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Education Cannot Wait and the UN Refugee Agency Announce US$2 Million Grant from ECW to Respond to the Central African Refugee Influx in The Democratic Republic of the Congo

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New emergency grant will provide learning opportunities for refugee and host community girls and boys in DRC settlements near the border of both countries

21 April 2021, Modale Village, Nord-Ubangi Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi announced today a US$2 million emergency education grant in response to the rapidly-escalating humanitarian crisis in the border region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Local authorities estimate that more than 90,000 people have fled from CAR into DRC since December 2020 after elections kicked off a new round of violence and mass displacement in the Central African Republic, including those who have fled to the Modale refugee site, located 30 kms from Yakoma, DRC.

“These refugee girls, boys and their families have faced horrible violence and insecurity. Thousands have walked for weeks and hid in the forests desperately seeking safety. Many have witnessed and experienced violence and soul-shattering trauma,” said ECW Director Yasmine Sherif following today’s visit to Modale. “They urgently need our support. We call on donors to urgently fund the remaining US$4 million gap for the education component of UNHCR’s response in this forgotten crisis. These girls and boys are the ones left furthest behind. We must provide them now with the safety and hope of quality education so they can survive and build a better future.”

“We have an urgent, shared responsibility to ensure that refugee children and youth are able to access quality education, delivered in a safe environment, at the earliest point possible during a crisis. We commend Education Cannot Wait for their commitment to providing targeted investments to support the response to the CAR crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including strengthening the national education system for the inclusion of refugee learners in a way which also benefits host community children and youth,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

This new, 12-month ECW ‘first emergency response’ grant of US$2 million will support UNHCR’s education response to the crisis, helping to ensure access to quality education for crisis-affected children and adolescents impacted by these forced displacements. The investment will be delivered by UNHCR in partnership with the Government of DRC and with local organizations such as AIRD (African Initiatives for Relief and Development) and ADSSEE.

The emergency response grant builds on ongoing support from ECW, UNHCR, United Nations agencies and global donors in DRC and neighboring countries. In December 2020, ECW announced a US$22.2 million catalytic grant to reach over 200,000 children and youth in DRC. An additional US$3.8 million has been allocated for ECW’s COVID-19 education in emergency response, and an ongoing multi-year resilience programme in the Central African Republic will reach an estimated 900,000 children in the next three years. In the education component of its humanitarian appeal, UNHCR is calling for US$7.8 million for its ongoing education programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.