Every child, everywhere, should have the chance to reach their potential and grow up in peace. This is why in 2012 the leaders of the EU institutions turned the Nobel Prize for Peace, just awarded to the European Union, into a vehicle for promotion of peace and support to the most vulnerable victims of war: children. The EU Children of Peace initiative was born.
The European Commission matched the Nobel Prize award with its own funding, which was allocated to projects in support of nearly 30 000 children in Ethiopia and DR Congo, Colombia and Ecuador, Iraq and Pakistan.
The EU Children of Peace initiative continues in 2014, helping more than 80 000 children affected by war. Together with nine humanitarian partners, the Commission provides schools, friendly spaces, psychological support, school materials and uniforms to support girls and boys in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Colombia and Ecuador.
"Education is much more than just writing or counting – it is the only way to build lasting peace and sustainable development. By providing children with spaces where they can safely develop their talents, by providing them with psychological support to overcome the past traumas and raising their awareness about their rights, we are making one more step towards a conflict-free future – for all of us," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, who is leading the initiative.
In late 2013, Luxembourg became the first EU Member State to join the initiative: it contributed 500 000 EUR
Today, 90% of the victims of conflicts are civilians. Half of them are children. Seven million children are refugees and 12.4 million children are displaced within their own countries due to conflict.
One of the best ways to help and protect children when they suffer from violent conflicts is to restore to them the opportunity to learn and receive an education. Of the approximately 75 million children who are out of school worldwide, more than half live in conflict areas.
The EU's humanitarian work is addressing the specific needs of children affected by conflict. More than half of the Commission's humanitarian funding goes to conflict-affected areas and 12% of its humanitarian budget - much more than the global average - goes to child-focused relief organisations.