“The message is clear – it’s time to make education part of every emergency response”

Each November 20 reminds me of my childhood and – despite the fun we had as children – it also reminds me of the millions of children across the world who are denied their rights as children.

This day marks significant international landmarks in children’s rights, including the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1989.

As Universal Children’s Day and the National Day of the Child, it is required that countries observe November 20 as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children and  promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.

As mentioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “This year, I wish to emphasise the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty.”

On Friday, November 20, RESULTS Canada, in partnership with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), invited me to join the Universal Children’s Day panel at Carleton University titled “Global Goals: Is Canada Up To the Challenge?”

The discussion addressed the challenges and opportunities facing children and girls and the role of Canada’s new government in the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Among the other panellists were Mrs Marie-Irene Richmond from Ivory Coast, working with the United Nations in eradicating polio in Africa and Dr Shahida Akter of CARE Bangladesh, an expert in children nutrition.

As a Global Youth Ambassador for a World at School and a Women Deliver Young Leader, my discussions focused around highlighting education In emergencies and the right of all children to receive a quality education.

Despite the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and an increasing numbers of natural disasters, it is shocking that just 1% of all humanitarian aid went to education last year, leaving millions of children out of school and without hope.

It is time for this to change. For teachers, pupils and their families, the message is clear – it’s time to make education part of every emergency response.  

Every child deserves the chance to plan for a better future. I called on the international community – especially the newly-elected government of Canada – to move quickly to set up a much-needed new platform to fund and coordinate education in emergencies.

There is a unique opportunity for bold action in the coming months in the build-up to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May and we needto make sure that education is a priority in every emergency response and not an afterthought.

The conversations were moderated by Robert Sauder, a Public Servant in Residence at NPSIA (Global Affairs Canada), and were followed by a world cafeÌ-style session, where attendees enjoyed a small audience with each panelist.