The power of education for building peace in Africa

infographicADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI/DAKAR, 1st JUNE 2016 – Ensuring equitable access to education is key in addressing the root causes of conflict and instability in Africa, stakeholders said today ahead of the Pan-African Symposium on Education, Resilience and Social Cohesion, at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa.

The three-day event shares evidence and best practices from UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA), and the Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN) on Peace Education, established by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). In doing so, the Symposium will seek to assess how inclusive, equitable and innovative education policy and programmes can contribute to sustainable peace and development across the continent. Currently, three out of 10 children in Africa are living in conflict-affected settings and exposed to numerous risks.  

“The capacity of education to support children develop and thrive is well documented, however we now also know that education can prevent and reduce the impacts of conflict,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala. “If the right policies and interventions are in place, together with financial investment, education can be a driving force in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 36 out of 45 countries are at medium or high risk of experiencing manmade disasters, the highest rate globally. Moreover, at least 327 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa live in fragile contexts and the majority of the estimated 29 million primary school aged children who are out of school are primarily found in fragile settings and are particularly at risk or threatened by conflict.

“We need to reorient Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to nurture the continent’s core values,” said Dr Martial de Paul Ikounga, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology. “We will then promote sustainable development at the national, sub-regional and continental levels.”

The African Union Commission, under the Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want”, envisions that by 2020 all guns will be silent and a culture of peace and tolerance would be nurtured in Africa´s children and youth through peace.”      

Oley Dibba-Wadda, the Executive Secretary of ADEA, sees education as “a key tool against all kinds of violence” and strongly appeals to African governments to “endorse and develop integrated, peaceful, inclusive approaches and strategies that support the implementation of a comprehensive program on non-violence, tolerance and peace, especially for the young generation.” 

The high-level event in Addis Ababa, which is being attended by Ministers of Education from 16 African countries, including conflict-torn states, will close with concrete recommendations on how to strengthen education sector policy and programmes in Africa to address the risks faced by children and to support sustainable peace and development across Africa. The symposium will also provide evidence to inform both donor and public funding strategies and investment priorities.

“Education can play both a protective and preventative role. In doing this, education’s power is transformative and serves as a peace dividend, reducing inequities and grievances between groups and strengthening social cohesion” said the Ethiopian Minister of Education, Ato Shiferaw Shigute.

The symposium is co-organized by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education, UNICEF, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), and the Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN) on Peace Education.

Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to meet in Ethiopia

SWA Meeting of Ministers Announcement
Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, H. E Motuma Mukassa, announces that Ethiopia is hosting the meeting of Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene which is organized by the Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SWA) and convened by UNICEF. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Bizuwerk

Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene from around the world will meet in Ethiopia from 15-16 March 2016 to plan and prepare for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sanitation, water and hygiene.

The meeting is organized by the Sanitation and Water for All partnership (SWA), and convened by UNICEF. SWA has over 100 partners, mostly governments, and works as a platform for encouraging and coordinating political dialogue and action around water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

“This meeting will be different from all other high level meetings organized by SWA previously, mostly because of the timing: it will be the first global meeting on these topics after the UN Member States agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals last September, “says Motuma Mukassa, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia. Mr Motuma also underscores that the SDG targets on water and sanitation requires a higher level of coordination, alignment and communication both at global and national levels.

Ethiopia is selected to host this meeting for its commitment to implementing innovative ways towards achieving universal access to sanitation, water and hygiene by coordinating different ministries, increasing sector funding and investing in the training of health workers. The country’s One WASH National Progrmame (OWNP), launched in September 2013, is one of the most ambitious in the sector. It is based on a sector-wide approach and involves the ministries of water, health, education and finance and the government’s main development partners. Ethiopia devises this programme to modernize the way water and sanitation services are delivered to its people.  Recently, with UNICEF’s support, Ethiopia also started a South-South collaboration with Brazil in the area of urban sanitation and regulatory framework for WASH service delivery.

The Ministerial Meeting is a unique opportunity for countries to identify the major bottlenecks to achieving the SDG water, sanitation, and hygiene targets and lay groundwork for clear action plans, strategies and milestones.

High-level delegates, including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, Kevin Rudd, Chair of SWA and the 26th Prime Minister of Australia and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF will attend the meeting.

