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UNRWA Hosts the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Conflict-Sensitive Education Training of Trainers in Amman
From 10 to 13 July, the Department of Education at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) hosted the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Conflict-Sensitive Education (CSE) Training of Trainers. The event, which marked the first stage of a global capacity-building programme to enhance the delivery of conflict-sensitive education, brought together over 30 senior education practitioners, policymakers and academics from United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world.
INEE is an open global network of more than 13,000 members and 130 partner organizations working in 190 countries around the world to support the delivery of quality and safe education in emergencies and post-crisis situations. The training in Amman is the first stage of a cascaded training model that is estimated to reach around 800 education practitioners and policymakers.
In her welcoming remarks, the UNRWA Director of Education, Dr. Caroline Pontefract, provided an overview of the context in which UNRWA works. She reflected on the Agency’s extensive experience in delivering education in conflict and crisis situations, highlighting the work of the Education Reform in building a strong and resilient education system. “Quality, inclusive and equitable education remains our main goal,” emphasized Dr. Pontefract. However, she added, “During emergencies, it may be necessary to do things differently, to do more of other things and to do things that have not been the focus before – this is the core of the UNRWA Education in Emergencies approach.”
The Coordinator for the INEE Education Policy Working Group, Laura Davidson, highlighted that education policies and programmes need to respond to the context by being “conflict-sensitive” to maximize the positive impacts of education in conflict.
Over the four-day training, participants were introduced to the key concepts of conflict-sensitive education and how to integrate these into education planning and the project cycle. Participants also worked on building their own training-facilitation techniques and developed action plans to roll-out the training in the locations where they work.
On the last day, the group was joined by Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a new global Education-in-Emergencies initiative. She met first with the UNRWA Director of Education, then spent an hour with the INEE group explaining to participants that Education Cannot Wait seeks to address the needs of children in crisis. She stressed the importance of working in collaboration with all partners and said how she saw the role of all INEE members as particularly pertinent in this respect.
UNRWA – with its long-standing experience in delivering education in emergencies and protracted crises – welcomed the opportunity to host this event, as it enabled the Agency to articulate its commitment to the provision of education in emergencies and to the role of INEE in this respect.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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