Yemen nets $82.5m grant to reach out of school children

A new $82.5m funding package has been announced to try to tackle a schooling crisis in Yemen that has left hundreds of thousands of children without access to education

A new $82.5m funding package has been announced to try to tackle a schooling crisis in Yemen that has left hundreds of thousands of children without access to education.

An estimated 1 million children in the poorest Arab state are not enrolled in school, with girls in rural areas among the worst affected.

The money will go towards underpinning Yemen’s flagging education system by improving schooling, training teachers and restoring 142 schools in conflict zones.

The grant has been pledged by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a World Bank-backed initiative, and will be distributed by UNICEF and Yemen’s Ministry of Education.

“Educating children – especially girls- increases their income, improves their health and nutrition and it literally saves lives,” said Carol Bellamy, GPE Board Chair. “The investments we make in children will pay dividends for generations to come.”

Yemen has the highest poverty levels in the Middle East. Half of the population lives on less than $2 a day, and many remote communities have little access to education. More than 50 per cent of Yemen’s population are below the age of 18, with girls lagging boys in terms of literacy and school participation. Poverty, insecurity, a lack of female teachers and tradition attitudes towards girls’ education all contribute to the gender gap.

The funding is “critical” to ensuring all children in Yemen have access to a quality education, said Alice Albright, chief executive officer of GPE.

“All children should have access to a school, have effective teachers and be able to learn so he or she can contribute to the development of their community and nation.”