The ECOWAS Commission through its Department of Human Development and Social Affairs has launched a support program for Education in Emergencies in the Region.
The implementation of the program is aimed at assisting the Member States affected by conflict or humanitarian crises for school reintegration and continuation of education for pupils and students with emphasis on girls and other vulnerable groups.
The pilot phase of the program was conducted in Burkina Faso from 2nd to 4th November 2022. It is expected that the program will also be conducted in Mali, Niger, and Nigeria within the key activities earmarked under the ECOWAS Action Plan on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in the Region.
The main objective of the support on Education in Emergencies is to ensure continuity of learning and training, enable an environment for displaced children, girls, and other vulnerable groups in the communities, with a view to minimizing school dropout; and safeguard progress and investment already made in the field of Education.
The program featured technical consultations between the ECOWAS Delegation led by the Resident Representative in Burkina Faso and staff from the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs, Directorate of Education, Science and Culture. The Burkinabe Delegation was led by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other key staff from the Ministries of Basic Education, Higher Education, and Gender and Social Affairs.
The meeting was aimed at the identification of critical areas that needs support in education in the displaced communities within the country. At the end of the deliberations, areas of support identified cover pupils and students at the Basic, Secondary, and Tertiary levels, including Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) by way of reintegration to schools and provision for educational materials. The targeted beneficiaries of the support program include seven hundred (700) youth and children in emergencies including out-of-school children; girls and other vulnerable groups in recovering and affected communities.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of a grant of Two Hundred Thousand USD ($200,000) to the authorities who appreciated the support given by ECOWAS at a difficult moment of insecurity and a high rate of school dropouts. They also assured ECOWAS that the grant will be judiciously used in the targeted areas of intervention identified for the support.