Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Children UNICEF

Children on the move through Europe dream of a ‘normal’ life

Mascut, 3, from Syria, plays with a ball at the UNICEF-supported child-friendly space. After waiting 6 hours in the sun to cross the border with his mother and sister, he recalls what it feels like to rest and play before embarking on the next stretch to Serbia.

Mascut, 3, from Syria, plays with a ball at the UNICEF-supported child-friendly space. After waiting 6 hours in the sun to cross the border with his mother and sister, he recalls what it feels like to rest and play before embarking on the next stretch to Serbia. (c)UNICEFMK/2015/TomislavGeorgiev

When I arrived on Saturday to the town of Gevgelija near the border with Greece, I witnessed people and children with utter desperation and fear in their eyes. Thousands of children and families on the move from conflict zones in the Middle East, Asia and parts of Africa had pushed through a police cordon where they had been waiting to enter the country. This resulted in a stampede as exhausted and frightened people raced towards the city centre.

Amidst the confusion, children were separated from their families and left to wander down the nearby railway tracks. My colleague and I, worried for their safety, set out to find these children so that we could bring them to a makeshift protection centre until they could be reunited with their parents and caregivers. It was a terrifying ordeal for them, but fortunately, all of the boys and girls were later able to re-join their families.

Yet for most of these children, this incident was just one more hardship in their long and perilous journeys in search of safety after having been displaced by conflict from their home countries. Some 2,000 – 3,000 people, usually in smaller groups of 50 – 100, are now crossing daily from Greece into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after making the dangerous trip by sea across the Aegean. Soon they will move on to Serbia and then to other countries in the European Union.

After travelling for days on end, the youngest children in particular often arrive dehydrated or running a fever because they have been sleeping out in the open. Children and adults come barefoot, their shoes having been destroyed after so much walking.

Some families are from Syria or Iraq, while others have travelled from Afghanistan. All just want to live in peace, free from the threat of violence, displacement and death.

Lamar, 4, has travelled with her mother for just over 2 months from Syria to the Gevgelija border crossing. They are heading to Germany to reunite with Lamar's father who managed to reach Germany 4 months ago. Her mother tells us their house was burned to the ground and that they have nothing left. The hope of reuniting their family and a better life gives them courage to keep moving.

Lamar, 4, has travelled with her mother for just over 2 months from Syria to the Gevgelija border crossing. They are heading to Germany to reunite with Lamar’s father who managed to reach Germany 4 months ago. Her mother tells us their house was burned to the ground and that they have nothing left. The hope of reuniting their family and a better life gives them courage to keep moving. (c)UNICEFMK/2015/TomislavGeorgiev

Most of the children I have spoken with do not want to talk about their experiences with war. They are more interested in sharing their hopes for the future which always seems to include going back to school. Just the other day, I watched as a group of children from several different countries played together by pretending they were in a classroom. Even though they did not all speak the same language, they organized themselves into ‘pretend’ teachers and students – sharing in the same pleasant daydream of just being a ‘normal kid’.

It’s been about five days since the chaotic scene at the border and the services available for people crossing over have improved. There is a new Migrant Reception Centre about 500 metres from the Greek border and we are working with our partners to ensure that children and families arriving here are provided with essential services to help sustain them for their onward journey. A second tent at the centre is now being used as a safe space place for women and children to access support services.

Yet far more must be done to meet the growing humanitarian needs here. There is not enough shelter to accommodate the number of people passing through and many are forced to sit outside for hours in the scorching sun. More sanitation facilities are needed and there is no running water – I’ve seen parents washing their children with bottled water.

We’re here to help though and day by day, it will get better. I hope that one day soon the children I have met here will get what they want most – a normal life where they will be able to sit in a real classroom instead of an imaginary one.

Aleksandar Lazovski is a UNICEF Social Protection Specialist

An Afghan woman holds her two days old son's hand while being hospitalized after having the baby.

Renewing the promise for maternal and child survival in Afghanistan

An Afghan woman holds her two days old son's hand while being hospitalized after having the baby.

