Care International, UNICEF and local strategic partners will provide fast-acting grants that will reach 43,000 children and youth. 4.2 million children do not go to school in Somalia, and 900,000 are at risk of dropping out. ECW funding in Somalia now exceeds US$33 million.
November 18, 2022, New York – A devastating prolonged drought in Somalia and renewed conflicts over scarce resources are threatening the lives and education of millions of children. In response to the crisis, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), today announced a US$5 million grant for initial emergency relief, increasing overall investment in Somalia amounted to US$ 33 million so far.
The 12-month grant is provided by Care International in coordination with UNICEF and other local strategic partners. The investment will reach 43,000 children and youth (60% girls) who are out of school or at risk of dropping out due to the four-year drought that has displaced 2.9 million people from their homes and raised the specter of school, leaving famine for the people of Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
The drought in the Horn of Africa is considered one of the worst climate catastrophes in the last 40 years. In Somalia, 3.1 million children and youth are affected by the drought, including more than 400,000 newly displaced school-age children. The drought has triggered conflicts over access to food, water and livelihoods.
With 4.2 million children in Somalia already out of school, and another 900,000 at risk of dropping out, girls and boys are vulnerable to gender-based violence and child marriage, hunger, malnutrition and starvation, recruitment into armed groups, child labor and other violations of their human rights.
Where there are schools in Somalia, many lack trained teachers, learning materials and ongoing support ranging from early childhood education to secondary school. Girls and children with disabilities are particularly at risk. In Somalia there are very few teachers and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are almost non-existent in the schools. Three out of ten Somali girls are married before their 18th birthday.
“The climate crisis is an education crisis. We must come together as a global community to ensure that girls and boys in Somalia have the safety, protection and opportunities that quality education provides. At school, these children receive the skills and support they need to break the chains of poverty and hunger. It is our investment in a long-term solution to the food and climate crises, and it is our investment in improved economic and social security for the 10 million children in dire need of support in the Horn of Africa,” said Director Yasmine Sherif Education cannot wait .
The new investment builds on the impact of ECW’s previous $28.2 million in Somalia funding, which has reached over 170,000 children and an additional 200,000 through the fund’s COVID-19 response. The investment will focus on south-central Somalia, where most of the displaced school-age children are concentrated.
“The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia has reversed decades of progress in education. We are seeing more and more children dropping out of school and losing their learning as the drought worsens. Families now face the difficult choice of sending children to school or searching for food and water. No parent deserves to be faced with such decisions. CARE welcomes this grant as it will help keep the most vulnerable children in school by providing safe and inclusive learning spaces from which they can learn to achieve their dreams,” said Iman Abdullahi, CARE Somalia Country Director .
“With ECW’s support, UNICEF can help Somali children better prepare for their future by ensuring they receive evidence-based programs and quality education. A far-reaching and complete needs assessment is being carried out with the Ministry of Education, the Educational Cluster and partners to guide the project,” says Wafaa Saeed, the UNICEF representative in Somalia. “We are facing a generation of children who could easily become a lost generation due to the devastating drought, and through this assessment and programming, together we will support the children in their fundamental rights education.”
This investment focuses on expanding access to safe education by breaking down the barriers that keep children from attending school through both formal and non-formal education. Cash grants are given to enable children to enroll in schools and hire and retain teachers for free. It will also provide clean drinking water and promote child hygiene with WASH clubs and campaigns to prevent the spread of cholera, COVID-19 and other diseases. Adolescent girls will be provided with feminine hygiene kits and menstrual hygiene management information in all target schools. A concerted effort is being made to provide psychosocial support and reach out to the most vulnerable children and young people, including children with disabilities.
222 million crisis-affected children and young people worldwide need educational support. ECW and its global strategic partners are calling on governments, donors, the private sector and high net worth individuals to urgently mobilize $1.5 billion to make #222MillionDreams✨📚 a reality in advance of the fund’s high-level funding conference to be held at February 2023 in Geneva.
Note to the editor
About Education Can’t Wait:
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality educational outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of response to crises and combine immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programs. ECW works closely with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations and other humanitarian and development actors to increase efficiency and end siled operations. ECW urges donors, both public and private, to expand their support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth. Co-hosted by ECW and Switzerland and co-convened with Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan, the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Funding Conference will take place in Geneva on February 16-17, 2023.
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