The fund

Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund to prioritise education in humanitarian action.  It will play a groundbreaking role in ushering in a more collaborative approach to ensure every crisis-affected child and young person is in school and learning. By bringing together public and private partners, Education Cannot Wait will leverage additional finance and catalyse new approaches to funding and innovation to deliver education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The fund seeks to generate greater shared political, operational and financial commitment to fulfill the educational needs of 75 million children and young people worst affected by crisis and conflict. The fund will bridge the humanitarian–development divide to build more sustainable education systems.

The five core functions:

  1. Inspire political commitment so that education is viewed by both governments and funders as a top priority during crises.
  2. Plan and respond collaboratively, with a particular emphasis on enabling humanitarian and development actors to work together on shared objectives.
  3. Generate and disburse additional funding to close the $8.5 billion funding gap needed to reach 75 million children and youth.
  4. Strengthen capacity to respond to crises, nationally and globally, including the ability to coordinate emergency support.
  5. Improve accountability by developing and sharing knowledge, including collection of more robust data in order to make better-informed investment decisions, and knowledge of what works and does not.


Children reading books in a school

Education Cannot Wait provides incentives and mechanisms for the development of global goods and other joint activities through an Acceleration Facility designed to support global and regional actors; and a Breakthrough Fund to channel financial support to those who are active in-country.

The result is improved coordination, greater return on investment, and improved education delivery for children and youth in countries in crisis and conflict.

Teacher with school children


The 2015 Oslo Summit on Education for Development called for the creation of a joint global effort to mobilise collective action and significant funding for education in emergencies. Over the last year, governments, international and domestic non-governmental organizations, the private sector and global citizens have called for a renewed approach to deliver education to children and youth affected by crises.

Interest in new approaches that join up humanitarian and development efforts has been building in the lead-up to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit. Education Cannot Wait is a key contribution to the United Nations Secretary General’s ‘Agenda for Humanity’. Political momentum has also been building with the era of the Sustainable Development Goals and the world’s commitment to ensuring access to quality education for all children and youth people, leaving no one behind. This consensus is driving a new, collective way forward to support education in humanitarian response.

Secretariat and Governance

Education Cannot Wait will use a flexible and adaptable approach to both governance and operations, particularly during the fund’s incubation period at UNICEF to ensure that lessons learned can inform the fund’s approaches in moving forward.

The day-to-day work of the fund will be managed by an interim Secretariat that is hosted and administered within UNICEF. A High-Level Steering Group will provide overall strategic direction and is comprised of partner organizations, including: heads of government and senior ministers from crisis-affected and donor countries, heads of multilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector and private foundation chief executive officers (CEOs).

Partners & donors

The launch of the Education Cannot Wait fund provides a unique roadmap to drive forward action on education in emergencies. Support from the following organizations has made this possible.
Stay tuned for more information on the High Level Steering Committee.

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