USAID Education Initiatives Humanitarian Response


Providing education to children affected by tragedies is a key component of a humanitarian response.

However education still remains severely underfunded. And without it, children, and girls are at increased risk of disempowerment, abuse, exploitation or worse.

It is known from experiences that going to school and learning is critical. It prepares children for their future.

Research shows that an extra year of secondary school can increase their future earnings by 10 to 20 percent. It even shows that investing in women and girls can boost an entire country’s GDP.

The USAID’s plans for education include the mission of providing access to quality education for children and youth.

From 2011 and 2015, the USAID had provided for the access of education to out-of-school children and youth in 20 countries, a good start but still not enough to support the collective effort of providing the for 476 million children who are in desperate need of educational support.

For decades, humanitarian and development assistance were often divided to several programs, and this sometimes led to shifting the focusing out of providing this need to the children who need it most.

Education has always been a key target in international refugee response, but this has not been true in the case of natural disasters or even in the case of internally displaced children.

As the crises prolongs, children may spend their years of childhood in exile from their homes. Without education, a new generation springs without the basic skills needed to contribute to their society and economy.

The U.S. Government is now committed to ensuring that education is not disrupted in times of conflicts.

Prioritizing education reaps long term rewards, and provides a smooth transition from initial response of humanitarian assistance to sustainable development.

In the past year, the US government has responded to the educational needs of children affected by violent conflicts in South Sudan, gang violence in El Salvador and Guatemala, the Syrian refugee crisis, earthquakes in Nepal, and the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

This mission cannot be done by one person or group alone. And thus we must all work together.

We can do so by effectively setting up strategies with experts in the field of Education. And thus the U.S. Government supports the program “Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies.”

The fund is spearheaded by Gordon Brown, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Education, Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education’s Board of Directors and Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s Executive Director, the U.S. Government and several other donors.

Education Cannot Wait will help transform the global education sector by bridging the humanitarian and development divide by collaborating with non-traditional key players for a more agile and rapid response to ensure the continuance of education in times of emergencies.

The ultimate goal is to increase quality education in order to provide children the opportunity to learn, despite protracted situations.

Education Cannot Wait encourages new actors ranging from non-traditional donors, the private sector, foundations and philanthropists to contribute to financing the program.

Along with other key programs such as ensuring food security, shelter and health, these new set of donors can make education as much a priority.

They can help increase the pool of funds and embark long-lasting change in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable young people.

This need may be addressed both by strong political will and financial support.

It is of everyone’s benefit that when these children are provided with education, they are as well given the chance to become self-sufficient by being able to earn a decent living and allowing them to contribute to their societies in a productive way.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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