© UNICEF/Mulala

Strategic Objectives

ECW’s Strategic Plan measures performance and progress over time against the Fund’s strategic objectives:

political support icon

Inspire political support and financing

light bulb and pencil

Improve joint planning and timely response

strategy chart

Strengthen capacity to respond

children around the world

Improve data, evidence, and accountability

© UNICEF/Mersha

political support icon

Strategic Objectives 1 and 2

Inspire Political Support and Financing

Inspiring political support and mobilizing funds for education in emergencies and protracted crises are crucial means of achieving ECW’s goal of supporting inclusive, quality education and delivering on SDG 4.

gordon brown giving a speech

“To be the first generation in history in which each single child goes to school, we must redouble our collective efforts now. Together, we have one reason for acting: to ensure that instead of some children developing some of their potential in some of the world’s countries, all children can develop all their potential in every country.”

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown

Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group

and UN Special Envoy for Global Education

Education Gains Threatened by the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 has both posed a threat and provided an opportunity for education in emergencies and protracted crises. It has highlighted the centrality of education but also affected overseas development assistance and humanitarian funding for education.

Growth Into an Established Fund

ECW has grown into an established global fund that provides quality education in conflict and crisis settings, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. It has done so by using a strong context-specific and crisis-sensitive approach through optimizing existing humanitarian and development coordination structures established in countries affected by armed conflict, forced displacement, climate induced disasters and other crises.

Strengthened Partner Engagement

Despite worrying global trends, ECW maintained its funding performance thanks to strengthened partner engagement and influence from its inception through the end of 2020. ECW mobilized $91.9 million in 2020 for a total of $684.5 million through its trust fund since inception.

Progress Highlights

Total annual funding for education in emergencies as a percentage of global sector-specific humanitarian funding

4.9% 4.4% 2020 Target: 5% 2019

Proportion of humanitarian appeals that include an education component
*(excluding COVID-19 appeals)

87% 95%* 2020 Target: 95% 2019

Percentage of countries in protracted crises targeted by ECW with policies regarding inclusion of refugees

N/A 80% (primary education) 70% (secondary education) 2020 2019 Target: 10%

Total funding raised and leveraged by ECW at country and global level since inception

*$592.6M global + $120M leveraged in six MYRPs

**$684.5M global + $1,032.5M leveraged in 10 MYRPs

$712.7M* $1,717M** 2020 Target: $1,000M 2019

© UNICEF/Mulala

planning icon

Strategic Objective 3

Improve joint planning and timely response

ECW facilitates joint planning and supports more coherence between humanitarian and development education aid interventions.

Eight New MYRPs

ECW developed eight new MYRPs in 2020, all of which encompass a more strategic focus and ‘whole-of-child’ approach.

Enhancing MYRP Development

ECW enhanced MYRP development processes in 2020 through strengthening alignment to existing national policies and strategies, placing greater emphasis on their use in mobilizing resources and ensuring they were results-based and risk-informed.

Most Rapid Disbursment

In 2020, ECW experienced its most timely deployment of funds yet, with 76% of sudden-onset crisis FERs (including COVID-19 FERs) and 58% of all FERs disbursed within 8 weeks.

Increased Timelines

Timeliness of MYRPs increased to 71% in 2020 due to the implementation of a lighter, more strategic-level approach to programme development.

Progress Highlights

Percentage of FER countries where funds were disbursed up to eight weeks after the humanitarian appeal date

(sudden-onset crisis including COVID-19 FERs)
(58%, all FER grants)

14% 76% 2020 2019 FER

Percentage of MYRP countries where funds were disbursed up to six months after the country scoping mission

0 71% 2020 2019 MYRP Target: 60%

Holistic Programming Components for 8 New MYRPs in 2020

radio icon

Learning at home:


protection icon

Emotional and psychosocial protection:


wash icon



students in school icon

Safe and accessible learning spaces:


teacher students icon

School leadership and management:


family icon

Parent and community engagement:


grain icon

Health and nutrition:


radio icon

Teacher wellbeing and development:


paper icon

Inclusive and protective policies:


© UNICEF/Dejongh

capacity icon

Strategic Objective 4

Strengthen capacity to respond

In building national and local capacity, ECW investments provide education stakeholders with the training, tools, and information they need to deliver effective responses in emergencies and protracted crises.

Scaled-up Remote Support

In response to the pandemic, the Global Education Cluster scaled-up remote support to coordinate, develop and consult members of the education clusters via its help desk, distance support, rapid response teams and online coordination training.

Increased Financial Absorption Capacity

Financial absorption capacity across ECW’s investment portfolio increased to 95%.

Grand Bargain Target

23% of ECW funding was allocated to local and national responders as directly as possible to improve outcomes for affected people and reduce transactional costs, nearly achieving the 25% target of the Grand Bargain commitment.

Technical Innovation

The Humanitarian Education Accelerator adapted well to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating the COVID Amplify Challenge, focusing on technological innovations to meet the challenges of school closures.

Progress Highlights

Percentage of ECW funding allocated to local and national responders as directly as possible in accordance with the Grand Bargain commitment

26% 2019 23% 2020 Target: 30%

Percentage of ECW-supported programmes featuring cash transfers to:
(i) households or students for education, and/or
(ii) schools to improve learning environments

money icon


Absorptive capacity: portion of grant budgets reported as spent on services delivered

84% 95% 2020 Target: 80% 2019 MYRP

© UNICEF/Schermbrucker

children around the world icon

Strategic Objective 5

Improve data, evidence and accountability

ECW aims to strengthen its systems using data and evidence to support advocacy efforts and to help implement improved interventions across the programming cycle.

MYRP Needs Assessments

To generate good quality evidence for planning, ECW worked closely with the Global Education Cluster to provide specific support to ECW grantees by conducting needs assessments for the development of MYRPs in Colombia, Iraq and Somalia.

Measuring Holistic Learning Outcomes

ECW launched a pilot programme in seven countries that will run until 2022 to develop, test and document fit-for-purpose solutions measuring holistic learning outcomes of children in crisis-affected countries, which is a new requirement for all MYRPs. The initiative has a particular emphasis on the integration and analysis of social and emotional learning (SEL).

Proof of Concept Confirmed

The first independent external evaluation of ECW’s FER investment modality was conducted in 2020. The evaluation found that the FERs were relevant to education in emergency needs, particularly when used in rapid-onset and escalating emergencies. The evaluation further confirmed the FER model’s proof of concept and the validity of the theory of change.

Progress Highlights

Percentage of ECW-supported programmes measuring affected communities’ access to education

83% FER 62% MYRP 82% 2020 2019 Target: 40%

Percentage of ECW-supported MYRPs having quality data on learning outcomes (excluding SEL)

23% 40% 2020 2019 Target: 30%

Find Out More

student wearing face mask

© ECW/Lebanon

Our COVID-19 Response

Read more →

children learning in a classroom

© UNICEF/Marish

Our Results for Children

Read more →