EU injects €33 million to restore education in Ethiopia’s conflict stricken areas

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The European Union (EU), through its partnership with UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), grants €33 million to restore essential education services and implement school feeding programs in order for children living in conflict-affected areas in Ethiopia to get back to learning. This comes in light of 10 conflict affected regions where over 8,500 schools have either been partially damaged or destroyed, in addition to over 1,500 non-functional schools in Northern Ethiopia.
Roland Kobia, Ambassador of the European Union to Ethiopia whilst highlighting how this grant was vital, said, “Children are the innocent victims in any war and often suffer the most. Their lives are disrupted, and their education is interrupted. Overall, nearly two million children are out of school due to conflict across the country.”
“All of our member states welcomed the peace agreement between the two parties and we hope for the full implementation of these agreements,” said Kobia whilst talking about the situation in Ethiopia, adding, “this is the first step to peace and as the situation is still not possible for the full mobilization of aid.”
Overall, this support will benefit nearly 80,000 children and 60 schools will be reconstructed or rehabilitated. Meanwhile, the EU’s support to WFP will enable them to provide nutritious school meals to 50,000 children in schools across conflict-affected Northern Ethiopia. The education component implemented by UNICEF, will include the rehabilitation of schools, reduce rates of school dropouts and also scale-up the ‘My Home-Bete’ approach.
“We are deeply grateful for this generous contribution from the EU,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia, adding, “Millions of children’s are out of schools. If we are to prevent a lost generation, we need to act now and get children, especially girls, not only back in school but provide services to help them recover from the trauma they have endured due to conflict and also teach life skills in the process. In the northern part things are changing and activities seem to restart in some place so we have to think on how to bring children to school.”
The funding will also support WFP to provide nutritious school meals to 50,000 children across conflict-affected Northern Ethiopia. WFP’s school meals will ensure that conflict-affected school-age girls and boys (including IDPs) continue to receive access to food, which will in turn attract children to enroll in school and continue their education. Evidence demonstrates that school meals contribute to the protection of children from child labor, particularly for boys, and child marriages, particularly for girls.
“I welcome the EU’s timely contribution to WFP’s school meals to keep children, especially girls, in school, who have been affected by the conflict in Northern Ethiopia,” said Claude Jibidar, WFP Ethiopia Country Director and Representative.