An unprecedented global coalition of organizations called for urgent investment in education today to prevent a generational catastrophe. Launching a joint white paper at the Global Education Meeting hosted by UNESCO, the Save Our Future campaign – a movement of the biggest education multilaterals in partnership with over 600 civil society organizations, research organizations, foundations, media, youth, and influencers – put forward an evidence-based roadmap with concrete recommendations for governments to reimagine education systems post-COVID-19.

Education must be part of stimulus packages and education budgets must be protected.

Paris, October 22, 2020 – An unprecedented global coalition of organizations called for urgent investment in education today to prevent a generational catastrophe. Launching a joint white paper at the Global Education Meeting hosted by UNESCO, the Save Our Future campaign – a movement of the biggest education multilaterals in partnership with over 600 civil society organizations, research organizations, foundations, media, youth, and influencers – put forward an evidence-based roadmap with concrete recommendations for governments to reimagine education systems post-COVID-19.

Ninety percent of students in all countries and continents – nearly 1.6 billion school children and youth – had their education disrupted at the height of pandemic lockdowns, marking the greatest disruption of education in history. With the catalytic impact education has across health, jobs, income growth, climate change, poverty reduction, and social justice, the next generation faces devastating consequences if this education emergency is not addressed.

Despite the dire and known social and economic impacts of this fast-growing education emergency, there is imminent risk that governments will deprioritize investments in education as they make short-term fiscal responses to the pandemic. This means that low- and lower-middle-income countries could face an annual financing gap of about $200 billion. If governments and development partners do not invest in education urgently, this crisis could turn into a catastrophe from which millions of children may never recover, particularly marginalized vulnerable children and adolescents, including refugees, girls, and children with disabilities.

The white paper—Save Our Future: Averting an Education Catastrophe for the World’s Children—recommends that governments and the international community commit to:

  • Protecting education budgets and targeting budgets to those left furthest behind,
  • Fully financing education as a key part of the COVID recovery,
  • Improving coordination and use of evidence to ensure education funding achieves maximum impact. The future of an entire generation is at stake. In addition, governments should also:
  • Prioritize safely reopening schools, resume delivering vital services such as health and nutrition to children, and protect the education workforce,
  • Transform education – making it more inclusive, engaging, and adaptive so that it can act as the engine of sustainable development desperately needed,
  • Strengthen the education workforce so that teachers and other professionals are equipped to enable learning and well-being for all children,
  • Focus education technology where it is proven to be effective and most equitable and avoid the risk that technology continues to exacerbate inequality.

This is a defining moment for the world’s children and young people. The opportunity to reimagine and reboot education must be seized in bold ways, developing a new vision for children in the decade ahead. This cannot wait.


View Quote Sheet from Save Our Future Partners. 

