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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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Breastfeeding, the best start in life for every child

By Azoura Diguera

This World Breastfeeding Week, observed from 1 to 7 August 2017, UNICEF Chad and its partners join hands to highlight the importance of breastfeeding for every child. On this occasion, meet 5 superwomen who are providing their children with the healthiest start in life.

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« Bachar is my 4th child and he is healthy because my milk contains essential vitamins for his well-being. I do take my time to breastfeed him because he needs this to grow up healthy”. Achta Alkhali, 26 and Bachar, 3 months. Ati.

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« During breastfeeding, my son tickles and plays but it is a wonderful feeling that I recommend to any new mom. I like watching him jiggling while in my arms as that means he really enjoys my milk » Kande Kaneram, 23 years old and Abdou, 1 year. Displaced people Site of Kadoulou, Lake Chad region”.

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« My husband was supportive and encouraged me to breastfeed my first child. Unfortunately, he died 3 days after I gave birth to my second baby. I have tried to overcome the loss and continued breastfeeding my baby girl. I really enjoy it and think it is important to share.” Fatime Adiya, 22 years old and Jemima, 2 months. Mayo Kebbi region.

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« My son loves his mother’s milk, so he always closes his eyes when he drinks it. I can feel he is very joyful and I can assure you this is one of the positive effects of breastfeeding, » Halime Hassan, 20 years old and Abakar, 6 months. Bouguirmi island, Lake Chad region.

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« I was told that with breastfeeding, mothers share elements of their immune system, which provides babies with a protective umbrella. Also, by breastfeeding my son, I pass on my intelligence because I know that breastfeeding increases the I.Q of a baby by 3 to 4 points”. Victorine Kanimbaye, 18 years old, and Elvis, 4 months. Moundou

According to the 2016 SMART study, only 7,3 % of breastfeeding mothers are practicing exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months. This represents only 79,134 women among a population of 1,084,632.

Children younger than 6 months old who are breastfed exclusively for longer periods have lower rates of infectious disease and death than children who are breastfed for shorter periods or who are not breastfed.

The benefits of breastfeeding for children and their mothers have the power to improve a country’s prosperity with lower health care costs. Yet, breastfeeding is not just a one-woman job. It requires encouragement and support from skilled counsellors, family members, health care providers, and decision-makers.

Soif d’avenir 

Au Tchad, améliorer l’accès à l’eau potable grâce à un téléphone mobile est maintenant possible

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Par Rodolphe Houlsonron

L’eau, c’est la vie dit-on. Cela est d’autant plus vrai, pour les communautés rurales de Yao dans le Batha. Près de 115.000 personnes, en majorité des femmes et des enfants souffrant d’un manque cruel d’eau potable, viennent de bénéficier de 139 points d’eau et d’assainissement grâce au financement de la Coopération Suisse au Tchad. Dans les communautés rurales de Yao au centre-Est du Tchad, les femmes n’ont plus besoin de parcourir quotidiennement des dizaines de kilomètres pour aller chercher de l’eau.

Saleh Sossal Attahir, âgé de 38 ans, fait partie du Comité de Gestion du Point d’Eau (CGPE) « AL-HAYA » (la vie) à Ambassatna. « Plusieurs projets dans le secteur de l’eau ont été mis en œuvre dans le Batha où plus de la moitié de la population boit de l’eau de mauvaise qualité. Par le passé, nous avions beaucoup de problème pour réparer les pompes en pannes. Certains points d’eau restaient abandonnés pendant des mois parce que les comités géraient mal l’argent qui devaient servir aux réparations. Notre comité à adhérer à l’Association de Ambassatna, qui gère 31 Comités de Gestion de Point d’eau CGPE et collecte les recettes de la vente de l’eau qui sont versées sur le compte Tigo Cash de l’association. »

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« Grâce au paiement par mobile avec TIGO-CASH, les fonds sont gérés avec transparence. Pour le mois d’avril seulement, nous avons pu faire réparer 3 pompes avec la collecte des fonds par transfert mobile, » ajoute Saleh Sossal Attahir.

Chaque comité a contribué à notre compte Tigo Cash et les fonds collectés ont été répartis pour les différentes dépenses comme la rémunération du fontainier, les frais de déplacement, les frais administratifs, les petites et grosses pannes, ou encore l’acquisition pour l’achat de nouvelles pompes.

Grâce au financement de la Coopération Suisse en partenariat avec l’UNICEF, plus de 140 forages mécanisés et équipés de pompes à motricité humaine ont été réalisées dans le district sanitaire de Yao.

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Aujourd’hui au Tchad, plus de 140 Comités de Gestion des Points d’Eau sont concernés par le système de paiement mobile qui permet d’améliorer la redevabilité des comités de gestion et d’assurer la continuité de la provision d’eau aux populations les plus vulnérables. Face aux changements climatiques, il est indispensable de faire appel aux innovations, notamment aux technologies mobiles pour accompagner les communautés à mieux gérer leurs ressources.

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L’UNICEF travaille activement avec ADRA, une ONG nationale pour la construction des points d’eau, des latrines, et la promotion des bonnes pratiques d’hygiène. Par ailleurs, l’Agence Panafricaine Eau et Assainissement pour l’Afrique (EAA) est en charge du renforcement de capacités des Comités de Gestion des Points d’Eau (CGPE). Dix Artisans Réparateurs ont également été formés pour assurer des travaux de maintenance des ouvrages en cas de panne ou de défaillance.