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Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

News

Mobile schools target rural illiteracy

The Niles 22 November 2012

By Benjamin Majok Mon

RUMBEK - Eight mobile schools are driving around rural communities to bring education to 50,000 people from the rural and fishing communities in Lakes State.

To combat widespread illiteracy in Lakes State, the Ministry of Education has set up eight mobile education centres in four counties.

“This education plan targets children and adults aged between 14 and 30 years who missed out education as result of long war between the North and the South,” the state’s Minister of Education Athian Majak Malou said.

He further explained that three out of four children and adults in the central South Sudanese state have no access to education. “Children and adults who are pastoralist and fishing communities in the state do not have access to learning environs in the state,” he said.

The mobile schools will follow the cattle caravans and offer flexible lessons, allowing boys to continue herding cattle while girls do domestic work.

More than 2,000 children and adults have already enrolled at the mobile schools.

“We follow the cattle herders from place to place with our education materials,” said Peter Yit Meen a pastoralist teacher.

Many people sign up to the mobile schools and subsequently leave because they have to work harder to survive, he said.

Save the Children in South Sudan has said the organisation will open 33 more alternative education systems in Lakes State to address the state’s education shortcomings.

South Sudan’s record on education and illiteracy is among the worst in the world. Girls are particularly unlikely to experience school and 70 percent of children aged 6 to 17 years have never set foot in a classroom.


The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of the publishers of www.theniles.org

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Director-General deplores attacks on media and schools in Gaza and southern Israel

UNESCO 22 November 2012

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, is alarmed by the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza. Today she condemned the killing of three Palestinian journalists—Mahmoud Al-Komi, Hossam Salameh Mohammed and Abu Eisha— in air strikes on 20 November. She also voiced alarm over reports that media were being targeted in the air strikes and rocket fire between southern Israel and Gaza, and that schools were being hit.

“I am deeply concerned about the reported targeting of media facilities and personnel that have left three Palestinian journalists dead: Mahmoud Al-Komi, Hossam Salameh Mohammed and Abu Eisha. The civilian status of journalists and their right to carry out their professional duties should be respected.

“I am equally alarmed by strikes on schools in both Gaza and southern Israel. Schools should offer a safe environment for children. Attacks against them is a denial of the right to education and should be firmly condemned.

“I wish to join my voice to the UN Secretary-General, whose paramount concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians,” the Director-General concluded.

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School Meals In Egypt: Big Dreams In Small Villages.

WFP 22 November 2012

While most of their elder sisters got married between the ages of 16 and 18, Aya and Amani say they do not want to get married early and want to pursue their education and become doctors. The two girls, aged 9 and 10, joined a school close to their home where WFP implements its school meals programme in cooperation with the government and civil society.

By Shereen Nasef
Tamia, FAYOUM—Aya and Amani attend the informal primary school of Galala Albahria school in the remote Tamia district of Fayoum. The school is part of the government’s Girls Education Initiative (GEI) that encourages families to send their daughters to school by bringing schools closer to their forgotten areas.

Aya’s mother, Gelnar Shaaban, said that her other six children went to public primary schools but she preferred that Aya joins a GEI school because it is closer to home and she also thinks it is better than public schools.

As for Amani, she might have never been able to get any education if it were not for this government initiative. “Amani doesn’t have a birth certificate; she does not exist as far as the government is concerned,” explains her mother Om Hashem. “She would have never been accepted in a public school and this school was the only option.”

The two girls are among 180,000 students who attend informal GEI and community primary schools in the poorest and most remote areas of Upper Egypt.

WFP school meals benefit more than 360,000 students and their families in the poorest governorates in southern Egypt and Sinai. WFP school meals projects in Egypt encourage girls’ education, help dropouts to go back to school and to complete their primary education and combat child labour. Students of the informal primary schools receive a daily nutritious snack fortified with vitamin A and iron which helps fight short-term hunger and provides needed nutrition.  In addition, the students take a monthly food ration of 10 kg of rice for their familis if they attend more than 80 percent of the school days. The take-home ration is almost equivalent to the wage a child would earn if sent to work instead of school and is a major incentive for families to send their children regularly to school.

