Los niños de la vereda El Camuya, Caquetá, sur de Colombia, tienen ahora un albergue al lado de su escuela para dormir y así no tener que hacer, día tras día, caminatas de más de dos horas para llegar a estudiar. La lejanía entre sus casas y la escuela los exponía a grandes riesgos asociados al conflicto armado, como la contaminación por armas o la posibilidad de terminar en medio de un enfrentamiento, pero también generaba altos índices de deserción escolar: a veces era más difícil llegar a la escuela que aprobar las lecciones de matemáticas. Ahora, gracias a un albergue escolar construido por el CICR, los niños de esta vereda aseguran un lugar para dormir, bañarse, comer, y acceder al estudio diario, lo que los fortalece frente a los riesgos del conflicto armado en la región. Lea más sobre el programa de Agua y Hábitat en el Informe Colombia 2011.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to honour Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl education campaigner shot by the Taliban, by opening special schools in her name for poor children, officials said on Monday.
The “Malala Schools” are planned for 16 areas around Pakistan affected by conflict or natural disasters, Nafisa Shah, chairwoman of the National Commission for Human Development, told AFP.
The aim is to give children in these areas, who often have little in the way of educational opportunities, a chance to go to school, Shah said, but added that money for the scheme had not yet been found.
“We have identified the places and (will) soon launch a fundraising scheme to generate finances for these schools,” Shah said.
Each school will have two classrooms, a verandah, a toilet and space to extend the building if needed. It will cost Rs800,000 and provide basic education to both girls and boys.
The Pakistani government has announced a plan to pay poor families to send their children to school and UN education envoy Gordon Brown held talks in Islamabad at the weekend to begin a plan to bring more than five million out-of-school youngsters into the classroom.
Taliban hitmen shot Malala on her school bus a month ago in Mingora in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley in a cold-blooded murder attempt for the “crime” of campaigning for girls’ rights to go to school.
Miraculously the 15-year-old survived and her courage has won the hearts of millions around the world, prompting the United Nations to declare last Saturday a “global day of action” for her.
Poverty is the greatest predictor of children in developing nations being shut out of school, according to a new report by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The report, entitled Results for Learning: Fostering Evidence-Based Dialogue to Monitor Access and Quality in Education, states that the number of children in school has increased, yet describes continuing challenges in maintaining the quality of education and in raising the necessary financing to educate all of the world’s children.
Of all the reasons for the exclusion of an estimated 61 million primary-school aged children now out of school, poverty is the most decisive factor, often interacting powerfully with gender, according to the report.
Other main findings regarding the decade of work and impact of GPE and its partners in over 50 developing countries include:
More children are completing primary school in GPE countries, rising from 56 to 71 percent in the past decade.
Fewer children are excluded from school in these same countries, with the rate of out-of-school kids declining from 34 to 18 percent in the past 10 years.
While youth literacy rates have increased somewhat, particularly for young women, learning levels are still alarmingly low. In most low- and lower-middle income countries, up to 75 percent of children in grades 2 to 4 cannot read at all.
Developing countries have consistently increased their own funding of education, while GPE’s donors have grown their external support for these same countries; yet funding gaps still exist, exacerbated by teacher shortages and the need to expand access to secondary education.
Assessments of learning are not sufficiently established or used to improve quality of education plans or teacher instruction, often leading to higher costs and poorer learning results.
“The Results for Learning Report shows the progress made by countries supported by the Global Partnership for Education in helping children get in school and learn. It also highlights the tremendous challenges ahead in providing truly universal access to education,” said GPE Head Bob Prouty. “Too many of the most marginalized children are still being left out. We need more financing, and we need to ensure that it supports children in poverty and areas of conflict. We also must do much better at collecting and acting on the education data needed to help bridge the tremendous gap in learning outcomes in developing nations,” he said.
GPE developed the Results for Learning Report as a part of its monitoring and evaluation strategy to measure the progress its partners have made in helping developing nations implement their own education sector plans. This is the first of a series of annual Results for Learning reports that will be used to determine GPE partners’ impact on children’s learning and progression.
The report compares the access and learning targets in each GPE country’s education plan to the actual results. The Results for Learning Report uses data from developing countries’ education sector plans, “joint sector reviews” of education sector plan progress, GPE grant applications, as well as data provided by GPE partners such as UNESCO and the World Bank.
“We believe the Results for Learning Report will strengthen the dialogue among all our partners around how to accelerate progress in education and ensure that all children can claim their right to a good quality education,” said Prouty.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with low-income countries around the world to help them provide basic education of good quality to all of their children. Countries develop education sector plans that set clear targets and commitments; GPE’s partners—including donor governments, multilateral agencies, civil society/non-governmental organizations, and the private sector—align their support around these plans. GPE partners have committed to provide about $2 billion to fund basic education in developing countries between 2012 and 2014.
