By Elias Gebreselassie
JIGJIGA, Ethiopia February 29 (EI) — Dahir Muse, a mother of 10 still feels emotional recounting the day in 2017 when she lost some of her children due to a communal conflict in eastern Ethiopia.
A resident of Tuli Guled district, in Faafan zone of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali regional state, Muse said deadly clashes with residents of a neighboring district located in Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state had also left her displaced.
However, with the calming of communal tensions in the last 18 months, Muse can now send some of her children to school making her optimistic about the future.
“The 2016-2017 conflict destroyed my livelihood and made me food insecure. However, I’m grateful that I can rebuild my livelihood and send my children to school again,” Dahirtold the Ethiopia Informer (EI).
Dahiris able to send her kids to school again due to the assistance of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies.
ECW is a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies, particularly to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF.
Mohammed Fattah, Head of Somali region education bureau, said his bureau in collaboration with the Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Education, UNICEF and the Oromia education bureau is trying to restore the educational opportunities of children who had missed school because of conflict.
“Together we’re mobilizing 165 million U.S. dollars program intended to help young Internally Displaced People, with 32,000 children from Somali region alone expected to be beneficiaries.”
“We’ve visited two districts, one being Tulu Guled district in Somali region and the other being the neighboring Chinaksen district in Oromia region, to restore educational rights to previously displaced children” said Fattah.
However, Fattah said in addition to restoring educational rights of conflict affected children there needs to be a comprehensive approach to solving the resource scarcity of communities in the area.
“The communities on both sides are both pastoralists. Conflict has always been there because there’s competition for scarce natural resources,” Fattah told EI.
“I feel on the politicized side of the conflict 80 percent has been solved. But the normal conflict over scarce resources need much effort to solve. If the source of the problem is having enough water source, both regional governments have to provide permanent local water source to avert conflict” Fattah told Ethiopiainformer.com.
ECW Director, Yasmine Sherif, said her organization which has been helping the Ethiopian government for about a year, has designed a program to help 746,000 children affected by natural and man-made disasters.
“Working with the government and all our ECW partners, this investment provides protective learning environments and inclusive quality education to girls and boys living in very difficult circumstances,”.
“We must not leave children behind. They have a right to develop and thrive. They have so much to achieve and give. By working together in mobilizing all the required resources, we now have a chance to ensure that no child in Ethiopia is left behind,” said Sherif.
On Friday, the ECW launched a three year,165 million U.S. dollars initiative to provide education to 746,000 children affected by crises in Ethiopia.
The multi-year resilience program was developed by the Ethiopia Ministry of Education with support from Education Cannot Wait and a range of partners – United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, and donors to address the educational needs of displaced children.
Ethiopia has an estimated 1.4 million displaced, returnee, and refugee children, mostly resulting from conflicts and natural disasters. One million of these children are out of school, 527,000 of them girls. Latest data shows that 728 schools have been damaged by conflict or natural disasters.
Photo – UNICEF-Ethiopia/2018/Mersha