Women and children in conflict situations are particularly vulnerable to hunger, disease, violence and abuse. More than half of the refugee children in Syria’s neighbouring countries do not have the opportunity to go to school.
‘The need for education for children and youth affected by crises is often ignored. This is why Norway is leading the way and has provided considerable support for education efforts both within Syria and in the neighbouring countries. At the donor conference in London earlier this year, we pledged to earmark 15 % of our overall humanitarian aid to Syria and the region for education in 2016. We are now increasing our support for education by NOK 80 million, bringing the total up to NOK 450 million. This is around 20 % of our humanitarian budget for the Syria crisis,’ said Mr Brende.
Lebanon is one of the countries facing the greatest challenges, and its authorities have asked for some USD 100 million to provide schooling for Syrian refugee children. Norway is increasing its support for education efforts in Lebanon by NOK 50 million to a total of NOK 180 million. With funding channelled through UNICEF, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children, Norway has contributed to ensure that 360 000 Syrian refugee children aged 5-17 have been able to access school in Lebanon and Jordan.
Norway is also increasing its efforts to support women and children by providing NOK 25 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). One of UNFPA’s tasks is to prevent child marriage, which Syrian girls are particularly vulnerable to. More than 20 % of Syrian refugee girls have been married off, according to the UN.
‘There are now 360 000 pregnant women in Syria who are in urgent need of medical care, but it is very difficult for them to get the assistance they need, especially in the areas under siege. Norway’s funding will be used to combat sexual violence, run clinics and train health workers in Syria and Lebanon,’ said Mr Brende.
Norway is the fifth largest humanitarian donor to Syria. Norway’s aid for the Syrian crisis has totalled around NOK 2.4 billion in 2016.