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Japan commits US$25.5 million to support the most vulnerable children and communities in Syria through the UN’s "Education for All" joint programme

Japan commits US$25.5 million to support the most vulnerable children and communities in Syria through the UN’s "Education for All" joint programme


The government of Japan announced the second phase of funding for the UN’s ‘Education for All’ joint programme in Syria, bringing the total support to the programme to US$25.5 million. Anchored in the No Lost Generation Initiative, the programme will contribute to ensuring increased access for children and young people to quality learning, skills- building and participation, including those living in hard to reach and besieged areas. Programme implementation started in early 2017 to be concluded by the end of 2018.

Education for All’ is the first UN Joint programme in Syria bringing together seven agencies – UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, UNHCR, FAO, UN Habitat and UNRWA - to address a variety of critical nutritional, educational, health and protection needs, through schools and non-formal learning spaces through. The programme leverages the expertise of each participating UN agency to provide services for children within the same geographical area. Additionally, schools will also be a platform for capacity building for teachers and a gateway for communities to access awareness-raising activities, social protection services as well as livelihood assistance.

Japan places a high priority on providing humanitarian assistance to support children, youth and women, through education regardless of where they are in Syria,” said H.E. Mr Futoshi Matsumoto, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Japan in Syria. “We strongly hope our contribution enables the most vulnerable, particularly Syrian children to overcome the long-term challenges through education despite of the prolonged crisis because the future of Syria depends upon how much hope all Syrian children can dream of”.

Highlights from the first phase of the programme include:

  • More than 25,000 youth and adolescents reached with a package of skills-building and learning activities, including life skills/vocational training/entrepreneurship training.
  • 6 000 children reached with informal education opportunities and remedial classes at UNHCR Community Centres.
  • 20 school health clinics provided with equipment and pharmaceutical supplies benefiting more than 88,000 students and teachers. 
  • 34 000 children reached with the WFP school-meals programme in 30 schools.
  • Light rehabilitation for 40 schools providing around 48,500 students with improved learning environments, including improved access for children with special needs.

In emergency situations where schools have been destroyed, community links can be major factors in restoring normalcy and rebuilding education. These relationships are bridges that can help communities create safe, child-friendly learning spaces during emergencies, and the creation of such spaces helps communities recover more quickly from catastrophe.

“Through this innovative programme, we are able to enhance the importance of schools and learning spaces in a community to bring them together and bring back normalcy into children’s lives,” said Mr. Fran Equiza, UNICEF’s Representative in Syria. “On behalf of all the sister agencies, we are extremely grateful for the people and government of Japan for their generous support to the most vulnerable children in Syria.”

“FAO’s promotion of school gardens in Syria forms a solid basis of healthy nutrition to enhance children ability to learn and develop genuinely. This approach constitutes also an entry point to reach children’s families and communities in order to mainstream the consumption of nutrition rich food for ending hunger and malnutrition,” said Dr Adam Yao – FAO Representative i.a. in Syria.

“More than seven years of crisis have derailed the educational system in Syria, leaving an estimated 1.75 million children and young people out of school. WFP’s school meals programme is a critical component to help bring Syrian children back to school, and ensure that every child has access to education, health and nutrition,” said Jakob Kern, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme in Syria.

“This project supports UNRWA in providing equitable and quality education services to 47,000 Palestine refugee students in Syria,” said Mohammed Abdi Adar, Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria. “Together we achieve more. This is particularly the case when various agencies of the UN family band together to improve schools, and lives. UNRWA is grateful for the support of the government of Japan.”

“In such perilous conditions, the Japanese Fund was essential to provide adolescents and youth with the hope of a brighter future. A comprehensive package of interventions was implemented aiming to assisting young girls and boys to safeguard their wellbeing and decrease their vulnerability, especially when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health as well as gender based violence”, Massimo Diana, UNFPA – Syria representative.

“Ensuring that a generation of not lost is a noble mission that is best served by helping Syrian vulnerable children revive their hope, regain their childhood, receive education and acquire skills they need to build a bright future”, says Abdul Karim Ghoul, Deputy Representative of UNHCR in Syria. “Generous donor support to our joint UN efforts is making a difference for the Syrian vulnerable children and communities by enhancing their self-reliance and reviving their self-confidence”.

“Because of the generous and innovative support from the people of Japan, thousands of Syrian children who live in the most crisis impacted cities are able to safely reach their schools and play in their neighbourhoods.  Through this Project, UN Habitat worked with local communities to clear rubble and debris from the streets and sidewalks used by children to tech their schools, provided solar lighting, and have repaired public parks and playgrounds.”

The second phase of the programme will scale up interventions to new locations, allowing for a wider geographic reach as well as consolidating and enhancing inter-agency collaboration. Additionally, Child Protection interventions will include children living on the streets and those engaged in child labour. Since the start of the crisis, Japan’s total support to children and families in Syria and neighbouring countries has reached US$ 2.2 billion, with nearly one third of the assistance for beneficiaries inside Syria.

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