 

Ethiopia hosted the 3rd Africa’s Nutrition Security Partnership Annual Review Meeting

By Selamawit Negash

Ten month old Hanan Mohammed Ibrahim has her mid upper arm circumference measured
Ten month old Hanan Mohammed Ibrahim has her mid upper arm circumference measured ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Getachew

Malnutrition in Africa is at present one of the leading causes of mortality among children under five. Data indicate that malnutrition including intra uterine growth restriction, stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies contribute to up to 45per cent of all child deaths in Africa.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 per cent of children under 5 years of age are stunted. Food and nutrition security in Africa, in particular in Sub Saharan Africa has hardly improved over the last decade, despite many initiatives at global and regional level.

There are evidences that all global advocacy initiatives need country examples – champions that can show in practice, and not just in theory, how to achieve results when resources are scarce and the challenges are great. The European Union (EU) and UNICEF partner to improve nutrition security in Africa at regional level and in a total of four target countries Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Africa Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) programme that is being implemented in 2012-2015 is a multi-donor initiative of in total €21 million with the support from the EU amounting to €15 million. The programme aims at increasing the commitment to nutrition in terms of policies, budgets, and effective programming and implementation. The programme fosters high-level policy engagement to nutrition at continental, regional and national levels and contributes to scaling up of high-impact nutrition interventions in the four target countries by integrating nutrition goals into broader health, development and agricultural efforts.

Ethiopia hosted the 3rd Africa’s Nutrition Security Partnership Annual Review Meeting from 14 to 15 October 2014. Participants from the government of Ethiopia EU, UNICEF as well as Cornell University from continental, regional and country level organisations discuss accomplishments, bottlenecks to implementations and sharing experiences and best practices among ANSP beneficiary countries.

Group Photo: African Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) 3rd Annual Review Meeting
Group Photo: African Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) 3rd Annual Review Meeting ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ayene

Good progresses is made towards the achievements of the ANSP objectives in all of the four ANSP result areas of policy, capacity, information system and programme scale up. It is clear that during the meeting, that ANSP is helping to improve the political environment for nutrition with strong continental, regional and national leadership, multisectoral coordination and joint accountability scale up community level nutrition interventions.

2015 will be the last year for ANSP support and partners must work to integrate the efforts being made with the local structures and systems to ensure sustainability. It will be very important to work on synergising continental level activities which aim to create enabling policy environment with community level programmes to scale up key high impact multisectoral nutrition interventions.

The meeting emphasised, the support for nutrition in Africa should continue within the framework of the Post 2015 Nutrition Action Plan.

Showing results, key for both Media and UNICEF

By Frehiwot Yilma

UNICEF meets with media for the second get together
The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

ADDIS ABABA, 14 April 2014 – The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media concluded with a meaningful discussion on how best the media and UNICEF could work together to advocate for the children and women of Ethiopia. Attended by more than 15 journalists, the discussion focused on how to jointly address issues like child marriage.

More than ever, UNICEF is keen on working closely with the media in pushing development agendas affecting children and women. UNICEF is also eager to learn more from the media on how best it can position itself to create awareness and demonstrate results with the public, developmental partners and donors. This get-together is one of the platforms for both the media and UNICEF.

One of the issues that came out strongly by the media was getting a holistic picture of a programme or intervention. According to suggestions made by the journalists: figures and data should not be presented singularly but  rather within a context of trends so they can better understand the progress made as well as anticipate future developments. The UNICEF Ethiopia website presents many different resources including: different publications, research, photos, press releases, speeches, contact information, guidelines and other information useful for the media.

Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda
Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda at UNICEF Ethiopia’s second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

Furthermore, the journalists suggested that government officials along with development partners could attend the UNICEF’s media roundtables to help give them a comprehensive view on different topics affecting women and children.

Journalists also expressed interest in learning about UNICEF programmes in more detail and about how a specific intervention produced results for the Ethiopian community as well as the future generation of the country. For this, journalists have requested media visits so they can witness results at woreda and kebele levels where the programme is being implemented.

The highlight of the get-together was summed up by a question raised by the journalists: what makes UNICEF and its programmes unique and worthy of advocating? And what is UNICEF’s plan for changing its perception of Ethiopian people especially in the rural areas from well known to harmful traditions? These are also questions to which UNICEF’s developmental partners can also contribute.

UNICEF strives to provide basic rights for children including the right to health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and access to education. All this is done in support of the Government of Ethiopia.

Since its establishment in 1952, UNICEF Ethiopia has created the capacity to ensure that its development work accelerates at national and community levels with good relations from bilateral donors, development partners and civil society, including the media in Ethiopia. This key position makes UNICEF a unique partner among development agencies and a resourceful agency for the media.

