ECW $2 mn grant for 20,000 refugees in Ethiopia

Conflicts in northern Ethiopia’s Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions have pushed children and adolescents out of school and are fueling humanitarian needs.

In response, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, announced on Saturday a $2 million First Emergency Response Grant that will reach more than 20,000 refugees and displaced, as well as host community children and adolescents.

This brings ECW ongoing investments in Ethiopia to over $30 million.

The 12-month grant will be delivered by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and local strategic partners, focusing on early childhood education, primary education, accelerated learning programmes and secondary education, in and around refugee camps, as well as a settlement in the northern regions of Ethiopia.

The interventions are intended to primarily target refugees in the camps of Aysaita and Serdo in Afar, Alemwach site in Amhara, and Mai Aini and Adi Harush in Tigray.

Approximately 62 per cent of the people to be reached with this assistance are girls, and 10 per cent are children with disabilities.

As a result of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict, children and adolescents in Afar, Amhara and Tigray have missed education opportunities. To date, approximately 13 per cent of previously enrolled refugee children and youth in Ethiopia have not returned to school.

“Refugee and host-community children and youth are in urgent need of safe and protective learning environments. Children and adolescents face high risks of recruitment into armed groups, human trafficking, radicalization and exploitation. They have already lost their homes and loved ones. We cannot allow them to also drop out of school and thereby destroy their very last hope: an education that will empower them to arise from their dispossession and suffering,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW.

“Education does not only provide protection to children and support them to return to normalcy; it is also beneficial to their mental and psychological health, which are critical for effective learning. ECW’s valuable funding will support interventions to address the educational needs of the affected girls and boys as quickly as possible and will significantly contribute to strengthen the co-existence between the displaced communities and their hosts in Northern Ethiopia,” said Mamadou Dian Balde, the UNHCR representative in Ethiopia.

The ECW investment will further support the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, including temporary learning spaces and latrines, to increase access to safe, protective and gender-sensitive learning environments for emergency-affected children.

Innovative cash transfers will incentivize families to return their children to school, as part of the wide back-to-school efforts.

The programme also includes the recruitment and training of teachers and school administrators and the provision of individual learning materials.

Teacher training will cover subject knowledge, curriculum, planning and pedagogy topics. The funding will also support strengthening of school and community capacity to provide gender and crisis-sensitive education for emergency-affected girls, boys and children with disabilities.

The new funding builds on the impact of ECW’s $1 million Tigray response, announced in April 2021, along with the Fund’s ongoing Multi-Year Resilience Programme in the country.

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