Webinar with Foundations on Impact Bonds for Education in Emergencies

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) invites foundations to discuss and help shape the first application of impact bonds to the financing of education in emergencies and protracted crisis.

Through the webinar, we seek to:

  • gather foundations’ views and learn from their experiences with impact bonds and outcome investing for education in emergencies and beyond and
  • receive foundations’ feedback on a set of investment opportunities ECW is considering implementing.

ECW plans to explore the effectiveness of impact bonds and other forms of outcome investing (draft ECW approach to impact bonds) for select education interventions with the larger vision to properly evaluate their effectiveness as a financing instrument and potentially create a portfolio of outcome investments in the future. Impact bonds have the potential to improve the effectiveness of funds, allow for innovation in the delivery of education programs, and can help bring new funding to education in emergencies. They emphasize outcomes such as school attendance and learning instead of the often-prevailing focus solely on inputs.

Interventions under consideration:

  • A “Cash for Learning Bond”. This is an impact bond that would go beyond encouraging school attendance and focus on learning. It would finance cash transfers and accompanying supply side interventions to produce vital learning outcomes. Potential applications are vouchers for vocational learning for Rohingyas in Bangladesh who recently fled violence in Myanmar and cash transfers for refugees and displaced people in countries like Jordan or Lebanon.
  • Crowdsourcing outcome funds from individuals – potentially accompanied by matching grants. ECW is considering running a “Give for Girls Campaign” to address barriers to girls’ education in emergencies and finance interventions that allow girls to not only attend school but learn. ECW would provide upfront funding to finance the intervention. Later, after an independent evaluator confirms results, ECW would receive funds from the campaign, if and only if promised outcomes are achieved.
  • Impact bond to support learning outcomes and potentially provide social-emotional support through tutoring programs and informal learning.

The consultation will take place on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm EST via webinar. For those in New York, we invite you to come to our office at 633 3rd Avenue in New York.

If you have questions or cannot attend but would like to learn more, please contact Johannes Kiess (jkiess@unicef.org), Innovative Finance Adviser at ECW. If you would like to participate, please confirm with Kathita Rahman (krahman@unicef.org, +1 716.801.7224).


Statement of the Education Cannot Wait Director further to the attack against aid workers in the Central Africa Republic

I am shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless killing of our brave colleagues and partners bringing hope to the children and youth in the Central African Republic.

According to UNICEF, six education workers were killed in Markounda, in the northwest of the country, while they were supporting a program aiming to help vulnerable children access schooling.

On behalf of all staff from Education Cannot Wait, I offer my deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of the victims.

Attacks against education workers, all civilians, is a grave breach of international humanitarian law. These attacks are unacceptable and hinder the potential of children and youth to develop and reach their full potential.

Education Cannot Wait is supporting UNICEF and other partners working on education across the Central African Republic where, due to insecurity, approximately one in four children is out of school.

Yasmine Sherif
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)