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Integrating Child Protection and Education in Humanitarian Action
by Audrey Bollier, Hani Mansourian
Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action
In the year 2018, 1 in 6 children (or 357 million children) face protection concerns and educational barriers due to armed conflict. This increases to 1 in 4 children when we consider the impact of natural disasters and conflict together.
These conditions simultaneously increase children’s vulnerability to violence or exploitation and hinder their access to education and its related benefits.
Children''s exposure to violence and their absence from education can negatively impact their life-long mental, physical and psychosocial health and that of future generations.
Girls face unique risks. Higher levels of education are associated with delayed childbirth and marriage and lower child mortality figures, yet girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys.
The consequences extend beyond personal wellbeing. Estimates place the financial cost of physical, sexual and psychological violence towards children as high as $97 billion a year, or 8% of global GDP.
Integrating child protection and education creates a mutually-reinforcing cycle that can reduce children’s vulnerability in emergencies. A quality education increases children and families’ resilience in adversity, empowers children and promotes a protective environment.
An environment free from unchecked child abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation fosters quality education. Integrating child protection and education programmes, policies and minimum standards maximises available resources to better address the multifaceted challenges and risks children face in humanitarian settings.
Protecting Children – From Commitments to Action
For decades, world leaders have been declaring their unconditional commitment to children’s physical, mental, and psychosocial safety and development in emergencies by crafting national child protection laws and policies and ratifying international and regional children’s rights conventions.
Among these are:
The Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) on the right to education during war and occupation; The Convention on the Rights of the Child affording children rights to education (1989); The UN Security Council''s (UNSC) first resolution on children and armed conflict (1999); UNSC Resolution 1612 (2005) on the monitoring and reporting of six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict; UNSC Resolution 1998 (2011) on the concept of schools and hospitals as safe havens that should be inviolate even in times of armed conflict; and The Safe Schools Declaration on the responsibility of political leaders to protect and provide education during armed conflict (2015).
Despite these written commitments, education and child protection remain underfunded and under- prioritised by national development planners and donors. Education receives only 2% of all humanitarian aid. Child protection fares worse: in 2015, less than 0.6% of the US$174 billion devoted to official development assistance went to ending violence against children.
The UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing proposed the ''Grand Bargain'', an agreement between more than 30 of the biggest donors and aid providers, to increase humanitarian aid.
It is time, however, to move “from delivering aid to ending need”. Actors at all levels--donors, policy makers, and practitioners--must invest in securing funding for joint child protection and education programmes that can both meet immediate needs and create a sustainable foundation for future generations.
Children—particularly refugee, internally-displaced or stateless children—face significant protection issues in all humanitarian crises. These include the full range of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation: physical, sexual, emotional, and social.
Risks for children in humanitarian settings vary depending on gender and age. Girls are often overlooked in child protection responses yet face specific risks as a result of both their gender and age.
These include risks of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage. Girls face additional barriers to accessing education in humanitarian settings and their exclusion from education can contribute to protection risks and the entrenchment of gender inequalities.
Child protection practitioners and education providers should serve as reciprocal referrers. Child protection actors can facilitate children’s access to education while education providers can identify and refer vulnerable children and situations.
Effective and holistic child protection enhances other humanitarian efforts, including education.
All children everywhere have the right to protection and a quality education. International humanitarian law affords children, at minimum, a primary education and basic human rights, even in times of war. Children themselves value protection and education.
Safe schools support safe students. Schools free from external and internal threats can educate in job skills, health care, abuse prevention, danger avoidance, and more.
Education and child protection need greater investment of humanitarian aid. Current funding is insufficient for the educational and protection needs of children and communities, especially those affected by protracted crises.
Integrated solutions should build on and strengthen existing protective structures.
Collaborating with local actors increases the relevance, acceptance, and sustainability of interventions. Integration capitalises on limited resources to meet the full range of children''s needs. Integrated solutions build capacity to enable fewer people to sustainably meet more needs with fewer resources.
Field-level interventions require country-level support. Coordinating—and assessing the effectiveness of—country-level laws, policies, programmes, and emergency interventions is essential to changing harmful traditional practices, eliminating ineffective or redundant interventions, and upholding children’s rights. http://bit.ly/2ORH1Jp
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The Crisis in the Classroom
by Tim Wainwright
The health, education and safety of millions of children around the world is threatened because they don’t have a decent toilet at school or at home, according to WaterAid’s State of the World’s Toilets 2018 report.
The Crisis in the Classroom, WaterAid’s fourth-annual analysis of the world’s toilets highlights that one in five primary schools and one in eight secondary schools globally do not have any toilets. Guinea-Bissau on the coast of West Africa tops the table for worst in the world for school toilets, while Ethiopia remains the nation with the most people without household toilets.
A shocking one in three of the world’s schools lack adequate toilets, compromising children’s human rights to sanitation and leaving them to either use dirty, unsafe pits, go in the open, or stay at home. This means children are dangerously exposed to illnesses that could kill them.
Repeated bouts of diarrhoea increase their chances of being malnourished, and sanitation-related illnesses result in missed school days and the loss of potential.
Of the 101 countries with data available on how many schools have decent toilets, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa comes last. There, eight in ten schools lack adequate facilities. This is followed by Niger, where only 24% of schools have even basic sanitation and more than seven in ten people defecate in the open because they lack a household toilet.
The sanitation crisis doesn’t end at school. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 344 million children do not have a decent toilet at home meaning their communities are polluted with human waste. Ethiopia tops the table at an astonishing 93% of households without a decent toilet, leaving children vulnerable to diarrhoea and intestinal infections.
Papua New Guinea comes third in the list of countries where the proportion of people with decent toilets at home and school is decreasing. Recently, polio – a waterborne disease - has returned to the island after being eradicated in 2000.
Not all news is bad, however. Some countries are making decent toilets in schools a priority. Over half of schools in Bangladesh now have a decent toilet and shared toilets in slum areas are providing a stepping stone to better health. Meanwhile, 73 percent of schools in India now have access to basic sanitation.
Among the other findings:
Children living in communities without decent toilets are at higher risk of diarrhoea. Sadly, diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kills 289,000 children under five each year.
Diarrhoea and intestinal infections kill more than 140,000 children aged between five and 14 each year – many of which could be prevented with clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.
Across South Asia, more than a third of girls miss school for between one and three days a month during their period.
As many as one in three schools in Madagascar don’t have any functioning toilets at all. It is the third worst country in the world for access to a decent toilet at home – just one person in ten has at least basic sanitation.
Nearly seven in ten schools in Zambia now have basic toilets, and three quarters of children are able to complete their primary education.
Children in every country of the world need access to safe toilets at home and at school. Their health, education and safety depend on it. Every child should be able to go to the toilet safely and with dignity whether they are at school or at home. Bringing safe toilets to the one in three schools worldwide with no adequate toilets, should be a top priority – along with bringing decent household toilets to the 2.3 billion people still waiting.
This World Toilet Day report reinforces the importance of WaterAid’s vital work in Papua New Guinea, where less than half of all students have a decent toilet at their school.
Progress towards any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now.
WaterAid is calling for:
Governments to invest more money in sanitation for all and ensure an integrated approach and improved transparency in monitoring and reporting
Education and finance ministers in every country, as well as donors, to invest in sanitation services and establish credible plans for achieving universal access within an agreed timeframe
School sanitation to meet the specific needs of girls in order to ensure their privacy, safety and dignity. School sanitation to be inclusive, enabling children with disabilities to use clean, safe, accessible toilets at school.
* Access the report via the link below.
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