Promoting refugee girls’ right to learn in West & Central Africa
As stated in a recent GPE blog, ‘Girls’ education is a vital force – not only does it change the lives of girls, but also has a tremendous ripple effect, with impacts ranging from improved health, stronger economies to the creation of a new generation of leaders.’
Yet barriers to girls’ education persist and are multiplied for refugee and displaced girls, especially in the context of COVID-19. With school closures, girls face disparity in accessing the internet, increased risks of gender-based violence and early marriage, which increases the likelihood of them never returning to school.
The prevalence of school-related gender-based violence is also an obstacle to girls’ retention and learning, as explained in the recently released GEM 2020 Gender Report.
As part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, UNHCR RBWCA has launched a regional platform on GBV to raise awareness on violence against girls and women and to strengthen community mobilization on this issue. The testimonies featured show how education plays a pivotal role in GBV prevention.
Through its education programs, UNHCR strives to systematically promote the education of girls and thus reduce the risks of GBV such as forced marriages and early pregnancies, considering that education is the most powerful protection and emancipation tool for refugee girls. UNHCR’s education programs across the region also aim to prevent and respond to schoolrelated gender-based violence that may affect students’ wellbeing and learning.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees