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Statement by ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif on the first anniversary of hostilities in Sudan

NEW YORK, April 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The conflict in Sudan is one of the worst in the world today, and millions of children and adolescents are the most affected inside and outside the border with Sudan.

As we mark the first anniversary of this cruel conflict, we call on world leaders to ensure that all girls and boys affected by the conflict can access quality, life-saving education. Your hope and your future depend on this.

Sudan is experiencing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Without urgent international action, this catastrophe could engulf the entire country and have even more devastating impacts on neighboring countries, as refugees flee across borders to neighboring states.

The brutal conflict continues to claim innocent lives, with more than 14,000 children, women and men reportedly already dead. According to the United Nations, half of Sudan’s population – 25 million people, including 14 million children – are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. It is estimated that five million people are one step away from famine.

Sudan is also suffering from the largest forced displacement crisis in the world today. More than 8 million people have been displaced inside and outside Sudan since April 15, 2023, including 4 million children.

Most schools are closed or struggling to reopen across the country, leaving nearly 19 million school-age children at risk of losing their education. To put this into perspective, there are more children at risk than the entire population of Finland, Ireland and Norway combined.

As a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises housed within the United Nations, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and our global strategic partners have responded with speed, agility and coordination to provide children affected by this complex conflict with safety. , hope and opportunity for quality education.

ECW has provided $10 million to date in response to regional refugee education needs, and Emergency First Response grants have been announced in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan. In Sudan, we have provided $28 million in funding, including a $5 million grant announced in August 2023 that will benefit more than 86,000 girls and boys with access to quality, inclusive education.

However, these investments are simply not enough. We must increase global funding for education in all the world’s forgotten crises, in places like Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Sahel, South Sudan and many more. In total, armed conflict, forced displacement, climate change and other protracted crises around the world are robbing the future of more than 224 million girls and boys.

This not only threatens global security and efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, but is also an affront to their humanity. Without safe places to learn and grow, girls face a number of serious risks, including child marriage, sexual violence, human trafficking and forced labor. Children face impossible obstacles and are at risk of recruitment as child soldiers, forced labor and other attacks on their human rights. It is an impossible and endless cycle of violence, displacement, poverty, hunger, chaos and uncertainty.

Thanks to school feeding programs, they have nutritious meals. With gender-inclusive classrooms, they have safe places to learn. With mental health and psychosocial support, they find a way to regain their dignity and build strong, resilient communities. It is a system-wide approach that puts children first in our investments in sustainable development and puts humanity first in our global efforts to end war and build a better future for generations to come. .

As we build on the calls from the High-Level Conference for Sudan and its Neighbors today, the African Year of Education, and other important efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, we call on public donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to urgently mobilize $600 million in renewed support for ECW’s 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. With a total of 1.5 billion dollars, we can reach 20 million children and adolescents.

In South Sudan, education is an opportunity to “change my life” for Living Sunday, a young teenage mother who resumed her education against all odds. In Ethiopia, where a prolonged drought, exacerbated by climate change, has disrupted the education of an entire generation, this means 12-year-old Nakurchel is attending school for the first time in her life. In her own words: “Education has given me wings to fly.” There is still much to do: in sub-Saharan Africa, only 1 in 9 children can read a simple text.

Sudan can’t wait. Africa can’t wait. The rest of the world must be impatient and unapologetic in heeding their calls.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2386093…

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