9 September 2011

As a new school term begins in East Africa, UNICEF is helping the most vulnerable children in drought-affected countries fully benefit from education.

"Schools and play an important role to deliver life-saving messages on nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and health education," said UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Elhadj As Sy.

He added: "Schools also provide a safe space for children to protect them from violence and exploitative practices."

In Somalia, our support enabled 155 schools to open their doors to 37,000 internally displaced children over the summer break. We'll be expanding that support in the coming months to meet the needs of more than 300,000 children.

By 15 September, we'll have helped local children's organisations set up 350 child-friendly spaces, where children can access safe water and sanitation, food vouchers and counselling.

In Kenya, many schools remained open during the holidays in drought-affected areas, giving 1.2 million children access feeding programmes.

And in Ethiopia, 28,000 children in drought-affected areas were able to continue their schooling thanks to education supplies and school tents provided by UNICEF.

 
In Turkana district, Kenya, children attend a UNICEF-supported hygiene education class. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1119/Kate Holt
In Turkana district, Kenya, children attend a UNICEF-supported hygiene education class.© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1119/Kate Holt