Read about the first get together here

Ethiopia commits to meet millennium development goals in water and sanitation by 2015

Istahi Sohane, 28, mother of 4, divides her precious water at her home in Yahas-Jamal Keble in Somali region of Ethiopia
Istahi Sohane, 28, mother of 4, divides her precious water at her home in Yahas-Jamal Keble in Somali region of Ethiopia 11 February 2014. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ose

Two and a half billion people – over a third of the world’s population- live without adequate sanitation facilities. Nearly 800 million people still do not have access to an improved source of drinking water protected from outside contamination. Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organisations and other development partners, seeks to address these problems.

The 2014 SWA High-Level Meeting (HLM) was held on Friday 11 April 2014 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC. Convened by UNICEF, the meeting was attended by Ministers of Finance from developing countries, accompanied by their ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene sectors, as well as donors, civil society and other development partners. Ethiopia was well represented by ministers from the country’s water, health and education sectors.

2014 SWA HLM
Sanitation and Water for All High Level Ministerial Meeting 2014. Credit: SWA/Kristoffer Tripplaar

The meeting was opened by a high-level panel including the SWA Chair, John A. Kufuor, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, UNICEF Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, and Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Sufian Ahmed.

The objective of the meeting was to outline an ambitious and yet achievable vision for the sector by linking WASH and sanitation to the economic growth agenda and by communicating with finance ministers about how to best achieve ‘value for money’ as well as emphasising the importance of making investments that improve sustainability and equality.

During this meeting, 44 SWA partner countries made 265 new smart commitments in three main areas:

  • Greater attention to sustainability
  • Strengthening national monitoring systems beyond household surveys to include institutional WASH facilities
  • Focus on urban sanitation

The 2014 meeting demonstrated the highest level of global commitment to water and sanitation issues. Ethiopia was highly prominent in the meeting and was the only country to have water, health and education ministers present, which was relevant, as these sectors have been placing significant emphasis on institutional WASH implementation in schools, health centers and public institutions.

In the only presentation made by a host country during the 2014 HLM, Sufian Ahmed highlighted how Ethiopia is working to combine resources from development partners to meet the Millennium Development Goals in water and sanitation by 2015. The presentation was well received by Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and the members of the panel.

2014 SWA SMM
The Sanitation and Water for All Sector Ministers’ Meeting 2014. Credit: SWA/Kristoffer Tripplaar

A day before the HLM, a Sector Minister Meeting (SMM) was held on 10 April and was facilitated by UNICEF. Ministers from 54 countries and global directors of key development partners attended the meeting to discuss their countries’ high-level commitment statements, which had been prepared by each country. The SMM meeting enabled ministers to interact informally, agree on a summary of commitments, and dialogue with other SWA constituencies.

In its statement of commitments, Ethiopia laid out its vision of how it is working to improve health and wellbeing in rural and urban areas by increasing water supply and sanitation access and by adopting good hygiene practices in an equitable and sustainable manner. The country is determined to reach targets set out in the Universal Access Plan (UAP) by 2015, aiming at 98.5 per cent of the population having access to water. Ethiopia is also targeting to achieve universal access to basic sanitation, thereby eliminating open defecation nationwide, as well as aiming for 77 per cent of the population to wash their hands with soap or ash at critical times.

The meeting also reviewed progress against the 2012 commitments and discussed and confirmed the 2014 and 2016 commitments. Ministers noted that 40 per cent good progress had been made to a total of 415 commitments made by all countries in 2012. Impressive gains were also made in commitments related to financing and planning. Greater focus is still needed on the commitments related to private sector participation and decentralisation. The 2014 commitments for Ethiopia included greater focus on urban sanitation and a need to strengthen the overall monitoring and evaluation system of the WASH sector.

UNICEF Ethiopia, Chief of Water and Environmental Sanitation, Samuel Godfrey attended the High Level Meeting in DC and reflected on Ethiopia’s role and what the future holds for water and sanitation in Ethiopia.

 

Innovative One WASH for Sustainable Development: Ethiopia

On the 4th and 5th of February, 2014 the Ethiopia Water and Sanitation (WASH) met at the Ghion Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 6th Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum with the theme of “Innovative One WASH for Sustainable Development”. It was a huge event with about 500 participants from Government, NGO, private and donor sectors.

