11 July 2006, Issue No. 2 - Education in Emergencies
Education and literacy are key for empowering women and preparing girls for future roles. - Mary Ann Wyrsch, UNHCR's Deputy High Commissioner
Partners Respond to the Indonesian Earthquake: Education is a high priority
In the aftermath of the earthquake of 27 May on the island of Java that devastated and claimed the lives of thousands of people and destroyed around 1,000 schools, UNGEI partners have been actively working together to get children back into school.
The priority of the Indonesian Government is to provide temporary learning spaces for children to ensure a smooth beginning of the school year, which will start on 17 July. UNGEI partners are supporting the Government’s efforts by providing tents, water and sanitation facilities for temporary schools; offering psycho-social support for students, particularly girls; and constructing and rehabilitating permanent schools.
Education is an integral component of the humanitarian response to an emergency. It plays a crucial rehabilitative and protective role in fulfilling the needs and rights of children after a natural disaster. CIDA, DFID, Sida and USAID have already pledged millions to bring normalcy back to the lives of children affected by the earthquake. The funds will be used to provide temporary shelters and school materials and assess damage to school buildings. Schools that have been lightly damaged are expected to be refurbished in the coming months, while those destroyed will be replaced, either consolidated into larger schools or rebuilt on existing sites.
Plan International, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNICEF and World Vision International are some of the partners working to ensure that children’s right to education is not denied in times of emergency.
A supplementary issue of the journal Forced Migration Review on the theme “Education and Conflict” will be released at the end of July. This issue reports on the conference "Education and Conflict", organised jointly by Oxford University and UNICEF on 11-12 April 2006 at Oxford, which explored the relationship between education and conflict, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations, and developed a research agenda. It includes additional articles about experiences from the field. The report will be available at http://www.fmreview.org.
On 15 July, UNESCO launched a world campaign for disaster prevention through education. It advocates for making disaster reduction education part of school curricula and encourages school construction that will withstand natural hazards.