For the year 2018, the European Union (EU) has announced that it will increase the part of humanitarian funding dedicated to getting children into education in Nigeria and other crisis zones around the world. The EU said 8% of its humanitarian budget will go to education in emergencies, which is far above the global average of less than 3%.
This was given by its Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides during a High Level Education Event, organised in the margins of the UN General Assembly 2017 in New York.
Stylianides believed that supporting education gives hope to the future. He therefore affirmed EU’s commitments to doing all it can to help people in crises zones worldwide.
“The EU is a global leader in supporting education in emergencies. Concretely this means giving children in some of the most difficult situations in the world an opportunity for the future,” he stated.
“As I have travelled to many crises zones, from refugee camps to areas devastated by natural disasters, it is always clear that education is much more than a human right or a basic need. It is safety, dignity and a shield against radicalisation,” he continued.
The humanitarian noted that “By supporting education we are making the biggest investment we can in the future of the most vulnerable. We are investing in peace.”
EU aid in Nigeria ordinarily goes beyond catering for children education in Nigeria. It covers the basic needs of those internally displaced, host populations in Nigeria as well as refugees in other countries affected by the Lake Chad basin crisis, namely Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
According to the European Commission, “Funds go to food distributions, to clinics providing lifesaving nutrition medical care, as well as to ensure access to water and sanitation, hygiene, first-need items, shelter and protection. They also contribute to increased access, through the Humanitarian Air Service, and to the coordination of humanitarian organisations.”
The EU’s contribution in 2018 of over €86 million will support access to formal and non-formal education, including life skills and vocational training, recreational activities and psychosocial support for girls and boys in crisis areas around the world.
Several EU projects will be focused on girls; giving them access to education and helping them learn life and vocational skills. Children will also benefit from the provision of school materials and the creation of new learning spaces. Teachers and parents will also be supported and benefit from training.
Commissioner Stylianides has made education in emergencies a priority since the beginning of his mandate, continuing to increase the EU’s financial support to education projects for children affected by crises every year since he took office.
EU support allocated to education in emergencies went from 1% of its humanitarian budget in 2015 to 6% in 2017 and will eventually go to 8% in 2018. This aid has reached 4 million children and teachers in 50 countries between 2012-2016.
The EU’s humanitarian aid will be channelled through non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and International Organisations to reach the most vulnerable.
There are currently about 75 million children living in crisis-affected countries and forced displacement lack access to quality education.
By the end of 2016, nearly 4 million boys and girls in 50 countries around the world have benefitted from these. Beneficiary nations apart from Nigeria include; Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, and Egypt.
Others are El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.
EU-funded educational activities are tailored to take into account the different needs of children based on their age, gender and other specific circumstances.