NEW YORK — In the six years since the Syrian crisis began to push refugees into Lebanon, the U.N. Children’s Agency has managed to reach several previously unattainable goals. Lebanon’s entire school curriculum is up for review, the Ministry of Education is on its way to adopting a data management system, and local parents are actually choosing to send their kids to public schools.
Those achievements are part of a silver lining that UNICEF is increasingly building into emergency response elsewhere too. Donor dollars and attention don’t just relieve immediate needs in a crisis; they can be invested in responses that simultaneously improve the systems on the ground for the longer term.
“We would never have had the money to rewrite a whole curriculum for a country or train up all their teachers,” without the crisis, said Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF country director. “From [Lebanon’s] perspective, they are also carrying a burden, but there are some benefits of it.”