Inclusive Education : Edu-CASH Initiative For Vulnerable Children

Stakeholders in a meeting last Friday, resolved to ensure that IDPs and disabled pupils acquire quality education.

Schools begin today for the 2021/2022 academic year. It is with great joy and enthusiasm for most children. But, this is not always the case for those in vulnerable situations. Young girls, children with disabilities, internally displaced children (IDPs), HIV orphans as well as indigenous children tend to live this moment in fear and stress. When it is not their own parents who do not find a valid reason or resources to send them to school, it is other social norms inherited from tradition or of religion which constitute barriers that have become insurmountable for their education. It is against this backdrop that the Ministry of Social Affairs and its partners met on September 3, in a National Advocacy meeting on Social Protection and Inclusive Education of Vulnerable Populations in the West, Littoral and Far North Regions of the country. 
Opening the discussions was the Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Beryl Panje Itoh who reiterated the urgent need for inclusive education, that is, education that is suitable for all children and to which all children can have access. She said the Ministry is out to ensure that the rights of vulnerable persons are protected. Hence, the Ministry of Social Affairs and it partners came up with the Educational Cash Assistance (Edu-CASH) Initiative in a bid to provide financial assistance to vulnerable families. With the coming of decentralisation, she said mayors are working with the communities to select those in great need. This, to make sure that all children are educated within the policy of leaving no child behind   
The meeting assembled national stakeholders to chart a way forward with regard to the Edu-CASH Initiative. The Chief of Party Edu-Cash (6) Initiative and CEO of Rhema Care Integrated Development Centre, Rev. Eric Shu, said the initiative is reaching out to vulnerable households with deplorable situations through cash based interventions for economic empowerment. He said over 800 vulnerable households are to benefit from over FCFA 112 Millions in six municipalities in the selected regions. It is a Global Affairs Canada/UNICEF funded project executed by Community Humanitarian Emergency Board (COHEB), and RHEMA Care. Some families have already benefitted from the initiative; municipalities are also being impacted for inclusive education as well as school infrastructures. During discussions which involved Secretaries General from different ministries and mayors for targeted regions, it was recommended that a system should be put in place to evaluate the money given to different families. 



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