  • “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new reality that necessitates a rethinking of education delivery, with technology coming into sharp focus as an enabler to such a delivery. Today more than ever before, no learner should be left behind. Addressing the challenge of delivering quality education equitably and inclusively, requires out-of-the-box ideas, strategies and partnerships, least of which is the deployment of a multipronged approach as one solution does not fit them all.” Albert Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary, Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
  • “We have learned from past crises that children at highest risk who are missing out on education may never return to the classroom. We cannot allow this to happen as a result of the pandemic. As we build back we must view educators as among the first responders and focus financing on the children who are being left the furthest behind. Let’s enable a better future for all by ensuring equity and inclusion through the provision of quality education.” Mary Joy Pigozzi, PhD, Executive Director of Educate A Child, a global programme of the Education Above All Foundation
  • “For millions of vulnerable children and youth already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters, COVID-19 is another crisis upon already existing crises. For a young child or adolescent, it is easy to lose hope. As the global community works together to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, we must remember that access to an education is one of the very last hopes for any child and young person enduring a protracted crisis. We must put education of millions of crisis-affected girls and boys at the center of our efforts. If we fail to immediately protect their right to a quality education and the safety, hope and opportunity it provides, post-crisis recovery will not take off, but will remain a mere wish. Let us deliver on their hope and build back better.” Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait
  • “For understandable reasons, the lion’s share of emergency funding to fight the pandemic has so far gone to public health interventions and economic recovery. But, because it is so essential to every person on the planet – as well as to health, economic development and poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, gender equality, social justice and much more – education deserves a place alongside these priorities. Countries and international bodies must make education the center of the COVID-19 crisis response.” Liesbet Steer PhD, Director of the Education Commission The future of an entire generation is at stake.
  • “COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the fragility of education systems around the world. The global community must come together to address this crisis and ensure that our children’s learning is not a victim of this pandemic. To save our future, we must prioritize inclusive, quality education, so that children keep learning, no matter the circumstance.” Amel Karboul, CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund
  • Disrupted learning and losing the lifeline of school could permanently derail millions of children’s lives, especially the poorest girls. Reopening schools is not enough. We need to create stronger, more resilient education systems and find innovative ways to deliver quality distance learning, so that all girls and boys can reach their full potential and harness the opportunities of the 21st century. Investment in education must be at the center of pandemic recovery plans. Fully funded, GPE will help transform education systems so that they serve the most vulnerable children who have been hit hardest by COVID-19.” Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education
  • “Alongside the Covid-19 health crisis, we are facing a global education emergency. Without an urgent international response, that emergency will rob millions of the world’s most deprived children of the hope and opportunity that comes with learning. This White Paper provides an antidote for the learning crisis. It is a call to action for children.” Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK
  • “When education is in danger so is our future. It’s in our hands to make sure that young generations are not excluded from their right to education because of the global health and economic crisis but rather empowered with inclusive, quality learning to act for a more sustainable and peaceful future.” Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education
  • “COVID-19 related disruptions to education systems around the world will have a particularly devastating impact on refugee communities and on refugee learners. Data analysis between UNHCR and the Malala Fund found that half of all refugee girls who are in secondary school – already just 25% of that age group – may never set foot in a classroom again after COVID. Within global and national protocols for safe school re-opening, restarting education for refugees and other vulnerable populations is crucial. One of the best ways to achieve this is through the explicit inclusion of refugees in national plans, budgeted response plans and programmes to enhance the quality of education – both in response to COVID and in the long term. Education is consistently prioritized by refugee children and their parents and we have a duty to provide it.” Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • “COVID-19 has exposed deep inequalities in how children learn, the tools available to them, and the investments made in their education,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “This is a child rights crisis. The longer it goes on, the deeper these inequalities become. Business as usual is not an option. We need an urgent commitment to keep children at the centre of all decisions on the safe reopening of schools. We also need new, fast and scaleable ways to deliver quality education remotely.” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director
  • “Since April, around 370 million children have missed out on meals and essential health services due to school closures. Without school acting as a gateway for families to access health and nutrition programmes, issues like hunger, poverty and malnutrition are exacerbated for millions of the world’s poorest children. If we’re serious about building a more inclusive and resilient education system for future generations then ensuring good health & nutrition is critical. We need to invest in learning AND the learner to ensure a whole generation of the most vulnerable children are not left behind.” David Beasley, Executive Director UN World Food Programme
  • “Even before COVID-19, more than half of all children in the developing world couldn’t read a simple passage by age 10. The pandemic has sparked a crisis within that learning crisis. The disruption of societies and economies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating the pre-existing global education crisis and impacting education in unprecedented ways. Without concerted, aggressive action to help today’s children recover and improve foundational literacy and numeracy skills, they will suffer lifelong scars, leaving school earlier and earning less throughout their lifetimes. But we can act: we know how to turn this around, if we just heed their call to ‘Save Our Future.’” Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank
  • “As a record number of children and youth are affected by school closures and governments face serious economic challenges, we need to remind ourselves that education is the most powerful investment in our shared future, and should be a fundamental pillar of global and national responses to the pandemic. Decisions taken in the next few months will be pivotal in enabling or hindering the children of today to secure meaningful employment and have the skills and knowledge they will need to solve the many future world challenges. Now, more than ever, we have a shared responsibility to rebuild a future in which all children can engage in meaningful learning experiences, allowing them to flourish and acquire the skills they need to be productive, lifelong learners. We MUST build back better for ALL children as they are the future. The LEGO Foundation is honoured to support the Save our Future campaign which invites all of us to both protect and reimagine education in a post-COVID world.” John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation

White Paper Highlights

Education faces a triple threat:

  • 90% of children in the world have had their education interrupted due to COVID-19. This means that vulnerable children are missing out not only on education but also on vital services such as nutrition and health.
  • Budgets for education are at risk of being slashed due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and this could lead to a huge funding gap of almost $200 billion per year for low- and middle-income countries.
  • These COVID-19 impacts are hitting an education system that was already in crisis: even before the pandemic more than half of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries were not learning to read a simple text.

This White Paper, issued as part of the Save Our Future campaign, sets out priority actions to deliver changes in the coming 6-24 months in order to avert an education catastrophe.

In light of the scale of the crisis, the paper focuses primarily on education from pre-primary to secondary and in particular on those children who are most left behind, including children who live in locations where the vast majority of children are not learning, as well as children from marginalized groups. It includes children who are out of school and those who are enrolled in school but learning very little.

Download the full paper here

Download the executive summary here

Download the cheat sheet here

Download the press release here

Download the quote sheet here

Background Papers

This paper is based on a thorough analysis of the evidence and has been informed by a series of background papers developed by working groups consisting of 200+ experts from a wide range of organizations, geographies, and disciplines.

