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Destructive impact of conflict on education highlighted in four-country African youth survey

Brussels event calls on African Union-EU summit to prioritise investment in learning opportunities

Brussels, 13 November 2017: Unsafe or damaged schools, absent teachers and dangerous journeys to class are among the destructive ways that conflict is impacting the learning prospects of young Africans according to a new UNICEF survey carried out in four countries.

Based on polling among 128,000 young people* in Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda, Chad and Nigeria, the survey findings were presented at a special dialogue event in Brussels ahead of the forthcoming African Union – EU Summit. The event was organised by UNICEF and the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Disruption to education as a result of conflict was reported by up to 76 per cent of survey respondents in Nigeria, and as many as 89 per cent in parts of northern Uganda. Schools that had been forced to shut or been damaged were the factor cited by almost 50 per cent of respondents overall. A lack of teachers and unsafe journeys to school were the other main ways respondents said violence had undermined their opportunities to learn.

Similar results were registered in CAR, where an estimated 80 per cent of the country is under the control of armed groups.

Over half of respondents said that while education was vital in providing them with skills and opportunities, learning also played a vital role in promoting peace.

“This is a strong message from young Africans that helps explain why keeping schools open and safe even in times of conflict and emergency is absolutely critical to youth and to society as a whole. This is why the EU has become a global leader in supporting education in emergencies. We have continuously been increasing our support in that respect, making the biggest investment we can in our common future. An investment in youth, and an investment in peace, » said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

Youth representatives at the Brussels meeting said the call for more resources to be dedicated to education should be heard loud and clear at the African Union – EU summit, which is being held in Cote D’Ivoire on November 29-30 with the theme of “investing in youth.”

“Young people in Africa represent so much dormant potential,” said Ubanwa Oyudo from Nigeria. “They represent the future, but to secure that future, investment is needed.”

19 year old Judith Sankagui said children in Central African Republic needed support “if they are to contribute, like those in other countries, to the future of this planet.”

“What this survey shows is that conflict is blighting the lives and hopes of an enormous number of young Africans,” said UNICEF Nigeria Representative Mohamed Malick Fall. “At the same time, it demonstrates that for those same youth, the issues of education and peace are tied closely together.”

The survey also underlined the huge importance young Africans attach to the role of technology in their education. 96 per cent of respondents agreed that technology could support their learning prospects.

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*The survey was conducted among youth from the UNICEF-supported U-Report initiative, a real-time social messaging tool that enables communication between young people and decision makers on issues that they care about. ‘U-Reporters’ respond to polls, report issues, support child rights and work as positive agents of change on behalf of people in their country. Today there are over 3 million U-reporters in more than 30 countries.

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#AfricanYouthVoices – QUI EST ZENABA QUI REPRESENTE LE TCHAD?

NOM :  Zenaba Moumine

AGE :  26 ans

NATIONALITE :  Tchadienne

Chad U-Reporter Moumine - Picture 2
UNICEFCHAD/Alliah/2017

SCOLARISATION / CONTEXTE ÉDUCATIF

Je viens tout juste d’obtenir ma licence de droit ; ce dont je suis très fière. La continuité de la scolarité n’est en effet pas toujours facile au Tchad. Durant mon primaire et secondaire, terminer les programmes n’était pas chose aisée avec les séries de grève des enseignants notamment. D’autre part, je n’avais pas accès à la bibliothèque ou l’informatique qui aurait facilite l’apprentissage des leçons.

DEPUIS COMBIEN DE TEMPS ETES-VOUS UNE U-REPORTER?

Je suis U-Reporter depuis la mise en œuvre de l’initiative au Tchad. Au mois de Mars 2016, je faisais ainsi parti des consultations pour le lancement de la phase pilote du projet avec d’autres jeunes. J’ai toujours voulu contribuer au développement de mon pays, et U-Report me permet à travers les sondages de faire porter ma voix et prendre en compte mes opinions. Depuis le début et jusqu’à maintenant, c’est un réel plaisir de faire parti de U-Report, que ce soit en répondant au sondage ou en faisant la promotion de U-Report.

Zenaba 6

POURQUOI ETES-VOUS DEVENUE UNE U-REPORTER?

On entend souvent qu’au Tchad la jeunesse n’a pas droit à la parole ou que celle-ci est relayée au second plan. De mon côté, je suis convaincue que U-Report, grâce à l’engagement du Gouvernement et de l’Unicef, peut permettre à la jeunesse tchadienne de retrouver sa place, contribuer au développement du pays et faire porter notre voix. Etre U-Reporter, c’est pour moi être un Ambassadeur, un porte-parole de sa famille et sa communauté.

QU’AIMEZ-VOUS DE U-REPORT?

