KATHMANDU, 2 February 2016 - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have entered into a partnership to help restore education for one million children affected by the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year. The project worth 4 million Euro will include construction of 650 transitional learning centres, provision of essential learning materials in all newly established centres as well as psychosocial counseling training to teachers in nine earthquake affected districts of Gorkha, Kavrepalanchowk, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, Sindhuli and Sindhupalchowk in collaboration with the Department of Education and the concerned district administrations and NGOs.
“Over the years, Nepal has made significant educational gains, including the nearly 100 per cent primary enrolment rate,” said H.E. Rensje Teerink, Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Nepal. “These gains are at a risk today, especially with massive damages to schools and classrooms during the Nepal earthquakes.”
A structural assessment of all schools in the 14 most affected districts found that over 34,500 classrooms were damaged or destroyed beyond use, affecting the education of one million children.
“Collective efforts are needed so that all kids have decent learning opportunities to avoid negative long term effects of the 2015 disaster. The EU- UNICEF partnership seeks to help restore the education of these children by assuring safe learning environments and emotional support for them,” said Ms. Teerink.
The new centres will include corrugated galvanized iron sheets for the roof, improved walls, gender-friendly latrines, hand-washing facilities and provision for drinking water. The semi-permanent structures are expected to last for at least the next two years, until more permanent structures for schools can be built.
The learning environment of the earthquake-affected children will be further enhanced with provision for early childhood development and educational materials in all the newly established centres. In addition, 1,300 teachers will be trained on providing effective psychosocial counseling to the students.
“In the last nine months, UNICEF has been working very closely with the Government and partners to minimize the disruption to schooling in the earthquake affected districts by helping to resume classes as soon as possible in schools and temporary learning centres,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal. “We look forward to the new partnership among the Government of Nepal, EU and UNICEF to further enable us to support the efforts to build back better the education system.”
The European Union with its 28 Member States is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance in the world. In Nepal our main activities focus on education, rural development and democratic governance. Following the earthquakes the EU committed €126 million to help Nepal, which makes it a major stakeholder in the recovery process. You can visit us on Facebook or at http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/nepalvisit.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Nepal, visit www.unicef.org/nepal
For further information, please contact:
Ambar Mainali, Press and Communication, EU Delegation, +97714429445 ext 106, Ambar.Mainali@eeas.europa.eu
Rupa Joshi, Communication Manager, UNICEF Nepal, + 977 9851054140, firstname.lastname@example.org