15 January 2014

Mali: Echo and Unicef Join Forces for Crisis Affected Children to Go Back to School

Bamako — The Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO) is providing EUR 3 million for children's education in crisis affected in Mali.

The ECHO funding for UNICEF's 2013-2014 "Back to School" campaign will help to get children back to learning and to stay to finish their education.

The education system in Mali has been severely disrupted since the end of 2011 due to conflict in the North; political instability in the South; a food and nutrition crisis caused by drought; and flooding. The situation further deteriorated in January 2013 after a military coup. According to the Ministry of Education, at least 800,000 children have been affected by the crisis in different ways. Some schools in the North had to close their doors. Some children were displaced, in overcrowded classrooms, in temporary learning spaces, while others were faced with the reality that their teachers had fled.

The funding will benefit 200,000 children and 4,000 teachers in the North (in the regions of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu) and Mopti (in the districts of Douentza, Tenenkou, Youwarou) in 824 primary schools and 200 centres for early childhood development. In addition, other institutions, such as local education authorities, school committees (parents, parents' associations and village leaders), and teachers' unions, will also receive support. Classrooms and furniture will be provided, as well as teacher training and educational and recreational kits.

"Education is the foundation of society. Education can rebuild the country," ensured Gianfranco Rotigliano. "One of the teacher's training subjects, 'education for a culture of peace & reconciliation', is a long term investment for the future of Mali. We need to work together, from the earliest age, to build a lasting peace" he ended.

"In terms of education, major challenges remain and require an urgent response. Additional ECHO funding will help ensure continued access to quality and equitable education for all," said Cornelis Wittebrood, ECHO's Head of Unit, East, West and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean.

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