Education Cannot Wait Launches Grant to Support Children and Adolescents in Haiti, Working with UNICEF, WFP and Government

Photo © Courtesy of Education Cannot Wait

By Kent Page Chief, Advocacy and Communications, Education Cannot Wait

In response to the evolving humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced an $11.8 million USD Multi-Year Resilience Programme that seeks to mobilize an additional $16.2 million to reach more than 45,000 children and adolescents with holistic educational support.

The three-year programme will be delivered by UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) in coordination with the Government of Haiti and local partners. The seed-funding investment builds on ECW’s $1.5 million USD First Emergency Response, bringing total investments in Haiti to $13.3 million USD to date.

“Haiti has suffered multiple crises over the years affecting the children’s and adolescent’s access to a continued and inclusive quality education,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

“We cannot stand by. This is our investment to empower them to rebuild their lives and Haiti. With substantive ECW seed-funding mobilized together with our strategic partners, we now call on donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to fully fund this innovative multi-year education programme, and make our true commitments at the UN Secretary-General’s Transforming Education Summit last month in New York. This is an opportunity to translate vision into action.” —Yasmine Sherif

education cannot wait
Kids in Haiti © Photo Zachary Vessels/Pexels

Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 170 out of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index. A history of social and political unrest, chronic poverty, and natural disasters such as the 2010 and 2021 earthquakes—coupled with the ongoing impacts of the climate crisis and COVID-19—are creating significant educational and development obstacles across the country.

While seven out of 10 Haitians are able to go to primary school, just 60 per cent have access to preschool and only 15 per cent are able to go on to secondary education. Most of the country’s schools are private, making it even more difficult for poor or displaced families to access learning opportunities for their children. Over half of the country’s schools do not have water or toilets and 75 per cent have no electricity.

“This Multi-Year Resilience Programme supports the major thematic priorities of the national education and training plan 2020-2030,” said Mr. Nesmy Manigat, Minister of Education and Professional Training (MENFP) in Haiti. “Indeed, it supports the Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MENFP) in providing quality and inclusive education that meets the needs of crisis-affected students. By maintaining the principle that education remains a fundamental and inalienable human right, MENFP wants to guarantee inclusion and equity of access to education for all. We congratulate and thank ECW for providing these funds to strengthen the Haitian education system in vulnerable areas. We encourage technical and financial partners to support the financing of this Multi-Year Resilience Programme by making additional funds available. They will ensure a bright future for the sons and daughters of Haiti.”

The initial seed funding grant will reach more than 20,000 girls and boys across 35 districts, providing a holistic quality education, including mental health and psychosocial support and school meals. The multi-year programme will pay particular attention to gender equality and disability inclusion and will strengthen the capacity of the national education system to plan, monitor, coordinate, finance, and deliver holistic quality education to better meet the educational needs of crisis-impacted children and adolescents.

With additional funding, the overall programme targets approximately 45,500 children aged three to 18 in all. The programme spans the continuum from early childhood education through to adolescent skills programming and includes adolescent girls’ secondary education as well as non-formal alternative education. In recognition of the diverse and differentiated needs of all girls and boys, including adolescents and children living with disabilities, the programme is geared towards delivering a holistic, contextualised package of interventions to ensure safe access to quality education and provide for children and adolescents’ physical and mental well-being.

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