Food, water, shelter and medicine are all examples of basic aid given in emergencies, but what about education?
Global leaders met at the United Nations Assembly met on the 24th September to discuss the need of focussing immediate attention on a child’s right to education, even in a crisis zone.
According to UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report, 61 million children are not currently enrolled in schools and 28 million of them currently live in war-torn countries, as well as many more suffering the effects of natural disasters. For the vast majority, education is no longer a priority.
As recognised by Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education’s Board of Directors, education in emergency situations is currently severely under-financed, accounting for less than two percent of humanitarian aid.
The talks, however, demanded a shift in global attention with a better protection of schools, a significant increase in aid and better preparations in place for disasters before they happen.
The event was initiated by the UN Secretary-General’s Education First project which has already secured over $1.5 billion in commitments from other countries and companies such as MasterCard.
“Education promotes equality and lifts people out of poverty,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “Education is not just for a privileged few, it is for everyone. It is a fundamental human right.”
The lack of education creates the foundations of a poverty trap, meaning that children struggle to find a good job as they grow older and are therefore more likely to be involved in illegal trades.
We’re really pleased to hear the UN promoting this issue, as one of our key aims is to provide innovative forms of education for children who have missed out.
In the post-conflict situation of northern Uganda, we have built a Youth Centre which is now providing vital education to young people who were denied access to school through the effects of war. We are providing basic literacy and numeracy education, as well as practical vocational skills and business training to help lift them from the poverty trap.
Rather than allowing an education gap that severely impacts children’s lives, the United Nations hope that emergencies such as these will become a greater priority and children will no longer suffer the effects that for far too long have been overlooked.