NEW YORK, USA 9 July 2009 – Representatives of UNICEF and the Dutch Government met at UNICEF House yesterday to review progress achieved under the Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition Programme funded by the Netherlands.
This four-year, $201 million programme represents the largest single earmarked contribution to UNICEF from a government donor. The progress review concluded today.
“This generous contribution reflects the deep commitment of the Dutch people and government to ensuring that every child, including those living in crisis-affected countries, has the chance to go to school and to have a better future,” said UNICEF’s Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Director, Afshan Khan.
“The programme’s goal is to put education in emergency and post-crisis transition countries back on track towards achieving sustainable progress towards quality education for all,” said UNICEF Deputy Director of Programmes Dan Rohrmann.
The progress review brought together representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Education Adviser Joris van Bommel and Senior Policy Adviser Corien Sips – and UNICEF staff from headquarters and field offices in Colombia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
Commendation from UNICEF
Now in its third year, the education-in-emergencies programme is being implemented in 36 countries.
On hand at UNICEF House in New York (from left): UNICEF Director of Operations, Southern Sudan Area Programme, Peter Crowley, with Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Education Adviser Joris van Bommel and Senior Policy Adviser Corien Sips.
“They were very interested in making a strategic investment,” said UNICEF Senior Education Specialist Ellen van Kalmthout, referring to the Dutch Government’s original proposal. “What they have done has really raised the profile of the issue among other donors and helped bring more attention to the need for education in a conflict context, which is a historically underfunded area.”
In connection with the meeting, the Dutch delegation also met with UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Saad Houry, who expressed deep appreciation for the strong partnership with – and support from – the Government of the Netherlands.
In opening the meeting, UNICEF Director of Programmes Nick Alipui acknowledged the Netherlands’ leadership in galvanizing broader interest and resources for educational response in emergency and post-crisis situations.
Education for all
The majority of out-of-school children are living in crisis-affected countries. Netherlands’ Education Adviser van Bommel explained that this gap was the inspiration for engaging in a partnership with UNICEF to help achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary school education by 2015.
The programme has achieved substantive progress in improving the quality of education preparedness and response in emergencies, and rebuilding education systems in post-crisis countries.
In Southern Sudan, for example, a new teacher payroll system has been introduced in 10 states to ensure timely payment. In Sri Lanka, the programme has focused on improving preparedness, while in Colombia, emphasis is on reducing children’s and adolescents’ vulnerability to armed gangs.
These and other case studies were presented during the two-day review in New York to illustrate the range of experiences and innovative responses in varied situations of crisis.
UNICEF is continuing and, indeed, expanding the work in emergency and post-crisis transition countries to help governments develop the capacity to rebuild education systems. It is doing so by providing technical and logistical support to restore quality learning opportunities, pursue rights-based advocacy and develop an education system that delivers quality education for all.