Aya’s mother is happy with the take-home ration that eases some of the financial burden on the family. The mother is even keen on learning more about good nutrition and would like to attend WFP’s nutrition awareness sessions held at her daughter’s school.

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UNICEF and partners respond urgently for children & families on the frontline of conflict in the DRC

UNICEF 22 November 2012

By Cornelia Walther

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, 21 November 2012 - “We are on the ground and are reaching out to children affected by the crisis,” says UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Barbara Bentein.

“Within 24 hours after fighting erupted, we distributed high-energy biscuits to children, and we will continue to respond to their urgent needs, as the situation evolves.”

Children and families on the frontline

Over the past week, fighting between rebel group The 23 March Movement (M23) and the Congolese Army (FARDC) has displaced thousands of people within North Kivu province. Children and their families are on the frontline of a conflict that risks expanding to other parts of the country.

Last Sunday, UNICEF driver Mansour Rwagaza heard gunshots and shelling as he arrived at the Don Bosco Centre with 20,000 high-energy biscuits for children who had been displaced by the recent clashes. “I was 500 metres from the frontline, but I was ready to save those children,” he says.

When Mr. Rwagaza gave the biscuits to one of the mothers at the centre, she exclaimed, with tears in her eyes, “UNICEF saved my son. He was so weak after two days without food.” Mr. Rwagaza returned three days later to deliver another load of biscuits, bringing the number of families served to a total of 600.

Partnerships critical in emergency response

“The impact of our fast action is the result of strong partnerships with local and international partners,” says Head of UNICEF operations in Goma Jean Metenier.

UNICEF partner Programme d’Appui à la Lutte Contre la Misère (PAMI) has set up listening points in five locations in an effort to register unaccompanied minors and reunify them with their families.

In response to the risks posed by unexploded munitions and explosives from the clashes, another UNICEF partner is providing large-scale mine-risk education in and around Goma.

Through Centre d’Action pour Jeunes et Enfants Défavorisés (CAJED),  UNICEF is ensuring the safety of children who have been demobilized from armed forces and groups, to prevent their re-enrolment. Further, over the past month, humanitarian partners on the ground have repeatedly expressed concern about the recruitment of minors. Together with its partners, UNICEF is preparing to scale up demobilization and reintegration capacities in support of children associated with armed forces or groups.

The threat of water-borne diseases such as cholera is acute. In response to the dangerous combination of overcrowding and the rainy season, UNICEF partners have increased the number of chlorination points to 55 in the Lake Kivu area to ensure water treatment.

They have also established 200 latrines in areas in which many displaced persons have settled. Clean drinking water is being delivered by truck to sites that have experienced a mass influx of new internally displaced persons and to the Don Bosco Centre.

Treatment of severely malnourished children at sites housing internally displaced persons around Goma is ongoing in coordination with several partners, including Caritas and Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland.

More support to arrive

As soon as the security situation allows, UNICEF and its Rapid Response to Movements of Population mechanism partners will launch the distribution of essential household items and health interventions for the displaced families; kits for 14,200 families are ready for dispatch in Goma.

Emergency school and teaching kits are also ready to facilitate the return of children to school, once the situation is stable. Children are currently deprived of education, as schools are closed within 30 km of Goma. However, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and partners, UNICEF is conducting a damage assessment of local schools.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to do their utmost to protect the rights of all children. Their survival and well-being must be our shared concern,” says Ms. Bentein.

UNICEF requires more than US$164 million to address the needs of children and women affected by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012. While the current focus is on North Kivu, UNICEF continues to address the needs of children across the country, including those affected by floods, malnutrition, cholera, measles and displacement in both the South and West.

As of November 2012, more than 2.4 million people are displaced within the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of fighting between the Congolese army and various rebel groups, including 1.6 million people in North and South Kivu. More than 60 per cent of them are children and women.