Download Background Paper 1: Education in Crisis
Download Background Paper 2: From Schooling to Learning for All: Reorienting Curriculum and Targeting Instruction
Download Background Paper 3: EdTech and COVID-19 Response
Download Background Paper 4: Strengthening the Education Workforce and Creating Learning Teams
Download Background Paper 5: Unlock Education for All: Focus on the Furthest Behind
Download Background Paper 6: Turning Education Systems into Learning Systems

TWEET ME: Investment in #education as part of #COVID19 recovery will avert a generational catastrophe. This and more in new @SaveFutureNow paper:


About the Save Our Future Campaign

Save Our Future is a global movement of diverse voices uniting to amplify the voices of children and young people as they deliver a simple, yet powerful message amidst the COVID-19 crisis: Save Our Future. The campaign seeks to ensure that: all children and youth to continue to learn during lockdowns through inclusive distance learning; every child and youth is supported to return to school when it’s safe to do so; and governments and donors invest in education now so we can build better, more inclusive, and resilient education systems for the future.

Save Our Future is led by a core hub of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, the Asian Development Bank, BRAC, Education Above All, Education Cannot Wait, the Education Commission, the Education Outcomes Fund, the Global Partnership for Education, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Food Programme in partnership with over 600 organizations and youth.


The Global Education Cluster (GEC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) are delighted to announce the launch of the Initiative for Strengthening Education in Emergencies Coordination (ISEEC).

The Global Education Cluster (GEC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) are delighted to announce the launch of the Initiative for Strengthening Education in Emergencies Coordination (ISEEC).

The launch of ISEEC marks the continuation and formalization of a partnership between the three entities initiated by the Education Cannot Wait funded Global Partners Project (2017-2020) to strengthen education sector coordination during emergencies. In the spirit of this project and our joint pledge at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum to strengthen the quality of education sector coordination, the GEC, UNHCR and INEE will work together through ISEEC to further five key actions:

  • Build shared understanding and acceptance of different education in emergencies coordination systems and ways of working
  • Introduce structural and systemic opportunities for dialogue, exchange and collaboration
  • Allocate time and resources for joined-up coordination and streamlined planning processes
  • Join up coordination at preparedness stage and from the very start of a response
  • Invest in communication, exchange and capacity building between global, national and sub-national education in emergencies coordination systems

As part of the Global Partners Project, the Overseas Development Institute produced an evidence base on joint coordination. Building on its findings and recommendations, the partners will use ISEEC to advance these five actions to improve joint coordination, planning and response emerging. Consult the new report Education in Emergencies Coordination: Harnessing Humanitarian and Development Architecture for Education 2030 to learn more.

Through ISEEC, the GEC, UNHCR and INEE will champion partnership and collaboration across coordination systems by working together to mainstream collaborative approaches at global level and promote joined-up education in emergencies coordination at national and sub-national levels. Investing in strong coordination is integral for an effective, efficient and agile response to growing education needs of children and youth in humanitarian contexts.

Learn more about ISEEC here.


Le cluster éducation mondial (GEC), l’Agences des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), et le Réseau inter-agences pour l’éducation en situations d’urgence  (INEE) ont le plaisir de vous annoncer le lancement de l’initiative de renforcement de la coordination de l’éducation en situations d’urgence (ISEEC).

Le lancement de l’ISEEC marque la poursuite et l’officialisation d’un partenariat entre les trois entités initiées par le projet “Education Cannot Wait” financé par Global Partners Project (2017-2020) pour renforcer la coordination du secteur de l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence. Dans l’esprit de ce projet et de notre engagement commun lors du Forum mondial des réfugiés de 2019 à renforcer la qualité de la coordination du secteur de l’éducation, le GEC, le HCR et l’INEE travailleront ensemble par le biais de l’ISEEC pour mener à bien cinq actions clés :

  • Développer une compréhension et une acceptation communes des différents systèmes de coordination et des méthodes de travail en matière d’éducation dans les situations d’urgence
  • Introduire des possibilités structurelles et systémiques de dialogue, d’échange et de collaboration
  • Allouer du temps et des ressources pour une coordination conjointe et des processus de planification uniformisés
  • Assurer la coordination au stade de la préparation et dès le début de la réponse
  • Investir dans la communication, l’échange et le renforcement des capacités entre les systèmes de coordination de l’éducation en situations d’urgence aux niveaux mondial, national et infranational

Dans le cadre du projet Global Partners, l’Overseas Development Institute a produit une base de données probantes sur la coordination conjointe. Sur la base de ses conclusions et recommandations, les partenaires utiliseront l’ISEEC pour faire progresser ces cinq actions afin d’améliorer la coordination, la planification et la réponse communes qui se dessinent. Consultez le nouveau rapport Coordination de l’Éducation en Situations d’Urgence: Exploiter l’architecture humanitaire et de développement pour l’agenda Éducation 2030 pour en savoir plus.

Par l’intermédiaire de l’ISEEC, le GEC, le HCR et l’INEE soutiendront partenariat et  collaboration entre les systèmes de coordination en travaillant ensemble pour intégrer les approches collaboratives au niveau mondial et promouvoir une éducation commune dans la coordination des situations d’urgence aux niveaux national et sous-national. Investir dans une coordination solide est essentiel pour répondre de manière efficace, efficiente et souple aux besoins éducatifs croissants des enfants et des jeunes dans des contextes humanitaires.


