INEE – New Gender-Responsive Research

From INEE website

In August 2009, to mark a year since the death of Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Kirk, INEE launched a Commemorative Competition to honour her work as the convener of the INEE Gender Task Team and more broadly within the field as the leading gender and education in emergencies expert (read the Call for Papers here).

The competition sought to identify academic papers and practitioner-authored case studies that documented innovative gender-responsive research, policy or practice in the field of education in emergencies. From the strong response of members and other partners INEE developed a shortlist of seven papers, from which a selection committee made up of gender specialists from the INEE Gender Task Team and the INEE Secretariat anonymously selected 2 winners:

Effects of teacher training for refugee women in West Africa: Fostering agents of change in schools and society? By Susan Shepler and Sharyn Routh
Effects of teacher training for refugee women in West Africa: Fostering agents of change in schools and society, draws data from an innovative research project tracing former refugee teachers who received teacher training from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) over a seventeen year long education program in refugee camps in Guinea (1991-2008). The research traced repatriated refugee teachers who had returned to their homes in Sierra Leone and Liberia in an effort to determine the effects of the training they received -particularly whether they were still working as teachers in their post-repatriation lives, or whether they had made use of their training in other ways. Although the research in question focused on all of the former IRC teachers who the research team could trace, the present paper is about the female teachers and their specific situations. Focusing on the women’s responses yields gender-specific conclusions about structural barriers to institutional and societal change in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Education and Emergency: Women in post-2001 Afghanistan By Eva Sajoo
This paper examines the potential significance of investing in female education in the fragile and frequently violent context of post-invasion Afghanistan.  Recent and chronic challenges to female education are examined through the lens of transitional priorities.  The economic and social benefits promised by human capital theory and their limitations in Afghanistan are considered, alongside arguments emerging from Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Beyond economics and politics however, the criterion of basic human capabilities provides a measure of the nature of the society being built – in terms of the ethical demand that no group be denied the capacity to exercise agency. In sum, this paper contends that prioritizing female access to education in transitional Afghanistan, for all the pragmatic and attitudinal obstacles, is a critical choice for the maturation of civic and economic development.

The winning papers are available on a dedicated webpage, along with the five finalists:

INEE would like to thank all those who submitted papers, and hope to be able to organize a similar competition in 2010, so stay tuned for further opportunities to continue the work that Jackie pioneered with INEE. Pending permission from the authors, some case studies may be developed from the final papers for use in the upcoming Gender Pocket Guide, which is currently being developed by INEE and the IASC Education Cluster with technical support from a GenCap secondment. The Gender Pocket Guide would not offer nearly as many comprehensive or effective strategies without Jackie’s work, and is a direct reflection of her profound contributions to the field.

Get Involved with the INEE Gender Task Team
One immediate way to share your experience relating to education and gender in crisis contexts is to get involved with the INEE Gender Task Team in 2010 in order to support gender mainstreaming and attention to gender equality in and through education in emergencies, post-crisis and contexts of fragility.  You can learn more about the work of the Team here: The Gender Task Team is open to any INEE member interested in working towards gender equality in and through education in emergencies through collaborative advocacy, tool development and research–simply email for more information.


Reaching the Margnialized: Launch of the 2010 GMR Report –

Reaching the Margnialized: Launch of the 2010 GMR Report –

Findings on Conflict, Natural Disasters and Marginalisation

INEE has brought us upt odate with EFA by highlighting this new report.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, launched Reaching the Marginalized, the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report at UN headquarters in New York on 19 January 2010.  This was followed on 20 January by a policy event in Washington, DC at the Brookings Institution.
The Global Monitoring Report (GMR), developed annually by an independent team and published by UNESCO, assesses progress towards the six Education for All goals to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000. The 2010 Report charts some striking advances in education over the past decade. Despite these gains, however, the world is not on track to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

Setbacks in education have wider consequences: lost opportunities for education will act as a brake on economic growth, poverty reduction, and progress in health and other areas. Therefore, as articulated by Kevin Watkins, Director of the Global Monitoring Report, “education should be placed at the center of the Millennium Development Goal agenda.”

Falling Short of the EFA Goals

  • On current trends, 56 million primary school age children will still be out of school in 2015.
  • Another 71 million adolescents are currently not at school.
  • Gender disparities remain deeply engrained, with 28 countries across the developing world having nine or fewer girls in primary school for every ten boys.
  • Girls still account for 54 per cent of the children out of school- and girls not in primary school are far less likely than boys ever to attend school.
  • 10.3 million additional teachers will be needed worldwide to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015.
  • There has been little progress towards the goal of halving adult illiteracy – a condition that affects 759 million people, two-thirds of them women.
  • Far too many young people emerge from primary school unable to read or write. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, young adults with five years of primary schooling have a 40 per cent chance of being illiterate.