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PH military still using schools as camps - study

ABS CBNnews.com 21 November 2012

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 11/21/2012 2:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is among conflict-ridden countries where the military continues to use schools as camps, New York-based Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack said.

In a study entitled, “Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict”, the coalition said the Philippines is one of 24 countries where military use of schools and institutions were observed from January 2005 until October 2012.

Aside from being used as camps, the coalition said schools are also being converted into barracks, logistics bases, operational headquarters, weapons and ammunition caches, detention and interrogation centers, firing and observation positions, and recruitment grounds.

Nonetheless, it noted that the Philippines has set up policies in preventing such.

The coalition is urging the said countries to adopt measures that will restrict the military from using education institutions for their purposes, saying the practice deprives the youth of their right to education and puts them in life-threatening situations.

It added that education is one of the potent ingredients in achieving lasting peace in a conflict-torn country.

“When countries go to war, education facilities usually end up on the battlefield,” said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

“Governments need to send a clear message that even during times of armed conflict, access to a safe education should be a priority, and armed forces need to respect students’ right to education.”

The group said there are instances where the military only occupy a portion of a school. In such cases, students become exposed to attacks or abuse by the military and its opponents.

“The moment troops establish a base inside a school, they can turn it into a target for attack,” Nijhowne said. “When soldiers use schools and universities they are often putting their own convenience over the safety and education of students.”

The study also cited high dropout rates, reduced enrollment, lower rates of transition to higher education levels, overcrowding, and loss of instructional hours as the usual consequences of military use of schools.

The Philippines has been dealing with the Communist Party of the Philippines, a group waging one of Asia’s longest-running Maoist insurgency.

The country is also facing threats from groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has recently reached a peace framework with the government.

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is an alliance of United Nations agencies and organizations from the fields of education in emergencies, higher education, international human rights, and international humanitarian law, dedicated to addressing the problem of attacks on students, teachers, schools, and universities during armed conflict.

The 23 other countries monitored were: Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory, Libya, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, and Yemen.

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Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack 21 November 2012

New York, November 20 - The use of schools and other education institutions for military purposes by armed forces and non-state armed groups during wartime endangers students and their education around the world, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in a study released today.

The 77-page study, “Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict”, examines the use of schools and other education institutions for military purposes by government armed forces and opposition or pro-government armed groups during times of armed conflict or insecurity. Schools are used for barracks, logistics bases, operational headquarters, weapons and ammunition caches, detention and interrogation centers, firing and observation positions, and recruitment grounds.

“The moment troops establish a base inside a school, they can turn it into a target for attack,” said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. “When soldiers use schools and universities they are often putting their own convenience over the safety and education of students.”

Countries around the world should adopt policies and laws to restrict military forces and armed groups from using schools and other education institutions during times of armed conflict, the coalition said.

Between January 2005 and October 2012, the study found, armed forces and armed groups used education institutions in at least 24 countries, a substantial majority of the countries with armed conflicts during this period. The list included countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.

Sometimes soldiers take over a school entirely, but often they use just a part of the school or university – some classrooms, an entire floor, the playground – and in doing so expose students to attack and other violence. In the worst cases, children have been injured and killed and schools damaged or destroyed as belligerent forces attack schools because military forces had been using them.

Students’ safety may also be jeopardized by the misconduct of poorly trained or undisciplined soldiers within their school or university. The risks include sexual abuse and harassment and the accidental or misdirected firing of weapons or explosion of ordnance.

“When countries go to war, education facilities usually end up on the battlefield,” Nijhowne said. “Governments need to send a clear message that even during times of armed conflict, access to a safe education should be a priority, and armed forces need to respect students’ right to education.

Military use of education institutions can cause damage to already-fragile education infrastructures and systems, the coalition said. The educational consequences of military use of schools and other education institutions include high dropout rates, reduced enrollment, lower rates of transition to higher education levels, overcrowding, and loss of instructional hours. Girls are particularly negatively affected.

