UNICEF 2013-2014

‘Learning to Survive’: Education in emergencies

The UNICEF Belgium ‘Learning to Survive’ campaign was launched three years ago with the aim of sensitising and mobilising people living in Belgium to support education activities in emergency situations.

An on-going challenge

While the right to education is a universal one, worldwide 57 million children still do not attend school. More than half of them live in an emergency situations created by war or a natural disaster.

This figure was 67 million 3 years ago - so we’ve already come a long way!

Giving children a chance to go to school, even in the most precarious circumstances, helps them to regain a sense of normality. Moreover, next to knowledge, school also provides children with access to food, water, sanitation, shelter and care. Education also contributes to the reconstruction of the society as a whole, thereby creating a sound base of a trained and educated population supporting the efforts to guide society towards a new and better future.

In 2012, UNICEF worked to provide around 3.6 million school-aged children with education and the UNICEF Belgium Learning to Survive campaign contributed towards this.

Current 2013 projects are:

UNICEF has already reached 1 million conflict-affected primary school-aged children by distributing school bags with stationery supplies. In addition, UNICEF is providing 5,000 Teaching-Learning Kits, 3,000 Recreation Kits, and 800 Early Childhood Education kits.

Somalia: UNICEF aims to give a quarter of the 1 million young people currently out of the education system a chance to learn. The Initiative includes basic education for 6–13 year olds and alternative basic education for out-of-school and internally displaced children.

Mali: With the start of the new school year in October, UNICEF is scaling up efforts to give a school place to half a million children whose lives were disrupted by the conflict, seasonal flooding and a nutrition crisis.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. In emergency situations UNICEF works with governments, NGOs and other partners to support child health, nutrition, safe water, sanitation and the protection of children from violence, exploitation. From the first 72 hours after the start of an emergency, UNICEF puts everything into work to provide quality basic education for all boys and girls. About 20 to 25 % of the UNICEF budget is directed towards this purpose. In emergencies UNICEF, together with Save the Children, takes the lead for hygiene and educational activities.

UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. The national committees for UNICEF, such as UNICEF Belgium, play a key role in these funding efforts.

The UNICEF Belgium ‘Learning to survive’ campaign has so far received more than 31.000 signatures supporting the cause. They hope to collect at least 50.000 signatures before 2014.

For more campaign information, please follow these links in french or in dutch .