A second field mission is ongoing in Uganda to meet with partners

A joint mission led by Education Cannot Wait (ECW), including the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Save The Children, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)and UNHCR, is currently in Kampala meeting with government officials, the UN Resident Coordinator, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNESCO, WFP, the World Bank, donors, local NGOs and civil society organisations to finalise a comprehensive multi-year Response Plan for Refugee and Host Communities. This plan comes in support of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) led by the Government of Uganda and UNHCR.

This mission follows a preliminary field assessment conducted by ECW and its partners in July and a $3.35 million grant allocated earlier this year. This first ECW grant is supporting a one-year First Emergency Response programme, also funded and managed by UNHCR in partnership with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and other in-country partners. The programme aims to meet the specific educational needs of children living in refugee settlements and their host communities in Uganda with innovative solutions such as accelerated education, double-shifting, adapted infrastructure, as well as refugee teacher training and certification. This mission was the first concrete action taken since the Uganda Solidarity Summit, which had taken place in Kampala the previous month. In a spirit of sustainability, the objective of the second mission is to extend the first-year response provided by ECW and its partners with a comprehensive four-year plan.

Uganda is hosting 1.3 million refugees – the highest numbers of refugees in Africa and the third largest in the world today. Out of these 1.3 million refugees, an estimated one million people are fleeing insecurity and violence in South Sudan and 86 percent are children and women. The remaining 300,000 refugees are coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. The Government is committed to ensure access to quality education to all refugee children, in line with the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants adopted at the UN General Assembly last year. Refugee children can study with Ugandan children in regular schools.

However, the national education sector is itself hindered by underlying poverty, lack of teaching capacities, poor infrastructure, overcrowded classes, poor learning outcomes and a low enrollment of girls at post-primary levels aggravated by gender-based violence and dire hygiene conditions. The areas where refugees have settled are already some of the most disadvantaged parts of the country, which may exacerbate tension between the two communities, making it important for ECW and its partners to adopt a fast and holistic approach that integrates the educational needs of both refugees and their host communities. A report prepared by Save the Children and launched during the Solidarity Summit showed that $132 million is needed to meet the basic education needs of children living in those areas.

In line with ECW’s core principles, joint planning efforts seek to empower the local education sector and fill identified gaps, while building on existing in-country partners, coordination mechanisms and frameworks, including the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment approach (ReHoPe), the Government National Development Plan, the Settlement Transformative Agenda (STA) and Uganda’s SDG targets.

This all-inclusive stakeholder workshop organized by ECW in Kampala this week, in cooperation with DFID and USAID, is the first-of-its-kind meeting bringing together state and non-state humanitarian and development parties involved in Uganda’s education sector. It will accelerate the efforts deployed by all actors on the ground to ensure access to quality learning for children in both refugee and host communities in a rapid, coordinated, effective and sustainable manner.

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As part of the mission, ECW’s Director Ms. Yasmine Sherif and her team met refugee students and teachers, as well as with Ugandan families living in the area, to get a first-hand understanding of their situation, the needs and to ensure that their voice drives all efforts planned in the coming years.

More: Press release issued by the Office of the First Lady and Ministry of Education of Uganda

Photo: ©UNHCR/SouthSudan

Posted 28 September 2017



Putting Education in Emergencies at the Forefront of the Global Humanitarian Agenda

Education in emergencies was at the core of discussions on humanitarian assistance and development at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. At a time when the world is experiencing historic levels of displacement and humanitarian appeals, member states, multilateral institutions, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, heads of UN agencies, NGOs, foundations, business leaders and the world’s most influential education advocates recognised education as the priority of children and families affected by crises and the most effective means of restoring lasting peace, building resilience against shocks and fostering development and prosperity.

Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised the need to ensure continuous access to quality learning for all children in order to build a more peaceful, equal world. He acknowledged the importance of Education Cannot Wait in reaching 75 million children whose education is disrupted because of conflicts and natural disasters.

