Uganda: 60,000 Refugee Children Benefit From Home-Learning

More than 60,000 pupils in the nine refugee-hosting districts have benefited from a new programme of learning from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The project championed by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has rolled out programmes aimed at providing learning and mental health support to refugee and local host community children who are currently out of school.

The activities are being implemented by Save the Children, a child rights non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with Finn Church Aid, Humanity & Inclusion, War Child Holland and ZOA and has benefitted children in settlements found in Adjumani, Arua, Isingiro, Kamwenge, Kikuube, Kyegegwa, Madi-Okollo, Obongi, and Yumbe districts.

Ms Yasmine Sherif, the director of ECW, hailed the development partners for offering a hand in extending the education programmes to the desperate beneficiaries.

"We commend civil society consortium and UN agencies. ECW was able to support and contribute a major investment in the Education Response Plan for refugees and host communities. We saw progress for refugee and host-community children finally being able to access quality education, especially girls and children with disabilities - and then, Covid-19 hit. An unprecedented challenge appeared just as access to education was on the rise," she said.

"We must not allow Covid-19 to reverse this progress and it is crucial that together, we redouble our efforts to ensure that learning can continue even when schools are closed," Ms Sherif added.

Schools across the country are closed as a precautionary measure alongside wider restrictions on movement and community gatherings and more than 15 million children, including 600,000 refugee children, are now out of school.

Despite the move by the Ministry of Education and Sports to develop a Preparedness and Response Plan that aims at helping children to continue learning while schools are closed, this has not reached all learners, especially in poverty stricken areas.

ECW, a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies then allocated $1 million (about Shs3.7b) to support implementation of the plan, including $525,000 (about Shs1.9b) to the education consortium, which is hosted by Save the Children.

The programme has rolled out activities that focus on ensuring that children continue learning from home and more than 900 solar-powered radios have been distributed to some households to ensure that they are not excluded.

FUNDING

So far Save the Children has spent more than Shs1.3 billion, which is more than $350,000 on materials to support the government-led Covid-19 response, which includes printing and distributing learning packs for more than 105,000 children across the country.

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