A Collective Aid Failure
According to the 2010 GMR, there has been a collective failure by the donor community to act on the pledge made in 2000 that ‘no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by lack of resources. An estimated financing gapof US$16 billion annually for 46 low-income countries reflect governments’ ongoing neglect of the need to address extreme inequalities; the world will only get all its children into school by putting the marginalised at the centre of education policy. The authors of the report call on the UN Secretary General to convene a high-level pledging conference in 2010 to address the financing shortfall.  With 72 million children still out of school, the report cautions that a combination of slower economic growth, rising poverty and budget pressures, could erode the gains of the past decade:
“While rich countries nurture their economic recovery, many poor countries face the imminent prospect of education reversals. We cannot afford to create a lost generation of children deprived of their chance for an education that might lift them out of poverty,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
The report also concludes that the Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the centrepiece of multilateral aid for education, needs fundamental reform. Payout rates are very low, developing countries have a weak voice, the private sector’s role is minimal and countries affected by conflict are poorly served.
Conflict, Natural Disaster and Marginalisation
Discrimination and inequalities based on poverty, gender, location, ethnicity, disability, HIV/AIDS,  language and exposure to conflict play a key role in marginalisation – and often combine to reinforce disadvantage – holding back progress in education, wasting human potential and undermining prosperity.

Chapter 3 of the GMR, Getting left behind, explores how the effects of external shocks such as droughts, floods or economic downturns on schooling tend to be more pronounced in low-income countries. The poorest households often find it impossible to shield their children’s schooling from these shocks, adding to the threat of poverty persisting across generations: when children are born in a drought year or experience malnutrition early in their lives, the effects can be seen a decade later in their health and nutritional status, and their education attainment.

The GMR identifies conflict as a potent source of marginalisation in education: over one-third of primary school age children who do not attend school – 25 million total – live in conflict-affected poor countries. Worldwide, around 14 million children aged 5 to 17 have been forcibly displaced by conflict within countries or across borders, into education systems lacking the most rudimentary education facilities. Less easy to measure than the impact on school attendance are the effects of trauma associated with armed conflict on learning.

The report states that the international donor community has not responded effectively to the problems of low-income countries affected by conflict. These countries account for one-third of out-of-school children, but receive less than one-fifth of aid to education. Moreover, aid flows are dominated by a small group of conflict-affected states – notably Afghanistan and Pakistan – while a far larger group is neglected. Overall, education receives less than 2% of humanitarian aid, and many countries have received insufficient support for education reconstruction.
The report calls for governments to adopt targeted policies and practices that combat exclusion and successfully counteract persistent inequalities in education, including:

  • Improving accessibility and affordability by cutting fees and informal charges and offering targeted incentives, in addition to bringing classrooms physically closer to marginalized children;
  • Strengthening the learning environment by providing highly skilled teachers and expanded intercultural bilingual teaching and adapting schools to the local context;
  • Expanding entitlements and opportunities by integrating education strategies into wider anti-marginalization policies, such as social protection, reinforced legal entitlements and more fairly distributed public spending.
  • Implementing accelerated learning opportunities, which play a particularly vital role in post-conflict settings, where a generation of children may have missed out on education

Upcoming 2011 Global Monitoring Report on Education and ConflictIn an exciting development for the field of Education in Emergencies, the next GMR report will focus specifically on education in conflict. The INEE Secretariat, INEE Steering Group, INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility and other members of the network have been actively involved in the early stages of the process, supporting the development of the concept note and research agenda for the 2011 Report.  INEE will continue to work closely with the GMR team as the research progresses, and will share more information on the consultation process and opportunities for engagement over the listserv in the coming months.

To read the full 2010 GMR Report in English click here.

Read the Summary 2010 GMR Report in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

Click here to download the INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education.

Click here to read INEE Member Peter Hyll Larson’s recent blog post on marginalization: Non-discrimination in education in emergencies: the fundamental challenge.

Learning about Haiti -free resources from UNICEF

On January 12, 2010, Haiti was rocked by an earthquake that registered over 7.0 on the Richter scale. It was the most powerful quake to strike Haiti in nearly 200 years and it resulted in destruction on an unimaginable scale. The epicenter of the quake was just ten miles from the densely populated city of Port-au-Prince.