An woman holds her two-days-old son’s hand while being hospitalized after having the baby. © UNICEF/AFGA2013016/Wahidy

Dr. Malalai Naziri, a Maternal and Child Health Officer in Afghanistan, has seen the difference that cost-effective, high-impact interventions can make to reduce maternal mortality, as well as newborn, infant, and child mortality.

She recently told me about a young 22-year-old mother from Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, whose first two babies died at full term in utero, due to foetal distress.

Fortunately, the young mother finally went on to deliver a healthy baby girl at Kabul Hospital following the introduction of health facility protocols that mandated the use of a partograph in the management of labour.

This low-cost tool monitors key indicators during labour including, among other things, the heart rate and blood pressure of both mother and baby. This in turn allows for timely decision-making and interventions by health providers before complications arise.

The support provided to the mother to breastfeed her newborn daughter within the first hour of delivery and to give her adequate warmth, was also critical to saving the infant’s life.

Stories like this are positive signs of progress in Afghanistan and, thanks to government commitment, partner support and community engagement, the future is looking brighter for millions of mothers and children across Afghanistan.

This past week in Kabul, it was also truly inspiring to see over 350 representatives of government, the UN, development partners, and civil society, come together to make, what I believe will be, a profound difference in the lives of Afghan mothers and children.

The ‘Call to Action’ conference, which culminated in the Kabul Declaration, was an intense and strategic moment, benefiting from national and international expertise, to accelerate progress towards reducing maternal, under-5 and infant mortality in Afghanistan, and to save an additional 35,000 lives over the next five years under the banner of A Promise Renewed.

The aim is to build on the success of the past 25 years: between 1990 and 2013, the number of Afghan children dying before the age of 5 decreased by 46 per cent. The number of newborns dying within the first 28 days declined by 29 per cent. The number of mothers dying due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth also decreased, and a greater number of women now access health care services.

An Afghan girl receives two drops of polio vaccine during the National Immunization Days in 2013.

An Afghan girl receives two drops of polio vaccine during the National Immunization Days in 2013. © UNICEF/AFGA2013-00017/Froutan

Immunization is another important, high-impact intervention which has ensured that at least 60 per cent of Afghan children are fully protected against preventable deadly diseases. By improving and maintaining health systems, and providing vital immunization services, even in hard-to-reach areas, the lives of children and mothers are saved every day.

But there is much more still to be done. The fact that one child in every ten in Afghanistan dies before they reach their fifth birthday is wholly unacceptable. The fact that most Afghan women, and especially those in remote areas, do not have access to health care services, must change.

In organising the ‘Call to Action’ conference with the Ministry of Public Health, USAID, and Aga Khan University, UNICEF is helping to improve dialogue and partnerships – not only amongst ourselves, civil society and the private sector – but also with communities, children, adolescents and young people.

Renewing the promise is just the start of a long road ahead – but it is a road to a defined goal. 2020 is just five years away and with this commitment, under the leadership of the National Unity Government, we will work together for an equitable assurance of health rights – especially for the disadvantaged, marginalized, the hard-to-reach and the poor.

We are working not only with communities and families in the Afghan society of today, but for children and future generations in Afghanistan who legitimately demand from all of us, that we translate these promises into reality.

Akhil Iyer is the UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

On 12 May 2015, in a new demonstration of commitment, the Afghanistan government, donor agencies, the UN and civil society signed the Kabul Declaration, renewing Commitment to Reduce Preventable Deaths among Women and Children by 2020. In launching this declaration, Afghanistan becomes the thirtieth country to launch A Promise Renewed

Children make a long journey to the local mosque of Joykar village, Bamiyan, to continue their education.
© UNICEF/AFGA2012-00090/Froutan;

Getting children out of armed forces in Afghanistan

The day I left Afghanistan in November, a suicide bomber killed a man who worked at the British embassy in Kabul. I had passed by the site of the explosion just a few minutes before it happened. Afghanistan is a country with a rich history and wonderful people, but it has been embroiled in conflict for decades, affecting the lives of millions of girls and boys.