El Clúster  Global de Educación (GEC), el alto Comisionado para los Refugiados de las ONU (ACNUR) y la Red Interagencial para la Educación en Situaciones de Emergencias (INEE) se complacen en anunciar el lanzamiento de la Iniciativa para el Fortalecimiento de la Coordinación de la Educación en Situaciones de Emergencias (ISEEC).

El lanzamiento de la ISEEC marca la continuación y formalización de una alianza entre las tres entidades iniciada por el Proyecto Global Partners (2017-2020) financiado por Education Cannot Wait (ECW) para fortalecer la coordinación del sector educativo durante situaciones de emergencias. En el espíritu de este proyecto y nuestro compromiso conjunto en el Foro Global de Refugiados de 2019 de fortalecer la calidad de la coordinación del sector educativo, el GEC, el ACNUR y la INEE trabajarán juntos a través de la ISEEC para promover cinco acciones clave:

  • Construir un entendimiento y aceptación compartidos sobre los diferentes sistemas de coordinación de educación en emergencias y las respectivas formas de trabajo
  • Introducir oportunidades estructurales y sistémicas para el diálogo, el intercambio y la colaboración.
  • Asignar tiempo y recursos para la coordinación conjunta y procesos de planificación optimizados.
  • Unir la coordinación en la etapa de preparación, y desde el comienzo de la respuesta
  • Invertir en comunicación, intercambio y desarrollo de capacidades entre los sistemas de coordianción de emergencias a nivel global, nacional y subnacional.

Como parte del Global Partners Project, el Overseas Development Institute elaboró una base de evidencias sobre la coordinación conjunta. Sobre la base de los hallazgos y recomendaciones, los socios utilizarán la ISEEC para promover estas cinco acciones para mejorar la coordinación conjunta, la planificación y la respuesta. Consulte el nuevo informe Coordinación de la educación en situaciones de emergencia: Aprovechar la arquitectura humanitaria y del desarrollo para la Educación 2030 para obtener más información.

A través de la ISEEC, el GEC, el ACNUR y la INEE fortaleceran la asociación y la colaboración a través de los sistemas de coordinación, trabajando juntos para incorporar enfoques de colaboración a nivel global y promoveran de manera conjunta la coordinación de la educación en situaciones de emergencias a nivel nacional y subnacional. Invertir en una coordinación sólida es fundamental para una respuesta eficaz, efectiva y ágil a las crecientes necesidades educativas de los niños, niñas y jóvenes en contextos humanitarios.


O Cluster Global de Educação (CGE), a Agência das Nações Unidas para Refugiados (ACNUR) e a Rede Interinstitucional para a Educação em Situações de Emergência têm o prazer de dar a conhecer o lançamento da Iniciativa para o Fortalecimento da Coordenação da Educação em Situações de Emergência (ISEEC).

O lançamento desta Iniciativa marca a formalização e a continuidade da parceira estabelecida entre estas três entidades no âmbito do projeto Projeto Parceiras Globais (2017-2020) financiado pelo Fundo a Educação Não Pode Esperar, com o intuito de fortalecer a coordenação sectorial durante situações de emergência. No espírito deste projeto e do nosso compromisso conjunto no Fórum Global sobre Refugiados em 2019 em fortalecer a qualidade da coordenação no sector de educação, o CGE, o ACNUR e a INEE trabalharão em conjunto através da IFCEE nem torno de cinco acões-chave:

  • Construir um entendimento comum e a aceitação de diferentes sistemas de coordenação e formas de trabalho em educação em situações de emergências
  • Criar oportunidades de diálogo, partilha e colaboração estruturais e sistémicas
  • Alocar tempo e recursos para coordenação conjunta e processos de planeamento alinhados
  • Coordenação conjunta durante a etapa de preparação e desde a fase mesmo inicial da resposta
  • Investir na comunicação, intercâmbio e capacitação de sistemas de coordenação de educação em situações de emergência globais, nacionais e locais

Ainda no âmbito do Projeto Parcerias Globais, o Overseas Development Institute reuniu um conjunto de evidências sobre coordenação conjunta. Com base nas conclusões apresentadas nessas evidências, os referidos parceiros vão potenciar a IFCEE para promover estas cinco ações e melhorar a coordenação conjunta, o planeamento e a resposta que sejam necessárias. Consulte o novo relatório: Education in Emergencies Coordination: Harnessing Humanitarian and Development Architecture for Education 2030 para saber mais.