Access to safe learning facilities provides important protection for students during times of armed conflict, the coalition said. Safe schools and universities provide lifesaving information, mitigate the psychosocial impact of war, and protect children from trafficking and recruitment by armed groups. In the long term, a quality education promotes peace and post-conflict reconstruction and helps young people develop the skills and qualifications they need to build lives for themselves and prosperity for their communities.

While international humanitarian law contains no general ban on the use of school buildings for military purposes, it does prohibit armed forces and armed groups using them at the same time as they are being used by students and teachers for education purposes. Under international law military use of an education institution can convert it into a legitimate military target, placing students and teachers at risk of attack by opposing forces. Even when there is no physical attack, the deterioration in access to schools and universities, quality of teaching, and opportunities to learn can lead to violations of the right to education under international human rights law.

The study highlights examples of good practice, in which governments have adopted policies that explicitly ban or restrict militaries from using education facilities. For example, Ireland and the Philippines have domestic legislation banning military forces from using schools. In India and Colombia, courts have ordered troops out of schools they were occupying. The Philippines and Colombia have adopted military policies that prohibit military forces using schools. And the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has just released a new Infantry Battalion Manual that requires peacekeeping troops to not use schools in their operations.

The study also calls upon states, local organizations, and relevant international agencies to rigorously monitor military use of education institutions to devise effective, coordinated responses, including preventative interventions, rapid response, and both legal and non-legal accountability measures for those individuals or groups who contravene existing laws, judicial orders, or military orders.

“Governments that have learned from their own experiences of war that they can pursue military operations without endangering schools should encourage other countries to follow their lead,” Nijhowne said. “Schools and universities should be places of learning and safety, not soldiering and fear.”

The countries with reported military use of education institutions between 2005 and October 2012 are: Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory, Libya, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, and Yemen.

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is an alliance of United Nations agencies and organizations from the fields of education in emergencies, higher education, international human rights, and international humanitarian law, dedicated to addressing the problem of attacks on students, teachers, schools, and universities during armed conflict. GCPEA is governed by a steering committee made up of Education Above All, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children International, Scholar Rescue Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict” is the result of an independent external study commissioned by GCPEA. It is independent of the individual member organizations of the Steering Committee of GCPEA and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Steering Committee member organizations.

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From the field: gender equity through education in South Sudan

USAID 21 November 2012

By Jane Namadi

Regina Anek, a deputy director for gender at South Sudan’s Ministry of Education in Eastern Equatoria, just saved a 14-year old girl from an early, forced marriage. She says she was empowered to intervene as the result of her participation in a USAID-supported mentor-training program for teachers and education officials aimed at encouraging girls not just to enroll, but also to complete, secondary school.

Mentoring is just one of the ways USAID is addressing financial, social and institutional barriers to gender parity in education through the Gender Equity through Education (GEE) Program.

School completion rates for girls in South Sudan are extremely low. Survey data indicates that the rate of completing the eight-year primary cycle is currently 30 percent for boys, while the girls’ completion rate lags far behind at 17 percent. Secondary school completion rates are even worse.  This cannot only be attributed to the long conflict in this country, which prevented many girls from attending school, but also to other unique cultural and financial barriers.

One rampant cultural barrier is early marriage. Persistent poverty has been cited as a major reason for parents marrying off their daughters in exchange for money. Moreover, cultural norms in some places dictate marriage readiness for girls as young as 13. Communities often stigmatize older girls in schools, causing them to give up their education.

With USAID’s mentoring support and some tuition stipend, many girls now stay in school, and some who were married at an early age are now able to return and complete their secondary schooling.

The GEE program’s three components include:

  a scholarship program;
  an advocacy, community mobilization, and mentoring program;
  and an institutional support program.

Regina Anek was trained as a mentor, enhancing her skills to intervene in communities where girls face social pressure to leave school to get married.