The significance of this challenge has inspired collective action and collaboration from an unprecedented number of partners. Education Cannot Wait’s supporters responded during the GA by contributing nearly $30 million in additional investments, bringing much needed hope to children and families in crisis and positioning the fund only $1.5 million short of its 2017 funding target of $153 million.

Expanding on their previous commitment, Denmark announced a new commitment of US$16.1 million to ECW. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development pledged US$13.2 million and Dubai Cares donated US$500,000 to back ECW’s planned emergency response for the Rohingya children seeking refuge in Bangladesh.

18 September 2017 | Private Sector Reception co-hosted with Dubai Cares

a. Photo by Kris Connor/Dubai Cares; b. Photo by Kris Connor/Dubai Cares

The week opened with a dedicated gathering of private sector champions in support of Education Cannot Wait, co-hosted with Dubai Cares. Recognising the crucial role the private sector can play in addressing children’s educational needs in crisis-hit countries, the event brought together leadership from the world’s most influential companies and foundations to expand the dialogue from the political arena.

Mr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, delivered powerful opening remarks, “Such a gathering is instrumental in bringing together the best minds from around the world to exchange opinions and ideas, share best practices, highlight challenges and formulate solutions. Businesspeople, leaders, employers, innovators, humanitarians and philanthropists have a critical role to play in tackling this issue and their influence is crucial to the success of the fund.”

Guests also heard from the UN Special Envoy on Global Education Mr. Gordon Brown, ECW’s Director Ms. Yasmine Sherif, the First Lady and Minister of Education of Uganda Hon. Janet Musoveni, UNICEF’s Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake, UNHCR’s High Commissioner Mr. Filippo Grandi, IRC’s CEO and President Mr. David Miliband and Vice President of Global Programs at Nethope Mr. Frank Schott.

19 September 2017 | Education Cannot Wait High-Level Steering Group Meeting

Photo by ECW.

Chaired by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Mr. Gordon Brown, the High-Level Steering Group agreed to allocate emergency funds to respond to the immediate educational needs of children affected by the floods in Nepal and Rohingya children in Bangladesh displaced by ongoing violence in Myanmar. Dubai Cares announced a contribution of US$500,000 to support ECW’s planned response in Bangladesh.

20 September 2017 | Global Business Coalition for Education Annual Breakfast 

Photo by ECW.

Speaking at the Global Business Coalition for Education event, ‘Class of 2030’, ECW’s Director Ms. Yasmine Sherif highlighted the fund’s eagerness to open up new pipelines for the private sector to support holistic, tailor-made education programmes in crisis-hit countries. Guests were presented with the opportunity to collaborate with ECW and play an active role through funding, fundraising, advocacy and innovations. Welcoming the generous offers of in-kind product donations and pro-bono services, Ms. Sherif also emphasised the importance of alignment with the needs of targeted children and teachers and additional funding to ensure effective implementation and monitoring on the ground through the right partners.

HP announced their commitment to work with ECW on identifying countries where their new cloud technology could be best utilised to deliver quality learning experiences and materials in crisis-affected countries.

20 September 2017 | Financing the Future: Education 2030

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

This landmark event brought together an unprecedented roster of world leaders to deliver a powerful call to action to close the global education financing gap.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, heads of state of France, Norway, Malawi and Senegal and other global education leaders committed to tackling the education crisis holding back millions of children from fulfilling their real potential and building a better future for themselves and their community.

A statement made on behalf of the Minister of Development of the Government of Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs, pledged an additional US$16 million to Education Cannot Wait.

Speaking on behalf of the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mr. Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Mr. Christos Stylianides reiterated the EU’s status as global leaders in supporting education in emergencies. The EU pledged US$13.2 million to the fund and an increase to 8 per cent of their humanitarian budget for education in emergencies in 2018 – far above the global average currently limited to 3.7 percent. “By supporting education, we are making the biggest investment we can in the future of the most vulnerable. We are investing in peace”, said Commissioner Stylianides.

