Denmark is Education Cannot Wait’s (ECW) third largest donor, with US$79.1 million in contributions to date. In this insightful interview with Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation, Rasmus Prehn, we explore the importance of girls’ education and gender equality, the humanitarian-development nexus, expanded engagement with the private sector, education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and more. A former high school teacher, with a master’s degree in social science, Minister Prehn has been a member of Danish Parliament since 2005, and was named Minister for Development Cooperation on June 27, 2019. Minister Prehn is the former chairman of the Danish Research, Education and Further Education Committee, a tireless advocate for education in emergencies, and a true champion for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG4: inclusive and equitable, quality education for all.
An invisible adversary has thrown the world – Global South and Global North alike – into disarray. The psychosocial and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis will remain with us long after it has been overcome. There will be no anti-viral return to the pre-coronavirus status quo, nor can we afford to idly wait for a viral transformation of our world. The future is not inevitable, abstract promise – it will depend on our collective readiness to forge it, or to be forged by it.
South Africa’s education system is complex, with historical inequalities
dating back to apartheid. Most of the country’s pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Language is an issue; most pupils do not speak
English as a mother tongue, yet English dominates in many classrooms. And, as the COVID-19 crisis has showed, there’s a huge digital divide
Thandika Mkandawire (1940-2020) had a wicked sense of humour. But he was so considerate that he often made himself the butt of his jokes which typically had a moral. When others struggled to pronounce his surname, he would help them out, “Me kinda weary”.
Soon schools in Timor-Leste, Ukraine, and Kosovo, where some 6.5 million children are currently at home, will hopefully start teaching their children once again -- albeit online.
Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945, space for multilateral policy development and commitment has grown. Its growth in the global health field augurs well as we find ways to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
We are living in a crisis unprecedented since World War II: COVID-19. The pandemic brutally sweeps across the globe, where we already face a massive global learning crisis and multiple brutal humanitarian crises. How much more can those left furthest behind in forced displacement and armed conflicts take?
The Education Cannot Wait Global Fund (ECW) allocates a total of US$15 million in an initial series of emergency grants for the rapid delivery of holistic education services to protect and support vulnerable children and youth hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 16 countries/emergency contexts. These girls and boys are already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and protracted crises. An additional series of grants to support the response in other crisis-affected countries will be released shortly and reach partners in-country in the coming days.
“I come from Baglung District, a part of Dhawalagiri Zone in Nepal. My house overlooks the river. Do you know, our district is known for the suspension bridges?”, her eyes glimmer for a fraction of a second and then she breathes a heavy sigh! Her right hand is still wrapped in a scarf, while with the other she pats her 17-month-old. “If I ever get a chance I will take you to my village, we have a lot of medicinal plants.” She pauses while tears roll down as she continues our Facetime session. “I was 16 when I had my first child and I was 17 when my arm was broken by my mother-in-law.”
Henrietta H. Fore became UNICEF’s seventh Executive Director on 1 January 2018. She has worked to champion economic development, education, health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in a public service, private sector and non-profit leadership career that spans more than four decades.
Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change induced disasters and protracted crises have disrupted the education of 75 million children and youth globally. And that number is growing in an unprecedented way with the spread of COVID-19. Education has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with 1.53 billion learners out of school
and 184 country-wide school closures, impacting 87.6% of the world’s total enrolled learners. Drop-out rates across the globe are likely to rise as a result of this massive disruption to education access.
A few days ago, a friend said to me that my focus on autism, although rather successful, had “sucked out all energy from other critical areas of social need in Bangladesh.” My friend wanted to know if I would be interested in expanding my visibility and successful approach to autism, to other issues that have apparently been left by the wayside due to everyone’s eagerness to work on an issue popular with the Prime Minister’s daughter!
Humankind has outlived multiple pandemics in the course of world history. The kingdoms and states of Central and Western Europe abolished the institution of serfdom once it had become clear that medieval rule in the aftermath of devastating pestilence would founder without ending the dependency and servitude that characterized the Dark Ages. The vulnerability of entire nations to the risk of total collapse in the absence of widespread access to the most basic healthcare in the Spanish Flu spurred governments to build the public health systems that have made the progress and development of the last hundred years possible. If the past is prologue, then continuity and survival command that we change.
We are living in a critical time. As we face existential environmental challenges from climate crises to the mass extinction of species, it is difficult sometimes to see solutions and new ideas. This is why we all need to celebrate and give visibility to creative and courageous efforts of people and organizations striving towards a healthy planet for all.
For Dr Edna Adan Ismail maternal health and midwifery is deeply personal. In an interview with Women Deliver Young Leader Musu Bakoto Sawo
, Ismail recalls her mother’s devasting experiences which impacted on her own life’s choices.
"The idea came to a group of schoolmates and me in 2014, but we never thought it could become a reality," says Sebastián Ieraci, 23, as he points to a multitude of photovoltaic solar panels shining on the roof of the Antonio Devoto High School in the Argentine capital.
Conflicts and disasters are about destruction. Discrimination and marginalization are about disempowerment. Combine the two and we get a glimpse of the brutal reality affecting millions of girls today. Standing amidst the ruins of their towns, displaced communities and torn-apart families, they are further shackled by exclusion, exploitation and lost opportunities because of their gender.
Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to lead by example and to provide current, high-quality information to the people and communities that support them. This responsibility is no clearer than during a public health and information crisis like the one presented by this novel coronavirus.
This year, the Paris Agreement’s effectiveness as a global response to the climate crisis is being tested as governments are preparing to submit more ambitious national targets for mitigation and adaptation.