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UN Body Announces $11.8m Educational Support Grant For Children In Haiti

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, has announced a new $11.8 million grant to help address the educational needs of children in Haiti amidst growing humanitarian crisis in the country.

The $11.8 Multi-Year Resilience Programme which is implemented by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of Haiti, seeks to catalyze $16.2 million in additional funding to reach 45,000 crisis-impacted children and adolescents in the North American nation.

ECW supports quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. It also works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming.

The three-year seed-funding investment builds on ECW’s $1.5 million First Emergency Response, bringing total investments in Haiti to $13.3 million to date.

Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 170 out of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index (HDI). A history of social and political unrest, chronic poverty, and natural disasters such as the 2010 and 2021 earthquakes – coupled with the ongoing impacts of the climate crisis and COVID-19, are creating significant educational and development obstacles across the country.

While 7 out of 10 Haitians are able to go to primary school, just 60 percent have access to preschool and only 15 percent are able to go on to secondary education. Most of the country’s schools are private, making it even more difficult for poor or displaced families to access learning opportunities for their children. Over half of the country’s schools do not have water or toilets and 75 percent have no electricity.

Director of ECW, Yasmine Sherif said Haiti has suffered multiple crises over the years affecting the children’s and adolescent’s access to a continued and inclusive quality education.

According to her, they cannot stand by, adding that the ECW’s investment is to empower them to rebuild their lives and Haiti.

“With substantive ECW seed-funding mobilized together with our strategic partners, we now call on donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to fully fund this innovative multi-year education programme, and make our true commitments at the UN Secretary-General’s Transforming Education Summit last month in New York. This is an opportunity to translate vision into action”, she said.

The initial seed funding grant will reach more than 20,000 girls and boys across 35 districts, providing a holistic quality education, including mental health and psychosocial support and school meals.

In addition, the programme will pay particular attention to gender equality and disability inclusion and will strengthen the capacity of the national education system to plan, monitor, coordinate, finance, and deliver holistic quality education to better meet the educational needs of crisis-impacted children and adolescents.

The Minister of Education and Professional Training (MENFP) in Haiti, Mr. Nesmy Manigat noted that the Multi-Year Resilience Programme supports the major thematic priorities of the national education and training plan 2020-2030.

“Indeed, it supports the MENFP in providing quality and inclusive education that meets the needs of crisis-affected students. By maintaining the principle that education remains a fundamental and inalienable human right. MENFP wants to guarantee inclusion and equity of access to education for all.

“We congratulate and thank ECW for providing these funds to strengthen the Haitian education system in vulnerable areas. We encourage technical and financial partners to support the financing of this Multi-Year Resilience Programme by making additional funds available. They will ensure a bright future for the sons and daughters of Haiti”, he added.

With additional funding, the overall programme targets approximately 45,500 children aged 3–18 in all. It spans the continuum from early childhood education through to adolescent skills programming and includes adolescent girls’ secondary education as well as non-formal alternative education.

In recognition of the diverse and differentiated needs of all girls and boys, including adolescents and children living with disabilities, the programme is geared towards delivering a holistic, contextualised package of interventions to ensure safe access to quality education and provide for children and adolescents’ physical and mental well-being.

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