I was in Afghanistan to support the Government’s work implementing an Action Plan they signed with the United Nations on 10 January 2011. The goal of the Action Plan is to stop, prevent and address the recruitment and use of children by security forces and armed groups. It outlines the steps needed to end the recruitment and use of children into the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Earlier this year UNICEF and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict launched the Children Not Soldiers campaign, with the goal of releasing all children recruited in government armed forces by the end of 2016*. Afghanistan is one of seven countries where this occurs: poverty, patriotism, peer or family pressures can push Afghan children to join the armed forces.

Bamiyan, Afghanistan: children make a long journey to continue their education. © UNICEF/AFGA2012-00090/Froutan

Read the Secretary-General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict.

An important part of ending the recruitment and use of children in security forces is determining a child’s age. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but in a country where birth certificates are hard to come by and where it is possible to forge national identity cards, it is difficult to determine the age of a young person applying to join the police or the army.

In October of this year a UNICEF assessment found that the procedures used by Afghan recruiters to determine the age of potential recruits for the police and armed forces were not uniform across various units, and were most ineffective and even arbitrary. For example, recruiters observe the amount of hair on a young man’s leg or growth of their beard, or other physical characteristics to guess applicants’ age.

While in Kabul, I worked with UNICEF Afghanistan colleagues to facilitate a workshop on age assessment with Afghan government ministries, branches of the national security forces and the UN mission, to improve procedures and come up with new national guidelines.

During the workshop, the different branches of the national security forces explained recruitment processes, and the Ministry of Health presented the limits of medical exams for age assessment; national and international best practices, experiences and methodologies were discussed in-depth.

A new procedure to assess the age of candidates who are suspected to be children was agreed on. Professional interviews of those candidates will be completed by trained recruiters who understand specialized communication procedures and the information will be triangulated with other sources including available documentation.

The guidelines will be endorsed by respective ministries. Then they will be disseminated to all recruitment centers countrywide and training will be conducted to enable recruiters to use child-friendly techniques and follow protocol questions around the candidate’s personal history, family structure and events. If recruiters identify children they will be rejected and referred to child protection actors or sent back to their families and communities.

High ranking officials and military generals met with me before and during the workshop; they were candid, collaborative and enthusiastic about the new procedures. I was impressed by their dedication to professionalize their armed forces. The guidelines are a big step to put the country on track in making their security forces child free.

Eduardo Garcia Rolland works on the ‘Children not Soldiers’ initiative at UNICEF.

Children, Not Soldiers Campaign
Children not Soldiers is a campaign to end the recruitment and use of children in Government armed forces by 2016. Led by Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF, the campaign mobilizes global support and financial resources so the seven government armed forces listed in the Secretary General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict become, and remain, child-free.

* An earlier version of the blogpost stated that the ‘Children not Soldiers’ campaign will end in March 2016. The campaign runs until the end of 2016 and will end officially on 1 January 2017.

For the first time, these Afghani girls work with a video camera. They immediately take control of the process and quickly learn to use the equipment. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

Counting sheep in Afghanistan – a children’s video workshop in Bamiyan

In September, I travelled to the Ahangaran Valley in the Bamiyan province of central Afghanistan to work with local children as they produced videos about their school, their lives, and their dreams for the future.

Bamiyan made headlines back in 2001 when the Taliban destroyed the ancient Bamiyan Buddha statues that had been etched into mountainsides. For more than 1,500 years, pilgrims from across Asia had set up camp near the Buddha statues and the huge caves beneath them. Now, only the caves remain.

In the Bamyan province: Children play football in front of the area where the 55-meter Buddha statue stood before the Taliban destroyed it in 2001. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

In the Bamiyan province: Children play football in front of the area where the 55-meter Buddha statue stood before the Taliban destroyed it in 2001. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

But it is not only the Buddha statues that are missing. The region of villages and valleys near the provincial capital also lacks hospitals and schools. One of the areas without services is the Ahangaran Valley. We entered the valley in a UNICEF jeep and drove along a dusty, rocky path to a small village in the mountains.

