NEW YORK, March 07 (IPS) – Access to quality, inclusive education is a universal human right. When the inherent right to a quality education is ignored or denied, the consequences are dire. For a girl in a country experiencing conflict or forced displacement, the effect doubles brutally.
Besides their already marginalized role in war-torn countries or as refugees, girls and adolescent girls are disproportionately affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic broke out in early 2020, nearly 39 million girls’ education was disrupted as a direct result of humanitarian crises. Of these, 13 million girls have been forced out of school altogether.
This is the level of discrimination, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, refugee girls are half as likely to attend secondary school as boys. over there Two out of every three chances Girls in crisis situations won’t start until they enter high school. At the primary level, girls in crisis situations are two and a half times more likely to be out of school.
In crisis situations, adolescent girls are more likely to marry at the age of 18 than when they finish school. Early pregnancy, gender-based violence and sexual and physical exploitation are realities that millions of girls face every day. Take a moment and think about this brutal reality. Imagine if these numbers were our teenage girls’ reality.
The United Nations Population Fund predicts that the various consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to 13 million additional child marriages Between 2020 and 2030. These traumatic experiences lead to high drop-out rates, perpetuate cycles of exploitation and entrench poverty by the millions. These are the agonizing consequences of girls already suffering from conflict and forced displacement and now facing yet another threat: the pandemic. Providing education for girls and adolescent girls in crises is absolutely essential today in order to empower them and bring hope. Their access to quality, inclusive education during already difficult circumstances is transformative for them as humans emerging from the ashes of despair, as it is for their societies that desperately need to empower girls and women to rebuild better.
Studies show that increased access to education greatly increases their lifetime earnings, high rates of national economic growth, low rates of child marriage, and decreases child and maternal mortality. Girls’ education breaks cycles of exploitation, protects girls and adolescents, and enables them to reach their potential and become change-makers. The world needs change-makers more than ever, not least in countries affected by conflict and displacement.
The World Bank estimates that if every girl around the world gets 12 years of quality education, whether in crisis or not, she will double her earnings throughout her life, with the total value reaching trillions of dollars.
Education equips girls with practical skills and tools; Emotionally supports them and enables them to process their traumatic experiences; It prepares them to meet their unique challenges, helping them not only to become productive members of society, but more and more, to become confident leaders of their communities.
However, it is a small crowd at the top. Only about 20 countries have a female head of state or government, and fewer than that have at least 50% of women in the national cabinet. But as COVID-19 has shown, many of them have played critical roles in protecting our humanity on the basis of universal human rights.
So what does the road to drive look like when you are young? How do we get girls in crisis situations into education and then play important roles in decision-making in their societies, economies, and countries?
Education cannot wait The Global Fund was launched at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit to deliver quality education to those left behind – that is, 75 million children and youth at risk in countries affected by armed conflict, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters and protracted crises. At Education Cannot Wait, we put girls and adolescents at the forefront of our work – because it is an indisputable human right, and we believe in them as change-makers. We are taking affirmative action: Sixty percent of our total spending is directed towards quality, inclusive education for girls.
AfghanistanFor example, it is one of the countries most dangerous to children due to ongoing insecurity and conflict. UNICEF estimates that 60 per cent of the 3.7 million children out of school are girls. About 17 percent of Afghan girls will marry before the age of 15 and 46 percent will marry before they reach the age of 18. Early marriage contributes significantly to school dropout rates. The Afghanistan Development Cooperation Foundation, an implementing partner of ECW, is reaching out to community leaders to deliver real results for girls in remote areas of Afghanistan, who until recently were prevented from going to school and from receiving a quality education.
ECW has given priority in Afghanistan to recruiting female teachers. This is being achieved in Herat, where 97 percent of teachers are women and 83 percent of students in accelerated learning classes are girls. The first year of ECW’s multi-year resilience program – with teaching commencing in May 2019 – saw around 3,600 classrooms created in nine of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. This required newly appointed teachers, 46% of whom are women, to educate 122,000 children. Almost 60 percent of registered children are girls.
In Rhodat District in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, for example, community stakeholders and religious leaders agreed that a lack of qualified female teachers was hindering girls’ access to education, and they immediately set out to find one. It was not an easy task but in the end a Graduate of chemistry and biology Hired and turned into a beacon of hope, helping nearly 40 girls return to the classroom.
This focus on girls’ education is crucial to our future as a human family and the priority should be the girls and adolescents who are left behind. As Deputy Secretary of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed“Girls’ education is particularly under threat in emergencies and for children on the move,” he recently stated, “and we need to continue empowering this next generation of women leaders through quality education.”
On March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day under the slogan of this year.Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in the World of COVID-19From the perspective of those who live in developed countries, what this egalitarian future for girls in crisis situations might look like has been inversely highlighted by the dire consequences of the new coronavirus world. With each passing month of lockdowns in rich countries. There are increasing reports of mental health problems and child abuse afflicting those who cannot access a normal safe learning environment at school. Girls are especially at risk and women are more vulnerable to pressure on housework and discrimination – deprived of a future.
Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group, reminds us that the world will be in 2030. It might be far away From achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for Education (SDG4) as we are now – unless we act decisively. No one should be left behind and that means addressing the support that more than 75 million children and youth need urgent educational support in crisis-affected countries.
Education cannot wait for the end of conflict or crisis until children and youth affected by crisis can resume their normal lives, or refugee children can return home. Protracted crises often last for decades, and families trapped in conflict spend an average of 17 years as refugees. When children are deprived of an education, hopes for a better achievement vanish the last glimmer of hope.
Education cannot wait for hope and action. We were founded to accelerate the race to achieve SDG 4 in crises and disasters. By bringing together all actors in both the humanitarian and development community, we are speeding forward to meet the 2030 deadline. Thanks to host governments, UN agencies, civil society and communities, we are moving quickly, effectively and efficiently. However, a quality education for girls and adolescents in times of crisis requires financial investments. Provided that funding is available, together we can win this race to educate girls. From this, we have no doubt.
The author is the director of education can not wait
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service