Através desta Iniciativa, o CGE, ACNUR e a INEE vão liderar o estabelecimento de novas parcerias e a colaboração, de forma geral, nos sistemas de coordenação trabalhando em conjunto com vista à implementação de abordagens colaborativas transversais, à escala global; bem como a promover a coordenação conjunta de educação em situações de emergência ao nível nacional e local. Investir no fortalecimento da coordenação é crucial para uma resposta efetiva, eficiente e ágil às crescentes necessidades de crianças e jovens em contextos humanitários.


يسر مجموعة التعليم العالمية (GEC) ، ومفوضية الأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين (UNHCR) ، والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ (INEE) أن تعلن عن إطلاق مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ (ISEEC) لتعزيز الترابط، انضم إلى تنسيق قطاع التعليم الذي يعمل على تحسين نتائج التعليم للأطفال والشباب المتضررين من الأزمات.

يمثل إطلاق ISEEC استمرارًا وإضفاء للطابع الرسمي على الشراكة بين الكيانات الثلاثة التي بدأها مشروع الشركاء العالميين الممول من التعليم (2017-2020) لتعزيز تنسيق قطاع التعليم أثناء حالات الطوارئ. انطلاقاً من روح هذا المشروع وتعهدنا المشترك في المنتدى العالمي للاجئين لعام 2019 لتعزيز جودة التنسيق في قطاع التعليم، ستعمل كل من مجموعة التعليم العالمية ومفوضية الأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ معًا من خلال مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ لتعزيز خمسة إجراءات رئيسية:

  •  بناء فهم مشترك وقبول لمختلف أنواع التعليم أثناء عمليات التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ وطرق العمل المختلفة.
  • تقديم فرص للحوار والتبادل والتعاون في هيكلية ومنهجية مؤسسات التعليم المختلفة.
  • تخصيص الوقت والموارد للتنسيق المشترك وتبسيط عمليات التخطيط.
  •  الانضمام منذ البداية في عمليات التنسيق ومرحلة التأهب منذ بداية الاستجابة لاي طارئ.
  •  الاستثمار في الاتصال والتبادل وبناء القدرات بين التعليم العالمي والوطني ودون الوطني بين أنظمة التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ.

كجزء من مشروع الشركاء العالميين، أنتج معهد التنمية الخارجية قاعدة أدلة بشأن التنسيق المشترك، وبناءً على النتائج والتوصيات التي خرج بها المعهد ، سيستخدم الشركاء ISEEC هذه النتائج لتعزيز هذه الإجراءات الخمسة لتحسين التنسيق المشترك والتخطيط والاستجابة الناشئة. راجع التقرير الجديد “تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ: تسخير البنية الإنسانية والإنمائية للتعليم 2030” لمعرفة المزيد.

من خلال مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ، ستعمل كل من مجموعة التعليم العالمية ومفوضية اللاجئين والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ على تعزيز الشراكة والتعاون عبر أنظمة التنسيق من خلال العمل معًا لتعميم النهج التعاونية على المستوى العالمي، وتعزيز مفاهيم التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ والتعليم المشترك على المستويين الوطني ودون الوطني. يعد الاستثمار في التنسيق القوي جزءًا لا يتجزأ من الاستجابة الفاعلة والفعالة والسرعة لاحتياجات التعليم المتزايدة للأطفال والشباب في السياقات الإنسانية.

Statement of the ECW Director, Yasmine Sherif, at the Ministerial Roundtable for the Central Sahel

20 October 2020 – as prepared for delivery

Education Cannot Wait is the first and only global fund dedicated to supporting the education of children and youth in emergencies and protracted crises, including armed conflict.  Following the escalation of the crises in Central Sahel in 2019, particularly in Burkina Faso, ECW has been engaging with the governments and education partners in all three countries, including UN agencies and civil society organizations.  ECW sees education as a central, key component of any sustainable solution to crises, not only ensuring that children and youths’ right to education is fulfilled but also in contributing to peace, tolerance and understanding as a basis for long-lasting stability.  Since July 2019, ECW has approved $30 million in grants to the three countries in four funding phases to over 20 different grantees – thanks to generous support from our diverse donor base, including the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and Denmark.  We would like to take the opportunity today to say two things:  First, ECW, working across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, is now committing an additional $33 million to the three countries over the next three years in support of multi-year resilience programme funding. This will support existing education in emergencies strategies and help them to bridge longer-term development interventions outlined in the respective sector plans.  Secondly, we appeal to other donors to join ECW in recognising the central role of education in tackling the crises in Central Sahel by swiftly increasing their financing to eliminate the $94 million gap which ECW is urgently needed for education in the crises affected zones across all three countries.



Click here for more information on the Ministerial Roundtable for the Central Sahel

Watch the recording of the event



ECW is marking World Mental Health Day by re-affirming our commitment that mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) is and will continue to be a vital component of every country investment ECW funds. Without addressing the mental health and wellbeing of girls, boys, adolescents and teachers in crisis contexts the international community falls short on its commitment to provide meaningful and relevant education to the world’s most vulnerable children. ECW and other key partners, including the Inter-Agency network of Education in Emergencies (INEE) and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), are leading the charge in ensuring that mental health is finally given prominent focus in humanitarian and education responses.

