Education in Humanitarian Action

CCC Commitments and Benchmarks

Commitments Benchmarks
Commitment 1

Effective leadership is established for education cluster/ inter-agency coordination (with co-lead agency), with links to other cluster/sector coordination mechanisms on critical intersectoral issues.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 1

Coordination mechanism provides guidance to all partners on common standards, strategies and approaches, ensuring that all critical education gaps and vulnerabilities are identified, and provides information on roles, responsibilities and accountability to address all gaps without.

Commitment 2

Children, including preschool-age children, girls and other excluded children, access quality education opportunities.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 2

Schools are reopened, and child- and adolescent-friendly emergency non-formal programmes, including play and early learning for young children, areestablished for affected communities.

Commitment 3

Safe and secure learning environments that promote the protection and welltbeing of students are established.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 3

Schools are safe and free from violence, and children, including girls, can safely move between home and school.

Commitment 4

Psychosocial and health services for children and teachers are integrated in educational response.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 4

All education-related humanitarian response integrates appropriate psychosocial, health and nutritional interventions.

Commitment 5

Adolescents, young children and caregivers access appropriate life skills programmes and information about the emergency, and those who have missed out on schooling, especially adolescents, receive information on educational options.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 5

Relevant education programmes are implemented, including for adolescents and young children.

Technical Justification

Education is not only a right, but in situations of emergency, chronic crisis and early reconstruction, it provides physical, psychosocial and cognitive protection that can be both life-saving and life-sustaining. Education sustains life by offering safe spaces for learning and support for affected individuals, particularly younger children and adolescents. Education mitigates the psychosocial impact of conflict and disasters by giving a sense of normalcy, stability, structure and hope for the future during a time of crisis, and it provides essential building blocks for future economic stability.

Education can also save lives by protecting against exploitation and harm, and by providing the knowledge and skills to survive a crisis through the dissemination of life-saving messages. Integrating disaster risk education into national curricula and building safe school facilities are two priorities that contribute to a country's progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (see INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction).

Programme Action

  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Early Recovery


  • Clarify the responsibilities of UNICEF and its partners regarding education in humanitarian situations.
  • Strengthen existing coordination mechanisms or, if unavailable, mechanisms in collaboration with national authorities to ensure that the humanitarian response is timely and coordinated, and that conforms to humanitarian principles and agreed-upon standards and benchmarks.
  • Support a multi-sectoral rapid assessment mechanism and format, including priority education information.
  • Advocate for an emergency component in education sector plans and budgets, including preparedness plans; and pre-position education and early childhood development kits or enter into stand-by agreements with suppliers and partners.
  • Support national authorities in planning for appropriate temporary learning spaces; establish codes of conduct to address all forms of violence, sexual exploitation, abuse and discrimination in learning situations; and ensure joint preparedness planning with WASH and protection clusters and partners (see also WASH and child protection CCCs).
  • Support national authorities in adjusting the education system to respond to students' psychosocial needs and increased vulnerabilities in emergency situations; and agree on training packages and approaches that include psychosocial support, risk and vulnerability reduction, as well as basic health, hygiene and nutrition promotion.
  • Agree with partners on education information and communication strategies and approaches, including strategies that promote the participation of adolescents, using existing materials that have been adapted.
  • Promote school emergency preparedness plans, advocate for safe school structures and include basic disaster risk-reduction measures in school curricula.
  • Develop the capacity of education authorities in preparing the school system, at all levels, to respond to emergencies.


  • Establish and activate transparent and inclusive education-cluster coordination mechanisms, and assign staff to lead inter-agency coordination.
  • Revise and develop a response framework, strategy and plan of action for education response, based on assessment findings.
  • Monitor implementation of programme activities, and ensure that capacity is in place at all levels to effectively respond to the crisis.
  • Ensure that education is integrated in flash appeals, donor briefings, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and other funding proposals in order to guarantee that the sector is given adequate attention.
  • Advocate for and support the reopening of schools and establishment of non-formal education and recreational programmes; provide appropriate basic education, early learning and recreational materials; and include special measures for children needing help to re-engage in education (e.g., girls, and vulnerable and socially excluded children).
  • Set up safe temporary learning spaces for all age groups in consultation with communities and, where appropriate, establish community services - such as water supply and sanitation - around schools, complemented by hygiene promotion.
  • Address violence in and around learning spaces and schools - including safety of children on the way to school - with a focus on adolescent girls.
  • Mobilize available psychosocial support for teachers and students, and provide appropriate activities for them in temporary learning spaces, and for young children and adolescents in child-friendly spaces; and establish initial links to basic health and nutrition services.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of context-relevant life skills programmes and learning content (e.g., basic health, nutrition and hygiene promotion), as well as prevention, protection, inclusion and support regarding HIV and AIDS (see also HIV and AIDS CCCs) and GBV, conflict resolution, and information about the situation (e.g., earthquakes and armed conflict); and involve the affected population, particularly adolescents and young people.
  • Identify and transmit supply needs to Supply and Logistics.

Early Recovery

  • Ensure that the education-cluster coordination mechanism integrates emergency response with long-term vision and recovery planning.
  • Participate in, establish or lead, as appropriate, the early recovery coordination mechanism for education, and support the early recovery cluster/network.
  • Ensure that the implementation of education emergency response includes principles of child-friendly approaches.
  • Ensure that education interventions are based on a robust assessment and analysis of disaster risk.
  • Advocate for and support the redevelopment of schools according to safe, inclusive, equitable and child-friendly models, including all children without discrimination, as well as school emergencypreparedness measures.
  • Support inclusion of a disaster risk-reduction component in educationsector plans and budgets.
  • Advocate for and support the development of sustainable and appropriate child-friendly and hazard-resistant standards and designs for reconstruction of schools.
  • Advocate for appropriate compensation for teachers and paraprofessionals, according to agreed-upon inter-agency guidelines.
  • Advocate for and support integration of life skills, with a focus on disaster risk reduction, into both formal and non-formal education.
  • Initiate a gap analysis of local and national capacities in education and ensure integration of capacity strengthening in early recovery and transition plans, with a focus on risk reduction.