The ongoing conflict, displacements and fear of attacks on schools, are putting the education of more than 3.5 million children at risk in the Lake Chad basin.
As at the last count, about 1,000 schools have been closed or non-functional due to violence and unrest in northeast Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has today.
“Where there is insecurity, education can be both life-sustaining and life-saving,” UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine said.
“Education supports children and young people’s lifelong learning.
It gives them the necessary skills to build a better future for themselves and their families, and to contribute to peaceful and prosperous communities.
Yet too often overall humanitarian education funding is lacking in emergencies.” The children’s agency said it appealed for $41.7 million in funding to meet the education needs of children in the crisis zones, but that it had only received eight per cent of this amount in the first half of 2018.
Governments, multilateral and international organisations and civil society actors were recently in Berlin for a two-day meeting on the Lake Chad Basin.
The meeting aimed to maintain the momentum generated by the 2017 Oslo conference, and raise support for continuing humanitarian response.
UNICEF urged governments to ensure displaced children had access to schools, and to work towards long-term solutions to safeguard educational facilities even during conflict.
“As communities recover from conflict, sustained investments in services such as education are essential for the long-term stability and well-being of the region and its children,” UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa Marie-Pierre Poirier said.
“We also urge all states to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, and put in place mechanisms for children to be protected in schools, even during conflict.