“I was informed that a student from one of the schools in my state was about to be married off, and I hurried to convene a meeting with the family and community. Meanwhile, I asked the parents to allow me [to] accommodate the girl at my house so that she could continue attending school as we resolved her marriage case,” Anek said.

After weeks of negotiating and educating the community leaders and the girl’s parents on the importance of an educated girl to the family and society, the girl was allowed to return home and continue with school.

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Camp residents: ‘No free education’

Radio Banga 21 November 2012

Kalma Camp/Zam Zam Camp - 20 Nov

Displaced residents of Kalma camp in South Darfur consider the decision, issued by the state, for free primary education as ‘non existent’, Radio Dabanga learned on Monday November 19.

Chairman of the educational board in Kalma camp, Mohamed Abdullah Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga that there are about 12 schools in the camp accomodating around 20.000 students. The chairman claims that all of the schools are suffering from shortages of teachers, textbooks, seating facilities and other educational supplies.

Drop out

Suleiman explained that a number of 35 teachers was recruited in June 2011, besides a number of 180 volunteers (teaching assistants), adding that the ministry did not pay most of the teachers’ salaries until now. He said that so far the teachers have received salaries on two occasions only.

The chairman explained that in spite of the difficult living conditions among the displaced, camp residents used to provide financial incentives to the volunteering staff. He disclosed that the current situation has caused the drop out of 10.000 pupils from primary school, due to the economic conditions and parents’ inability to finance their study requirements.

Additionally, the chairman told Radio Dabanga that the pupils are seated on the ground, in the open and under the sun, due to the insufficient seating facilities in the classrooms. He appealed to the local authorities to fulfill their promise to support education in the camp and to provide the teachers’ salaries on a regular basis.

‘Students attacked at night’

A group of students from Zam Zam camp near El-Fasher have complained to Radio Dabanga about being exposed to beatings and lootings by the Central Reserve Forces (Abu Tira) after sunset. The students claim that the CRF troops enter the camp every day, with the purpose of looting and beating students and other residents at night.

One of the students told Radio Dabanga that although they are on the verge of exams, they are not able to revise their class activities due to the lack of books. The student explained that five students share one book and when one student wants to deliver the book to his peer, he will be ambushed by ‘Abu Tira’ troops.

He added that the CRF troops appear at night only and threaten the displaced residents who are outside after sunset, explaining that the displaced do not leave their homes at night in fear of being ambushed.

The students appealed to the local authorities to protect them and provide the necessary security; especially as they are on the verge of starting the exam period and are currently taking mock exams at the camp’s schools.

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DFID’s Education Programmes in Nigeria

ICAI 21 November 2012

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has today published a report on the Department for International Development’s education programmes in Nigeria, giving it a rating of Amber-Red The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has today published a report on the the Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) education programmes in Nigeria.

DFID has spent £102 million to date, with a further £126 million committed to 2019. It supports 10 of Nigeria’s 36 States through two programmes:

  the UNICEF-led Girls’ Education Programme (GEP); and

  the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), delivered by a Cambridge Education-led consortium.

The national environment is very challenging, with too few effective teachers, poor infrastructure and unpredictable State funding.

ICAI engaged with over 900 local people, including pupils, parents, grandparents, teachers, head teachers and community leaders. They identified only limited benefits from the education provided. Around a third of eligible children in the ten States are out of school and ICAI found no major improvement in pupil learning:

GEP and ESSPIN have helped to create ten-year State education sector plans which are neither realistic nor affordable. Insufficient and erratic State funding leaves the education system lacking infrastructure and other essentials necessary to improve learning outcomes. Key education building blocks – such as adequate facilities, teachers who are present and committed, routine pupil attendance and appropriate curricula and teaching materials – are often missing from schools. GEP and ESSPIN are delivering similar programmes but the ESSPIN approach appears more likely to succeed in the long term. UNICEF was reappointed for the third phase of GEP without competition, which we do not believe was fully supported by the available evidence of their performance.

There have been some successes, including support for female teachers and school-based management committees and an innovative approach to Qur’anic schools, attended by most Muslim children in northern Nigeria. Implementation issues, however, are limiting the impact on pupil learning.