To advance this agenda, ECW is proud to announce 3 new MHPSS-related global-level partnerships that have formed in the past 3 months.

COVID-19 presented a challenge to the EiE sector like one we have not seen before.  Immediately at the onset, IASC’s MHPSS Reference Group, co hosted by IFRC’s PS Centre and WHO, rapidly produced MHPSS COVID-19 guidance documents, programmes, trainings and communities of practice to ensure MHPSS was included in the response to school closures. ECW reached out to IACS’s co-chair, IFRC’s PS Centre, in order to join other donors to fund this life-saving work, and is proud to have engaged in a formal partnership in July 2020.

Teacher Wellbeing (TWB) and teachers’ mental health is a topic that has long been neglected. As of August 2020, ECW is funding INEE’s psychosocial support and social emotional learning (PSS/SEL) and Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TICC) Collaboratives to continue their ground-breaking work on TWB and, together with INEE members, create a practical toolkit so education teams can put concrete interventions in place to better support teachers in displacement, conflict and natural disaster contexts.

In order for the ECW Secretariat’s technical team to continue providing country teams evidence-informed guidance and research on best practice approaches to MHPSS in EiE, ECW entered into a Letter of agreement with Columbia University’s Protection and Care (CPC) Learning Network in September 2020. This agreement enables CPC and ECW to collaborate on MHPSS in EiE research to inform the technical support ECW provides to partners in the field.

Along with these new partnerships, the ECW Secretariat has published its first ever MHPSS Technical Guidance Note, to walk grantees through developing MHPSS aspects of FER and MYRP proposals. Along with that, a MHPSS in EiEPC Theory of Change and Indicator Library was also crafted to encourage grantees to use structured, goal-oriented, evidence-informed MHPSS interventions, tailored and targeted to meet the unique MHPSS needs of the most marginalized groups.

Through these new initiatives, and ensuring MHPSS is part and parcel of education– ECW and partners are believe we are helping tap into and unleashing the unlimited potential of girls, boys and adolescents in forced displacement, armed conflict and natural disaster settings.


Leading organisations invested in children’s education met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week to share programmatic and financial learnings developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need to strengthen digital learning.


8 October 2020 – Leading organisations invested in children’s education met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week to share programmatic and financial learnings developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need to strengthen digital learning.

Entitled ‘Meeting our Promises on Refugee Education during COVID-19’ the virtual roundtable brought together senior government, institutional, private sector and philanthropic partners to discuss learnings and solutions that have emerged throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Co-hosted by Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Save the Children, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, and the World Bank, this high-level event provided a unique opportunity for partners from across the aid sector to discuss these important education topics.

“The global pandemic crisis has exacerbated the several challenges that the refugee education was already facing. Philanthropists have a unique role in being responsive and strategic in addressing challenges during the pandemic. We came together today to confirm our commitment to continue our support to ensure that refugee education is prioritised and successfully supported with solutions that have been shown to make a difference,” said H.E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education.

“All financing options must be pursued – additional donor resources, debt relief, as well as more efficient and equitable public spending – in order to ensure that every refugee child receives a quality education. This has always been true and is even more urgent given the exacerbation of inequalities in education service delivery resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Keiko Miwa, Regional Director, Human Development, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank.

Learnings and insights from the discussions will result in a joint paper, published to inform the sector on how to better respond to refugee children’s learning and wellbeing needs during this on-going pandemic and in the face of future such crises.

Among the attendees were senior representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Community Jameel, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the LEGO Foundation, Dubai Cares and the Olayan Foundation.

The themes of the event were:

  • Adapting financing mechanisms for refugee education: Philanthropists, the private sector and multilateral funding institutions shared how financing mechanisms for refugee education have been adapted throughout the pandemic, and how philanthropy can be directed strategically to complement institutional and private sector funding during crises.
  • Adapting education approaches to distance learning and ensuring that other school services are continued: governments, non-governmental organisations, donors and foundations that have implemented distance education shared their best practices. This included no-tech, low-tech and high-tech approaches such as distributing paper materials and the use of radio, computers, tablets, mobiles and TVs.

Organisations shared how they have continued school services that refugees rely on. These services included: school meals, health services, child protection services and mental health and psychosocial support. The roundtable co-hosts were: His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, Keiko Miwa, Director for the Educational Global Practice, World Bank, Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait, Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK, The roundtable moderator was Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times.

The event was held on Tuesday, September 29.

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About Save the Children

Save the Children exists to help every child reach their full potential. In the UK and around the world, we make sure children keep safe, healthy and learning, and change the future for good.

About Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education

AGFE aims to empower Emirati and Arab youth to thrive and contribute to the sustainable development of the region, through innovative education solutions and authentic partnerships. As one of the largest privately-funded philanthropic foundations in the Arab region, AGFE supports the provision of high-quality technology-based education opportunities, as well as the development of relevant skills for a successful transition into higher education and the labor market. Founded in 2015, the Foundation is dedicated to the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 8, calling for inclusive and equitable quality education that leads to improved standards of living for all.

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched 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 usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

About the World Bank

The World Bank Group (WBG) is the largest financier of education in the developing world (active portfolio of US$20.6 billion). The World Bank’s active education portfolio in fragile and conflict-affected states as well as projects receiving financing from either the IDA-18 Refugee Sub-Window or co-financed by the Global Concessional Financing Facility amounts to US$5.4 billion. The World Bank also provides just-in-time policy advisory support and leverages partnerships to develop policy knowledge and global public goods to support country-driven reforms. Under the IDA-19 replenishment, the Window for Host Communities and Refugees will finance up to US$2.2 billion in operations, including a dedicated sub-window of US$1billion to respond to the COVID-19 impact on refugees.



Online event: Responding to the Education Crisis in Central Sahel
12 October 2020 at 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. CEST, 9 a.m. EDT
Side event to the Ministerial Roundtable on Central Sahel in October 2020
We invite you to register today for this event: Via this link

Invitation Événement virtuel – Répondre à la crise de l’éducation Sahel central

An education crisis is facing Central Sahel, requiring urgent response in order to build the future of the region.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have seen education under attack from armed conflict, displacements, climate change and recently the COVID-19 crisis, leaving 13 million out of school and exposing especially vulnerable children and girls to risks of abuse, child labour, early marriage or radicalisation.

There is vital need for the education emergency to be addressed in a consolidated response to the Sahel crises through increased financing and stronger and more holistic partnerships. The event brings together ministers, donors, NGOs and the voices of affected children and youth to highlight the education crisis and its impact on the region, present best practices, and provide concrete recommendations.

The side event is co-hosted by the Ministry of National Education, Literacy and Promotion of National Languages of Burkina Faso, Education Cannot Wait, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, and Save the Children. Recommendations from the side event will be put forward to the High-Level Ministerial Roundtable on Central Sahel to be held on October 20th 2020, hosted by the Governments of Denmark and Germany, the European Union and the United Nations

H.E. Stanislas Ouaro
Minister of Education, Ministry of National Education, Literacy and Promotion of National Languages of Burkina Faso

Ms. Yasmine Sherif
Director, Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

Mr. Michael Köhler
Deputy Director-General, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) (to be confirmed)

Ms. Goundo Odette Keita

National President, Organisation des Jeunes Africains pour le Développement et l’Emergence, Mali

Ms. Yasmina Mohamed Boubacar
Advocate for children’s and girls’ education, Plan International Niger

Mr. Issoufou Ouedraogo

Education in Emergencies Specialist, Save the Children Burkina Faso

Register for the side event to take place on Zoom: Via this link


5 October, 2020 – This World Teachers’ Day, celebrated under the theme, “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”, the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, UNESCO and UNICEF are calling for the resumption of salary payments for around half of the Yemeni teachers and school-based staff (estimated 160,000) who have not received regular salary payments since 2016. With suspended salary payments and schools regularly coming under attack, many teachers have been forced to find alternative sources of income to provide for their families.

The dire situation in Yemen, including ongoing conflict, natural disasters (flooding), wide-spread diseases (cholera, measles, polio), and poverty has pushed over two million children out of school and put at risk 5.8 million children who have been enrolled in school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers and school-based staff are critical to ensure continuation of education services and learning for every child in Yemen. Further delay in paying teachers will likely lead to the total collapse of the education sector and impact millions of Yemeni children, especially the most vulnerable and girls, putting them at risk of engaging in negative coping mechanisms such as child labor, recruitment into armed groups and forces, child marriage, trafficking and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The global community must unite to end violence against children in Yemen and protect their health and right to education. Without a collective commitment to action, we will fail to meet the 2030 Agenda – Leaving no child and no teacher behind. A minimum of 70 million USD is needed to help address this gap and ensure teachers can receive a payment during the 2020-21 school year.

Education Cannot Wait, the Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO and UNICEF are committed to continuing our support for equitable, inclusive quality education for all Yemeni children. We join our voices to call on the international community and the authorities in Yemen to resume the payment of salaries to teachers in all parts of the country.

Above all, the parties to the conflict in Yemen should work towards peace to allow for recovery and a return to normalcy especially for the children who have suffered the tragic consequences of a conflict not of their making.

For more information, please contact:


By Yasmine Sherif, Dean Brooks and Mary Mendenhall

Teachers are at the heart of children and young peoples’ educational experiences. Teachers play multiple roles in their students’ lives by supporting their learning, providing them with inclusive and safe environments to grow and develop, and helping them become more confident as they make their way in the world. As we commemorate World Teachers’ Day on Monday, 5 October and its theme–Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future--we must recognize the inspiring and transformative role that teachers working in armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change induced disasters and protracted crises play in their students’ lives.

