By: Sarah Stinchcombe
Education is next in importance to food and water during disaster, according to a recent study by the non profit group Plan Canada.
The study, titled In Double Jeopardy, was released Thursday and focuses on women in developing countries in situations of disaster.
Dena Allen, media and public relations manager for Plan Canada, said that education should be more of a priority in crisis relief in developing countries.
“Higher education should be made a priority in situations of disaster,” said Allen. “Obviously things like food and water are the number one priority, but I think next to that should be is education.”
The study included a poll of young women who are currently living within areas of high war impact, HIV and other high risk situations. The poll asked them what made them happy, and almost 40 per cent of those asked said school.
Allen said providing girls with education gives them a sense of normalcy, even during disasters. In addition, Allen said parents benefit by being given time to figure out the next steps to make their families secure.
“Sometimes young girls leave school when a disaster strikes and they’re out for years because of the disaster,” Allen said. “And that can be detrimental to their development. That’s why it’s so important for measures to be in place towards education.”
Kasha Matthews, a counsellor at Haldimand and Norfolk Women’s Services, is not shocked by the findings of the study and agrees that education should be the number one goal.
“Education is the most important thing, in my opinion,” said Matthews. “Due to the nature of the intersectionality of discrimination, women in developing countries face multiple dimensions of discrimination and therefore need education that much more.
“Education allows for opportunity and the right to choose.”