Recommendations:

Overall rating: Amber-Red

DFID should create a single education programme in 2014 focussing rigorously on basic reading, writing and arithmetic in the early years of primary schooling and building on the lessons learned, with aligned initiatives for teacher training and infrastructure.

DFID should work with its partners and each participating State to secure a clear agreement about the policy changes and financial contributions required to improve enrolment and learning and to introduce effective financial management and resource planning.

DFID should work with UNICEF to achieve significant improvement in the performance of GEP over the next 12 months.

DFID should address implementation issues limiting impact through the Female Trainee Teachers Scholarship Scheme, School-Based Management Committees and Qur’anic schools.

Graham Ward CBE, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “The communities we spoke to in Nigeria want their children to become self-reliant by learning to read and write. Our review, however, indicates no major improvement in pupil learning, with significant numbers of children out of school. In our view, DFID’s programmes will only become sustainable when they can routinely help to unlock State governments’ budgets to fund the required improvements both adequately and equitably.”

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Tom McDonald on 020 7270 6779 or [email protected]

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is the independent body responsible for scrutinising UK aid. We focus on maximising the effectiveness of the UK aid budget for intended beneficiaries and on delivering value for money for UK taxpayers. For further details on ICAI, the work plan and for links to each report, please visit www.independent.gov.uk/icai.

ICAI’s Chief Commissioner is Graham Ward CBE. The three other Commissioners are Mark Foster, John Githongo and Diana Good. Their biographies can be found on the ICAI website. This report was prepared by ICAI with the assistance of KPMG LLP, Agulhas Applied Knowledge, Center of Evaluation for Global Action (CEGA) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU International).

ICAI Traffic Light Ratings:

Green: The programme performs well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Some improvements are needed.

Green-Amber: The programme performs relatively well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Improvements should be made.

Amber-Red: The programme performs relatively poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Significant improvements should be made.

Red: The programme performs poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Immediate and major changes need to be made.


  Evaluation and Lessons Learned

 

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5.3 million Children in Iraq still deprived of many rights

UNICEF 21 November 2012

BAGHDAD, 20 November 2012 – On Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF calls for urgent action for Iraq’s most vulnerable children.

“Every third child in Iraq, or about 5.3 million children, is still currently deprived of many of their fundamental rights,” said UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq, Dr. Marzio Babille.

“UNICEF calls on all stakeholders - in government, civil society, the private sector and the international community - to urgently invest in these children to respect their dignity and give them an equal chance to become healthy, productive young citizens of the new Iraq,” Dr. Babille stated.

Child rights violations across Iraq that need to be addressed include: inadequate access to and promotion of health services; lack of access to quality education; violence against children in schools and families; psychological trauma from years of extreme violence; discrimination; prolonged detention in juvenile facilities; insufficient attention to the special needs of children with disabilities and who are not in their family environment; and lack of access to information and participation in cultural life.

While the majority of children in Iraq experience at least one violation of their fundamental rights, around 1.7 million children, or 10 per cent of all Iraqi children, have most of their rights fulfilled.

“There are extreme disparities amongst Iraq’s 16.6 million children,” noted Dr. Babille.  “Our collective challenge now is to narrow these gaps between those children who are marginalized, having very limited opportunities to improve their well-being, and the children who have every opportunity to fully progress in their lives.”

“Iraq’s National Development Plan, which is currently being revised, is the ideal place to start robustly planning the expanded delivery of essential services across Iraq that will narrow this gap.”

UNICEF is working with the Government of Iraq and partners to ensure children’s rights and best interests are included in policies and that equitable approaches that prioritize the most marginalized children are adopted.

“UNICEF remains unwavering in its commitment to support the Government protect all children’s rights and build an Iraq that is fit for all children,” stated Dr. Babille.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which lays the foundational principles from which all children’s rights must be achieved, and calls for the provision of specific resources, skills and contributions necessary to ensure the survival and development of children to their maximum capability. Iraq ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994.

