EU Donates 33 Mil Euros to Restore Education Services, School Feeding Programs in Conflict-affected Areas

The European Union (EU), through its partnership with UNICEF and WFP, has granted 33 million Euros (1.8 billion Birr) to restore essential education services and implement school feeding programs so that children living in conflict-affected areas can get back to learning.

EU Delegation Head to Ethiopia, Ambassador Roland Kobia inked the grant contract agreement with UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia Gianfranco Rotigliano and WFP Ethiopia Country Director and Representative Claude libidar today.

During the signing event, EU Delegation Head to Ethiopia, Ambassador Roland Kobia said the contract signed between the EU and UN bodies will benefit Ethiopia's education system in an integrated manner and  essentially benefit the children in conflict-affected areas of the country.

"This contract is at a level of 1.8 billion Birr, so it is about 33 million Euros. This will be to restore the essential education services in conflict-affected areas for the children. This contract is going to benefit the education system in an integrated manner. We are going to provide not only education but health, protection, school feeding, water and sanitation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure and so on and so forth," Roland Kobia said.

Noting that children are the innocent victims of conflict where it disrupts and interrupts their education and their lives, he stated that this funding will strengthen the education system in an integrated manner through the provision of education, health, protection, school feeding, WASH and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools.

Children's safe access to quality education is critical to the future of the country, he added.

UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia, Gianfranco Rotigliano said the education component implemented by UNICEF, will include the rehabilitation of schools, reduce rates of school dropouts and also scale-up the 'My Home-Bete' approach.

"We are deeply grateful for this generous contribution from the EU," he said, adding that the 'My Home-Bete' programme combines accelerated learning, child protection and life skills training in schools. 

He pointed out  that providing services to children, especially girls, to  recover from the trauma they have endured due to conflict and also teach life skills so they can become our future doctors, teachers and leaders.

"This is very welcome not only because with this fund we can restore and rehabilitate some of the schools but also we can put the children back into schools with the aid of WFP because when in schools there is a meal for children. Children come to school much more happily and they keep coming because (there is a reason) beyond the fact that they learn and they become (educated) citizens, there is also the good reason that they eat." 

The funding will also support WFP to provide nutritious school meals to 50,000 children across Northern Ethiopia.

WFP's school meals will ensure that conflict-affected school-age girls and boys (including IDPs) continue to receive access to food, and this will attract children to enroll in school and continue their education.

WFP Ethiopia Country Director and Representative, Claude libidar on his part said "I welcome the EU's timely contribution to WFP's school meals to keep children, especially girls, in school, who have been affected by the conflict in Northern Ethiopia."

Overall, this support will benefit nearly 80,000 children and 60 schools will be reconstructed or rehabilitated.

Ethiopian News Agency