ECW, INEE, and UNGEI call for gender equality to be at the centre of COVID-19 education crisis recovery efforts
This article is part of the Committing to Change: Girls’ EiE from Charlevoix to COVID-19 blog series.
In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March 2021 - ECW, INEE and UNGEI - three partners working together for gender equality in education in emergencies (EiE), have joined forces to launch a toolkit promoting gender-responsive and inclusive education interventions in emergency & protracted crises settings.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), today launched a new toolkit to support stronger integration of gender equality in education responses for children and youth in countries affected by emergencies and protracted crises.
Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters, health emergencies and other crises increase barriers to safe, quality education, especially for vulnerable children and youth. Girls, boys, women and men experience these barriers to education in different ways, resulting in an exacerbation of pre-existing gender inequalities and vulnerabilities. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to cause unprecedented disruptions to learning worldwide for millions of crisis-affected girls and boys.
“As the world strives to address and recover from global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must apply lessons learnt from previous crises. We know the tragic hardship that looms ahead for millions of girls and other vulnerable children and youth living in crisis settings. We can’t say we did not know. Unless we protect and empower them urgently with the safety, hope and opportunity of quality, inclusive education, we will have failed both them and ourselves. There is no excuse not to act now,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “In launching this new toolkit with our partners, we appeal to all education stakeholders to join us in putting gender equality at the centre of our collective emergency response to the pandemic. At Education Cannot Wait, we are committed to making girls’ education a reality across our investments, boldly, firmly and passionately.”
Previous health emergencies, like Ebola, Zika and SARS, led to school closures which disproportionately affected girls and women. In crises, adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable and face increased risks of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, child marriage and early pregnancy. This is proving to be the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis conducted by UNHCR and the Malala Fund already show that 50 per cent of refugee girls in secondary school may not ever return when their classrooms open. This is why the new ‘EiE-GenKit’ comes as a timely, ground-breaking resource for aid practitioners to ensure education in emergencies interventions are both gender-responsive and inclusive.
“Education plays a key role in redefining gender norms in any situation, but especially in humanitarian situations, where a good education that is gender-transformative can break cycles of violence and promote tolerance and reconciliation,” said Antara Ganguli, Director of the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, “We must harness this potential and ensure that all learners of all genders are able to contribute equally and positively to their communities’ recovery, as a cornerstone of sustainable peace and development”.
When gender-responsive, quality, inclusive education is available to all - including crisis-affected girls and boys - it has the potential to transform children’s futures, build up societies and lead to sustainable peace. The ‘EiE-GenKit’ equips education practitioners with the tools to achieve that vision.
“Now is the time to leverage the power of education in emergencies. Together we can reverse gender inequalities and transform education for women and girls, men and boys. We must commit to leave no one behind,” said Dean Brooks, Director of the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies.
The ‘EiE-GenKit’ was developed over two years through an extensive consultation process involving the review of over 150 existing education in emergencies and gender resources, with contributions from over 80 global, regional and country level gender and EiE experts and other stakeholders.
The toolkit is based on internationally recognised minimum standards and guidelines and is closely aligned with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender Handbook, the INEE Minimum Standards for Education and the INEE Guidance Note on Gender.
For more information and to download the EiE-GenKit, visit: http://ungei.org/publication/eie-genkit
For press inquiries:
Education Cannot Wait:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, email@example.com, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-917-302-1735
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings around the world. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.
UN Girls’ Education Initiative:
Gloria Diamond, email@example.com
Emilie Rees-Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI):
UNGEI is a global, intergenerational partnership united by a shared commitment to advancing gender equality in and through education. UNGEI provides a platform for coordinated advocacy and collective action in order to break down barriers to education, close the gender gap and unlock its transformative power for all girls, everywhere. For more than two decades the UNGEI partnership has been championing gender-responsive education systems, policies and practices - speaking out as one and holding the international community to account.
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)
Laura Davison: email@example.com
Lauren Gerken: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) is an open, global network that works to ensure all persons the right to quality education and a safe learning environment in emergencies and post-crisis recovery. INEE is composed of more than 18,000 practitioners, students, teachers, staff from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donors, governments (including Ministries of Education), and universities who work together within a humanitarian and development framework. INEE serves its members through the core functions of community-building, convening diverse stakeholders, maintaining knowledge management, amplifying and advocating, facilitating and learning, and providing members with the resources and support they need to carry out their work on education in emergencies.