Education Cannot Wait and its partners acted rapidly to support continuous education in safe and protective environments for millions of children and adolescents hit by the COVID-19 pandemic while being affected by armed conflict, forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters and other crises.

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29.2 million

children and adolescents reached (51% girls)

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$45.4 billion

approved for 32 countries to respond to the pandemic

* 75% of COVID-19 FER funds were disbursed at record speed within 8 weeks

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teachers trained (55% female)

on COVID-19 related topics – such as distance learning, COVID-19 protocols, and health and hygiene promotion

An Unprecedented Education Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated education systems worldwide in 2020. The United Nations estimates that, since March 2020, 1.5 billion children have experienced a prolonged interruption in education – and the most marginalized have been disproportionately affected.

For the children and youth caught in armed conflict, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters and protracted crises, the pandemic has acted as a risk-multiplier. It not only created new challenges but also amplified existing risks. Today, millions of vulnerable girls and boys in crisis settings are missing out on education and need urgent support.

Unleashed at record speed, ECW’s COVID-19 emergency grants reached 29 million children and adolescents in 32 crisis-affected contexts to help minimize the pandemic’s negative impact on education and ensure girls and boys were able to safely continue learning – enabling distance learning, COVID-awareness creation, health and hygiene access, and more.

© ECW/Fouad Choufany

The United Nations has stated that “Learning losses also threaten to extend beyond this generation and erase decades of progress”.

Education is a human right and every child’s right; when it is discontinued it violates those rights, and its timely resumption must be a top priority for governments. Any delay will result in a “generational catastrophe”. The actions of ECW and its partners and donors in 2020 are helping to prevent such a catastrophe.

Programme Achievements

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ECW’S Overall COVID-19 Response

More than 29.2 million crisis-affected children and adolescents (51% girls) were reached through continuous learning opportunities, COVID-19 awareness creation, and/or health and hygiene products in 2020.

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Messaging to Increase Awareness

More than 4.5 million children, parents, and education personnel (49% female) were reached with messages related to COVID-19 prevention measures and remote learning opportunities.

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Distance Learning

Over 10.2 million of the world’s hardest-to-reach vulnerable children and adolescents (48% girls) continued their education through home-based and distance-learning programmes.

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Providing Flexible Support

Four MYRPs quickly re-programmed their activities to simultaneously target existing crises and the COVID-19 pandemic, providing flexible support for the most vulnerable.

ECW’s active COVID-19 grants in 2020

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US$45.4 million disbursed

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32 countries/
emergency contexts

Explore the map to see ECW COVID-19 grants

1st phase FER allocations in US$

2nd phase FER allocations in US$

The boundaries, names, and designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations, Education Cannot Wait, or partner countries.



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