The European Commission has provided €500,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support Dominica’s education sector in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last September.
About 1,500 primary school students will be targeted during the project.
The powerful Category 5 storm severely impacted infrastructure across the country, including the education sector, resulting in over one-third of primary and secondary schools being listed as severely damaged. Access to schooling was disrupted for students across the board.
“Ensuring the return to school for children was a priority, and providing pupils with the required material and supplies after losses due to the hurricane is key for children to resume their education,” said Virginie Andre, EU Humanitarian Aid Coordinator for the Caribbean.
Although the vast majority of schools have now reopened there is a critical lack of teaching materials, supplies, and equipment. The EU-UNICEF project aims to fill this gap. The 11-month project will target 1,500 primary school children in the 20 most severely damaged schools. Each school will get a library and a range of teaching materials, including textbooks and workbooks.
A second component of the project sees these targeted schools being assisted in developing disaster risk management plans which will help reinforce resilience in the face of any future crises and ensure that children and their needs are at the heart of emergency-related action.
“UNICEF and its partners have been working with Dominica’s Ministry of Education to get children back to school by providing tents for temporary accommodation and school-in-a-box and recreational kits. However, we need to ensure that children and teachers have the tools to facilitate teaching and learning on a more long-term basis,” said Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF’s Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area.