NEW YORK, January 24 (IPS) – “Is it a crime to be a girl? We don’t want to stay home and illiterate. We want to go to school, learn and be smart.” In just a few words, an educational plea from a child Afghan girl attracted the attention of the world. Her heartbreaking question shows that the Taliban’s recent ban on girls attending high school and college – ending educational opportunities for all Afghan girls and women – is more than just a violation of basic rights. human’s to education but also shattered countless hopes and dreams in an instant.
Elsewhere in the world, millions of other girls living in humanitarian crises are also being disenfranchised. In their case, it wasn’t necessarily a statement that prevented them from learning, but rather the famine, conflict, or consequences of extreme weather caused by the climate crisis, sometimes a combination of all these things. And reinforcing this, the gender inequality that means being a girl means that their education and rights are often not a priority.
Currently, for example, hunger is taking a toll on girls’ educational opportunities in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Haiti and other hotspots around the world.
Quality, inclusive education is a lifeline that has a profound impact on girls’ rights. But more needs to be done to make this a reality. Girls in a crisis environment almost 2.5 times more likely to miss school than those living in non-crisis countries. One reason for this is that in protracted emergencies and crises, educational responses are severely underfunded. The total annual funding for emergency education as a percentage of global sector-specific humanitarian funding in 2021 is only 2.9%.
Together with partners, international plan and Education Can’t Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, is calling for an increase in this share to at least 10% in humanitarian funding. This must include increasing investments over many years in the institutional capacities of local and national actors. Today, day International Education DayWe stand in solidarity with girls in Afghanistan and in all other crisis-affected countries to say that “education cannot wait”. Education is not only a basic human right but also an investment that saves and sustains the lives of girls affected by the crisis. We must stand with girls as they defend this right. Next month, when world leaders will gather in Geneva in Education can’t wait for high-end finance At the Conference, we urge donor governments to immediately increase humanitarian aid to education. We must turn our promises into action through bold, courageous, and real financing. This funding is essential if we are to build resilience in the most climate-prone countries, where the consequences of extreme weather will inevitably pose a threat to education. of girls in the coming years. Education budgets – which have been reduced by two-thirds in low- and middle-income countries after the outbreak of COVID-19 – must be protected and strengthened, especially in developing countries. affected by the crisis.
Investments should go towards building stronger education systems and addressing gender inequality and exclusion, where the needs of girls are prioritized at every stage of programming. Governments also need to ensure that refugee and internally displaced children are not overlooked, and make concrete commitments towards comprehensive quality education for displaced children and young people in educational institutions. Global Refugee Forum in December of this year.
Immediately, 222 million won Crisis-affected children and young people need urgent educational support and more than half of them are girls. It is important that Education Cannot Wait is fully funded with a minimum of US$1.5 billion in additional resources over the next four years, so that partners like Plan International and others can deliver programs. essential process. Too often, girls’ voices are silenced in emergencies, making their experiences invisible and their needs ignored and ignored. We must change this, for a more just, equal and peaceful world.
About the authorYasmine police Director of Education Can’t Wait, the United Nations’ global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
Stephen Omollo is the CEO of Plan International, a humanitarian and children’s rights organization operating in more than 80 countries globally.
IPS UN Office
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