Note to Editors:
The facts and figures cited in this press release have been taken from a new national Government of Iraq and UNICEF survey on the situation of children and women in Iraq, which will be officially released in December 2012.

About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF maintains its comparative advantage in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection and social policy in its support to the Government of Iraq. UNICEF supports the development of child friendly policies, building the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children and convening all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, develop water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most deprived and vulnerable.

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Albergue ayuda a disminuir deserción escolar en zona afectada por el conflict

ICRC 21 November 2012

Los niños de la vereda El Camuya, Caquetá, sur de Colombia, tienen ahora un albergue al lado de su escuela para dormir y así no tener que hacer, día tras día, caminatas de más de dos horas para llegar a estudiar. La lejanía entre sus casas y la escuela los exponía a grandes riesgos asociados al conflicto armado, como la contaminación por armas o la posibilidad de terminar en medio de un enfrentamiento, pero también generaba altos índices de deserción escolar: a veces era más difícil llegar a la escuela que aprobar las lecciones de matemáticas. Ahora, gracias a un albergue escolar construido por el CICR, los niños de esta vereda aseguran un lugar para dormir, bañarse, comer, y acceder al estudio diario, lo que los fortalece frente a los riesgos del conflicto armado en la región. Lea más sobre el programa de Agua y Hábitat en el Informe Colombia 2011.

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Pakistan Plans ‘Malala Schools’ for Poor Children

The Express Tribune 20 November 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to honour Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl education campaigner shot by the Taliban, by opening special schools in her name for poor children, officials said on Monday.

The “Malala Schools” are planned for 16 areas around Pakistan affected by conflict or natural disasters, Nafisa Shah, chairwoman of the National Commission for Human Development, told AFP.

The aim is to give children in these areas, who often have little in the way of educational opportunities, a chance to go to school, Shah said, but added that money for the scheme had not yet been found.

“We have identified the places and (will) soon launch a fundraising scheme to generate finances for these schools,” Shah said.

Each school will have two classrooms, a verandah, a toilet and space to extend the building if needed. It will cost Rs800,000 and provide basic education to both girls and boys.

The Pakistani government has announced a plan to pay poor families to send their children to school and UN education envoy Gordon Brown held talks in Islamabad at the weekend to begin a plan to bring more than five million out-of-school youngsters into the classroom.

Taliban hitmen shot Malala on her school bus a month ago in Mingora in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley in a cold-blooded murder attempt for the “crime” of campaigning for girls’ rights to go to school.

Miraculously the 15-year-old survived and her courage has won the hearts of millions around the world, prompting the United Nations to declare last Saturday a “global day of action” for her.

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New Report: In Developing Nations, Poverty Most Likely Factor   to Deny Children an Education

Global Partnership for Education 20 November 2012

Poverty is the greatest predictor of children in developing nations being shut out of school, according to a new report by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).  The report, entitled Results for Learning: Fostering Evidence-Based Dialogue to Monitor Access and Quality in Education, states that the number of children in school has increased, yet describes continuing challenges in maintaining the quality of education and in raising the necessary financing to educate all of the world’s children.

 

Of all the reasons for the exclusion of an estimated 61 million primary-school aged children now out of school, poverty is the most decisive factor, often interacting powerfully with gender, according to the report.

 

Other main findings regarding the decade of work and impact of GPE and its partners in over 50 developing countries include:

  More children are completing primary school in GPE countries, rising from 56 to 71 percent in the past decade.

  Fewer children are excluded from school in these same countries, with the rate of out-of-school kids declining from 34 to 18 percent in the past 10 years.

  While youth literacy rates have increased somewhat, particularly for young women, learning levels are still alarmingly low. In most low- and lower-middle income countries, up to 75 percent of children in grades 2 to 4 cannot read at all.

  Developing countries have consistently increased their own funding of education, while GPE’s donors have grown their external support for these same countries; yet funding gaps still exist, exacerbated by teacher shortages and the need to expand access to secondary education.

