The United States has awarded $4.6 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the four-year Safer Schools Program in Pakistan. The program aims to ensure children affected by humanitarian crises have access to a quality education by making schools safe from all forms of disasters—natural or man-made.
Assistance provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will increase resilience in affected communities and build the capacity of children, teachers, and parents to prevent, reduce, and cope with challenging situations that impact children’s education. With USAID funding, UNICEF will manage educational services for 53,000 children displaced from North Waziristan. Over 10,000 children, nearly half of whom are girls, have already been identified and enrolled in Temporary Learning Centers and established host communities. Approximately 100 teachers have been trained in psychosocial support, health and hygiene promotion, and techniques for teaching in challenging environments.
“It is important that the educational and social well-being of the innocent children belonging to temporarily displaced families not have their education impacted by this misfortune,” USAID Mission Director in Pakistan, Gregory Gottlieb said. “Whether these children reside in camps established for the internally displaced population or with communities hosting them, a secure learning environment for a sustainable, quality education is imperative to not just the children but also their communities.”
“We are grateful to USAID for the provision of these funds as they ensure restoring educational services for children of the affected families,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “With these funds, we are currently providing quality education to these children, many of which have never been to school before. It is imperative that their education continues without any disruption when they return to their native areas.”
This program is part of a comprehensive education strategy the United States is implementing in partnership with the government of Pakistan. Other education related activities under this partnership include building or renovating 989 schools serving over 300,000 students, training over 7,000 new teachers, providing more than 1,595 scholarships to aspiring Pakistani teachers, 70 percent of which is committed to women. Since 2005, the United States has also awarded over 3,000 scholarships through the Fulbright and Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programs. For more information on USAID education programs, please visit: http://1.usa.gov/1jK15Ut