Providing Access to Relevant Quality Education and Psychosocial Support to Conflict-Affected Children in Cameroon

Since 2016, the North-West and South-West (NW/SW) regions of Cameroon have been embroiled in a brutal civil conflict between Francophone government military forces and Anglophone non-state armed groups (NSAGs). As of January 2019, 444,213 people had been displaced within the NW/SW regions alone, with an additional 80,000 displaced to neighbouring Littoral and West regions and at least 30,000 Anglophone Cameroonians having fled to Nigeria (ECW I & II report).

 

Less than 10% of school-aged children (pre-primary, primary, secondary) have access to any educational opportunities in NW/SW regions. Only 20% of formal schools remained operational and had a reduced enrolment of 50-80% due to the financial difficulty and threats parents faced in trying to send their children to school. Few informal or non-formal education activities were available at the community level.

 

As a result of violent clashes, attacks on civilian populations, and a corresponding economic crisis, the humanitarian situation had greatly deteriorated, triggering in 2019, the request for Education Cannot Wait (ECW) First Emergency Response (FER) funding.

 

In July 2019, UNESCO through ECW support, urgently started implementing an Emergency Response Plan to enable access to inclusive and equitable education for school-age children in these two regions. The project directly reached out to 39 183 boys and girls under this intervention. The beneficiary communities included Fako, Manyu, Meme, Boyo, Mezam, and Ngokentunjia Divisions of the NW/SW regions.

 

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 in December 2019, the conditions of children were worsening. The crisis had already disrupted the education of over 1.8 million school-aged children with some totally stopping formal education and many others schooling amid persistent health risk and armed threats. This condition triggered a second ECW funding in April 2020 to support COVID-19 Emergency Response in the Education Sector in the SW and NW of Cameroon.

 

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