Haiti Crisis Update – education needs and rapid response

Haiti Crisis Update

Education Needs, IASC Education Cluster Response and Relevant Tools

INEE (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergenices) has responded quickly to this disaster:

The strongest earthquake in Haiti in more than 200 years, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, rocked the nation on 12 January at 4.53 p.m. (local time).  The earthquake struck Ouest Province (population 2.2 million), with the epicentre some 17km south-west of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.  The nearby cities of Carrefour and Jacmel, as well as other areas to the west and south of Port-au-Prince, were affected.  Thousands were killed by the quake, many more are injured, and unknown numbers are still buried under the rubble. It is estimated that 3 million people have been severely affected, through injury or loss of access to essentials such as food, water, health care, education and other basic needs (OCHA).
The level of casualties sustained by civil servants and the damage to public buildings and services has significantly reduced the capacity of national authorities to lead and coordinate the response, and a large scale international relief operation has been triggered. Many INEE members and member organizations have been mobilizing efforts to respond to this tragic disaster; we are working as a community to support the resilience of the Haitian people through the education sector as they cope with this devastation and morn the loss of many loved ones and colleagues.
Impact on Education
A full scale rapid assessment of the impact of the earthquake on education in Haiti is yet to be done (see below), but reports from the country’s Education Minister Joel Jean-Pierre state that half of Haiti’s 15,000 primary schools and and half of the 1,500 secondary schools and its three main universities have been destroyed or badly damaged by the earthquake. Many schools were sill open when the quake hit and there are indications that many students and teachers died inside the buildings. The Ministry of Education has also collapsed, with many staff killed.

The Emergency Response
“I don’t know how, perhaps in tents or the open-air…but even in wartime, schools must function…For the mental health of the population, the children and students need to go back to normal life. They will have hot meals and psychological treatment at schools.” Joel Jean-Pierre, Minister of Education, Haiti
As expressed by Haiti’s Minister of Education, establishing safe spaces where children and youth can access essential services, regain routine and opportunities for learning is critical in this initial phase of the crisis in Haiti. Education is already beginning to emerge as a key area for support in the response. Making the case for the importance of education both as a fundamental right and a crucial psychosocial and physical protection intervention is being undertaken by INEE members and members of the Global Education Cluster as the humanitarian response to Haiti is coordinated. To support our joint efforts to advocate for attention to education in the relief and recovery period, you can find talking point on this issue in the Useful Resources section below.
Coordination of the education response is underway. An IASC Education Cluster has been activated in Haiti, and a cluster coordinator has arrived on the ground, with further capacity also en route. The Education Cluster in Haiti is being co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children. Given the scale and impact on aid agencies themselves operating in Haiti, coordination and support is also being provided by the Education Cluster Unit at the global level.
To support coordination and information sharing, OCHA will be piloting the new inter-cluster website, OneResponse, in Haiti.  The Education Cluster has its own page on the site for posting contact lists, meeting notifications, key tools and resources and more. Click here to access the site.

