The inaugural event in the four part Elevating Education in Emergencies series was held on 6 June 2018 in Geneva. Convened by the Global Education Cluster, Permanent Mission of Switzerland and Permanent Mission of Norway, the event unpacked the centrality of education in protecting children and youth caught in humanitarian emergencies.
Education provides a fundamental combination of safety, socialization, cognitive and skills development to prepare children and youth to be active and resilient members of their community and society. Despite its value and pivotal role, education in emergencies continues to receive a lower than average share of the amount of funding requested.Between 2014 and 2017, the education sector received on average 35% of what it had requested, as compared to 60% across all sectors over the same period. The share of sector-specific humanitarian funding going to education has risen over the years, but remains low at 3.8% in 2017.
However, new financial and political support for education in emergencies is driving momentum for the sector. Despite these positive global trends, gains have not been realized evenly across regions.West and Central Africa is a case in point as it is facing multi-faceted crisis affecting 8 million children, yet remains chronically underfunded despite these alarming education needs.
With this in mind, the inaugural session explored education’s critical role in bringing protection to children, youth and communities affected by crisis, with a focus on West Africa's experience to highlight successes and challenges from a region that has been severely affected by conflict but which is consistently underfunded. Close to 80 representatives of United Nations Member States, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations participated in the inaugural event.