Developing Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies
- Join INEE and contribute to the list-serve discussion on minimum standards: www.ineesite.org/
join/default.asp The INEE list-serve presently has over 500 subscribers and will be the major vehicle for information dissemination for the consultative process.
INEE is open to all interested individuals and organizations that implement, support, advocate and study education in emergencies. Visit: www.ineesite.org
- Contact Allison Anderson Pillsbury (allison@theIRC.org), IRC's INEE Education Focal Point on Minimum Standards, or find out more at: www.ineesite.org/
IRC Partners with NGOs and UN Agencies to Lead the Movement on Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies
Wars can cause great damage to education systems. Students and teachers may be displaced and separated from their communities, and school buildings, materials and equipment may be destroyed or looted. As one of the key pillars of humanitarian assistance, education-along with food and water, shelter, and health care-enables people to regain hope and dignity and to build peaceful and stable futures for themselves and their communities.
However, too often education is not seen as a priority response in emergency situations and war-affected populations are left idle. Without important safety messages that can be distributed through education activities, children and adolescents are at increased danger of being recruited into armed forces, sexually or economically exploited and at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Without any organized activities, children and adolescents also find it harder to heal from the bad experiences of crisis, violence and displacement.
Therefore, the International Rescue Committee, as a member of the Steering Group of Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) as well as INEE's Working Group on Minimum Standards, is leading the process to develop global minimum standards for education in emergencies and early reconstruction. Other humanitarian organizations on the Working Group on Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies are: CARE Canada, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council and the Norway United Nations Association, Save the Children UK, Save the Children USA, Refugee Education Trust, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHCR and World Education. The Focal Point for the standards process is based at the IRC's New York office.
Facilitated by INEE's Working Group on Minimum Standards, a broad base of stakeholders will develop standards that articulate the minimum level of educational service to be attained in emergencies through to early reconstruction. This will be accomplished through a process of regional, sub-regional and national consultations, INEE list-serve consultations and peer reviews. Participants will include students, teachers, education officials, NGOs, government and UN representatives, donors and academics. The standards will apply to a variety of affected populations, from refugees to internally displaced, stayee and host populations.
Standards will be a common starting point in providing guidance and tools on how to reach a minimum level of educational quality, thus helping humanitarian workers, government ministries and conflict-affected populations provide education programming that meets the rights and needs of crisis-affected populations. The standards will also serve as a monitoring tool for accountability as well as a capacity-building and training tool to enhance management and effectiveness among humanitarian actors. They will provide a strong advocacy tool promoting education as a core element of humanitarian assistance inside humanitarian organizations and externally with governments, donors and populations affected by crisis. Furthermore, the consultative process of developing standards will strengthen coordination among the education and humanitarian community by linking beneficiaries, practitioners, policy-makers and academics through discussions on best practice.