Even before the global pandemic, the lives and education of 75 million children and youth worldwide were already disrupted by crisis. Teachers living and working in these settings provide a lifeline to the young people desperate to be learning in school. Yet, they are often placed in classrooms with little to no training or professional development, and expected to work miracles with few teaching and learning resources and insufficient compensation. They also regularly encounter over-crowded classrooms with mixed-age students who need both academic and social-emotional support. All too often, teachers, schools and students are also subject to violent attacks, particularly in armed conflict settings.

Despite these challenges, teachers persist. They provide a sense of stability and structure in their classrooms that is desperately needed amidst unrest and displacement. Teachers working in these environments are innovative and resourceful in meeting the learning and development needs of their students. These teachers are forced to reimagine education and the futures of their learners everyday, something they were doing even before the coronavirus pandemic further exacerbated the challenges they already faced.

In Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, a Kindergarten teacher (a refugee from Uganda) created a garden inside her classroom to help her students learn about soil, seeds, markets and communities since there weren’t enough textbooks for her students to learn these topics. Despite the additional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers’ unwavering commitment has continued, including the adoption of digital and remote learning tools and methods. As Mona Ibrahim, a teacher in Lebanon describes, ‘We used these tools during the 2012 conflict, as well as during the 2014 conflict, and now we are using it during the crisis of the coronavirus.

Teachers working in contexts affected by conflict and disasters often experience the same disruption, violence, and displacement as their students. While they work tirelessly to provide psychosocial support to their students, they are rarely provided with this support themselves. A Somali refugee teacher in Kakuma refugee camp shared this sentiment in a recent report on teacher well-being: “All my problems which I’m getting at home, I’m just carrying them to the school.”

In many settings, compounding crises, suspended teacher salary payments and schools regularly coming under attack mean teachers are often forced to find alternative sources of income to provide for their families. In Yemen, an estimated 160,000 teachers and school-based staff have not received regular salary payments since 2016 due to the ongoing famine, conflict and spread of disease. This is why Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and other education leaders are today calling for the resumption of teacher salary payments and training for Yemeni teachers, and why ECW funds teacher training and, in certain contexts, provides incentives for teachers in crisis-affected areas.

To respond to teachers’ needs, our organizations, Education Cannot Wait and the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) have forged a new partnership to build a toolkit that focuses on teacher well-being, particularly in emergency settings – a resource that will be developed in collaboration with teachers. The toolkit will further supplement the INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, the global framework for delivering quality education in emergencies, and the work of INEE’s Teachers in Crisis Contexts Collaborative.

Concrete action steps like this are important. Better support for teachers working in crisis contexts will help ensure that millions of children and youth receive the right to inclusive and equitable quality education, and that global commitments—such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact on Refugees—are fulfilled.

Based on our respective work – both in financing and guiding the development of inter-agency standards, tools and support for education in emergencies, here are five additional ways that national governments, donors, and all relevant global, regional, national, and local stakeholders – and teachers themselves – can work together to improve teacher policies and practices:

  • Prioritize teachers from the very onset of an emergency, through to recovery and development, with increased financial investments, better data, and effective planning so that adequate numbers of teachers, including female and minority teachers, are teaching where and when they are needed most.
  • Respect teachers, including volunteers and facilitators, as individuals and professionals with appropriate and equitable recruitment policies, pay and employment terms, and working conditions.
  • Enable teachers to support all learners by continuously investing in and dramatically improving the nature and quality of teacher preparation, continuous professional development, and sustained support.
  • Support teachers’ well-being, recognizing the impact of crises on teachers in their own lives and in their ability to do their work, and providing comprehensive support to teachers at the individual, school, community, and national levels.
  • Listen to teachers’ experiences and opinions, by including them in decision-making bodies and coordination mechanisms, program design and implementation, and research efforts.

Ongoing armed conflicts, crises and disasters have pushed millions of children and youth out of school around the world. Today’s ongoing health pandemic is doing further damage by rolling back progress that has been made in many places to get children and youth back into school and learning, especially for girls. Despite the compounding impact of COVID-19, it has also heightened our awareness of the vital role that teachers play. Now more than ever, we have a chance to transform education systems through the support we provide to teachers. Let us work together to do just that. Teachers around the world deserve nothing less.


Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait. To donate to Education Cannot Wait’s work for teachers and students in emergencies, visit and follow @EduCannotWait on Twitter.

Dean Brooks is the Director of the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies. To find out more about INEE and to access inter-agency tools and resources to support teachers in crisis contexts please visit and follow @INEEtweets on Twitter.

Mary Mendenhall, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University and a member of the INEE Teachers in Crisis Contexts Collaborative. To learn more about Dr. Mendenhall’s work, see her faculty profile and refugee education projects at Teachers College, and follow her at @marymendenhall1 on Twitter.