Bring Back Our Girls, One Year On

April 14th, 2015 marks the one year anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 Chibok school girls in Nigeria. While 57 girls were able to escape, nearly 219 girls remain missing - reportedly married off. Last year, AIYD wrote a joint advocacy letter with Basic Education Coalition and the Global Campaign for Education that called for continued action by the U.S. government on Nigeria and, more broadly, to actively work with country governments to ensure the protection of schools and colleges, and take steps to mitigate the impact of attacks on young people's right to education. Yet tragically, in the year since the Chibok kidnappings the number of attacks on schools and students across Africa and Asia has risen, as militants have discovered the powerful media attention that attacks on young people and schools generate. Indeed, these acts are horrific, and they demand our attention.

 

Below you will find the joint letter we wrote in conjunction with Basic Education Coalition and the Global Campaign for Education.

 

The Alliance for International Youth Development, the Basic Education Coalition, the Global Campaign for Education, US, and InterAction Call for Continued Action by the US Government for Action on Nigeria

 
May 28, 2014

 

Secretary John. F Kerry                                            Administrator Rajiv Shah

The Department of State                                          U.S. Agency for International Development

2201 C Street NW                                                    1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20520                                              Washington, DC 20523

 

Dear Secretary Kerry and Administrator Shah:

As members of the international development and humanitarian communities, we write to express our deep concern over the April 14thabduction of over 200 girls from a school dormitory in Northeastern Nigeria. The government of the United States must actively work with governments and international organizations to protect young people from future attacks, safeguard the rights of all children and youth to an education, and actively engage with communities to ensure the ongoing needs of victims are met. We are pleased that the United States is playing an active role in bringing the girls to safety. It is also critical to address their needs quickly and effectively once they return, recognizing that the kidnapped girls will have significant physical, emotional, psychological, and mental health needs.

Children and young people living in conflict-affected areas need continued long-term support to address the trauma and fear that affects their well-being. The continuation of services decreases the risk of future vulnerabilities, decreases drop-out rates, provides a positive environment and leads to a more stable community. Tragically, the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls is one of many examples of attacks on young people and schools around the world. For example, students in Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and many other countries have been the innocent victims of threats, abductions, sexual violence, and murder. Teachers, schools, and education officials have also been targeted for violence. These attacks are unconscionable.[1]

Just as we must continue the effort to bring back the Nigerian schoolgirls, so too must we continue the effort to protect students, teachers, and schools, and defend young people’s right to education around the world. As such, we feel it is critical for the Administration and Congress to:

·         Work with Nigerian authorities, NGOs, and international organizations to ensure that appropriate health, psychosocial, and mental health services are available for the rescued girls; as well as ensure that youth, teachers, families, and communities have access to such services to help cope with the ongoing fear and violence. Interventions include mobilizing networks of children, youth, and women for peer-to-peer support, and training teachers and community volunteers on tools such as Psychological First Aid.

 

·         Robustly fund development and humanitarian accounts to ensure the educational, physical, emotional, psychological, and mental health needs of young people in conflict situations are met.

 

·         Proactively work with governments to ensure the right of all young people to a quality education without discrimination.

 

·         Actively work with country governments to ensure protection of schools and colleges and take steps to mitigate the impact of attacks on young people’s right to education.

 

·         Encourage the inclusion of a rapid response system in National Education Plans to ensure schools are quickly repaired or rebuilt when attacked, and educational materials are replaced.

 

·         Include community involvement in programs designated under the USAID education strategy, with a focus on Goal 3 to increase access to education for children in conflict situations. Interventions could include: community-based and school-based protection committees, school management committees, and community involvement in peace building that engages young people, and the involvement of religious leaders.

 

·         Assist in the finalization, endorsement, and fulfillment of the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. The Lucens Guidelines provide a set of clear and reasonable actions for governments and non-state armed groups to protect schools from warfare. The Guidelines protect schools from military use during armed conflict and rebuild confidence in the safety of schools to help bring out-of-school young people in conflict-affected countries back to school.

 

We cannot stand by while young people are victims of violence simply for attending school. The development and humanitarian community remains committed to working with the United States Government to protect the rights of all young people to go to school and to care for those who are targeted.

 

Thank you for giving serious consideration to our recommendations. Please feel free to contact Anna Roberts at aroberts@basiced.org or (202) 729-6718 for more information.

 

Sincerely,

Basic Education Coalition (BEC), Global Campaign for Education, U S Chapter (GCE), InterAction & The Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD)

 

&:

A World at School

Africa Schoolhouse

AFT

American Jewish World Service

Association for Childhood Education

International Baptist World Alliance

Bread for the World

Building Tomorrow

buildOn

CARE USA

Chemonics

Child Labor Coalition

ChildFund International

Creative Associates International

Education Development Center

Edge of Seven

Educate the Children

Foundation for Learning Equality

Girl Up

Global Health Council International Relief & Development

International Rescue Committee

IREX

Islamic Relief USA

Juarez & Associates, Inc. (J&A)

Kenya Education Fund

LitWorld

Making Cents International

Management Sciences for Health

Millennium Campus Network

Mission EduCare

National Consumers League

National Education Association

New Global Citizens

Peace Corps Nigeria Alumni Foundation

Plan International USA

Planet Aid

Girl Rising

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

Population Action International

RESULTS

RTI International

School Girls Unite

SOS Children's Villages USA

The Batonga Foundation

The Nobelity Project

The Power of Education Foundation

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Unstoppable Foundation

Women LEAD

Women Thrive Worldwide

Women's Refugee Commission

World Education

World Education Foundation

World Learning

Zakat Foundation of America

CC: The House and Senate SFOP Appropriations Committees

The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee

 



[1] In the last five years, 30 countries have experienced a pattern of intentional attacks on education: Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. http://www.protectingeducation.org/sites/default/files/documents/eua_201...

 

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