One out of four children are out of school as a result of Syrian crisis spillover, forced displacement, economic collapse and other intersecting challenges. First Emergency Response grant delivered by UNICEF provides life-saving access to protective learning environments.

NEW YORK, March 21, 2024 -- Hostilities in Southern Lebanon displaced tens of thousands of people late last year, compounding the challenges facing the nation as it works to respond to political turmoil, economic collapse and spillover from the crisis in Syria. In response to these challenges, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a new additional US$2.2 Million grant that will provide girls and boys impacted by these ongoing crises with access to safe, inclusive learning environments.

“Our investment in their education is an investment in peace and security across the region, and an investment in delivering on the promises outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on the Rights of the Child." - ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif.

The fast-acting 12-month grant will be delivered by UNICEF in collaboration with local strategic partners and the Education Sector. ECW funding in Lebanon has already reached over a half a million girls and boys. Total ECW funding now tops US$24 million.

Hostilities in the region resulted in the closure of 50 public schools and eight technical education schools. Approximately 20,000 students have had their education impacted, and recent estimates indicate that as many as 91,000 people are displaced in Lebanon, including more than 33,000 children. Even before this recent uptick in violence, around 27% of children were out of school in Lebanon.

"The education system in Lebanon has suffered enough pressure. This is the time to support the Ministry of Education and their firm commitment to a quality education for both Lebanese and refugee children and adolescents. Our investment in their education is an investment in peace and security across the region, and an investment in delivering on the promises outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lebanon and all school-aged children in the country deserve no less," said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises hosted within the United Nations.

"The conflict in the southern borders of Lebanon has exacerbated the multiple crises that have been disrupting the education of the most marginalized children and youth in the country. UNICEF is supporting the strategies and approaches of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), as well as the Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning for children and youth affected by the conflict in the South, including at primary and secondary levels, as well as in technical and vocational education. Lebanon's children and youth cannot afford further disruption to their education. Through support from the ECW fund, MEHE and UNICEF will partner to deliver services that enable children and youth to leapfrog to a brighter future," said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon.

The new investment aligns with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education's emergency response plan and the Education sector strategy. There is a strong focus on improving access to inclusive and safe learning opportunities for displaced children. This includes the establishment of school hubs, as well as increasing the availability of online learning resources for children who are unable to access traditional schools.

The investment also provides a focus on training teachers to respond to the unique needs of displaced children, with a focus on mental health and psychosocial support, gender-responsive training and more.

To improve the resilience and recovery of the education system, the investment will strengthen capacity to respond to emergencies through comprehensive training programmes that include emergency preparedness, response strategies and other supports designed to ensure sustainability well into the future. 

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW): 

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth.

On X/Twitter), please follow: @EduCannotWait @YasmineSherif1 @KentPage 

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