“Every child, every context, Safe to Learn”: Wrap-up of the Education Cannot Wait, High-Level Financing Conference side event 

Manu, Save the Children youth activist from Nigeria (left) & Tabeth Chingwaru, Journalist, girls’ rights activist and member of Y4EiE Global Youth Panel (right) at the Every child, every context, Safe to Learn event

Manu, Save the Children youth activist from Nigeria (left) & Tabeth Chingwaru, Journalist, girls’ rights activist and member of Y4EiE Global Youth Panel (right) at the Every child, every context, Safe to Learn event

A key issue for children is to be safe at school but the reality is we are scared. Scared when we see military equipment. Scared when we hear bombs near our schools.

Manu, Save the Children Youth Activist

Manu, a fifteen-year-old boy from Nigeria, spoke to his reality and called for urgent action to fund efforts to reduce violence in and against schools. Too many children face this violence every day and that’s why Safe to Learn and partners hosted the Every child, every context, Safe to Learn side event at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Financing Conference on 17 February – to encourage greater action to make sure all children, in all contexts and in all their diversity have safe learning environments. 

The youth-led interactive event saw speakers, including young people and survivors of violence, propose solutions and calls to action. Senior education leaders responded to them and set out how their organisation can help facilitate the scale-up of such solutions. 

This fast-paced and high-energy session presented a range of solutions, including: making sure girls are central to policy making to inform gender transformative systems; ensuring diversity and tolerance is addressed in curriculums and in teacher training; supporting children to safely share their experiences of violence with teachers and parents so they can lead the change that is needed; and to urgently increase resources to scale up efforts that are working at a policy and school level.

“We are supporting girls to be central to the process of monitoring efforts to make education systems gender transformative” responded Rob Jenkins, Chief of Education, UNICEF,From Laura Frigenti, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, shared insights into the efforts they are supporting to address diversity and tolerance, as a central element to transform education systems. The importance of meeting power with empathy rather than with more power was raised by the Director of the UN Girls Education Initiative, Antara Ganguli. 

And educators’ views were presented as well. A teacher in South Sudan spoke of the efforts being made to convene teachers, parents and children to all discuss the realities of violence and efforts being taken to end it.

The main message coming through in all that was shared was the urgency to act. Children are experiencing violence now and the efforts being made to address this must be supported and scaled up, now.

A range of resources were mentioned during the event, developed by organising partners, to help guide and inform programming to reduce violence in schools. These materials share learning and aim to enable action.

  • The new STL x ECW guidance note was launched at the event to support ECW grantees and all practitioners in the field to integrate violence prevention and response mechanisms within education services during emergencies and protracted crises.
  • Safe to Learn and partners have published a high-level Essay Collection to provide a holistic insight into the devastating scale and impact of violence in and through schools– and highlight the proven solutions that help keep children safe.
  • 4 young people co-produced the “Don’t Fail Us” youth film series to share their experiences and views on violence in and around school, calling on world leaders to transform education and make it safe to learn. The recommendations they share are encompassed in the Safe to Learn Call to Action, which highlights 5 key areas where progress needs to be accelerated to end violence in and through schools.
  • The EiE GenKit developed by ECW, INEE, and UNGEI is a series of tools and practical guidance that helps practitioners ensure Education in Emergencies interventions and programmes are gender-responsive and inclusive. 
  • UNGEI’s ‘Whole School Approach Minimum Standards and Monitoring Framework to Prevent School Related Gender Based Violence leverages the collective knowledge and experience of the Global Working Group to End SRGBV. It takes into account the interconnectedness of schools, communities, and families to improve the school environment for students, staff, and community members.
  • UNICE’s  Action to End Violence Against Children in and Around Schools is a  review of programme interventions that illustrates UNICEF's actions to address violence against children in and around schools in 28 countries in seven geographical regions. The report aims to complement the Safe to Learn Global Programmatic Framework and Benchmarking Tool.
  • Plan International, Transform Education, UNGEI and UNICEF have developed the ‘Gender Transformative Education - Reimagining education for a more just and inclusive world’ brief.  This explores how to “do” gender-transformative education: what it means, why it’s important and how to make it happen. 

The Every child, every context, Safe to Learn event was co-hosted by UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait, The Global Partnership for Education, the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, Plan International, Safe to Learn, Save the Children International, Together for Girls, Transform Education, UNGEI and The Brave Movement.

Learn more about efforts to keep kids #SafeToLearn.