“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. (…) Education is the solution.”
Malala Yousafzai (UN Youth Assembly in New York, 12 July 2013)
At the global level, the Education Cluster Unit and members of the Education Cluster Working Group have been extremely engaged in work to promote education as an essential component of emergency response. Efforts have focused on ensuring education is prioritized equally alongside other sectors such as protection, shelter, WASH, health and food and livelihoods in global processes and debates.
Education within the Humanitarian Arena
The very existence of the Education Cluster was thanks to successful advocacy focused on the importance of establishing a global Education Cluster in order to ensure education interventions did not continue to get overlooked in many humanitarian contexts. After the success of these efforts, the Education Cluster was formally endorsed by the IASC in 2007, and members of the Education Cluster have since worked with colleagues within other clusters, OCHA staff, and humanitarian donors, to advocate for the necessity of quality education responses within large-scale emergencies as well as ongoing chronic crises.
The Global Education Cluster has focused significant efforts on not only ensuring education is systematically included in emergency response efforts, but that it is adequately funded. Mirroring work done at country level, the Global Education Cluster advocates with key humanitarian donors to ensure that there is an understanding of education in emergencies as an area of work that provides not only essential protection in the midst of crisis, but also gives value for money and supports development gains. The Education Cluster plays a role in tracking the funding provided to education in emergencies, highlighting significant gaps and informing future advocacy efforts.
Education in Emergencies within Development Agendas
The Global Education Cluster also works to advocate for education in emergencies beyond the humanitarian arena, and is a key voice for education in humanitarian crises in broader global education fora, such as various Education for All initiatives, and the UN Secretary General’s work on education in the lead up to and beyond 2015. A major global advocacy success, which the Cluster was highly involved in, was the adoption of a UN General Assembly Resolution on the Right to Education in Emergencies (2010). See below in the key resources section for more information.
The Education Cluster is a leading actor in raising awareness about the Education Cannot Wait call to action, created to support the UN Secretary-General’s five-year education strategy Education First. The Education Cluster is a founding member of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Education Cannot Wait Working Group, which convenes a number of key organizations to support the Secretary-General’s work to sustain education in humanitarian crises. The Working Group is driving forward efforts to ensure adequate funding for education in humanitarian emergencies, protect education from attack, and encourage the development of emergency-sighted education sector plans, coordinating advocacy work and monitoring progress towards its objectives. Efforts are also being made to ensure that education in emergencies is addressed as part of the post-2015 development agenda. See below in the key resources section for more information.
Adopted on 9 July 2010, this is a first-of-its-kind resolution on the right to education in emergencies. This resolution reaffirms that everyone shall enjoy the human right to education, and urges Member States to ensure access to education in emergency situations for all affected populations, while implementing strategies and policies to ensure and support the realization of this right as an integral element of humanitarian assistance and response.
The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a key advocacy document for Education Clusters and their member organisations. The right to education is set out in Article 28 and Article 29, and many other articles are also relevant to the work coordinated by Education Clusters, including those relating play and recreation (Art. 31), and non-discrimination (Art. 2)
For information and resources on the Education Cannot Wait initiative and Education First, please visit the INEE dedicated webpage here.
Global Education Cluster – 2012
This brief document outlines the rationale for education in emergencies. It summarizes the scale of the gap in provision for conflict and disaster-affected communities, and highlights some of the key benefits that education can provide. The brief also summarizes the intersection between education and other traditional humanitarian sectors such as health and WASH, emphasizing the multiplier effect that education responses can have. It is a useful summary for Cluster Partners, and can be shared as is, or adapted to your context, and given to key advocacy targets.
UNESCO – 2013
This Policy Paper is a follow-up to the 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which focused on the detrimental impact of violent conflict on millions of children globally. The Policy Paper provides updated data to demonstrate the continued disproportionate impact conflict has on the educational opportunities of over 28 million of children.
For more information about advocacy work at the country level, including key tools and guidance documents, visit the Country Cluster Advocacy page here.
Global Education Cluster, 2013
This advocacy brief provides an analysis of the humanitarian funding gap for education in emergencies in 2012. It shows education remains the least funded sector in humanitarian funding appeals, and demonstrates the impact of underfunding on the number of beneficiaries reached. The document can be shared with key advocacy targets, and data used for country level advocacy.
Multimedia Advocacy Resources
A Global Education Cluster video, titled Education Cannot Wait which summarizes the importance of education in emergencies and the work of the Education Cluster is available on our Multimedia Resources page here.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, an outspoken proponent of girls’ education who survived a Taliban assassination attempt last year. She has become a global advocate for the right to education for all children, and speaks powerfully from her own perspective as a Pakistani young woman who has struggled for her own education for the rights of others. After her introductions, from 3.15mins there are multiple excerpts that could be taken and used as part of advocacy presentations.
In 1999 Graça Machel wrote a seminal study on the impact of conflict on children. In this video, recorded for the launch of the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All 2011 she highlights the continued impact of conflict on the lives and educational opportunities of children worldwide.
For more multimedia resources from a wide range of contexts that could be used for advocacy purposes, visit the INEE Multimedia Resource webpage here.