Armenia Refugee Response: Education Cannot Wait Announces US$1 Million Grant to Support Early Childhood … – UNICEF

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16 February 2024, New York – In response to the recent mass influx of refugees into Armenia, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today US$1 million in new grant funding to reach children who need support the most.

The 12-month grant will be delivered by UNICEF – in coordination with Armenia’s Ministry of Education, Science. Culture and Sports and the Education Sector Group – and will expand access to early learning for refugee and host community children.

“This is the first time Education Cannot Wait has provided a grant dedicated exclusively to early childhood education. By working together with the Government of Armenia, UNICEF and other local partners, this is our investment in a better future for the girls and boys of Armenia. With access to early childhood education, these children will gain the knowledge and skills they need to build a future of peace and prosperity,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the Global Fund for Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises.

Since September 2023, more than 100,000 refugees – including 30,000 girls and boys – have fled to Armenia following military hostilities in their home communities. Around 3,000 are children with disabilities and 9,000 are children under the age of six.

Access to early-childhood education has been identified as a critical need under the Refugee Response Plan jointly coordinated by the Government and the UN, noting that the education system in Armenia has been overstretched and under resourced to cope with the number of young refugee children.  .

“Missing out on quality early childhood education is detrimental to children’s development and future learning ability. This is especially true in times of displacement and uncertainty, as children are more likely to struggle with cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties, especially at a young age, which further delays their development,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “With the backing of ECW, UNICEF will support young refugee children and their parents with early learning and development services, which are critical to help them recover and thrive.”

ECW’s new US$1 million First Emergency Response allocation will focus on increasing access to inclusive early learning services by expanding spaces in public kindergartens. Refugee and host community girls and boys, including children with disabilities, will also have access to psychosocial support, parental education sessions will be provided to improve positive interactions between caregivers and children, and teachers will receive much-needed assistance to help integrate and support these children in their classrooms.

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