The village participates in the Let Us Learn initiative and it is where the OneMinutesJr. video workshop took place. OneMinutesJr. is a video initiative by UNICEF, giving youth, especially those who are underprivileged or marginalized, the opportunity to have their voices heard and to share their ideas, dreams, fascinations, anxieties, and viewpoints with the world.

Let Us Learn in a school building made from clay
The girls and boys who participated in the workshop were between 11- and 14-years-old and attended the local community-based learning centre in Ahangaran. The centre was established in the village because the closest formal school was too far away. It provides children with a basic education that can increase their chances of entering formal education if area infrastructure and access to schools improves.

Girls and boys from Ahangaran in their classroom. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

Girls and boys from Ahangaran in their classroom. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

The centre is one of almost 400 in Afghanistan and is part of Let Us Learn, an initiative also active in Bangladesh, Madagascar, Liberia and Nepal. In Afghanistan, the centres provide 9,000 children with the chance to access education in their villages – an impossibility before Let Us Learn.

Girls and boys study together
Most inhabitants of the region are Hazaris, an ethnic group with moderate views on religious and social norms. As a result, boys and girls attend lessons together.

The centre’s building is made from rocks and clay. It has two classrooms, a prayer room and a kitchen. Only a narrow sliver of daylight that breaks through from an opening in the ceiling. The classrooms have no desks or chairs. The students sit on traditional pillows and use a blackboard. Our workshop took place in the bigger of the classrooms.

For the first time, these Afghani girls work with a video camera. They immediately take control of the process and quickly learn to use the equipment. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

For the first time, these Afghan girls work with a video camera. They immediately take control of the process and quickly learn to use the equipment. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

Video workshop without electricity
To get to the workshop in Ahangaran each morning, we drove for 45 minutes from the United Nations compound in Bamiyan. The long trip was necessary because of strict security precautions. However, we also needed to return to the compound each night to charge our cameras and computers because there was no electricity or running water in Ahangaran.

The children in the workshop had never held a camera in their hands before. But they were curious, open-minded and keen to immediately start shooting their films. First, however, we gave them detailed instructions and discussed how to turn their ideas into stories so the filming could proceed smoothly.

Most of the students’ stories took place in or near the learning centre. Some focused on life in the mountains. As a result, we got a glimpse of the children’s lives. We learned that children in the village cook, do laundry, fetch water and work in the fields. Many do a combination of all these chores.

Aerial view of the Ahangaran Valley. The villages in the valley can only be reached with a four-wheel drive vehicle or by foot and donkey. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

Aerial view of the Ahangaran Valley. The villages in the valley can only be reached with a four-wheel drive vehicle or by foot and donkey. © UNICEF/2014/Chris Schüpp

Counting sheep in the morning
The boys, in particular, start early every morning by taking sheep into the mountains to graze. They do not return until nearly noon.

One of the boys, 11-year-old Ali Aga, set his OneMinutesJr. film, ‘Practice’, in the mountains. It is a movie essentially about counting sheep.


The way to school
The importance of the Let Us Learn centre to the children became evident when we talked to them about their future jobs. Some of the boys and girls wanted to become doctors, others wanted to be engineers and some wanted to be teachers in the schools they expect will exist someday in their village.

It was also interesting to us that none of them expressed plans to leave the village. They all wanted to stay and contribute to the improvement of their community.

In this video, 12-year-old Qodrat described his journey to school and why he was so eager to learn and finish his education.


17 films in four days
In only four days, we filmed 17 movies with the young participants. The films provided great insight into the lives of the Afghan children and demonstrated to us how important projects such as Let Us Learn really were to the village. The films also captured the importance of education and the benefits to a society when every child can attend school.

When we left the Ahangaran Valley, we saw some of the boys and girls from the workshop making their long and dusty way from the centre to their homes. From the distance, the young filmmakers waved goodbye. The next day, they would be ordinary students once again – after they had counted sheep.

For more information, please visit Let Us Learn, www.theOneMinutesJr.org, and OneMinutesJr on YouTube.

