Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) have announced a new project to enable a further 95,000 children affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria to access quality education with co-financing by Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
The announcement was made at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. This brings the total number of out of school children affected by Syrian crisis, reached by the EAA Foundation, to 1.2mn.
In addition, EAA Foundation has also signed two partnership agreements with Unesco and RISE International to promote education for out of school children in Pakistan and Angola respectively.
Together, EAA Foundation, Unicef, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and the QFFD, have committed more than $60mn in funding over seven years to enable out of school children affected by the Syrian crisis into quality education. EAA Foundation is an initiative founded in 2012 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
In a drive to reach the most marginalised, the extended programme will enrol out of school children living in refugee camps, besieged and hard-to-reach areas where security concerns prevent them from attending formal schools. Through a comprehensive self-study curriculum, children will continue their education at home or in Community Learning Centres, in safe learning environments.
Inside Syria and in refugee-hosting countries, almost 12mn Syrian children require humanitarian assistance – up from half a million in 2012, according to latest Unicef reports. Additionally, an estimated two million children who live in hard-to-reach or besieged areas in Syria have received limited humanitarian assistance over the years.
Barron Segar, Unicef US executive vice president and chief development officer, said, “Education is one of the greatest catalysts to transform the lives of the children of Syria. Getting kids affected by crisis back to learning is critical to restore a sense of normalcy to their lives and give them hope for a better future. Unicef is a global leader in delivering education programs to children in emergencies. Through our partnership with EAA Foundation, we look forward to continuing our work to help a generation of Syrian children realise their full potential.”
Khalifa bin Jassim al-Kuwari, director, QFFD, said, “Investing in education is crucial and essential to addressing extreme poverty and building safe and sustainable societies. It is important that children who live in areas suffering from armed conflict and insecurity are protected, and that they shouldn’t lose the opportunity to go to school and dream of a better future.”
Dr Mary Joy Pigozzi, executive director of EAA Foundation’s Educate A Child programme, said, “By enabling the most marginalised out of school children affected by the crisis in Syria into education, we are investing in the future of the country. Quality education is the driver of human development. It is fundamental to reducing inequality, promoting well-being and building lasting peace and security.”
Meanwhile, EAA Foundation and Unesco have partnered in Pakistan to reach 100,000 out of school children. Working with the government of Pakistan, the partnership will provide school improvement plans, build government capacity and carry out community outreach; 14 remote districts across the country with low primary school enrolment rates will receive support to enrol children, prevent dropout and improve school facilities.
Furthermore, EAA Foundation and RISE International will provide access to education for 24,000 out of school children in Angola with a $2mn financing contribution from ExxonMobil. The partnership will construct 25 new schools and provide access to education for vulnerable and marginalised children who have been impacted by years of war, poverty, and a lack of basic infrastructure and social services; through partnerships with local government and officials from the ministry of education, the project will also be able to provide essential materials, such as desks, chalkboards and textbooks, as well as hire school teachers.