By Chris Niles
NEW YORK,19 December 2012 – The European Union is donating part of its Nobel Peace Prize money to UNICEF’s work educating children in northwestern Pakistan.
The European Union (EU) was awarded the prize earlier this month in recognition of its more than 60 years of work advancing peace and democracy in Europe.
“We are deeply grateful to the European Union for its generosity,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
Benefiting children in five countries
The prize is worth €930,000, but the EU has decided to round it up to €2 million and divide it among programmes in five countries.
The EU Children of Peace initiative will benefit more than 23,000 children in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq (Syrian refugees) and Pakistan. It will be implemented by UNICEF and four other humanitarian agencies.
“It was obvious for us that the Nobel Peace Prize money should be allocated to the most vulnerable, who are often the hardest hit by wars: the children of this world,” said President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.
More than 3,000 Pakistani children in the northwestern part of the country will benefit from UNICEF’s programme, which will provide education, school-in-a-box supplies, training for teachers, education for peace training and psychosocial counseling that will help children cope with traumatic experiences.
About 30 schools will be established in Jalozai camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, all with separate sanitation and hygiene facilities, a critical component in keeping girls in school.
Confidence, protection – and peacebuilding
More than half of the approximately 75 million children who are out of school live in conflict-affected areas. Education gives children confidence and helps protect them. In the longer term, it can help develop skills that prevent conflict and build peace.
“In conflict, humanitarian aid is often the only way for children to be able to continue their education, which not only improves their future prospects, but can also protect them from abuse and exploitation,” said EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva.
For more information on the EU’s assistance for children in conflict, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/EU4children/index_en.htm.