21 September 2017 | Meeting Youth Ambassadors with TheirWorld

Photo by ECW.

The fund’s Director, Ms. Yasmine Sherif, met with two inspiring Youth Ambassadors from TheirWorld: Sylvia Kakyo from Uganda and Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu from Cameroon. Their extraordinary commitment to improving access to quality education in their own country and their campaigning successes demonstrate the critical and central role for youth in driving the agenda, both locally and globally. You can see the full interview here.

23 September 2017 | Global Citizen Festival 

Photo by Getty Images for Global Citizen.

The annual Global Citizen Festival in Central Park was a chance to celebrate in style US$3.2 billion worth of pledges that were announced by governments and the private sector during the General Assembly. Global Citizens took 1.6 million actions in the two months leading up to the Festival urging leaders to tackle extreme poverty.

The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs and HP’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Mr. Stuart Pann used the occasion to announce their support to ECW.

The contributions made during the 72nd UN General Assembly bring much needed hope to children and families affected by conflicts and natural disasters. ECW and its movement of supporters come as a direct response to their call for continuous access to quality education as they are on the move or trying to rebuild their lives.

ECW is based on the recognition that no one can do it alone. The high-level discussions that took place in New York throughout the week inspired the political commitment needed to reposition education as a priority in times of crisis, recognizing that the issue is everyone’s business and the key to every child’s future and a safer, more prosperous world.

ECW Funding Announced for Emergency Response In Bangladesh and Nepal

Supporting Rohingya refugee children fleeing violence in Myanmar and children affected by the floods in Nepal

On the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly that took place in New York during the week of 18 September 2017, Education Cannot Wait announced immediate support to Rohingya refugee children fleeing violence in Myanmar and children affected by the recent floods in Nepal through its First Emergency Response funding window.


A $3 million emergency grant has been allocated to respond to the immediate educational needs of Rohingya children who have found refuge in Bangladesh, including US$500,000 donated by Dubai Cares. An estimated quarter of a million Rohingya child refugees are among the 430,000 people that have fled across the border from neighbouring Myanmar into Bangladesh in recent weeks. ECW’s funding will help partners on the ground, coordinated  by the Education Sector Group, to scale up the ongoing response in the southern city of Cox’s Bazar. ECW’s emergency grant will help cover more than 70 percent of the emergency educational needs of these children until the end of 2017.

More: OCHA update on the response to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh coordinated by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group



ECW has allocated $1.5 million to help ensure continuous access to quality learning for the children most affected by the recent flooding in Nepal. Generated by heavy mansoon rains, floods and landslides have impacted 1.7 million people in 75 districts. 460,000 people are displaced. The floods have destroyed 80 schools and damaged a further 710. ECW’s funding will support up to 50 percent of the emergency education response until February 2018, as defined in the joint Nepal Response Plan issued by the UN Resident Coordinator.

More: ReliefWeb update on the joint Nepal Response Plan

Posted 28 September 2017

Investing in our Shared Humanity

Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait- 24 September 2017

World leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York this past week. At the 72nd General Assembly, renewed calls were made for our universal values that laid the foundation for the United Nations. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was at the forefront, such as ending poverty and hunger, achieving gender-equality, and ensuring justice and peace. But how do we get there?

The High-Level event on Financing the Future: Education 2030 may be the answer. It drew renewed and heightened attention to the very foundation of all Sustainable Human Development Goals. “Investing in education is the most cost effective way to drive economic development, improve skills and opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, passed the message loud and clear.

Education, or SDG4, which encompasses early childhood, primary and secondary education, is in fact the very foundation for all aspirations of the United Nations. Without education, all else falls away and tears apart. Without education, young adolescent men are more exposed to forcible recruitments that will produce more violent extremism and conflict. Without education girls and young women are exposed to trafficking, early child marriage and repression in all shapes and forms. Besides these tragic consequences of disrupted education, war-torn countries have no professional capacity to rebuild, no skills to pursue economic development, no ability to establish gender-equality, let alone prevent another conflict.

