12,000 children are being forced out of school every day due to conflict and drought in East Africa

12,000 children are being forced out of school every day due to conflict and drought in East Africa

Save the Children report that 90,000 children in East Africa risk being forced to drop out of school each week in 2018 due to drought and conflict.

This is the equivalent of 4.7 million children abandoning their studies in 2018 or 12,000 each day.

UNICEF reported similar findings earlier in 2018, highlighting that 59 million young people are forced into illiteracy due to conflict and disaster.

Save the Children hopes this information will increase education funding in emergencies across East Africa. The report focuses on South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The main cause of children dropping out of school in these countries is hunger, driven by conflict and drought.

The significant number of children leaving school before finishing their qualifications will have a damaging impact on socio-economic development within the countries.

Similarly, in the short term, children out of school are more exposed to abuse such as child marriage, trafficking and prostitution. Save the Children also reports that children as young as eight are being recruited as child soldiers in the region.

The findings support Save the Children’s appeal for greater funding to keep children in school and bring an education to those who have already been forced to drop out.

Currently in the East Africa region 21 million people are food insecure.

South Sudan:

In recent years malnutrition has increased rapidly, particularly among children. Over 1.1 million under-fives are expected to be malnourished in 2018, double the number from the same time in 2017.


Compared to January 2017, six times more people are now in need of urgent food assistance with an numbers increased from 83,000 to 500,000. In addition to this, over half a million people are at risk of famine and only 30% of children have access to learning oppurtunities.


The Ministry of Education reports that 623 schools have shut since February 2017 because of drought, this has forced 388,529 children out of an education. This equates to approximately 51 schools closing a month.


According to the Ministry of Education only 30% of children are enrolled in schools in the drought prone areas of Wajir and Mandera. The situation is worse for girls as only 20% are enrolled and even less complete their education.

Schools are often forced to close during droughts due to a lack of water. Similarly, the few children enrolled drop out of school to migrate with their families in search of water.

David Wright, Regional Director for Save the Children in East and Southern Africa, said:

If 12,000 children drop out of school every single day this year, this region will lose an entire generation of children who not only won’t reach their potential, but will face grave dangers to their health and well-being. No child should miss out on their right to an education. It’s especially crucial to keep schools open during a drought because schools offer a perfect opportunity to give children food, water and vaccines so they can learn, be safe and go on to achieve great things.”

Education in Emergencies funding is critically low and makes up about 2% of the response funding for humanitarian responses in the region, on a global scale Education in Emergencies only receives 3.6% of funding.


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