Education cannot wait: Focusing on children who are most at risk

Wed, Dec 12, 2012

Featured, Women and Children


On an almost daily basis, we hear of children who drop out of school or are simply not able to go to school because of the context they live in. In 2012, more than 20 countries have been affected by natural disasters. Most recently, Hurricane Sandy was all over the news. It had a devastating impact on the United States and the Caribbean; but at the same time, similar natural disasters were affecting the Philippines and Bangladesh; and drought was having an equally devastating impact on Niger, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan, to name a few.

The common thread in all these situations is that children suffer the impact of natural disasters every day – education has been hit hard. In our community of practice, we know that unless we focus on ensuring children have access to education in the event of a humanitarian emergency and we minimize the interruption, the likelihood of children going back to school decreases; the likelihood of missing out on key learning opportunities increases. Education interventions in these settings will ensure children’s education is not interrupted; a quality education will provide them with hope for the future and build their resilience. They will also guarantee equal access for all children by targeting children who have been out of school prior to the emergency.

In an attempt to highlight the situation of these children, Save the Children published a report called ‘A creeping crisis: the neglect of education in slow-onset emergencies. Though focused on the current situation of children in the Sahel region of West Africa and in the Horn of Africa, the recommendations in the report are relevant for all countries facing humanitarian emergencies.

Under the banner of Education Cannot Wait we are working hard to change the perception that education, a fundamental right relevant in any context, can be postponed until conditions are restored and things are up and running. We know that that is already too late for children. As set out in the global Education Cannot Wait: Call to Action, we need to be more committed to guaranteeing education wherever children find themselves, not wherever it is easiest to deliver education programmes. We need to make sure that a fair share of funding is going to education in emergencies – which, to-date, remains the most neglected humanitarian sector. But more importantly, we need governments, donors and humanitarian agencies alike to commit to the right to education in emergency situations.

For more information, follow  #educationcannotwait and for news on education in emergencies, follow @Martinez_Elin and @savechildrenuk.


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Women, Peace and Security – UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Women, Peace and Security 


UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first of its kind to specifically address the unique impact of conflict on women, and women’s important contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Passed in 2000, it marked a watershed moment when the international community formally recognized the integral role of women and gender to peace and security. UNSCR 1325 has remained an essential tool for encouraging governments to fulfill their obligations to ensure women are included as agents for peace and security in all processes, and its framework has inspired further action by the UN and civil societies and governments around the world to mainstream gender into their work on conflict resolution.


Following UNSCR 1325, subsequent Security Council Resolutions further defined the importance of women’s roles in conflict and peacebuilding. Resolutions 1820, passed in 2008, and 1888, passed in 2009,  recognize sexual violence as an issue of international peace and security and reiterate the need for a comprehensive response to sexual and gender-based violence. In 2010, Resolution 1960 created specific steps needed for the prevention of sexual violence, and Resolution 2106 in 2013 looked specifically at accountability for crimes of sexual violence. The most recent resolution on women, peace and security, UNSCR 2122, aims to strengthen measures to improve the participation of women in all phases of conflict resolution and prevention.


UNSCR 1325 and successive Resolutions are an important show of international support that ensure women, peace and security are on the agenda for international organizations and governments across the globe, but there are many steps between the passage of such resolutions and their full implementation on the ground.  One tool that helps bridge this gap are National Action Plans(NAPs), written plans that specify how a country will mainstream gender, and the principles of 1325 into its defense, development and diplomatic activities. Over 36 countries in the world have drafted NAPs, and that number is growing every year.


In addition to government- and UN-level documents and programs, it is important to consider the work women do in more informal, Track II diplomatic and peace negotiations. Around the world, women are active as civil society leaders, and in many cases, such as Liberia, Northern Ireland and the Philippines, their grassroots work has played a major role in peace processes.


For more resources on women, peace and security, visit The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and SecurityPeaceWomenUSIP, and The Institute for Inclusive Security.

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