Studies, Reviews and Research

What do Children Want in Times of Emergency and Crisis? They Want an Education

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Save the Children UK

Listening to what children in crisis have to say is not only a moral and ethical responsibility for donor and humanitarian actors, it is also a humanitarian obligation.

When children living in crisis are asked what they need most, time and time again they tell us they want to continue their education:

  • According to 16 studies from eight organisations covering 17 different emergencies – ranging from conflict to protracted crises and disasters – reflecting the voices of 8,749 children, 99% of children in crisis situations see education as a priority.
  • In eight studies surveying 4,713 children in nine emergency-affected countries where children were asked to rank their needs in order of priority, 38% of children identified education as their first priority, and for 69% of children, education was among their three most highly prioritised sectors.

Consulting children about their needs and priorities in times of emergency and crisis should be an imperative of humanitarian action. The UNCRC also enshrines children’s right to an education – so when they tell us that they want their right to an education prioritised, we need to listen.

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