This blog was originally posted by the German National Committee for UNICEF.

A girl stands in a classroom of her primary school in Bauchi state, Nigeria.

Educating the world’s most vulnerable children – hard work ahead

Since 2000, we have celebrated increases in the number of children enrolled in school worldwide. But now, the hard work really begins.

New research released today indicates that progress has stalled. Given this trend, I fear we will not achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.

A girl stands in a classroom of her primary school in Bauchi state, Nigeria.

Nailatu (12) attends primary school in the town of Toro, Bauchi State, Nigeria. Nigeria continues to face challenges in ensuring quality education for children – especially girls. © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0710/Eseibo

Read this post in Arabic, French or Spanish

Why the slowdown?
We know the reason for the change in prognosis: The world’s most vulnerable children have not been provided equitable access to education. Even when in school, millions do not acquire the basic literacy, math and life skills they need to lead decent lives and secure jobs.

These are the children from the poorest families. They are children whose homes and schools have been destroyed by war, violence or natural disaster. They are children whose access to education is hindered by disability. They are children in remote villages with no transportation to the nearest school. They are the children who have to work to help their families make ends meet.

Most often, they are girls.

By the numbers
The newly released data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the most recent Education for All Global Monitoring Report show that:

  • Nearly 58 million primary school-aged children are not in school;
  • 53 per cent of them are girls;
  • More than 40 percent of secondary school-aged girls in West and Central Africa are not in school;
  • An estimated 250 million children in the world can not read, write or do basic math; 130 million of them spent at least four years in school;
  • More than 60 percent of the illiterate young people in the world are women.

The hard work required to increase progress demands cooperation. The Global Partnership for Education brings together educational leaders from around the world 25 and 26 June for its second replenishment campaign. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and I are attending the meeting. The Executive Director will renew UNICEF’s commitment by announcing policy pledges including:

  • Prioritize and advocate for education in emergencies;
  • Identify and scale up innovations to improve education equity and learning outcomes for disadvantaged children;
  • Focus efforts on expanding education for girls, with particular concern for marginalized girls;
  • Increase access to quality early learning opportunities for all children; and
  • Lead the data revolution on equity in education.

On the ground
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and UNICEF work closely to translate strategy into action. UNICEF provides policy planning, analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy support for GPE. In 40 countries, UNICEF coordinates, manages and supervises GPE programmes.

In Afghanistan, for example, UNICEF has worked with support from GPE to provide alternative schooling options such as accelerated learning centres and community-based schools. The programmes have reached more than 95,000 children, most of them, girls.

In Sierra Leone, a country fragile in the aftermath of conflict, UNICEF and GPE have established scholarship programmes for girls in lower secondary school so they have a better chance to complete their education.

The Out-of-School Children Initiative is another way UNICEF and GPE have extended a hand to children who are hard to reach. The initiative – a partnership between UNICEF, UNESCO Institute for Statistics with funding from GPE – collects and analyses data that determine how many children are not in school. It identifies where the children are and the barriers that block them from attending. In cooperation with local and national authorities, the initiative recommends targeted strategies for change. Examples of strategies include cash transfers for poor families, incentives for sending girls to school, and accessible classrooms for children with disabilities.

The battles ahead
We know that when we bring educational opportunities to the hardest to reach areas, we win a number of battles: learning improves, community engagement is reinforced, and children, particularly girls, can exercise their right to an education.

It is also my belief that we must eradicate harmful social attitudes and behaviours that undermine schools as supportive places of learning. Emerging evidence confirms that violence on the way to school and in school is a serious barrier to girls’ learning. Child marriage also robs girls of their right to education. It can not be tolerated.

Investing in girls’ education bolsters their dignity. But it is also pays development dividends. Research has shown that educated women are more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, immunize their children, improve their earning potential, and contribute to the prosperity of their communities. As a global community, we are making progress. But the hard work of reaching the world’s most vulnerable children lies ahead.

We know it can be done. So, let’s get to it.

Geeta Rao Gupta is UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Programmes. She joined the organization in June 2011, and brings over 20 years of experience in international development programming, advocacy and research to UNICEF.

