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Education in emergencies: the need for schools
Elise Joisel

In 2009, half of the children in the world who do not go to school live in conflict zones. It is vital that the international community, aid organisations and donors understand the importance of having schools in crisis and early recovery situations and it is vital that they act on this issue. The schools created in IDP sites in Eastern Chad illustrate this point very well.

“What we are going through in our country - war, hunger and poverty - is largely the result of our ignorance. We need to send our children to school to have a better future”. These are the words of Ousman Zakaria, head of the parents’ association in Gassiré, a little village in Eastern Chad where there is an IDP site with 15 000 people. Before the crisis, the proportion of children who went to school in the Sila region on the border with Sudanese Darfur was 7% [1], one of the lowest rates in the world.

Approximately 75 million children in the world do not go to school. More than half of this number live in countries where there is conflict. Several million live in regions affected by natural disasters. Education, which, for a long time, was neglected during humanitarian operations, is increasingly considered to be essential. For a few years now, there has been growing awareness that education programmes are extremely important in emergency and early recovery situations. Education is the unavoidable first step towards a better future.

[1] Estimated figure from the Sila National Education Inspectorate, October 2003.