescents live in conflict-affected countries and this number is increasing. Therefore, UNESCO has been implementing multiple projects and programmes that can nurture capacity of responsive and resilient against emergencies.

The global sustainable development agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 further stresses the importance of education in mitigating disaster and conflict, as well as in protecting people in vulnerable situations. Education is both a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4[1] and a cross-cutting theme in other goals[2]. The moto of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as a whole is to live no one behind. Inclusion is even more critical in crisis affected context. Education in emergencies should be accessible and inclusive for everyone, particularly those who have been traditionally excluded from education. Children and youth living with disabilities, persons with albinism, refugee and displaced populations, girls and out of school children/youth are particularly affected by exclusion and marginalization in Eastern Africa.

In order to ensure access to quality education for persons in vulnerable situations, with particular attention to crisis-affected populations there is a need to develop inclusive education systems, capacities need to be strengthened at ministry level (policy levels) and school level and qualifications of affected populations, refugees and others, need to be recognized within and across borders. Some countries in the region are affected by crisis or protracted conflicts and require special focus.

At country level, UNESCO in collaboration with UNESCO IICBA has been implementing a project for out-of-school children in Somalia through the ‘Educate a Child’ programme of UNICEF since 2014. Since a significant percentage of youth is uneducated over continued conflicts, UNESCO organized leadership training sessions for out-of-school children so that they can acquire vocational and life skills to be independent. Teaching materials for teachers were developed for smooth instructions for out-of-school children and school management training course was organized for principals and administrators of targeting schools.

In August 2017, UNESCO started a project for emergency-support in Madagascar. The typhoon ENAWO had destroyed over 2,000 schools and deprived learning spaces and materials from students and teachers. With the aim to increase the education system’s resilience to such crises, UNESCO in close cooperation with the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the Ministry of National Education in Madagascar will work to the strengthening of crisis-sensitive planning tools and capacity to implement the education response to natural disasters. Furthermore, UNESCO began to implement an emergency response project on the refugee teacher certification in the West Nile Region of Northern Uganda by the strong support of Education Cannot Wait, a fund for education in emergencies, in August 2017. The project has been operated by the UNESCO Kampala Office in close synergy with UNESCO’s ongoing CapED Programme on Teachers in the country. Since the influx of refugees from South Sudan has put pressure on the crowded classrooms in Uganda, the quality of education has also been detrimental along with the increasing number of pupils, linguistic barriers for refugee students and a lack of teachers. Accordingly, the project started to develop pathways towards certification of South Sudanese teachers in order to increase the number of primary school teachers in the target regions.

Finally, in six Eastern African nations, UNESCO IICBA has been implementing the project of teacher training since March 2017 so that the teachers can mitigate influences of violence caused by conflicts in order to protect children and to shape peaceful societies in the six beneficiary countries, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

Related Links:

UNESCO engages with Madagascar to support education in preparing and responding to disasters in the aftermath of typhoon ENAWO

Study Tour to Japan fro African Educators: Building Bridges for Teacher Development and Education for Peace

Addis Ababa Call for Action on the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration on Education for Refugees, Returnees, IDPs, and Host Communities, 6 December 2018


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