Donors Step Up to Fund Education in Crisis at Un General Assembly With US$70 Million in New Pledges to Education Cannot Wait

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“Last year we studied in the tents. When there was too much sandy wind, the teachers used to send us back home. We could not even hear what he said. Now, we study in new classrooms, and we come to school happy. ” – Kaka Mahamat,12, Daresalam Refugee camp. Lake Region, Chad. Photo: UNICEF Chad/2017/Bahaji
New York

At this week’s United Nations General Assembly, the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the philanthropic foundation Dubai Cares stepped up international funding to support education for girls and boys living in crisis areas, war zones and those uprooted by conflict and disasters, with close to US$70 million in new pledges to Education Cannot Wait (ECW).

These notable contributions increase the resources mobilized to date by the Fund by 33 per cent, to a total of $273 million. ECW became operational just over one year ago and aims to close the funding gap to meet the needs of 75 million children and youth whose education is currently disrupted by conflict and crisis.

“These new pledges are an important step in solving one of the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “For the millions of girls and boys – children and adolescents -enduring war, forced displacement and disasters, these new funds represent a lifeline and the promise of a future.”

The new pledges comprise $46 million from Denmark – the highest single donor contribution to the Fund to date – which adds to Denmark’s previous $30 million contribution making the country ECW’s top donor. The Netherlands also added to their initial contribution of $7.4 million, with a substantial $17.5 million new pledge. Norway announced an additional $2.5 million in funding, increasing its 2018 contribution to a total $10 million. The philanthropic foundation Dubai Cares, one of the founding partners of ECW with an initial contribution of $2.3 million, pledged an additional $3.75 million.

Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, announces US$ 46 million pledge to ECW to support the delivery of quality education to vulnerable children and youth caught in conflict and crisis, with a particular focus on girls and adolescent girls at #LeaveNoGirlBehind UN General Assembly event on 25 September 2018.
Photo credit: ECW/Desgroseilliers


The UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group, Rt Hon Gordon Brown, commended the new pledges and appealed for more donors to follow through.

“Hope dies when a child or young person is unable to plan and prepare for the future. And it is up to us to keep hope alive. So I say, let us bridge this gap between humanitarian and development aid. Let us fund humanitarian aid in education properly, by doubling it immediately. Let us ensure Education Cannot Wait has the funds to support and facilitate coordinated education responses in all the conflict areas of the world,” said Brown.

The new pledges will support ECW’s goal of raising $1.8 billion to continue to roll out its groundbreaking multi-year programmes that aim to reach 8.9 million children and youth – of whom 50 per cent are girls – in 25 priority crisis-affected countries by 2021.

ECW facilitates the design and funds multi-year education programmes that bring together a wide range of humanitarian and development stakeholders in delivering context-specific quality responses focusing on girls’ education and gender equality, protection and continuity, while also emphasizing equity and support to children with disabilities.  ECW also provides emergency funds to support rapid education responses in new or escalating crises.

To date, ECW has invested a total of $127 million in 17 crisis-affected countries which is reaching close to one million children and youth with essential education services in crises contexts.

The full press release is available here

Notes to Editors:
Additional information on ECW is available at:

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to respond rapidly to crisis and usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve collective education outcomes.

To date, the following 13 generous donors have contributed or pledged a total of $273 million to the ECW Fund: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Dubai Cares, European Commission, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

ECW’s Secretariat is hosted by UNICEF in its Headquarters in New York.

For press enquiries and to schedule an interview, contact: Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1 917 640-6820

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