UNHCR formally opens campaign to raise US$220 million for education

The UN refugee agency has used the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) summit to launch a campaign to raise US$220 million to help children of conflict. High Commissioner António Guterres called the initiative a means of ensuring that vulnerable children can get an education.

Two young refugee children set off for school. UNHCR hopes that a new campaign will ensure that all refugee children can attend school.   © UNHCR/H.Caux

NEW YORK, United States, September 26 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has used the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) summit to formally launch a campaign to raise US$220 million to help children of conflict.

Speaking at a press conference in New York on Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres called the initiative "a means of ensuring that vulnerable children are fully able to realize their right to an education."

The relaunched ninemillion campaign, through an Education (Plus) programme, aims to raise US$220 million by 2010 to allow 9 million refugee and vulnerable children to get an education.

UNHCR seeks through Education (Plus) to address all aspects of a child's educational needs, from teachers and notebooks to transportation, water and vocational training. The programme puts particular emphasis on getting girls into the classroom.

Ninemillion brings together UNHCR and private sector partners Nike, Microsoft, Manpower, the advertising group WPP, and GSMA, an association of mobile phone operators and equipment suppliers.

"I believe the mobile industry can play an important role within the ninemillion initiative as access to telecommunications and the internet will enable refugee children to learn about their world," said Rob Conway, chief executive officer of GSMA.

"We owe every refugee child an education to give them the tools to make a life for themselves," said Manpower's Senior Vice-President David Arkless.

The initial focus of ninemillion will be on uprooted children from Darfur, Iraq, and Colombia, which are among the world's worst displacement crises.

The internet-based ninemillion campaign was originally launched last year on World Refugee Day (June 20) with the goal of opening up education and sports opportunities for millions of refugee children around the world. Many have already benefited from the campaign.

The unveiling of Education (Plus) at the three-day CGI in New York relaunches the campaign and gives it new concrete goals. High Commissioner Guterres and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie have been attending the summit, which ends on Friday.