Wednesday, 20 September 2017 08:49

EU-UNESCO Partnership to Support Education in Emergencies in Iraq

Erbil, 17 September, UNESCO introduces the European Union funded project “Access to Inclusive Quality Primary and Secondary Education for IDPs and Refugees in Crisis Affected Areas of Iraq” in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The project will focus on strengthening government and non-governmental capacity to implement education in emergencies and support education access for 100,000 Iraqi children that have been affected by conflict.

The launch was attended by Dr. Pishitwan Sadeq Abdullah, Minister of Education of the Kurdistan Regional Government; Ms. Clarisse Pasztory, Head of the European Union’s Liaison Office in Erbil; Ms. Louise Haxthause, Director of the UNESCO Iraq Office, as well as representatives from embassies, other UN agencies, and the non-governmental organizations who will implement project activities in schools.

Dr. Pishtiwan Sadeq Abdullah noting that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq hosts thousands of IDPs and refugees, explained that this hospitality represented a challenge for the Kurdistan Regional Government and that he was happy that the project would include activities in the Kurdistan Region. The Minister noted that “…refugees will return to their homes in the future, however this should not be a barrier to providing education and all necessary support.”  He also expressed gratitude to the European Union and UNESCO for their support of this process.

Ms. Clarisse Pasztory, the European Union’s Head of Liaison Office in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, explained that the project will enrich the Kurdistan Regional Government’s ability to educate its students through renovation of schools and training for teachers.  She noted the project is the result of a longstanding relationship between the European Union and the Government of Iraq and the Government of the Kurdistan Region.  Ms. Pasztory noted that “…education changes perspectives, it changes employment opportunities…” She described education as “…fundamental to economic and security development,” and that the EU has invested €50 million in education in Iraq to support development.

Ms. Louise Haxthausen, the Director of the UNESCO Office in Iraq, also spoke, describing the project’s goal of reaching 100,000 vulnerable young people as ambitious and thanked the Ministry of Education and the project’s implementing partners for their commitment.  Ms. Haxthausen praised the Ministry of Education for their pledge to support the needs of refugees and IDPs in spite of many challenges.  She explained that the project’s logo includes a book and a tree: “The book represents the project’s promise to meet the immediate educational needs of a hundred thousand students, and the tree represents the project’s intention to strengthen the capacity to sustain education over the mid and long term.”

The launch closed with Ms. Alison Oswald, the project manager, who explained that the project will improve access to education for IDPs and refugees and strengthen government and non-government organizations’ capacity to support education. Project activities include enrolling out of school students, training teachers and parent teacher organizations, providing learning materials, renovating schools and paying stipends for refugee teachers. She introduced implementing partners: in the Kurdistan Region, WADI Association and Jinda will work with Syrian refugees and World Vision and Voice of Older People with IDPs. Three partners will support IDPs and returnees: Public Aid in Al Anbar, Save the Children and Al Mortaqa in Salah al Din, and People in Need and DAD in Ninewah.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Dhea Subhee, Public Information Officer, UNESCO Office for Iraq
Tel.: +964 078 2783 2739; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNESCO

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