Needs Assessment
The Education Cluster intends to pilot the draft Joint Education Needs Assessment Toolkit for Education in Emergencies in Haiti, in particular the Short Guide to Rapid Joint Education Needs Assessment (see below). This Toolkit was developed in 2009, and many INEE members reviewed and provided input into the document. Data from this exercise will be used to develop a detailed sector response plan for the Education Cluster. Beyond the Education Cluster’s own initial rapid needs assessment, clusters in Haiti are calling for a uniformed and consolidated approach to rapid needs assessment.  OCHA is deploying two needs assessment experts to support the process. There are also plans in the coming weeks to carry out a joint Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) to assess the early through to longer-term recovery needs. The Education Cluster will be tracking this work and helping to coordinate education inputs.
If INEE member organizations are planning needs assessments with an education component, and would like to connect with the coordinated effort being led by the Education Cluster, please see below for how to engage.
A Flash Appeal for the Haiti earthquake was launched on Friday 15 January. It requests a total of $275 million over the next six months.  Within the appeal, the Education Cluster is requesting $23.05 million for projects to be implemented by Save the Children, UNICEF, Plan and UNESCO.  Following more detailed assessment of needs and priorities, a revised Flash Appeal is likely to issue within the next five weeks.  The Appeal was pulled together in less than 12 hours, and so it is expected that there are a number of other actors might want to be included in a revision.  The current appeal is available online here.
To rapidly access funding, an Emergency Response Relief Fund (ERRF) of $8m has also been set up in Haiti to prioritise allocation of funds mainly to NGOs who need start-up/catalytic funding.  It will be used primarily for projects within the Earthquake Flash Appeal but also, as appropriate, for projects outside of the Appeal that reflect the overall current humanitarian response. The fund is managed by OCHA and applications should be approved by Cluster Lead Agencies (ie. UNICEF and Save the Children for the Education Cluster) to ensure that proposed activities are in line with overall cluster strategies. Guidelines for accessing ERRF funding and a project proposal format are available. Please see contact details below if you are interested in applying.
Further information and coordination
The Education Cluster Unit at the global level is organizing a conference call at 15.00 Geneva time on Friday 22 January to share further information on the situation in Haiti for those agencies involved in the response. Given that there are limited spaces for the call, if you would like to be considered for participation, please email Roger Wright (rwright@unicef.org) UNICEF Global Education Cluster Coordinator, Susan Nicolai (susan@savethechildren.ch) Save the Children Global Education Cluster Coordinator, and Charlotte Lattimer (charlotte@savethechildren.ch) Global Education Cluster Knowledge Management Adviser with the following information:

  • If your agency is active on the ground in Haiti and plans to work in education response and recovery
  • If you would like to be involved in the joint needs assessment for education in Haiti and if your agency can nominate individuals who can contribute their time and expertise to the exercise
  • If you have background information or tools you would like to have posted on the Haiti Education Cluster website
  • If you would like to join the conference call on Friday to share information and discuss assessment plans

“Education is at the core of Haiti’s recovery and is the key to Haiti’s development.” Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General
As the response to the acute emergency in Haiti continues, and educational services are reestablished, INEE morns the losses to our community, and emphasizes the role our sector, and INEE as a network can play as Haitians work to rebuild. Sharing tools and information and connecting education practitioners working directly on the relief effort with those that have experience from other emergencies is a service we encourage all INEE members to engage with and contribute to. This listserv message will be posted on the INEE Blog, and anyone is welcome to comment, link to tools, or ask for more information.

Relevant Tools and Resources

INEE Minimum Standards
The INEE Minimum Standards (available in English and French) provide good practices and concrete guidance to governments and humanitarian workers for coordinated action to enhance the quality of educational preparedness and response, increase access to relevant learning opportunities, and ensure humanitarian accountability in providing these services.
Hardcopies of both English and French are also available. Please email minimumstandards@ineesite.org if you would like to request copies.
INEE Members responding to acute crisis such as that in Haiti might also find these shorter versions of the INEE Minimum Standards helpful:

  • The INEE Minimum Standards Reference Tool provides a summary of the minimum standards and key indicators to be used by those working in the field without access to the full handbook. The Tool can be found online in English and French. Hardcopies can also be requested by emailing minimumstandards@ineesite.org
  • The INEE Minimum Standards Map is a one-page overview of the handbook, and can be used to introduce the Handbook. Available online in English here.

INEE Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction
This tool provides a framework to develop a context-specific plan for disaster resilient construction and retrofitting of school buildings, including a series of suggested steps that highlight key points that should be considered when planning a safer school construction and/or retrofitting initiative. As the Haitian schools system is rebuilt over the next months, it will be critical for all actors – government, donors, NGOs and UN agencies – to work together to ensure that the schools are built for safety. Using this tools as framework for discussion, and to inform planning will be critical.
Download the Guidance Notes in English here. Download the User’s Guide here.
INEE is working quickly to translate the text into French, and this should be available in a next weeks. To pre-order hardcopies of the French or English Guidance Notes, please email network@ineesite.org.