For the 60 million internally displaced and refugee populations living in camps and host-communities in the crisis affected parts of the globe, education represents the very last hope for their societies and for their own future. It is the kind of hope that promises to end a seemingly indefinite state of suffering and disempowerment. Today, 75 million 3 to 18 years old children have their education disrupted by armed conflicts and natural disasters around the globe – from the conflicts in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the millions of refugees in Bangladesh, Jordan, Lebanon and Uganda. And these numbers are growing: the number of people affected by natural disasters is projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030 compared to the 2000-2015 period, while violent conflicts have increased sharply since 2011.

These millions of girls and boys in crisis have one priority above all: educating themselves out of their despair. By graduating from school they also graduate out of poverty and conflict. But if schools are not there, if learning does not take place or if poverty, violence or discrimination keeps them away from school, their last hope is erased from their life. And with that we also lose our collective hope for a peaceful and just world.

We have a moral duty and a legal obligation toward these children: young girls and boys struggling to sustain hope amidst abnormal circumstance of armed conflicts and abject poverty, their dignity permanently at threat. Failure to progress on education for children affected by crises will make achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals impossible: 63 million out of school children live in countries affected by conflict with additional out of school girls and boys affected by natural disasters. Higher out of school rates do not just mean education lost but also lower economic and health outcomes, higher child marriage and lower women’s empowerment. Furthermore, low levels of secondary education among young males are associated with higher levels of social disorder and disturbance while every additional year of education decreases the likelihood that an adolescent boy will be involved in conflict by 20 per cent.

Conversely, how can education contribute to peace? Education for children affected by crises can strengthen resilience and decrease the likelihood of further crises. This is particularly important considering that, currently, half of the countries emerging from violent conflict relapse into conflict within the next five years. Higher education levels, particularly when education supports student participation and the expression of differing opinions, tend to lead to higher civic engagement, understanding of and support for democracy and conflict resolution, participation in civic life, tolerance for people of different races or religions, concern for the environment, gender-equality and adaptation to climate change.

But we need to do education right. Where education inequality doubles, the likelihood of conflict more than doubles, while greater gender equality in education is associated with up to 37 per cent less likelihood of violent conflict. It is not just more education that matters, but also bridging the education gap between children affected by crises and others, different ethnic groups, girls and boys, and between the poor and the rich.

As the director of Education Cannot Wait – a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crisis established by the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 – I am committed to give voice to the 75 million children in crisis situations that desperately need us. Jointly with government partners, humanitarian and development actors, such GPE, UN agencies, the World Bank, NGOs and civil society, we strengthen political commitment, cooperation, quality, accountability and financing for education in emergencies and crisis.

During the High-Level Event: Financing for the Future: Education 2013 at the United Nations this week, partners reaffirmed their commitment through bold action for the estimated 75 million children in crisis.

The Minister of Development of the Government of Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs, stepped forward and announced an additional $16 million to Education Cannot Wait, along with the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, who announced another $13 million, and the CEO of Dubai Cares, Tariq Al Gurg, who earmarked half a million US$ to the Rohingya children arriving in Bangladesh. These contributions bring much needed resources together with other committed partners of Education Cannot Wait, such as Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Education Cannot Wait is not just about any education. We focus on education that helps the young to learn, to express themselves without fear, to attain their potential and to tap into their resilience for a more peaceful and prosperous future. Education Cannot Wait is not just education for some but education for all, regardless of gender, disability, poverty, minority status or any other driver of disadvantage.

Because their education in emergencies and crisis has waited enough, Education Cannot Wait moves with humanitarian speed, development depth and determination to reach 75 million children and youth. As the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, so aptly states: “Education is the civil rights fight of our times. Young people are at the forefront of it.” Investing in their education means investing in our shared humanity. Theirs – and our own.