With the dire circumstances in Haiti and the coverage by media outlets it is expected that  students or children will want to discuss Haiti, natural disasters, and ways they can take action.

UNICEF is a good source for such information and learning resources:

Classroom Resources

Haiti Country Information

Haiti LeMoyne

Updates, Stories, and Videos – To find regular updates, stories and videos on Haiti, please visit:

Information on UNICEF Supplies headed to Haiti

Discussing Natural Disasters

  • NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) – Resources

Of course donations will be the main way that people of Haiti will be supported, but students also need to learn about the bigger picture and understand some of the issues that are discussed in the media -otherwise they will be caught up in the sensational reporting of looters etc and will soon forget the people of Haiti.

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 ( UNICEF Global Education Cluster Coordinator, Susan Nicolai ( Save the Children Global Education Cluster Coordinator, and Charlotte Lattimer ( 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 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
  • 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

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:

Framework for Durable Solutions for Displaced Persons – a new report

Having worked in Azerbaijan where there was over 1 million internally displaced persons, who after 10 years of cessation of conflict some were still living in tents, any ‘durable solution’ must be good. I have also worked in Chad and Colombia and know that it is a growing problem and  one which gets little attention once initial news media have moved onto the next crisis.

Framework for Durable Solutions for Displaced Persons


Displacement is a life-changing event. While the often traumatic experience of displacement cannot be undone, internally displaced persons (IDPs) need to be able to resume a normal life by achieving a durable solution. As articulated in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, IDPs have a right to a durable solution and often need assistance in their efforts. Guiding Principles 28-30 set out the rights of IDPs to durable solutions, the responsibilities of national authorities, and the role of humanitarian and development actors to assist durable solutions. The Framework for Durable Solutions for Displaced Persons aims to provide clarity on the concept of a durable solution and provides general guidance on how to achieve it.

This newly released framework builds on a pilot version released in 2007, which the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) welcomed and suggested to field-test. The Framework was revised and finalised in 2009, taking into account valuable feedback from the field on the pilot version and subsequent drafts.

Providing solutions to IDPs and ensuring their protection and assistance primarily lie with national authorities and, where applicable, with nonstate actors who control a given territory. This Framework should enable humanitarian organizations to assist the relevant authorities and non state actors to take on this responsibility. Its purpose is also to assist them and the displaced themselves to determine whether durable solutions to internal displacements have been found and, if not, to identify what is still required towards reaching that goal.

For access to the full report, please click here.

Moving Toward Free Primary Education – Policy Issues and Implementation Challenges -UNICEF report

In the INEE newsletter a new report was listed:

Moving Toward Free Primary Education – Policy Issues and Implementation Challenges (UNICEF)

This report, published within the framework of UNICEF’s Division of Policy and Planning Social and Economic Policy Working Papers, is the third study in the series of SFAI (School Fee Abolition Initiative) publications and is the result of a collaborative effort between UNICEF, the World Bank and the EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI). Recognizing that school fee abolition is a bold and complex undertaking, it discusses how countries have addressed policy issues and implementation challenges. The study examines the experiences of 32 partner countries in the EFA FTI as of 2007, revealing a variety of strategies and impacts. It concludes by articulating questions for future consideration, including the sustainability of school fee abolition policies within the resource constrained environments resulting from the global economic crisis.

The report states that school fee abolition policies, and other strategies to support poor households in coping with education cost-barriers, are key to reaching out-of-school children and to sustain and accelerate progress towards MDG2. UNICEF plans to strengthen its engagement on the issue through an enhanced knowledge base, technical support to countries, South-South exchanges and intensified policy dialogue. A questionnaire will be sent out to countries in mid-January 2010 with a view to developing a global data-base on cost-barriers to education and of monitoring status, needs and programs more systematically as well as engaging in evidence-based advocacy.

For access to the full report, please click here.

To request a hard copy of the report, please contact the Education Section at

And a second UNICEF report

Providing education to conflict-affected children in the remote regions of Central African Republic (UNICEF)

In an article for UNICEF, Daniel Dickinson discusses the creation of new schools deep in the “bush” of the Central African Republic, amidst years of violence:

After years of conflict in the rural north of Central African Republic, dozens of simple ‘bush schools’ are helping many children displaced by the fighting to return to full-time education. For many, it is the only chance they have to study.

