Why is this important?
During and in the immediate aftermath of humanitarian crises, children are among the most vulnerable victims. Besides risking getting injured and even killed, children may be subject to forced displacement or separation from their families.
When a disaster strikes, schools can get destroyed and the quality of education lowers for the lack of qualified teachers. As a consequence, millions of children living in crisis-affected countries have their education disrupted. According to UNICEF, 75 million children affected by emergencies are out of school worldwide.
Out of school, children are not only more exposed to risks, but they also miss the chance to develop the necessary skills to build more prosperous futures for themselves and their countries.
Education is crucial for both the development and the protection of children. In situation of emergency, it can help create at least some sense of normality and safety, and it gives children the psycho-social support needed to overcome traumas.
How are we helping?
When the EU received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, it decided to double the monetary award and dedicate €2 million to create the EU Children of Peace initiative, with the objective of supporting safe access to quality education and psycho-social support for children in emergencies.
Since then, the Commission has increased the funding for education in emergencies every year. In 2013, it doubled it to €4 million. Then, the funding reached over €6.7 million in 2014, including the contributions of €500 000 from Luxembourg and €250 000 from Austria. Last year, €11 million were allocated to educational projects.
With almost €69 million released this year, the total funding dedicated to education in emergencies has reached over €92 million since 2012.
By the end of 2016, more than 3.8 million children will be helped in 47 countries affected by crises around the world.
EU-funded educational activities are tailored to take into account the different needs of children based on their age, gender and other specific circumstances. The actions vary from facilitating access to schools, including catch-up classes, to providing uniforms, teaching material and transportation of children to educational centres.
The Commission also gives funds to rehabilitate damaged schools and construct new learning spaces and centres. Thanks to the Commission's support, access to vocational training and psycho-social assistance is also possible.
The quality of education in situations of emergency is strengthened through the recruitment of qualified teachers and the provision of training to teaching staff. Actions aiming at raising awareness among parents, caregivers and community leaders about their children's education are also supported.
The Commission aims to fund on-the-ground actions while at the same time raising awareness of the importance of children education in emergency settings.
On 30 November 2016, the European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection department organised a forum on Education in Emergencies in Brussels. The event attracted over 200 participants, including decision makers, humanitarian experts and practitioners.