The Ministry of Education and Sports, Education Cannot Wait and NGO and UN education partners today launched the first set of activities under Uganda’s new Education Response Plan for refugees and host communities (ERP).
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – a global fund dedicated to providing education in emergencies – has committed US $ 11 million to go towards implementing the first year of the ERP, which was launched in September by the Ugandan First Lady and Minister for Education & Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni.
These new funds will support quality education for more than 100,000 children – both refugees and local host communities – of whom around 50% are girls. Activities will include constructing at least 100 new classrooms, training nearly 1,000 teachers, building more than 480 gender sensitive sanitation facilities in schools, and providing thousands of new textbooks. The funds will help to ensure that children with disabilities, child mothers and others who often miss out on school have access to education, for example by giving assistive devices such as hearing aids and braille textbooks, and providing psychosocial support.
The initial funding will focus on providing primary education and Accelerated Education Programmes (AEP), which help children who have missed years of schooling to catch up by teaching a specially adapted primary curriculum in just three years.
These activities will be implemented by 17 leading education organisations: AVSI, African Women and Youth Action Development (AWYAD), African Partners for Child Poverty (APPCO), Catholic Relief Services, Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda (ELECU), Finn Church Aid, Humanity & Inclusion, Jesuit Relief Services, Luigi Institute of Higher Education, Norwegian Refugee Council, Palm Corps, Plan International, Save the Children, Street Child, UNESCO, War Child Canada, Windle International Uganda, and ZOA.
The funds will be managed by the NGO Education Consortium, and by UNHCR, in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Sports. The activities will begin in January and will cover nine of the 12 refugee hosting districts in Uganda.
The ERP is the first of its kind worldwide and was developed to help respond to the huge needs in what is Africa’s biggest refugee education crisis. Uganda hosts more than 1.1 million refugees, and at least 57 percent of refugee children and 34% of children from the local host community are out of school. Classrooms are severely overcrowded, and there are not enough teachers, textbooks or other materials.
The total budget for the ERP is US$ 389 million, to be spread over 3.5 years. If fully funded, it will provide quality education for 567,500 learners from refugee and host communities. The ECW funding represents the first step to achieve this, but much more is needed from other donors.
The ERP is a three and a half year rolling plan that brings together all education work going on in the humanitarian response in a coordinated way. Led by the Government of Uganda, as part of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), it aims to shift from a mainly emergency focus to a more sustainable, integrated approach that addresses immediate humanitarian needs as well as longer-term investment towards recovery and development. It covers actions from constructing new classrooms, training teachers and providing textbooks, to strengthening education polices, piloting innovative new ways of learning, and providing vocational skills training that benefit boys and girls equitably.