"Mr. President, call to remember Africa! "

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis in Africa, more than 1.3 billion young people have been prevented from going to school. Here in Ségou, Mali, October 1, 2019.
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis in Africa, more than 1.3 billion young people have been prevented from going to school. Here in Ségou, Mali, October 1, 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / hooly News

Grandstand. Mr. President, it must be said, this pandemic "Forces us", these are your words. With regard to the women and men infected with Covid-19, patients, caregivers, pharmacists, garbage collectors, cashiers, firefighters, social workers, paramedics, this list is long …

With regard to the most fragile of course, in particular the 200,000 people who, despite your commitments, are still on the street in France, and who do not have the means to protect themselves, to confine themselves, to heal themselves.

With regard to history too. Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that this health crisis has had no equivalent in terms of the challenge for Germany since the Second World War. You have, Mr. Macron, also stressed this for our country.

History will remember the decisions we make and our height of vision.

In this context of extreme urgency, where masks and respirators are concerned with saving lives here in France, we ask you, aware of our responsibility, to take an initiative, for and with Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recalled, the Coronavirus crisis will be particularly dramatic on this continent where social safety nets do not exist and where the medical materials required to respond to this crisis are lacking, where 85% of the population south of the Sahara does not have access to clean water or soap and where they have to go to work no matter what to feed their family. It’s a matter of days.

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The extreme urgency is therefore here, but also there, with the human, social and economic consequences that we can hardly imagine and whose systemic repercussions already concern us.

Today, 138 countries have closed schools across the country, affecting just over 1.3 billion children and young people, with major risks of dropping out of school in the medium and long term.

Many of our organizations, working in international solidarity, have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis in their programs, their economic models, their strategies. As you said, nothing will be the same after this crisis. But first, it is necessary to limit its expansion: we are doing it, right now, with our teams and young volunteers in Africa who are raising awareness of barrier gestures. We can do much more!

But, for that, we must be able to continue our prevention, education and training activities in the field. These complementary actions to health allow us to have a holistic and strategic vision on the complex and unprecedented crisis we are experiencing. We must therefore think together, because the solution can only be collective, united, international, to ensure the health-education continuum while also taking food issues into account, but also emergency after emergency. Our solidarity must therefore be up to this crisis and its challenges.

This crisis is already affecting the survival of thousands of women, men and children, but it also shows that the health and medical emergency must necessarily be combined with awareness and education actions which, in parallel care, anticipate and protect, therefore, multiply the effects of the fight against the pandemic.

Interconnections

At a time of globalization, our solidarity cannot concern our territory alone. Closing borders is understandable in such an unprecedented situation, but it should not mean that trade between nations would only be virtuous in times of growth and development. On the contrary, the interconnections are such, and the future of the planet an urgent necessity, that one cannot neglect what is happening elsewhere, in particular in Africa, where the crisis will probably wreak more havoc than on any other continent, with an impact on all of humanity.

Mr. Speaker, we can save lives, many lives. We, the main associations of solidarity and development through education, mobilize everywhere we are present, particularly in Africa. But we need money to continue to act and exist. It is, of course, necessary to give funds to humanitarian health or emergency organizations, but also to strengthen education funds as support and complement to health emergency actions. Without this support, we will not be able to provide a systemic and collective response.

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This is why, first of all, we urge you to set up a safeguard fund for the international solidarity organizations that need it, so that they can get through this crisis, which is also extremely serious for them. We then ask you to respect the trajectory of the 0.55% of gross national income to 2022 devoted to official development assistance as you undertook at the start of your mandate and in view of this historic crisis in the direction of education and health.

We ask you, on behalf of the Global Partnership for Education (SME), which you have largely supported, to launch without delay a strong, historic, international and united initiative by calling for the mobilization of public funds with the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union, the SME, the World Bank, and the major development banks, but also with private funds from companies and foundations, to offer a collective and coherent response.

Mr. President, call on Africa not to be forgotten!

Secular Solidarity and Aide et Action, initiators of this call and challenged by their African partners, invite all education and international solidarity organizations to join them by signing this appeal to the President of the French Republic: Anne- Marie Harster, President of Solidarité laïque; Aïcha Bah Diallo, president of Aide et Action international; Gwenaëlle Bouillé, president of Aide et Action France; Alain Canonne, general delegate Solidarité laïque; Charles-Emmanuel Ballanger, Managing Director of Aide et Action

Signers who joined the call

The Education Coalition and its members Catherine Alvarez, director general of Asmae-Sister Emmanuelle; Jean-Luc Cazaillon, director general of the CEMEA; Henry de Cazotte, President of GRET; Ruvie Gambia, president of Committed and Determined; Aurélie Gal-Regniez, director of Equipop; Yolaine Guerif, managing director of Partage; Véronique Jenn-Treyer, co-director of Planète enfants et développement; Frederic Marchand, Secretary General of UNSA Education; Catherine Nave-Bekhti, general secretary of the Federation of Sgen-CFDT; Patrice papet, president of Planète urgency; Manuel Patrouillard, managing director, Handicap international; Morgane Peroche, permanent delegate of the International Federation of CEMEA; Hanta Rakotondramavo, director of DEFI; Agnes Riffonneau, president of GREF (Grouping of educators without borders); Joël Roman, president of the Education League; Yvan Savy, director of Plan international France; Benoît TESTE, secretary general of the FSU; Danièle Toulemont, international delegate of Agir ABCD; Roland Tubiana, President of Solthis (Therapeutic Solidarity and Health Initiatives)