How Education Can Transform Health and Wellbeing in Crisis-Affected Communities


How Education Can Transform Health and Wellbeing in Crisis-Affected Communities

During crises, where devastation and uncertainty cast a shadow over entire communities, education can often pave the way towards improved health and wellbeing. 

Education is intrinsically linked to life expectancy, morbidity, and healthy behaviors. Access to education can play an important role in shaping opportunities, employment, and income offering long-term solutions to some of the health challenges that crises-affected communities face. 

This International Day of Education, we explore how education can contribute to positive health and wellbeing outcomes.

Community members engaging in hygiene practices in Yemen

Knowledge is a lifeline   

Education can be a shield against existing and potential health crises by arming communities with essential health knowledge. Informed communities are better equipped to grasp fundamental healthcare practices, preventative measures, and early detection of illnesses.  

Disease prevention  

Communities with access to education have increased awareness of hygiene practices and infection control, reducing the transmission of deadly diseases and creating healthier living environments. From sanitation awareness to clean water practices and vaccination programs, training sessions on these important topics can be a cornerstone for equipping people with the tools they need to confidently manage the risk of disease and safeguard community health.  

Women from Sudan engaging in nutrition program

Promoting gender equality  

Empowering women and girls through education can enhance overall health and well-being in communities. It can be a powerful tool for dismantling gender inequalities and barriers to healthcare, enabling women to make informed decisions about their health and that of their children.  

Education can also equip wider communities with a deeper understanding of safeguarding, enabling them to disrupt cycles of harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) which has a lasting impact on the wellbeing of future generations. 

Economic empowerment 

Education can be the ticket to lifting people out of poverty and reducing socioeconomic and political inequalities by enhancing skills development, employability, entrepreneurship, and, consequently, income generation. This stability provides people with the means to access essential health services and improve their living conditions, helping them to lead healthier lives. 

The pilot of a peace-building program for women in the Philippines

Psychosocial resilience 

Disasters and conflict often impact people’s day to day structure; destroying and damaging the buildings, social groups and livelihoods. In these crisis-affected areas, schools and training centers can provide a semblance of normalcy, structure, and purpose, offering a support system and buffer against the trauma and stress that comes with experiencing a crisis.  

Conflict resolution

Education goes beyond the classroom. By nurturing critical thinking, negotiation, and problem-solving skills, it becomes a great force for resolving conflicts and fostering peace.Through access to education, communities are empowered to create stable environments, collaboratively tackle challenges, and mitigate the prevalence of health issues stemming from conflict. 

Access to education in crisis-affected communities can be a beacon of hope, guiding communities toward improved health and well-being, and creating a more resilient future for them. In our ongoing commitment to community health and well-being, we delivered over 30,000 education services and over 7 million health services in 15 countries in 2022, including remedial education to support young people meet their educational milestones, and education around disease prevention and psychosocial wellbeing. Recognizing the importance of both education and health, we will continue to partner with local communities to enhance long-term health and well-being. 



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