Excellency Federal Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Ato Alemayhu Tegene
Excellency Federal Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Ato Alemayhu Tegene

The event was graced by the presence of  Excellency Federal Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Ato Alemayhu Tegene, Excellency State Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Ato Kebede Gerba, Excellency State Minister of Education, Ato Fuad Ibrahim and Excellency State Minister of Health, Dr. Kebede Worku.

Among the many discussions the ONE WASH Sector Wide Approach dominated the discussion. The participants agreed more focus is needed on urban WASH and sustainability monitoring and UNICEF and WHO need to provide a measurement of where the country is pre 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

During his keynote speech, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia and DAG WASH Sector Working Group co-chair, Dr. Peter Salama made three points that are crucial to fulfil the remaining commitments to improve access to safe water and sanitation. And one of his points read “we need to reinforce our efforts in addressing open defecation in urban areas.”

Miniters visit exhibition at the sixth One WASH Multi-Sector Forum“The Government of Ethiopia has pledged to the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) to achieve 82 per cent open defecation free Ethiopia by 2015. This ambitious goal requires the sector to devise and implement a comprehensive Urban Sanitation Strategy which provides clear guidance on the minimum package for urban sanitation including faecal, liquid and solid waste management and disposal. UNICEF, DFID, JICA and other partners are committed to support the Government in prioritizing urban sanitation. As noted in the ONE WASH programme document, to improve WASH services in small towns, for example, will require an additional US$96 million for sanitation in the coming 5 years. We call upon all partners to join hands with us on this game changing strategy to make Ethiopia open defection free.”

UNICEF’s Coffee – Croissant with the Media

By Frehiwot Yilma

Frehiwot Yilma introduces UNICEF Ethiopia Media and External Relations team core activities

ADDIS ABABA, 16 January 2014 Today, UNICEF’s Media and External Relations Section has organised the first quarterly media get-together to interact with local and international media. A total of 20 media partners attended this first informal meeting.

Since its establishment 1952, UNICEF Ethiopia has maintained good relations with Government, bilateral donors, development partners and civil society, including media in Ethiopia. Its capacity to ensure that development work straddles at the national and community levels makes UNICEF, a unique partner among development agencies and resourceful agency for the media.

Wossen Mulatu of UNICEF Ethiopia engages with Melkeas Adugna from New Business EthiopiaHow can UNICEF support the media? Our UNICEF Ethiopia website has many different resources, including: publications, photos, press releases speeches, contact information, guidelines and other information useful for the media. In addition, we are present in many social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedInYouTube, Flicker and Delicious,

In addition the Media and External Relations Section facilitates individual interviews with specialists and experts on different programmes in different languages including: English, French, Arabic, German, Swahili, Dutch, Italian and many Ethiopian local languages. We also organize media round tables with senior staff and programme specialist and respective government officials and partners on different topics affecting women and children.

Regular media field visits will continue to be organized to visit UNICEF supported project site in Addis Ababa as well as in the regions.  Furthermore, media training opportunities for Addis based and regional based media will be intensified in 2014.

While the group was enjoying drinks and snacks, a discussion took place with regard possibly organising a media debate on development issues and how agencies like UNICEF can help journalists and media in general to draw their attention from reporting war and ‘blood’ to ensure a more balanced coverage and positive reporting on and developmental issues such as health, nutrition and other interventions that save thousands of lives.

From left Melkeas Adugna of New Business Ethiopia, Oliad Woji of Fana Broadcasting and Frehiwot Yilma of UNICEF Ethiopia,The UNICEF media section asked the media to provide suggestions and feedback on how best to ensure real partnership and collaboration in 2014 and beyond. If you were not able to attend, please do let us know in person, by email or phone.

We wish to thank those who were able to join us yesterday and we are looking forward to our continuous collaboration in 2014. Please send your comments and suggestion to:

Alexandra Westerbeek- Email Awesterbeek[at]unicef.org Tel +251 115 184 039 Mobile +251 911 255 109

Frehiwot Yilma E-mail Fyilma[at]unicef.org Tel +251 15 184 065 Mobile +251 935 986 255

Zerihun Sewunet Email Zsewunet[at]unicef.org Tel + 251 115 184 162 Mobile +251 922 727 711

Wossen Mulatu Email Wmulatu[at]unicef.org Tel +251 115 184 028 Mobile + 251 911 308 483

Demissew Bizuwork Email Dbizuwork[at]unicef.org Tel +251 115 184 042 Mobile +251 936 635 414

Guenet Girma Email Ggirma[at]unicef.org Tel +251 115 184 047 Mobile + 251 910 833 710