J’ai appris l’existence de U-Report dans d’autres pays, et son rôle et impact notamment dans d’autres pays d’Afrique. Aujourd’hui, U-Report est finalement une réalité pour la jeunesse tchadienne. Grace à cet un outil les jeunes peuvent entrer en contact direct avec les autorités locales, le gouvernement et les bailleurs pour exprimer de vive voix leur besoins et aspirations. Pour moi Zenaba, personnellement, j’aime de U-Report car ça a été l’unique cadre qui m’a permis de dialoguer et plaider directement auprès de mes autorités locales.

Zenaba 4

POURQUOI PENSEZ-VOUS QUE L’ÉDUCATION EN SITUATION D’URGENCE EST IMPORTANTE?  

L’éducation est importante à tous les niveaux, et encore plus dans les situations d’urgence. Je vis cette situation au Tchad, en raison des menaces de Boko Haram. Dans ce contexte, les Gouvernements sont plus préoccupe par la réponse aux groupes de terroristes que la prise en charge scolaire ; et ce, malgré l’importance évidente de l’éducation et ses avantages pour l’individu, les familles, les sociétés. L´éducation dans les situations de conflit continue à être sous-financée par le gouvernement et les acteurs humanitaires. Pourtant cela devrait être une priorité.

QUEL MESSAGE AIMERIEZ-VOUS DONNER AUX DIRIGEANTS AU NOM DES JEUNES?

U-Report est une très belle initiative pour les jeunes eux-mêmes en tant que acteurs et le gouvernement et partenaire en tant que garant. Le message de plaidoyer que j’adresse aux décideurs et partenaires, c’est d’appuyer cette initiative pour ne qu’elle ne soit pas un coup de bluff, que les jeunes puissent savoir qu’ils ont enfin un cadre de dialogue avec les décideurs. Les décideurs et partenaires doivent pouvoir répondre efficacement aux besoins et aspirations des jeunes qui sont exprimés et ressortent des sondages.

« Aux jeunes, je veux leur dire de ne pas hésiter à saisir cette opportunité et à faire entendre leur voix. Participez 100 % aux sondages et rejoignez un groupe des U-reporters pour devenir un agent de changement positif dans votre milieu ».

Girls standing against Child Marriage in DJAKO

In DJAKO returnee site in Chad, young girls dream of a better future

After the violence in the Central African Republic in 2013, more than 60,000 people have found refuge in Chad. Among them are refugees but also returnees such as those of the site of DJAKO which are close to the 1,500 people.

As in most camps in emergency situations, DJAKO also has its realities in terms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), but the young girls who live there have taken charge of their lives and are struggling for a better future.

Fatouma Zakaria.15.cmprsd
UNICEF Chad/2017/Azoura

« I am against the marriage of children because before the age of 18, the body of the girl itself is not ready to endure a child. Moreover, for me the school is sacred, so every young girl must have the opportunity to continue schooling, whether in a refugee, returnee camp or elsewhere.  » Fatoumata Zakaria, 15, Djako returnee site.

Fane Mht.12.cmprsd
UNICEF Chad/2017/Azoura

« Marriage is not for children. How can a girl who is also a child give birth to another child without complications during pregnancy or childbirth ? It’s impossible, that’s why I say NO to child marriage! « Fane Mahamat, 12, Djako returnee site.

Khalia Mht Nour.17.cmprsd
UNICEF Chad/2017/Azoura

« Caring for a baby is an art that only mature women can do. My mother always told me that marriage is not for children, so she allowed my older sisters to get married only after they all three got their majority. « Khalia Mahamat Nour, 17, Djako returnee site.

Hapsita Yachoub.16.cmprsd
UNICEF Chad/2017/Azoura

« The younger the girl is, the less she knows how to take care of her home and her children and she risks many health problems that can even cause her death, and if she dies, to whom the fault ? And Law N⁰. 029 is there to punish recalcitrant parents.  » Hapsita Yakhoub, 16, Djako returnee site.

Nidjema Zakaria.11.cmprsd
UNICEF Chad/2017/Azoura

« For me, the most important thing for a girl is to continue with school to be a great lady tomorrow. A girl who is not old enough to marry will not even be able to care for her , still less of her baby, and put the life of the latter in danger (disease, malnutrition etc). « Nidjema Zakaria, 11, Djako returnee site.

Since the establishment of the camp, UNICEF and its partners have organized dozens of information sessions on combating child marriage by disseminating the Law N⁰ 029, which serves as a springboard to keep girls in school. Thanks to this, more than 200 girls in the returnee site of DJAKO have the opportunity to continue with their studies without worrying about anything else.

By DIGUERA Azoura