Education protects and sustains lives and livelihoods. Individuals and communities living in the conflict zones where we work have increasingly been asking us, as part of our humanitarian efforts, to help them continue or resume their education after it was disrupted by armed conflict or violence. Alongside food, shelter and water, education is a priority for them.
We recognize the broad value of continuity of education for these communities, and its ability to give them a better future and enable them to live with dignity. Access to education has become an integral part of the ICRC's policy and programmes, working in partnership with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other organizations.
We take a twofold approach to addressing access to education: strengthen our existing work in education, and step up our support for efforts to ensure education is included in humanitarian responses.
This approach was formalized in 2017, with the adoption of the ICRC Framework for Access to Education and the first Access to Education Strategy, covering 2018 to 2020. Under that strategy we have taken numerous steps to understand and address education needs across different regions, including:
- evaluating access to education for communities affected by conflict and violence as part of our general field assessment procedures
- incorporating support for schools and other education establishments in our operational work (notably in protection and assistance)
- developing our operational response, in line with our unique mission and access to places affected by conflict and violence
- engaging in global and regional policy forums to ensure that the provisions of international humanitarian law and our operational lessons learned are incorporated in the thinking of the international community and in established good practice
- developing an International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement narrative on education, based on the 2017 Council of Delegates resolution "Education: Related humanitarian needs".
These steps have expanded our work on access to education in various parts of the world. As the first strategy comes to an end, we are reviewing the progress made, looking carefully at our operational activities, the lessons learned, the areas where we make the biggest difference and the expertise we bring to the field. The results of this review will be used to develop the subsequent Access to Education Strategy, covering 2021 to 2024.
With all these measures, and by working closely with other organizations, we are endeavouring to address the needs of the communities we serve and to play our part in securing better access to education for all children and young people.
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