Hadiza Ahmadu, who chairs the local Mothers’ Association, speaks with fellow members, in the town of Toro, Nigeria.

Une lourde tâche en perspective: Éduquer les enfants les plus vulnérables dans le monde

Depuis 2000, nous nous réjouissons de la hausse du nombre d’enfants scolarisés dans le monde. Mais c’est maintenant que commence le véritable travail.

De nouvelles recherches publiées aujourd’hui indiquent que les progrès stagnent. À cause de cette tendance, je crains que nous n’atteignions pas l’objectif du Millénaire pour le développement de l’éducation primaire universelle d’ici 2015.

A girl stands in a classroom of her primary school in Bauchi state, Nigeria.

Nailatu, 12 ans, est inscrite à l’école primaire dans le village de Toro, État de Bauchi, au Nigéria. Le Nigéria peine à assurer une éducation de qualité pour les enfants, particulièrement pour les filles. © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0710/Eseibo

Pourquoi ce ralentissement ?
Nous connaissons la raison de ce changement dans les prévisions : les enfants les plus vulnérables dans le monde n’ont pas bénéficié d’un accès équitable à l’éducation. Même scolarisés, des millions d’enfants n’acquièrent pas les bases de la lecture, de l’écriture, des mathématiques et des aptitudes à la vie quotidienne nécessaires pour s’assurer une vie décente et un emploi sûr.

Ce sont les enfants des foyers les plus pauvres qui sont touchés. Les enfants dont les maisons et les écoles ont été détruites par la guerre, la violence, ou les catastrophes naturelles. Les enfants dont l’accès à l’éducation est limité par un handicap. Les enfants des villages isolés ne disposant pas de transports vers l’école la plus proche. Les enfants obligés de travailler pour aider leur famille à joindre les deux bouts.
Le plus souvent, ce sont les filles qui sont touchées.

Les chiffres

Les nouvelles données publiées par l’Institut de statistique de l’UNESCO et le dernier rapport mondial de suivi sur l’éducation pour tous révèlent que :

  • Près de 58 millions d’enfants en âge d’aller à l’école primaire n’y vont pas;
  • 53 pour cent d’entre eux sont des filles;
  • Plus de 40 pour cent des filles en âge d’être scolarisées dans le secondaire en Afrique de l’Ouest et centrale ne vont pas à l’école;
  • Le nombre d’enfants dans le monde ne sachant pas lire, écrire ou calculer est estimé à 250 millions; 130 millions d’entre eux ont passé au moins quatre ans à l’école;
  • Plus de 60 pour cent des jeunes analphabètes dans le monde sont des femmes.

Les efforts nécessaires pour relancer les progrès impliquent une coopération. Le Partenariat mondial pour l’éducation rassemble des responsables de l’éducation du monde entier les 25 et 26 juin dans le cadre de sa seconde campagne de reconstitution des ressources.

Le Directeur général de l’UNICEF Anthony Lake et moi-même participons à cette rencontre. Le Directeur général réaffirmera l’implication de l’UNICEF en annonçant les engagements suivants :

  • Donner la priorité à et défendre l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence;
  • Identifier et développer des innovations afin d’améliorer l’équité de l’éducation et les résultats d’apprentissage pour les enfants défavorisés;
  • Axer les efforts sur le développement de l’éducation pour les filles, avec une attention particulière aux filles marginalisées;
  • Accroître l’accès aux possibilités d’apprentissage précoce de qualité pour tous les enfants;
  • Mener la révolution des données sur l’équité dans l’éducation.

Sur le terrain
Le Partenariat mondial pour l’éducation (PME) et l’UNICEF travaillent en étroite collaboration pour mettre en œuvre les stratégies. L’UNICEF s’occupe de la planification, l’analyse, le suivi et l’évaluation des politiques, et apporte un appui au PME en matière de plaidoyer. Dans 40 pays, l’UNICEF coordonne, gère et supervise les programmes du PME.

