Türkiye on Wednesday took over from UNICEF as the coordinator of a program for the education of refugee children.
A ceremony was held in the capital Ankara to mark the transfer of leadership of the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) program, which has helped over 811,000 children gain access to education and more than 170,000 to child protection services, according to UNICEF.
It has been implemented through a close partnership between the Ministry of Family and Social Services, the Ministry of National Education, Turkish Red Crescent, and UNICEF, along with financial support from the EU, the US, and Norway since 2017.
“Six years later, we are happy to embark on a new phase of this successful initiative in direct partnership with the (Turkish) Ministry of Family and Social Services,” said Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, head of the EU delegation to Türkiye.
“Our aim is to ensure quality education for all -- education that builds on equal access," Meyer-Landrut added at the event organized by Türkiye, the EU, UNICEF, and the Turkish Red Crescent Society.
Also attending, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan said the CCTE for Refugees program was “an excellent example of how barriers to education for children can be removed through national leadership and strategic partnerships.”
“It provides us with a model of how to respond to a humanitarian crisis through a national system-strengthening approach. Lessons learned and best practices from this flagship program are now instrumental in the design and implementation of UNICEF's emergency response in the Ukraine and in other countries in the region,” added Khan, who is also UNICEF’s special coordinator for the refuge and migrant response in Europe.
Turkish Deputy Minister of Family and Social Services Ismail Ergunes, for his part, said the ministry had been supporting the successful implementation of the program and will continue in the next phase.
“This is a relay race, and we are taking over the flag from UNICEF today, having this awareness. I would like to reiterate our pleasure to be at UNICEF's Best Practices Sharing Event, who have been coordinating the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education program for refugees for a long time,” said Ergunes.
“From the very beginning, the program touched every moment and future of every child, local and refugee. We know that this world belongs to all of us, and we are responsible for every child's education, health, and happiness,” he added.