As livelihoods across the Horn of Africa are disrupted by the worst drought in 70 years, the education sector is struggling to keep children in school and learning. The drought has led to extreme levels of food insecurity, and many students have either been forced to leave school or are at risk of dropping out to support their families to get food and water.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), at least 36.1 million people have now been affected by the drought that began in October 2020.
In July 2022, UNICEF issued a regional call to action, appealing for US$986 million to provide urgent life-saving and climate resilience support to 4.2 million people, half of them children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition, in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
GPE is working closely with governments and development partners to help respond to the humanitarian catastrophe.
GPE support in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, about 9.9 million people are severely food insecure due to the drought, 3.5 million livestock have died, and millions of children are acutely malnourished, resulting in lower learning and an increasing number of out-of-school children. UNICEF estimates that at least 500,000 children have dropped out of school due to drought.
Thanks to a GPE $20 million accelerated grant, with Save the Children as grant agent, more than 220,000 disadvantaged children in 13 of Ethiopia’s hardest hit districts are benefitting from school feeding programs, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and training for teachers and communities, among other activities.
Ethiopia is submitting a request to GPE for a new accelerated grant of $10 million to continue school feeding and other interventions of the current program, which comes to a close at the end of September 2022.
This funding is in addition to other GPE grants: a $125 million grant that contributes to Ethiopia's General Education Quality Improvement Program for Equity (GEQIP-E); a $15 million COVID-19 grant supporting the Ministry of Education's response plan; and a $20 million Multiplier grant supporting the GEQIP-E program as additional financing for schools in regions serving refugee populations – all of which have the World Bank as grant agent.
The Multiplier leveraged co-financing from IDA ($55 million) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($5 million).
The dire humanitarian situation caused by the drought is exacerbated by the devasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as conflict in Tigray and other regions.