This week, we launched a new report, A creeping crisis: the neglect of education in slow-onset emergencies, in which we make the case for education as a vital intervention in slow-onset emergencies, looking specifically at the current crises in east and west Africa.
It is undoubtedly crucial. Here’s why:
- Education can serve as a platform for other humanitarian interventions: ensuring children’s needs are met holistically, and they have access to food and clean water, safe spaces in which to learn and play, and information to help them stay healthy.
- Disaster risk education and adaptation lessons can improve community resilience by preparing children to cope with future droughts.
- The longer a child is out of school, the more difficult it will be to catch up and/or return. If we don’t act now, an entire generation of children may miss out on education, with knock-on effects in all development areas.
- Learning is a right for all children, no matter the context.
But it’s not just that. We know that children and families prioritise education, even in the hardest of circumstances.
Children want to stay in school, because they see it as the best hope for a better future in which their families and communities do not suffer from recurrent droughts and chronic vulnerability.
Tomorrow’s doctors and teachers
What strikes me most is how many of the children we work with are determined to get an education in order to make the future better for others.
Reading through even a small sample of the hundreds of stories in our archives reveals children eager to become tomorrow’s doctors, nurses, and teachers (and presidents!).
Just take a look at Ousmane’s story from Mauritania here.
Or Agai’s story from Mali here.
Or Halima’s from Somalia here.
Or, si vous parlez français, Maska and Baraka’s stories from DRC here.
All are determined to make a difference and improve lives.
It’s time for the international community to take immediate action to match the dedication of these children by ensuring that all children across the Sahel and east Africa can go back to school this autumn.
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