En Afghanistan, par exemple, l’UNICEF travaille avec l’appui du PME pour fournir des alternatives à la scolarisation comme les centres d’apprentissage accéléré et les écoles communautaires. Les programmes ont atteint plus de 95 000 enfants, dont une majorité de filles.

En Sierra Leone, un pays fragile au lendemain des conflits, l’UNICEF et le PME ont mis en place des programmes de bourses pour les filles du premier cycle du secondaire afin d’accroître leurs chances de poursuivre leurs études.

L’UNICEF et le PME ont également tendu une main aux enfants difficiles à atteindre via l’Initiative mondiale en faveur des enfants non scolarisés.
Cette initiative – un partenariat entre l’UNICEF, l’Institut de statistique de l’UNESCO, avec un appui financier du PME – recueille et analyse des données permettant de déterminer le nombre d’enfants non scolarisés. Elle permet d’identifier où se trouvent ces enfants et les obstacles qui les empêchent d’aller à l’école. En coopération avec les autorités locales et nationales, l’initiative recommande des stratégies ciblées pour le changement. Il peut par exemple s’agir de transferts d’argent pour les familles pauvres, d’incitations à envoyer les filles à l’école, et de salles de classe accessibles pour les enfants handicapés.

Les défis à relever
Nous savons qu’en offrant des possibilités d’éducation aux plus difficiles à atteindre, nous remportons plusieurs batailles : l’apprentissage s’améliore, l’engagement communautaire est renforcé, et les enfants, notamment les filles, peuvent exercer leur droit à l’éducation.

Je crois également que nous devons éradiquer les attitudes et comportements sociaux nuisibles qui portent atteinte aux écoles en tant que lieux favorables à l’apprentissage. Les nouvelles données confirment que la violence sur le chemin de l’école et à l’école constitue un obstacle de taille à l’apprentissage des filles. Le mariage des enfants prive également les filles de leur droit à l’éducation. Cela ne peut être toléré.

Investir dans l’éducation des filles c’est renforcer leur dignité. C’est aussi payer les dividendes du développement. Les recherches ont monté que les femmes instruites sont plus susceptibles de se marier et d’avoir des enfants plus tard, de faire vacciner leurs enfants, d’améliorer leur potentiel de rémunération, et de contribuer à la prospérité de leur communauté.

En tant que communauté globale, nous avançons. Mais les efforts pour atteindre les enfants les plus vulnérables dans le monde sont encore devant nous. Nous savons que cela est possible. Alors, mettons-nous au travail.


Geeta Rao Gupta, Directrice générale adjointe de l’UNICEF


What you missed this week

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  • Climate Change: The worst is yet to come – “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations Group, told reporters earlier this week. A new report by IPCC warns that the problem is likely to grow substantially unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control. According to IPCC officials, the ‘really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change’. Read this article for more – The UN’s new focus: Surviving, Not Stopping, Climate Change.
  • Ebola outbreak: Ebola, one of the most lethal viruses known to humans, has claimed more than 80 lives in West Africa and jumped borders from Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali. The outbreak has spread fear and panic in the region. For those who have no idea what we’re talking about, what Ebola is, how it spreads or what it does to the human body, here are 6 things you should know about the latest Ebola outbreak.
  • Innovation: The 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina inspired a Texas-based start-up to create cheap, portable, reusable shelters that promise to improve how governments come to the aid of victims of natural disasters. They look like mini aircraft hangars with digital door locks, skylights and even air conditioning! Presenting – Exo Shelters.
  • In Memoriam: “She trained her camera on children caught between the front lines, yet who still found a place to play.” Acclaimed Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed in Afhganistan today.  Her photographs “captured what war meant to her subjects: An Afghan boy on a swing holding a toy submachine gun. A black-clad Iraqi giving a bottle to her baby as she waits for prisoners to be released.” Gathered here are just a handful of her photos from Afghanistan.
  • Lights out: Can you imagine Times Square in New York, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Kremlin in Moscow without lights? Well, you don’t have to. Iconic landmarks and cities went dark for one hour last Saturday for Earth Hour. Check out these images!