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Thursday, December 2, 2021

UN’s Education Cannot Wait Calls On World Leaders To Urgently Fund Education In The DRC

4.7 million refugee, displaced and host community children and youth in urgent need of educational support

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Dominic Kirui
Dominic Kirui is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya covering climate change, food security, culture, conflict, health, gender, and global development.

Kinshasa. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: The global education fund charity, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) this week called on world leaders to move with urgency to ensure that education is funded in the fragile DRC to a tune of US$45.3 million.

While visiting the DRC on Wednesday, ECW’s Director Yasmine Sherif called on world leaders to urgently support the children and youth in desperate need of education support in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), affected by new emergencies and multiple protracted crises. 

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An additional US$45.3 million is required to reach 200,000 children and youth impacted by the large-scale, complex and protracted crisis in the DRC through Education Cannot Wait’s multi-year resilience programme. The programme was launched with US$22.2 million in catalytic seed funding from ECW in December 2020 and is delivered by UNICEF as grantee, through a joint programme with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN agencies, and civil society organizations.

Sherif, the Director of ECW – the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies – made the appeal after meeting this week with senior government officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, key donors, UN agencies, and international and national NGOs in Kinshasa and visiting refugees from the Central African Republic in a settlement located 30kms outside of Yakoma, Nord-Ubangi province, DRC.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye to this crisis and away from those left furthest behind. We have a global responsibility, moral imperative, and commitments to honour those suffering the most in this world. We urgently call on donors, the private sector, and other partners to mobilize an additional US$45.3 million to reach 200,000 children and youth impacted by this crisis in DRC by 2023,” said Sherif.

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“The world must respond to this pressing crisis of profound human suffering. Girls face significant risks of child marriage, early pregnancy, and sexual gender-based violence. Many children may never return to school, be forced to find work, join armed groups, and pushed even further to the margins, of no return,” said Sherif. “Education provides these children and youth with learning, safety and protection, it provides them with hope to arise from the ashes of human misery and create a better future.” 

Children and youth face significant protection risks in this escalating humanitarian and long-standing development crisis. According to recent estimates by local authorities, over 90,000 refugees have arrived in the DRC since the December 2020 presidential elections in the neighboring Central African Republic, which displaced nearly a third of the country’s population. 

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This has occurred on top of ongoing crises in other parts of the country, such as in the provinces of Ituri, Tanganyika, and Kasai Central. Throughout the country, the impact of COVID-19 and epidemics such as Ebola and cholera have been disastrous. School closures have resulted in at least six months of missed learning.

Education Cannot Wait and global partners have responded to the escalating humanitarian crisis in the DRC and neighboring countries with a number of education emergency investments in addition to the triple-nexus multi-year resilience programme delivered by UNICEF and partners. 

An additional US$3.8 million has been allocated for ECW’s COVID-19 education in emergency response, and an ongoing multi-year resilience programme in the Central African Republic will reach an estimated 900,000 children in the next three years.

During this week’s visit, Sherif and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, announced an additional US$2 million ECW’s first emergency response grant to provide educational support for the influx of refugees.

Despite these ongoing support and efforts by all partners in DRC, funding is a major obstacle to ensure the right to quality education for the children and adolescents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

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    Dominic Kirui is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya covering climate change, food security, culture, conflict, health, gender, and global development.

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