By Fatima Drar
By Fatima Drar
Meknes – On Tuesday, January 26, UNICEF launched a new funding appeal for children in humanitarian emergencies that amounted to $2.8 billion.
UNICEF director of emergency programs in Geneva, Sikander Khan says that a quarter of this appeal will go to education, which is considered a “life-saving measure for children” at a time when war and conflict has shuttered many schools.
This appeal aims to assist 76 million people including 43 million children in 63 countries.
According to the UNOG (the United Nations Office at Geneva), the largest portion of the appeal—$1.16 billion—was destined to support UNICEF’s response in Syria and in neighboring countries Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where large numbers of refugees are hosted. The main areas of intervention include safe water, immunizations, education and child protection.
Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, developed a plan for “double-shift education”—a system that allows refugee children to attend classes in the evening at existing schools after local children finish their daily studies—that requires $750 million. Of this amount, $500 million has already been raised through grants or loans from both national governments and private businesses.
Mr. Khan emphasized the importance of education, saying, “If a child doesn’t go to school for five years, a generation is lost.” He added in response to questions by journalists that it had taken UNICEF and other partners a long time to consider education lifesaving. Different initiatives such as the Oslo Accords have helped reinforce the international norm that schools must be protected during times of conflict.
UNICEF also supports other locations around the world. Mr. Khan mentioned that UNICEF is asking for $188.9 million to respond to humanitarian needs in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. UNICEF is requesting $25.5 million to help protect children in Burundi. The appeal also covers Central Africa, and includes a small component for Ebola relief.
Photo credit: AFP / AMC / ZEIN AL-RIFAI