HomeWorld$2mn grant for 22,000 refugee children in Niger

$2mn grant for 22,000 refugee children in Niger

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Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a United Nations global fund for education during emergencies and prolonged crises, announced Wednesday a $2 million grant to finance a new education response for 22,000 children and teens affected by instability and Niger’s growing refugee crisis.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees will deliver the investment along with local strategic partners. It will address the insecurity that leads to school closures and endangerment in the Maradi, Tahoua and Tahoua regions in Niger.

UNHCR reports that Niger is home to more than half a billion “people of concern”, which includes internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees, as well as asylum seekers.

Population displacements have increased due to the insecurity that has been in place since 2019, in the north-west Nigerian border areas with Niger, namely Tahoua, Maradi. This is because of the increase in insecurity.

UNHCR has registered almost 34,000 Nigerian refugees between August and September 2021 in these two regions.

In August 2021, 23,000 refugees arrived in Maradi. Another 11,070 arrived in Bangui in September 2021 from the Tahoua region.

Since March 10, 1,881 families consisting of 13,537 people have arrived from Nigeria in Maradi.

Seven out of ten refugees who have arrived are children. Access to education for refugees is becoming more difficult due to inability of the education system to accept them, cultural practices and continued displacement of families due to non-state armed and armed groups.

“Girls especially are at high risk of dropping out and being exposed to gender-based abuse, while boys are vulnerable to recruitment into armed organizations. This new investment, which is a collaboration with UNHCR and other local strategic partners, aims to provide refugee boys and girls, as well as their host communities, with safe and secure learning spaces that allow them to learn and grow in dignity and safety. Yasmine Sherif is the ECW Director.

This investment is a continuation of ECW’s multiyear resilience programme in Niger. It aims to reach more than a quarter million children and adolescents who are affected by crisis and mobilize $39 million.

This 12-month grant is for 11,000 refugees and 6,000 internally displaced people. It also includes close to 5,000 members from the host communities. 60% of investment beneficiaries are women, and 10% are children with disabilities.

“UNHCR and ECW have a strategic partnership that is vital to our success. This partnership allows UNHCR and its partners provide education of high quality to refugees, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable victims of terrorist violence. This is a critical step in the Niger government’s commitment to fully including girls in its national education system. We recognize that such an approach is critical in building sustainable peace in Niger, as well as other parts of the globe,” said Emmanuel Gignac UNHCR Representative to Niger.

This investment will increase access to education for children and adolescents in crisis by providing learning materials, teacher training and support, increasing the availability of transitional classes for older children and out-of-school adolescents, and building and repairing school facilities including water and sanitation facilities as well as temporary learning spaces.

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