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Brussels, 11 October 2013
The EU Children of Peace projects: how the European Union keeps bringing peace closer to those who need it the most
A year ago, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union for its six decades of service to the advancement of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights. On the occasion of the ceremony in Oslo on 10 December 2012, the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz announced their decision to dedicate the monetary value of the award to projects supporting children – victims of conflict around the world. The reason for this decision was that every girl and every boy, no matter where they were born, should have the opportunity to develop their talents and grow up in peace.
The European Commission matched the award value with its own funding bringing it to a total of €2 million for 2012 and €4 million for 2013. The European Commission invested this fund in humanitarian aid projects for children in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The past year has seen intensive work developing the projects.
Today, 28,000 children benefit from these projects in very practical ways: through access to education and child-friendly spaces, so badly needed in conflict zones.
Among the beneficiaries of the EU's commitment to peace are around 4000 Syrian refugee children in camps at the border between Iraq and Syria. This is indispensable support for the most vulnerable victims of the Syrian crisis; without support like that of the European Union, they risk becoming a 'lost generation'. The EU Children of Peace project for Syrian children has so far provided €400,000 for education and other activities helping kids. A "Child-friendly space" opened in Domiz camp, for example, offers one of the few places where children are able to participate in supervised recreational and therapeutic activities.
The consequences of conflict can last long after the hostilities have abated, and keep hurting the most vulnerable members of the affected population: children. In Colombia and Ecuador, the EU Children of Peace project is helping educate and protect the kids affected by conflict. The European assistance (€400 000) translates into school materials and uniforms, into renovating schools and dedicating spaces where it is safe for children to play and study, away from the risks of illegal recruitment by armed groups. More than 5,000 Colombian children, many of them refugees in Ecuador, benefit from this project.
Nearly half of the EU Children of Peace funding goes for children in Africa: more than 11,000 children benefit from the European initiative in Ethiopia's Dollo Ado refugee camps and in Northern Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo. In both countries, children get what many of them never had before - safe learning spaces, schoolbags, teachers' kits and other items that keep them in schools and give them much-needed respite from their difficult surroundings.
In Pakistan, similarly, the EU Children of Peace project has in the past year reached out to 3,000 children in the conflict-affected north of the country. There are 20 more schools in the Jalozai camp today thanks to the European assistance (€300 000) reaching out, in particular, to Pakistani girls, few of whom had access to education before. The European assistance also includes school-in-a-box supplies, training for teachers and psychosocial counselling.
Committed to keep making the difference for children who need special care to overcome the consequences of conflict, the EU Children of Peace initiative will continue beyond its first year. In 2014, the European Commission intends to increase its funding for education of children in conflict zones – a new symbol of the European Union's dedication promoting real, lasting peace where it is so badly needed.
On 20 November (Universal Children’s Day) an event analysing the track record of the EU Children of Peace initiative in its first year will take place. This will also be the opportunity to announce new EU Children of Peace projects to be run by EU humanitarian partners and thus ensuring a lasting legacy from EU's Nobel Peace Prize.
For more information
IP/12/1392: EU Children of Peace initiative: President Barroso announces Nobel Peace Prize projects to help 23,000 children affected by war and conflicts
Website of the European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
Website of the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva:
Website of the Nobel Peace Prize:
Facebook page of the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva:
Follow Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva on twitter: @KGeorgievaEU