Muzoon: ‘Education Cannot Wait for the Children of Chad’

19-year-old Syrian activist Muzoon warns of impact that conflict is having on education during trip to Chad

When Muzoon Almellehan travelled to meet children in Chad last week, she was met with a scenario of which she had an all too recent understanding.

At 14, Muzzon’s entire life was uprooted. Her secondary education was disrupted by conflict. The places where she’d once happily lived and learned came under attack. Fleeing her home in the middle of the night, the only things she packed were her schoolbooks, carried with the hope and expectation that things would get back on track; that normal life, and learning, would resume.

She travelled to Chad last week to highlight the challenges faced by children, and met many whose experiences echoed her own. Displaced, facing an uncertain future and craving the stability and safety of school. “I never imagined that other children around the world could be experiencing the same pain and fear as I did in Syria,” she said, “while at the same time they cling to the same dream – dreaming of a future that only education can allow,” she added.

Muzoon’s work as an education activist was born in Zaatari refugee camp, where she travelled from tent to tent, encouraging families to send their children to school. In Chad, she met with children who were able to continue their education despite the obstacles, and community members who, like her once, are risking it all to get children into school.

Chad’s already fragile education system has been totally destroyed by what is now the fastest growing development crisis in Africa. Education Cannot Wait has responded to this with a US$10 million investment to provide quality education for displaced children and children living in host communities. Only 8% of refugees are enrolled in secondary school and there are nearly three times as many primary-school-age out of-school girls as boys.

The fund is playing a critical role in Chad, allocating funding in areas where grants have not been available. This focus on the hardest-to-reach and most vulnerable children, especially girls, is a guiding principle for Education Cannot Wait’s operations.

The fund is also piloting new approaches to build the capacity and accountability of local actors. Existing schools are overcrowded and understaffed with only 30% of teachers properly qualified. ECW is delivering professional and community development training for teachers and education officials to strengthen the community’s ability to respond.

Speaking from Chad, Muzoon sent an urgent message to members of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group. “I feel so lucky to have met the girls in Chad, but I’m sad to see that so many are missing out on school,” she said. “Education Cannot Wait is dedicated to reaching these children but I can count on every single one of you to do more.”


Muzoon’s past experience and those of children living in Chad reflect the stories of 75 million children worldwide whose education has been disrupted by crisis. This battle for every child’s right to learn, no matter where or how they live, is one that Muzoon has personally fought but is now championing for children everywhere.

Education Cannot Wait is championing the collaborative effort needed to reach them and has brought together powerful advocates like Muzoon, political and private sector champions, and a wide range of donors and civil society groups to wage this battle together. Ultimately, ECW is based on the recognition that no one agency or one programme can address this challenge.

As she moves towards completing her final high-school exams, Muzoon is proof that with the right attitude, we can prevent challenging times becoming challenging lifetimes. ECW is dedicated to mobilizing the extraordinary effort needed to give every child the same chapter in their story- a fair chance to learn.


Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies announced today a US$20 million investment to support learning opportunities for children and youth in seven crisis-affected countries. Children caught in crises in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Peru, Uganda, Ukraine and Somalia will benefit from improved access to quality learning, teacher training, psycho-social support and new school facilities.

Launched less than 12 months ago at the World Humanitarian Summit, ECW is already delivering a step-change in the coordination of humanitarian and development funding and planning. With an initial investment of US$55 million, ECW is funding quality education for an estimated 2 million vulnerable children in Chad, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen, over half of whom are girls.

This US$20 million investment marks the launch of ‘First Response Window’ – a unique mechanism to fund immediate education needs, either at the onset or escalation of a crisis. This mechanism funds a range of partners and activities on the ground for 12 months and serves as a catalyst for improved coordination and education response plans. It will crowd in further investment, in particular from non-traditional donors and the private sector, to increase overall funding for education in emergencies.

Today, in the margins of the 2017 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, leading political champions and members of the ECW High Level Steering Group gathered for the fund’s second face-to-face meeting and welcomed Ms. Annemiek Hoogenboom of Novamedia, as the first business representative to join the fund.

In her role as the Managing Director of the Deutsche Postcode Lotterie and Country Director of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Ms. Hoogenboom has pioneered a sustainable approach to philanthropy with Novamedia, raising over €7.9 billion to date. Ms. Hoogenboom brings her expertise, along with her passion for education, to expand the fund’s engagement with the business community.

The High-Level Steering Group was also joined by the new Director Designate of Education Cannot Wait, Ms. Yasmine Sherif.  Ms. Sherif brings over 25 years of professional experience in international, humanitarian and refugee law to the role and her appointment is a critical milestone for the ECW Secretariat.

ECW is continuing to mobilize the public and political commitments needed to get every crisis-affected child into school and learning by 2030. The investments already made and the ongoing advocacy and operations are the basis of an extraordinary global effort to transform the system.



For more information about Education Cannot Wait, visit or contact

⃰ The current fundraising total stands at US $113.4 million – a significant step towards achieving the Year 1 target of US $153 million.

** Countries were selected based on a methodology which assessed recent onset or escalation of crisis, severity of crisis, long-term education needs, levels of funding, and the potential for ECW engagement across the four modalities of the First Response window.

Migration & Education- 2019 GEM Report

The 2019 GEM Report will look at the issue of migration and education, as approved by the GEM Report International Advisory Board in June 2016.

Migration and education are multifaceted processes involving individuals, schools, communities, regions and countries. They invoke temporal, spatial and intergenerational dimensions. The 2019 GEM Report will enhance understanding of migration and education dynamics. It will give voice to educational challenges and opportunities facing both voluntary and involuntary migrants in host and home communities. It will draw upon wide-ranging evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies, and the analyses, conclusions and recommendations will advance the aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the global goal on education (SDG4).


This concept note discusses the issues and themes that the 2019 Report intends to address.

Specifically the 2019 GEM Report will explore two overarching questions:

A. Does migration accelerate or hamper progress in access to education? How?

B. How do migration patterns influence quality education?

It will also look at two key cross-cutting issues:

C. In what ways do policies focusing on educational equity and inclusiveness improve educational outcomes among migrants and refugees?

D. In what ways can the voices of migrants improve our understanding of how migration and education are interlinked?

We would like to hear your views on the intended content of the 2019 Report through an on-line consultation by 31 May 2017. The GEM Report team is particularly interested in receiving your thoughts on issues related to migration and education, as noted above, including suggestions on relevant literature, data analysis and case studies. We are keen to receive web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets that you think would be useful and informative for the GEM Report team.

The views of researchers, academics, governments, non-governmental organizations, aid donors, teachers, youth and anyone with an interest in migration, education and sustainable development are most welcome.

Please download our concept note and join our consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!