By Taleen Vartan
NEW YORK, USA, 18 July 2011 – In 2007, UNICEF and the Government of the Netherlands embarked on a four-year partnership to support countries facing emergencies and post-crisis transition situations as they seek to establish a viable path of sustainable progress towards quality basic education for all. The Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition (EEPCT) programme was later extended and is scheduled to end in December 2011. In total, the Government of the Netherlands contributed US$201 million and the European Commission provided additional support of US$5.76 million. Although programming is cumulative, the 2010 Consolidated Progress Report to the Government of the Netherlands and the European Commission focuses on results achieved from 27 participating countries in the fourth year of the programme.
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The EEPCT programme focuses on scale, innovation in programming, leveraging of strategic partnerships and evidence building through enhanced monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. It was developed to rapidly restore quality education while ‘building back better’ in emergencies due to conflict or natural disaster. It is intended to build national capacity to address education needs during emergencies as well as to help countries shift smoothly from crisis and early recovery to post-crisis transition.
The EEPCT programme is structured around four overarching goals, which include:
1) improved quality of education response in emergencies and post-crisis transitions;
2) increased resilience of education service delivery in chronic crises, arrested development and deteriorating contexts;
3) increased education-sector contribution to better prediction, prevention and preparedness for emergencies caused by natural disaster and conflict; and
4) evidence-based policies, efficient operational strategies and fit-for-purpose financing instruments for education in emergencies and post-crisis situations.
So far, the EEPCT programme has restored access to and improved quality education for 6 million children in 40 countries and territories and indirectly benefited 14 million more through national adoption of best practices and innovative financing mechanisms. In addition, 335,000 teachers and education support staff received training; 4,700 schools and classrooms were constructed or rehabilitated; and more than 1.8 million learning materials were distributed to children, teachers and communities.
The report also draws on findings from a Programme Review and Evaluability Study (PRES) and an independently commissioned Progress Evaluation (PREV).
In order to provide more detailed insight into the programme, country examples will be posted on the Back on Track website in the coming weeks highlighting achievements of and challenges to the four EEPCT goals.