  Assessments of learning are not sufficiently established or used to improve quality of education plans or teacher instruction, often leading to higher costs and poorer learning results.

“The Results for Learning Report shows the progress made by countries supported by the Global Partnership for Education in helping children get in school and learn. It also highlights the tremendous challenges ahead in providing truly universal access to education,” said GPE Head Bob Prouty. “Too many of the most marginalized children are still being left out. We need more financing, and we need to ensure that it supports children in poverty and areas of conflict.  We also must do much better at collecting and acting on the education data needed to help bridge the tremendous gap in learning outcomes in developing nations,” he said.

 

GPE developed the Results for Learning Report as a part of its monitoring and evaluation strategy to measure the progress its partners have made in helping developing nations implement their own education sector plans. This is the first of a series of annual Results for Learning reports that will be used to determine GPE partners’ impact on children’s learning and progression.

 

The report compares the access and learning targets in each GPE country’s education plan to the actual results.  The Results for Learning Report uses data from developing countries’ education sector plans, “joint sector reviews” of education sector plan progress, GPE grant applications, as well as data provided by GPE partners such as UNESCO and the World Bank.

 

“We believe the Results for Learning Report will strengthen the dialogue among all our partners around how to accelerate progress in education and ensure that all children can claim their right to a good quality education,” said Prouty.

 

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with low-income countries around the world to help them provide basic education of good quality to all of their children. Countries develop education sector plans that set clear targets and commitments; GPE’s partners—including donor governments, multilateral agencies, civil society/non-governmental organizations, and the private sector—align their support around these plans. GPE partners have committed to provide about $2 billion to fund basic education in developing countries between 2012 and 2014.

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Children around globe worry about education, environment-poll.

ChildFund 20 November 2012

2012-11-20

Children want a better world, and they have specific views about what that means, according to the ChildFund Alliance’s 2012 Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, rolling out in time to honor Universal Children’s Day Nov. 20.

This year, we interviewed 6,200 10- to 12-year-olds in 47 countries, double the number we heard from in the 2010 launch of the survey. For 2012, we retained some of the questions from before and added some new ones with an environmental focus.

The 2012 results echoed 2011’s finding that 50 percent of the children from developing nations say they would improve education if given the power. They also aspire to professions that would serve their communities such as teacher, doctor and police officer, whereas children from developed nations dream of careers in sports and the arts. When asked about their fears, children almost everywhere said they were afraid of wild animals.

The answers to the environmental questions highlighted common ground among children from both the developing and developed worlds. When asked their greatest worries about the environment, 29 percent listed pollution. Children in developing countries also cited an additional concern: natural disasters.

Eleven-year-old Luis, from Guatemala, lists earthquake, rain and drought as his greatest fears. He’s experienced all three, as well as landslides, forest fires and storms. He wants to be an accountant, which will hopefully balance some of the excitement he’s already endured in his short life.

Read the report to hear more from Luis and many other children from around the globe. We have much to learn from them.

“The biggest problem in the environment within my community is the trash, so if I could do one thing to help, it would be to clean up all the trash and the rivers to make for a cleaner and safer life for my community” — Luis, Guatemala
“The things I fear the most are war and poverty. When there is war, there will be no freedom, no education, no food, no medicines and no good drinking water. When you are poor, you do not have enough food to eat, no clothes to wear and no money to support the family.”  — Ibrahima, Guinea

“If I were a leader of the country, I would help the poor to have a better life and educate immoral and abusive people to be good ones.” — Panchma, Cambodia

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Small Voices, Big Dreams 2012.

ChildFund 20 November 2012

ChildFund has published a report based on a global survey of children’s hopes, aspirations and fears. In this report, the voices of 6,204 children from 47 countries are represented within this report. Through it, we get a taste of what children aged 10-12 aspire to, for themselves and their communities. We’re reminded that children can think beyond themselves and consider how their world can be improved. We’ve also gained insight into their hopes, aspirations and fears.

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