It may not look like much, the rickety wooden structure with a thatched roof and open sides, but for its 70 pupils, the Martin Luther school in in the dusty scrubland of Bocaranga – in the far north-west corner of the Central African Republic – offers the best possibility to move forward following years of conflict.

Many of the pupils attending these schools were forced to flee their homes due to the conflict between rebel groups and government forces, and are now living in informal settlements around towns like Bocaranga.

Ms. Poukou is one of around a hundred such trained parents – called ‘ma?tre parents’ – in the area, complimented by only seven fully qualified teachers that have been provided by the Government. The harsh living conditions, the remoteness of Bocaranga and the huge needs of the local population make it difficult to attract teachers here.

Set up by UNICEF and funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), these schools represent more than just a place for children to study.  According to Muriel Cornelis, the Head of the ECHO in Central African Republic, in emergency situations schools provide people with access to basic services like safe drinking water, healthcare and protection. “For many of the children attending bush schools this is a positive step towards a normal life,” says Cornelis.

For access to the full article, please click here.

Helping Haiti -what can we do?

As if the people of Haiti have not suffered enough from man made disasters, they get hit by one of the worst earthquakes in centuries. From a distance it is hard to find ways to help -but here are few ideas, some just help raise awareness, some by using networks and and some by giving a donation so that the experts in disater relief can exercise their muscles, quickly.

NEW YORK, USA, 13 January 2010 – Despite heavy damage to its own offices in Port-au-Prince, UNICEF is ready to provide immediate support to the victims of the unfolding humanitarian crisis following the earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday.

Donate now

"While relief efforts have begun, communications are extremely difficult and accurate information is still scarce," UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in a statement this morning. "It is clear that the consequences are severe and many children are among the victims," she added. "Our hearts go out to the families whose lives have been so terribly impacted by this tragedy."

Listen to UNICEF spokesman Patrick McCormick on protecting Haiti's "most vulnerable" (external link, opens in a new window).

Veneman noted that UNICEF will deploy essential aid – including safe water, sanitation supplies, therapeutic foods, medical supplies and temporary shelter materials – as quickly as possible to assist with recovery efforts. "We will also be focusing on children who have become separated from their families to protect them from harm or exploitation," she said.

Forward this information to individuals/organisations who are helping on the ground in Haiti:
 In the face of the devastating earthquake <> in Haiti, we urge everyone to forward and distribute the following health materials in Haitian Creole and English to every relief worker, resident, and traveler already in or leaving for Haiti. 

 *Materials available in Haitian Creole:* 

 Here is a link to a pdf of the the Haitian Creole edition of _Where There is No Doctor_: 

 Link to a pdf of the Haitian Creole edition of Sanitation and Cleanliness booklet: 

 Hesperian expresses our deepest sympathies to those who have been directly and indirectly affected by this disaster. Natural disasters are made worse by our very human-made systems that impoverish people and deny their right to health. As we encourage you to donate to the relief effort, Hesperian recommends these organizations which have redoubled their work in Haiti to address this most recent catastrophe: 

 Haiti Action Network, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund 

 Partners in Health 

 Grassroots International, Earthquake Relief Fund for Haiti

 Also available as a printed book from 4 The World Resource Distributers
 Tel: 417-862-4448
 Fax: 417-863-9994 <> 

 Link to a pdf of the Haitian Creole edition of _Where Women Have No Doctor_:

 produced by our partners _SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) 

 Link to a pdf of a cholera fact sheet in English:

 All of the above and other health materials in English and Spanish can be downloaded here:

The Red Cross
If you are in America you can donate $10 to the Red Cross Haiti earthquake appeal via your cell phone by texting ‘HAITI’ to ‘90999′. You can also visit the Red Cross US site.

Yele Haiti
Also for Americans: donate $5 to Wyclef Jean’s charity Yele Haiti by texting ‘Yele’ to 501501.

The British Red Cross
You can visit the British Red Cross site to donate to their Haiti Earthquake appeal.

Oxfam have set up a Haiti earthquake page which includes information on the situation as it develops. You can also donate to the Haiti earthquake fund.

Google is helping:

In order to help the people of Haiti respond to this catastrophe, Google is donating $1 million to organizations on the ground that are rescuing those still trapped and providing clean water, food, medical care, shelter and support to those affected. We’d like to make it easy for anyone moved by the tragedy to respond as well, so we’ve included a link on our homepage to information, resources and ways you can help, including information on how to donate to organizations including: Direct Relief, Yele Haiti, Partners in Health, Red Cross, World Food Program, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, Lambi Fund, Doctors Without Borders, The International Rescue Committee.