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Lack of aid leaves children last in line

Lack of aid leaves children last in line for school

June 3 2008

The international community is ignoring the plight of 37 million children around the world who are missing out on their education because of civil war, armed struggle or environmental crises within their own countries.

Save the Children's latest report Last in Line, Last in School 2008 highlights the stark disparity between education aid to middle- and low-income countries, and that made available to Conflict-affected Fragile States (CAFS).

CAFS receive only one-fifth of total education aid, despite being home to more than half the world's 72 million children currently denied their right to education.

In 2000 world leaders and leading development institutions identified primary education for all children by 2015 as a realistic Millennium Development Goal. Unfortunately, current trends indicate that this target will not be met. Save the Children is calling on countries around the world to act now.

John Bowis, Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand says: "In spite of recent donor rhetoric, the international community is failing to prioritise support for education in CAFS.

"In 2006 Save the Children launched our first global campaign. Rewrite the Future focuses on securing quality education by 2010 for three million out-of-school children living in CAFS. We are also working to improve the quality of education for a further five million already in school.

"Since our campaign began more than 5.7 million children worldwide have benefited from our efforts, either as a result of access to better quality education or as one of the 800 children every day whose lives we've been able to enhance by opening the door to some kind of formal schooling. However, we can't do it all on our own and progress in CAFS remains slow.

"As a result, the 37 million children living in CAFS are facing a bleak future with no opportunity to lift themselves and their communities out of an endless cycle of poverty and conflict. Urgent action is needed for these children to have an education – which is their right."

The report identifies those 37 million children as being last in line for education aid and shows that G8 countries are among the worst offenders.

Of the US$9 billion that Save the Children estimates is needed to address basic education aid worldwide, US$5.2 billion – around US$45 for every school-age child – should go to children in CAFS.

Yet five out of the eight G8 countries are giving less than 25 percent of their fair share (based on gross national income) necessary to help children in CAFS.

Closer to home our efforts are no better. New Zealand's fair share of that US$5.2 billion (based on our gross national income), is US$17million or US14c per child. So far we have committed US$0.6 million – just US1c for every child. Australia's fair share amounts to US$105 million (US90c a child) yet it has committed even less than US1c per child.

In its recommendations, Last in Line Last in School 2008 calls for urgent action by the international community to:

• increase long-term aid to CAFS and ensure funding is equitable, with at least 50% of new basic education commitments going to CAFS
• prioritise education funding in CAFS
• increase basic education aid
• include education in their humanitarian policies
• increase education aid in humanitarian crises, in line with needs

Says John Bowis: "We are halfway to the deadline for meeting this Millennium Development Goal. Last year, the education of children in CAFS and emergencies was finally acknowledged as a key issue on the international agenda.

"Now, 2008 must be the year when the rhetoric and commitments are turned into reality through concrete actions by donors and other international actors. The international community must act now."

As part of our fundraising efforts for Rewrite the Future, Save the Children New Zealand is hosting Team Talk with Graham Henry and members of the All Blacks, our official sponsors, at a charity dinner on Thursday, June 12. The event is being held at Auckland's Hyatt Regency and kicks off with pre-dinner drinks at 6.30. Tickets cost $200, plus GST; $5,000 plus GST for a corporate table of 10.

Neil Waka is MC, Mike King will provide the entertainment and John Campbell will host a question-and answer session with Graham Henry and players. To book your place visit:

For a copy of Last in Line Last in School 2008, copy and paste this link into your browser:

For more information on Rewrite the Future, visit our website:


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