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ECW Announces New $1.2m Education Grant For Children With Disabilities

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, has announced a new $1.2 million grant to enhance education opportunities for children and adolescents with disabilities.

Around the world, children and adolescents with disabilities are 49 percent more likely to have never attended school – this number is especially high for those living in crisis-affected areas.

New Acceleration Facility grant which is aimed at addressing this global challenge, was awarded to International Disability Alliance (IDA).

The grant creates public goods and contributes to system strengthening that accelerates quality, inclusive education in emergencies for children and adolescents with disabilities.

The 36-month ECW Acceleration Facility grant will fund an initiative by IDA to support the acceleration of equitable inclusive education in emergency for children with disabilities, including those from underrepresented groups, such as children with intellectual disabilities, deaf, blind and indigenous children with disabilities.

This work will be done through partnerships with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities at both the local and global level.

Worldwide, 1 child in 10 lives with a disability – and most in low and middle-income countries where emergencies and protracted crises are more likely to occur. Children with disabilities often face systemic barriers to accessing education in emergency contexts on an equal basis with others.

At the same time, Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, which have the expertise to ensure inclusion and often work in local contexts, are at times excluded from the design and implementation of education in emergency responses.

The programme also aims to enhance access and learning opportunities for girls and boys with disabilities through inclusive interventions, co-developed with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and piloted in ECW Multi-Year Resilience Programme-supported countries.

Director of ECW, Yasmine Sherif said her organization is committed to reaching those left furthest behind in crises, and this, according to her, includes girls and boys with disabilities who face enormous roadblocks to accessing the inclusive, equitable education that they deserve.

“We know that the steps we take today and what we learn through these pilots will lay the building blocks to solidly strengthen our global response to ensure no child is left behind in the future”, she said.

Similarly, the Executive Director of IDA, Dr. Vladimir Cuk noted that children with disabilities have a right to enjoy inclusive, equitable, and quality education, just like their peers, adding they however are at high risk of being left out of school when crisis hits.

“That’s why we must redouble our efforts to support Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, their families, and humanitarian actors to develop a shared vision and coordinated action for ensuring the provision of inclusive education in humanitarian situations.

“We call on global leaders to commit greater funding and resources to support ECW in expanding and growing this critical work in more and more countries where children with disabilities still do not receive inclusive education in situations of crisis and humanitarian action”, he added.

This initiative will bring together expertise from Organizations of Persons with Disabilities at the local, national, regional and global level, and humanitarian actors on the ground. Through collaboration and the piloting of new tools and resources with the potential to be scaled up, this work will also inform investments in future ECW Multi-Year Resilience Programmes.

With the evidence generated from this collaborative process and pilots, global knowledge products will be developed to better-equip humanitarian actors with examples of successful practices and resources that support quality inclusive education.

Meeting the needs of learners with disabilities is a key programmatic priority for ECW, which is committed to reach 10 percet of children with disabilities across its investment portfolio.

In its latest Strategic Plan 2023-2026, ECW acknowledged intersectionality as a building block in its work on disability inclusion and made commitments to collaborate with local organizations of persons with disabilities in the implementation of investments (with ECW’s Policy and Accountability Framework on Disability Inclusion providing the basis for this approach).

Crisis-affected girls and boys with disabilities continue to face immense barriers to inclusion, despite growing global recognition of and focus on inclusive education.

At ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference on 16-17 February in Geneva, Switzerland, world leaders have the opportunity to support ECW’s mission to reach those left furthest behind and stand up for children with disabilities. Now is the time to turn commitments into action.

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