Children want a better world, and they have specific views about what that means, according to the ChildFund Alliance’s 2012 Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, rolling out in time to honor Universal Children’s Day Nov. 20.
This year, we interviewed 6,200 10- to 12-year-olds in 47 countries, double the number we heard from in the 2010 launch of the survey. For 2012, we retained some of the questions from before and added some new ones with an environmental focus.
The 2012 results echoed 2011’s finding that 50 percent of the children from developing nations say they would improve education if given the power. They also aspire to professions that would serve their communities such as teacher, doctor and police officer, whereas children from developed nations dream of careers in sports and the arts. When asked about their fears, children almost everywhere said they were afraid of wild animals.
The answers to the environmental questions highlighted common ground among children from both the developing and developed worlds. When asked their greatest worries about the environment, 29 percent listed pollution. Children in developing countries also cited an additional concern: natural disasters.
Eleven-year-old Luis, from Guatemala, lists earthquake, rain and drought as his greatest fears. He’s experienced all three, as well as landslides, forest fires and storms. He wants to be an accountant, which will hopefully balance some of the excitement he’s already endured in his short life.
Read the report to hear more from Luis and many other children from around the globe. We have much to learn from them.
“The biggest problem in the environment within my community is the trash, so if I could do one thing to help, it would be to clean up all the trash and the rivers to make for a cleaner and safer life for my community” — Luis, Guatemala
“The things I fear the most are war and poverty. When there is war, there will be no freedom, no education, no food, no medicines and no good drinking water. When you are poor, you do not have enough food to eat, no clothes to wear and no money to support the family.” — Ibrahima, Guinea
“If I were a leader of the country, I would help the poor to have a better life and educate immoral and abusive people to be good ones.” — Panchma, Cambodia
ChildFund has published a report based on a global survey of children’s hopes, aspirations and fears. In this report, the voices of 6,204 children from 47 countries are represented within this report. Through it, we get a taste of what children aged 10-12 aspire to, for themselves and their communities. We’re reminded that children can think beyond themselves and consider how their world can be improved. We’ve also gained insight into their hopes, aspirations and fears.
World Toilet Day, 19 November, is an international day of action aimed to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge, raising global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face.
The event brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organizations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets.
For more information on World Toilet Day, click here.
TONKOLILI, Sierra Leone, 19 November 2012 – Fourteen-year-old Memenatu Conteh had been exposed to many of the dangers that are linked to poor sanitation and hygiene.
She missed school because she had to travel to the Makkrugbe clinic for treatment for severe diarrhoea.
She also stepped on a thorn when she was on her way into the bush to defecate, which resulted in a painful infection. One of her brothers was bitten by a snake while defecating in the bush and was unable to walk for some time.
But that was before the School-Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) programme began.
Water, sanitation and hygiene programme rolled out
Memenatu attends TDC Primary School in Masaka. TDC Masaka is one of six schools in the Tonkolili District that has been taking part in the School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project. The project is helping schools to provide child-friendly WASH facilities and to conduct School Sanitation and Hygiene Education and SLTS in schools in the district.
As part of SLTS, Memenatu has learned how to avoid the challenges she faced earlier. She has also joined the WASH Club at her school, taking the energy she shows on the football field and applying it to improving hygiene and sanitation both at her school and in the village in which she lives.
Knowledge shared with the community triggers action
The 12 children of the WASH Club, two teachers and the School Management Committee Chairperson have taken part in intensive training and committed to ensuring that hygiene and sanitation practices are not only upheld at the school, but are also taken out into the community.
TDC Masaka’s WASH Club members and the teachers have been so dedicated and their presentations so compelling that Masaka village has triggered itself into action. The demonstrations have helped the community visualize the link between open defecation and disease.
The community has constructed latrines and hand-washing facilities. In fact, Masaka village has now been declared open defecation free, which means that each household now has access to its own latrines and hand-washing facilities.
Club’s work is ongoing
With victory over open defecation declared, the work of the WASH Club is still ongoing. According to Memunatu, “Sometimes we go round the village after school to ask people to construct latrines, and those who have not completed their latrines to do so. We also advise them to sweep around their toilets and compounds. We tell them to always cover the holes of their latrines. We go to house after house to check on them and give the messages.”
She explains that even their closest relatives have required some encouragement. “Even my uncle had to be reminded before he finished his toilet work,” she says.
Now the children are sharing their knowledge further afield. Head teacher of the school Mohamed A. Kamara describes the children’s work to encourage surrounding communities to become open defecation free: “They go around not only in this community, but in other communities like 5-Mile, even Mayumto, on sensitization tours, telling people how to prevent disease. They sometimes sing songs, and we have been given a megaphone so that we can use it on such expeditions. They usually present small plays/skits depicting what the people should/should not do to avoid disease.”
