NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
An international charity warned on Monday that 4.7
million children across East Africa risk dropping out of school this
year due to malnutrition arising from displacement sparked by
drought and conflict.
David Wright, Regional Director for Save the Children in East and
Southern Africa, told journalists in Nairobi that about 90,000
children drop out of school weekly in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and
South Sudan, which translates to 12,000 children abandoning studies
“No child should miss out on their right to education, so it is
especially crucial to keep schools open during drought because they
offer a perfect opportunity for food, water and vaccines to enable
them learn, be safe and realize their dreams,” Wright told
journalists in Nairobi.
“We urgently appeal for funding to help keep children in school and
take schooling to the children who have already been forced to drop
out,” he said during the release of the report in Nairobi.
Wright said this year calls for increased humanitarian assistance in
order to meet the persistent and diverse needs of children affected
by drought for their survival, learning and protection.
He drew attention to donors, governments and all stakeholders to
address food insecurity and tackle the growing nutritional crisis
and ensure children are able to survive and thrive.
“Children should receive uninterrupted quality learning even in
crisis and protected from all forms of violence and exploitation,”
Save the Children Country Director for Kenya, Wang Le, said only
three out of ten children are enrolled in school in the
drought-prone areas, adding that schools close due to lack of water
and the few children enrolled dropping out to migrate with their
families in search of the commodity and pasture.
Her Somalia counterpart, Timothy Bishop, stated already three
million children are already out of school, with 1.2 million of them
suffering from malnutrition.
Ekin Ogutogullari, Country Director for Ethiopia said over 600
schools have closed since February 2017 because of drought, pushing
close to 400,000 children out of lessons, which translates to about
50 schools shutting down a month.
Deirdre Keogh, who oversees South Sudan operations, noted that
malnutrition has soured, especially among children in Africa’s
youngest nation where more than 1.1 million children under five
years are forecast to be malnourished in 2018, double the number
from the same time last year and added that more children than ever
are out of school.
Save the Children’s global report on protecting children in
conflict, conducted by the Peace Research Institute, will be
launched on Feb. 15 ahead of the Munich Security Conference.