UNICEF: Obtains First Partner in Drive for Syria’s Children

Flag of UNICEF

Flag of UNICEF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The UK government will match pound for pound all public donations to UNICEF’s Syria appeal, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today. The boost comes through the government’s Aid Match system and will double the charity’s ability to help children caught up in the crisis.

This is the first charity partnership in a major new initiative from the government that will provide critical support to charities working to reach Syrian children who are suffering as a result of the war.

The initiative is intended to recognise the level of concern from the British public about the millions of children now in desperate need of help by matching the generous public response to charity appeals.

A series of further match funding initiatives which could provide tens of millions of pounds in new support will be agreed and announced in the run up to Christmas to help the children of Syria cope with the onset of winter and the trauma of conflict.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Syria’s people are experiencing unimaginable hardship with millions of children in particular facing a bleak and uncertain future.

The UK has already committed its largest ever humanitarian response to the crisis and we are now teaming up with UNICEF to double the power of donations from the British public.

Our partnership with UNICEF means that donations to UNICEF’s appeal for the children of Syria will be matched pound for pound by the UK government.

UNICEF UK Ambassador Jemima Khan, who will be co-hosting UNICEF’s Halloween Ball fundraiser tonight, said:

For over two years, the children of Syria have been witnessing and experiencing one horror after another. I have seen UNICEF’s work in emergencies all over the World. They work tirelessly to reach every child, but they cannot do it alone and the need has never been so urgent, particularly with winter approaching.

We hope to raise vital funds at The Halloween Ball this evening for the children of Syria and I am very grateful to the UK government who have pledged to match pound for pound everything we raise.

Over four million children’s lives have been affected by the Syria crisis with over a million of them forced to become refugees. More than a million Syrian children are unable to access basic education and more than 5,000 schools have been destroyed or damaged.

Match funding will mean UNICEF can provide potentially life-saving assistance to thousands more children both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, where they have fled the continuing fighting.

As well as clean drinking water, food, vaccinations and medical support, match funding will support UNICEF’s work to provide education and trauma counselling for children who have been exposed to the horrors of the conflict.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of UNICEF’s Halloween Ball this evening, which will welcome up to 400 guests from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and business in order to raise vitally needed funds for the children of Syria. All public donations made for UNICEF’s work in Syria at the ball and over the following three months will be matched by the government under this agreement.

The new Syria match funding initiative will support a range of work from charities operating inside Syria and across the region. This could include basic equipment for temporary schools, paying teachers, heating in the harsh winter, helping children get out of hard and exploitative work and preventing girls from being trafficked, as well as supporting programmes that aim to keep children warm and safe during winter months.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK has committed £500 million to the Syria crisis, its largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.
  2. The new Syria match funding initiative will run alongside the UK’s existing aid match programme. This matches public donations to charity appeals for organisations working around the world with funding from the international development budget. A total of £120 million will be available for UK Aid Match over the next three years.
  3. Last month Justine Greening announced that the UK will be providing desperately needed help including counselling and education to help prevent an entire lost generation of Syrian children. Establishing match funding partnerships with UNICEF and other British charities helping Syria’s children is a key part of this initiative.
  4. UNICEF is the world’s leading children’s organisation. It works with families, local communities and governments in more than 190 countries to save and change children’s lives.

For full details of the UK’s humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, please visit: Syria Crisis: Latest updates on UK aid.

 

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British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British secondary school pupils will help Syrian counterparts who are refugees affected by the crisis, through a twinning initiative announced today by International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The scheme, run through the British Council, will partner UK schools with Lebanese and Jordanian schools teaching Syrian refugee children. British school children will get the chance to link up with refugee children and hear first-hand about the reality of life from those who have been affected by the situation in Syria.

Under the initiative, British teachers and educators will form partnerships with schools in the region and provide support to their counterparts on a range of issues such as:

  • specially tailored teaching and learning resources to show schoolchildren in the UK the impact of the Syria crisis;
  • Syrian, Lebanese and British children sharing their experiences through Skype and letter writing; and
  • opportunities for teachers to share ideas, lesson plans and to work on joint projects together.
Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Li...

Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Libanon Español: Escudo de Líbano עברית: סמל לבנון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scheme will focus initially on schools in Lebanon, which currently hosts more than a quarter of a million Syrian refugee children, an even higher number than there are Lebanese children. The scheme plans to expand to other schools in Jordan and more widely across the region.

Justine Greening said:

“Syrian secondary school children should not miss out on an education because their country is at war. We must do all we can to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children, and I want to give their UK counterparts and teachers the chance to play their part in our support.

Teachers in Syria’s neighbouring countries are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone in their classroom has the chance to learn, no matter where they are from. But they are under tremendous pressure from cultural and language differences and the sheer weight of numbers of refugee children.

“This initiative will give British teachers and educators the chance to make a direct difference. It will also pave the way for British school children and Syrian refugee children to build friendships, share their experiences and gain a better understanding of the wider world they are all growing up in.”

The initiative will build on the Connecting Classrooms programme that the British Council already runs, drawing on existing partnerships with 20 schools in Jordan and Lebanon. In particular, it will work with schools in Lebanon where 20-30 per cent of pupils are refugees, in order to identify areas where support is most needed. The UK is already working with partners in Lebanon to identify the particular needs of schools there and how best to respond to these.

Over the next two months, the British Council will run a recruitment drive to find new UK schools to partner with 16 Lebanese partner schools already looking for links with the UK. It will also prioritise UK-Lebanon/Jordan links for future school partnership application rounds (25 October 2013 and February 2014), with a focus on those schools in Lebanon and Jordan particularly affected by high numbers of refugee pupils.

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UK Support for Jordan’s – Hard-Pressed #Syrian Refugees

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to ensure essential public services keep running as Syrian refugee numbers continue to grow

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to keep essential public services running and prevent tensions between local people and growing numbers of Syrian refugees, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The UK will provide £12 million over the next two years to ensure that local Jordanian municipal governments can meet the needs of both host communities and refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria.

Competition for jobs is increasing, houses built for refugees require electricity and water, and rubbish is piling up. British support will help to maintain road construction and maintenance, waste collection, street lighting, pest control and water supplies. It will focus on areas with high numbers of refugees, particularly in northern Jordan.

Justine Greening said:

The people of Jordan have been incredibly generous in opening their doors to Syrians in desperate need. But with around 250,000 refugees arriving in 2013 alone, the Syrian crisis is placing a huge strain on communities and services.

Some neighbourhoods now have twice as many people living there as before, so it makes sense to invest in schools, health and other basic services to help everyone who has been flung together through no fault of their own.

Our support is vital for refugees, the host communities and for Britain too, because a region able to absorb refugees in the short or medium term is resolutely in our interests.

More than 520,000 refugees have now fled to Jordan to escape the fighting in Syria, around half of them children. Although many are in camps like Za’atari, more than two-thirds are staying in towns and cities where they share space, resources and services with their Jordanian hosts.

The Government of Jordan estimates the financial impact of providing public services at about $250 million for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 and municipalities have struggled to maintain services in the face of rapidly growing numbers of users.

The rising demand and lagging supply of housing has led to significant increases in rental costs, especially in northern towns, and renting suitable and affordable housing has become harder for Jordanians. Investors have been constructing new housing, which has resulted in the establishment of new neighbourhoods needing roads, street lighting and connections to electricity, water and sewage networks.

Rubbish is piling up in many urban centres. In cities like Irbid and Mafraq, waste has doubled by some accounts, leading many municipalities to overwork their waste collection fleets.

In addition, high unemployment has highlighted the need for municipalities to take on a more active role in promoting local economic development and creating job opportunities.

This new funding commitment is in addition to the £500 million that the UK has now committed in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the largest ever response from the UK to a single crisis. This is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people in Syria and the region.

Notes to editors

  1. The new funding comes from the Arab Partnership Economic Facility and will be channelled through the World Bank-managed Jordan Emergency Services and Social Resilience Programme.
  2. The funding commitment was announced by the International Development Secretary in Washington today, at a World Bank-run event which was also attended by the Jordanian Minister for International Co-operation, Dr. Ibrahim Saif.
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/world/syria

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