IASC Education Cluster Joint Education Needs Assessment Toolkit
Involving a widely consultative process, and drawing on the expertise and experience of many INEE members and other education practitioners, information management technical specialists and representatives of relevant sectors and cross-cutting issues, this Toolkit aims to guide national Education Clusters, or other education sector working groups, in the collective design and application of an education needs assessment to generate reliable, comprehensive and timely information to inform effective inter-agency emergency education responses.
The Toolkit is not intended to provide a rigid assessment format, but rather to serve as a comprehensive reference tool to help clusters and other education sector actors in inter-agency preparedness planning, as well as immediate primary data collection forms to draw from in an acute emergency. The Toolkit is broken into several sections including:

  • A Short Guide to Rapid Joint Education Needs Assessments
  • Joint Education Needs Assessment Framework
  • Methods for Joint Education Needs Assessments
  • Planning and Implementing Education Needs Assessments in Emergencies
  • Analyzing and Using Assessment Findings
  • Education Data Collection Modules (including: Access and Learning Environment, Teaching and Learning, Teachers and Other Education Personnel, Education Policy and Coordination, Community Participation, Cross-Cutting Domains, Inter-Cluster Domains)
  • Data Collection Tools and Formats for Compilation, Analysis and Reporting

Download the full Toolkit here.
The toolkit will be piloted in Haiti, where cluster actors will be particularly drawing upon the Short Guide to Education in Rapid Needs Assessments, which is available as a separate download here.

IASC Education Cluster Education in Emergencies Talking Points – Making the Case The Education Cluster Working Group has developed these talking points which make the case for the importance of education in humanitarian response. It includes a section outlining the protective role of education, and another on overcoming misconceptions.  Download here.
INEE Education in Emergencies Talking Points These Talking Points which focus on emergency response and the linkages to be made between education and other sectors. The last 5 pages provides links to key education and emergency response tools. Download here.

Orientation for Education Staff on Psychosocial Support and Education
This tools is an example of an Orientation Seminar for members of the Education Cluster or other education actors. It draws upon the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, in particular the Education Action Sheet 7.1. The design follows six parts: 1/ Assessment 2/ Goals 3/ Seminar Step-by-step 4/ Monitoring of learning during the seminar 5/ Evaluation and 6/ Reading and Handouts. Since every group participating in an orientation has different needs and expectations, the following Orientation Seminar is only one example and must be modified to fit the context and capacities of every training group.
Download the Seminar content here.

INEE Members can also access 5 other Seminars relating to psychosocial support, targeted at WASH, food security, donors, media, and general aid workers. Download all Seminars here.
Weathering the Storms Like Bamboo: The Strengths of Haitians in Coping with Natural Disasters by Guerda Nicolas, Billie Schwartz, and Elizabeth Pierre
When responding to a disaster such as that experienced by Haiti it is important to consider the strengths of the country and the resilience the people have for coping with such catastrophic events, the social support systems in place and the role the community has played in the past in addressing challenges and providing support. This article written in 2009, gives an overview of these issues in Haiti, providing background on Haiti’s history of political instability, past natural disasters and an exploration of the cultural strengths of Haitian in coping with disasters.  Download the article here.

IFRC Leaflet on Helping Children Cope with Stress
This leaflet produced by the IFRC Psychosocial Reference Center provides brief key messages for parents and caregivers on the signs of stress in children and how to support them. The leaflet is currently available in French and English, and is being translated into Creole.

Safe Schools in Safe Territories (UNICEF, 2009)  This document includes a section on measures that can be taken to minimise the negative impact of the use of educational institutions as shelters. Download here.

The global Education Cluster Unit and INEE Secretariat welcome any other suggestions for tools or resources that might be of use to members working in Pakistan or other acute emergencies. Please email information or resources to: network@ineesite.org.


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