What a difference sanitation has made
Memenatu says, “[W]hat a difference the SLTS has made in our lives as pupils, to the school and to the community as a whole. Before the programme started, we did not know anything about brushing the compound or how to keep it clean. But now that we have been taught about the importance of being healthy, we do it every day. We did not sweep or cover the toilet holes before. We just left them open. But now, we have learnt all of that, and we practise it always.”
Memenatu says that she wants to continue to be part of the WASH Club, and continue to share the knowledge that she has gained. “I want to continue because my brother used to get sick. But, after digging the toilet, he has not fallen sick again. We are no longer suffering from any sicknesses in our house. That is why I like this project.”
By Thomas Nybo
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 November 2012 – Sadrac Neolin, 13, lives in the most disadvantaged and dangerous slum in Port-au-Prince. The sounds of gunshots and police sirens in Cité Soleil have been a staple of his childhood. Like most of his neighbours, Sadrac has no running water or electricity.
“I’m not living so good, I’m not living so bad,” he tells a visitor. “Why I am not living so good? It is because most days there are shootings in the neighbourhood. And I come from a very poor family. My family is vulnerable. So I’m not so good, not so bad.”
Bringing books, stimulating creativity
One development about which Sadrac is happy is the project Story Box. UNICEF, in partnership with Libraries Without Borders, is sending a library of 100 books, in French and Haitian Creole, to vulnerable neighbourhoods like Sadrac’s.
This year, 300 mobile libraries have been distributed. Child development specialists and librarians have carefully selected the books to fit within the context of Haiti, and to stimulate creativity and imagination.
Ronald Jean Mary is one of the 90 community workers who have been trained in how best to use the story box.
“This programme is important, especially in this neighbourhood, because children here are disconnected from society,” he says. “They have been totally disconnected from the world.”
Connecting children to the country, and to the world
Story Box is a psycho-social programme designed to promote emotional, cognitive and social development of children and adolescents. Its aim is to complement, not replace, formal education in schools.
Children like Sadrac come to the mobile library on weekends and during holidays from school. UNICEF is supporting 120 child protection community-based organizations that are working together to make it a success.
“This programme is now connecting the children to the rest of the country, and even the rest of the world,” says Mr. Mary. “Before, these children had no access to books. But now, they have access to plenty of books, they like reading – and they are really enjoying the programme.”
Opening a world of opportunity
Since the programme began here, Sadrac says that, for the first time, he’s thinking beyond the borders of Cité Soleil.
“I would like to become an engineer – first, to help my country, but also, to help my family,” he says.
Many of the children in Sadrac’s neighbourhood don’t know how to read, so a programme like this one can open up a world of opportunity, he says.
“Reading is important because, once you know how to read, you can become a great person in the future,” he says. “If you can’t read around here, you might become a gang member, get a gun and do bad things. But if you learn to read, you can educate yourself, and even become the president in the future.”
KINSHASA/GOMA, 19 November 2012 – Heavy clashes around Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between M23 rebel fighters and the Congolese army have forced thousands of displaced men, women and children to flee again. UNICEF is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation and its impact on children.
According to a UNICEF rapid assessment on Monday, Kanyaruchinya displaced site, which had hosted at least 30,000 people since July, is empty as former residents have fled towards Goma.
Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) has welcomed senior members of the Inter Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) to Doha to take part in an INEE Working Group summit at the Qatar Foundation Recreation Centre, Education City on the 11th and 12th of November.
It’s hurricane, cyclone, flood and storm season around the world. Hurricane Sandy has attracted most of the attention given the impact it’s had in the United States and the Caribbean. However, it’s the peak season for natural disasters in many other countries too; Southern and South-East Asian countries have been responding to natural disasters on an almost monthly basis.
Whenever disasters strike, all children, no matter where, are vulnerable. But there’s an obvious inequality in a child’s chances of going back to school. In the US, some children may miss a few days of school. In many other countries, a few days out of school may end up meaning a few months or even a year. As a recent Brookings Institution blog has said very clearly, we’ll never ensure that all children are able to go to school and learn, without ensuring that education is given proper attention in the wake of natural emergencies.
TABAREYBAREY, Niger, October 2 (UNHCR) - When fighting in northern Mali forced Chouaibou and his family to flee from their village last May to nearby Niger, the 15-year-old feared he had not only lost a home but also his education.
Art programmes have widely been considered unaffordable luxuries by Swaziland’s public schools, but one school has broken from the pack, using art to improve academic performance and economic prospects for students with disabilities.