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The impacts of internal displacement on education in sub-Saharan Africa

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Internal displacement can interrupt children's education, harm their wellbeing and hinder their development. It can reduce their future livelihood opportunities, creating a poverty trap that endures even after displacement. Failing to provide internally displaced children with quality education can cause long-term damage to them, their families and communities and affect their country's progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As this paper demonstrates for the first time, however, most internally displaced children are excluded from educational policies.

In this background paper to the Global Education Monitoring Report 2020 of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), IDMC presents the first estimates of the number of children at risk of being affected or out of school because of internal displacement in sub-Saharan Africa and of the cost of providing them with education. It further analyses the educational impacts of internal displacement in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Eswatini and proposes options to ensure inclusive education policies do not leave internally displaced children behind.

Key messages

• More than 4.4 million children of primary and lower secondary school age (between 5 and 14 years old) are at risk of having their education affected by internal displacement in sub-Saharan Africa.

• At least three million children internally displaced by conflict or violence are at risk of being out of school across 13 sub-Saharan African countries because they are not receiving educational support.

• African countries affected by internal displacement would need at least $275 million per year to provide minimum educational support to all internally displaced children between the ages of 5 and 14.

• The sub-Saharan countries with the highest numbers of school-age internally displaced children are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.