“My dream is to become a teacher,” says 13-year-old Alia. A small glimmer of hope can be traced in her beautiful, almond-shaped, brown eyes. Together with her mother, siblings and aunt, Alia has fled the conflict in Sudan to Chad. With extraordinary courage to survive, she made the harrowing journey at night across checkpoints, threatened by guns and militia roaming around in the dark. While her eyes are still hollow from the flight, I see that sparkle for a split second: she still has hope.
Today, we mark the second anniversary of the ban on secondary school girls’ education in Afghanistan and join the world in calling for it to be lifted now.
A Taliban edict is rolling back time in Afghanistan after access to education for all Afghan girls over the age of 12 was indefinitely suspended on September 18, 2021. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are forbidden from attending school beyond the primary level, leaving more than 1.1 million girls and young women without access to formal education.
With hope and courage, we must rise to the challenges before us. We must rise to the challenge of a world set afire by climate change, forced displacement, armed conflicts and human rights abuses. We must rise to the challenge of girls being denied their right to an education in Afghanistan. We must rise to the challenge of a global refugee crisis that is disrupting development gains the world over. We must rise to the challenge of brutal and unconscionable wars in places like Sudan and Ukraine that are putting millions of children at risk every day.
As thousands convene in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, for the Africa Climate Summit, the first time the African Union has summoned its leaders to solely discuss climate change under the theme ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World’, the backdrop is a country on the frontlines of a climate crisis.
Youth offer a powerful voice in ECW’s global movement to ensure crisis-impacted children worldwide are offered the safety, hope and opportunity of a quality education. As a global multilateral fund, ECW offers a rare opportunity for youth to participate in its governance structure. In this sweeping two-part interview, ECW connects with Mutesi Hadijah and Hector Ulloa who were recently elected to represent the youth constituency on ECW’s High-Level Steering Group and Executive Committee, respectively.
His name is Matiullah Wesa, a girls education campaigner who now symbolises the “war” waged by the Taliban against the education and empowerment of women and girls. Exactly two years since the Taliban took over, Afghanistan is on a downward
trajectory and unfortunately, global attention that was drawn by families chasing planes to flee a few days after the Taliban assumed control of the government has waned over the last two years.
Two years ago, the then 19-year-old Somaya Faruqi and the Afghan Robotic Team travelled from Herat City to Kabul, the heart of Afghanistan—the Taliban had taken over Herat city, cutting off electricity and internet. The all-girls team’s great passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) had driven them to Kabul to rehearse for a competition.
To save our people and our planet from the life-threatening risks of the climate crisis, we must invest in the education of today’s youth. They will be the climate activists, climate scientists, climate innovators, game-changers and leaders of the 21st century green economy.
The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell
was appointed as a Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on 25 October 2022. He was previously Secretary of State for International Development from May 2010 to September 2012. He was elected Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield on 7 June 2001.
“Listen to your body, and if there is anything strange happening, do not ignore it,” is the advice of 57-year-old Afshan Bhurgri, a cancer survivor.
In times of crisis, education is an essential component of humanitarian intervention packages, South Sudan’s Minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng Acuil told IPS in an exclusive interview.
If you want lasting peace, the best investment you can make is in education, said Education Cannot Wait’s Executive Director Yasmine Sherif in an exclusive interview with IPS.
We all know and agree that patience is a virtue. It is indeed. With one exception.
In the face of a child’s suffering, impatience is the highest virtue. Or as we say in the spirit of Education Cannot Wait: “We must be unapologetically impatient” in our collective goal to reach 224 million crisis-affected children and adolescents with quality education.
Sexual violence is unacceptable in any shape or form, in all contexts, including those of conflict.
As we come together on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
, we must reflect together on the pain, horror, fear and inhumanity that rape, sexual abuse, trafficking, slavery, child marriage and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence bring to a young child’s life, hence, our collective humanity.
If you’ve never heard of the Cybercrime Convention, you’re not alone. And if you’re wondering whether an international treaty to tackle cybercrime is a good idea, you’re in good company too.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW
), the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, today named Christina Lamb as its newest ‘ECW Global Champion’.
As we head into June, we will commemorate a number of important international days that call for much-needed support to protect refugees, end child labour, stop sexual violence in conflict and ensure human rights for the innocent children victims of aggression.
Worldwide, 160 million children are engaged in child labour. Without access to safe, quality educational opportunities, their dreams of a better future have been cut short. As we commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour
, we must continue to support their protection from child abuse and violations – and the right to 12 years of quality education – for every girl and boy on the planet.
Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change and other crises increased the number of crisis-impacted children in need of urgent quality education to 224 million, according to a new Global Estimates Study
issued today by Education Cannot Wait (ECW
), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
Mireia Villar Forner
is the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Colombia. Ms. Villar Forner brings more than 25 years of experience, which she acquired within the United Nations and externally, to the position. At the United Nations, she most recently served as Resident Coordinator in Uruguay, where she led the work of the United Nations development system to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also held senior positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including that of Resident Representative in Uruguay, Deputy Resident Representative in Bolivia and Deputy Resident Representative in Iraq during the country’s political transition. She also served at the UNDP Liaison Office in Brussels, where she played a key role in strengthening the partnership between the Organization and the European Union. Before that, she worked as the focal point for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Arab States, in UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, after an assignment as Head of the Programme Section of the Electricity Network Rehabilitation Programme in Northern Iraq. She started her career with the United Nations at UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States. Prior to joining the Organization, Ms. Villar Forner worked in the financial sector in Spain. She holds a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University in the USA, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Barcelona in Spain.