EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INTERVIEWS EU COMMISSIONERS JUTTA URPILAINEN & JANEZ LENARČIČ

The European Commission (EC) is one of the founders of Education Cannot Wait, which was established at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 and aims at increasing funding and efficiency in delivering quality education to some 75 million children and youth affected by conflicts, natural disasters and forced displacement.  EC plays a major role since in advancing education in the humanitarian-development nexus during crisis. Please elaborate on the EC vision in driving education to achieve humanitarian-development coherence and deliver quality education in situations of crisis, for refugees, for girls, and other stakeholders who are left furthest behind.

The Commissioner Lenarčič: Education is an essential part of EU humanitarian assistance. It is a powerful tool to bring positive changes to individuals and to wider society and bring hope for a better and more sustainable future. Schools also protect children from violence and provide food, water, health care and hygiene supplies. They provide children with safe space and help them cope with traumatic experiences.

We need to remember that half of all out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries. When a child’s education is disrupted by an emergency, there is a high possibility that they will never return to school. Just over half of refugees of primary school age attend school, and less than a quarter of the equivalent age group is in secondary school. We are deeply committed to bringing those girls and boys back into education and ensure their return to safe and quality learning within three months of their education disruption, so they have the rights and opportunities they deserve.

I am an advocate for greater investment in education, and we have set our own target at 10% of EU’s humanitarian aid budget. We support the education system reform to provide for greater quality and resilience, and capacity building of education actors. The protection of education against attacks is another important objective. Education needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, we take seriously our global responsibilities and contribute to coordinated multi-stakeholder education actions that create added value and enhance impact.

Commissioner Urpilainen: Beyond the initial emergency response, education is and will remain a top priority for EU development assistance, particularly for children living in fragile contexts.

Strengthening education systems is at the core of our development programmes. We work through long-term partnerships with national governments to expand education services, to re-build infrastructure destroyed by disasters, and to strengthen the resilience of education systems to withstand future shocks. We improve governance systems to ensure that education services are equitably distributed, staff are paid regularly, and finances are managed efficiently.

In 2018, the European Commission produced a Communication on Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises, which sets out our vision of shared responsibility. We use the term ‘nexus’ to describe the shared space of humanitarian, development and political instruments to achieve education for all.  Within the European Commission, and among EU Member States, we have the different tools needed to address these different needs.

1- You jointly visited Burkina Faso earlier this year to assess the ongoing crisis. What were your main takeaways from the trip? What left you feeling hopeful about the work we are doing and the role of education in protracted crisis to achieve peace, stability and sustainable development?

Commissioner Urpilainen:

I was deeply impressed by the resilience of the families I met. Long-term poverty, poor infrastructure and weak social services have prevailed for many years. The current security and forced displacement crisis is worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises risk undermining the education gains made in Burkina Faso in recent years, in terms of access to education and the quality of teaching and learning.

The national education system in Burkina Faso has significant development needs to improve the infrastructure, system management and quality of education. Girls are more likely to be out of school, and some 52% of girls are subject to early marriage.

During the visit I had an opportunity to talk with Burkinabe youth who emphasised the importance of accessibility in vocational education and training (VET). This point was raised also by President Kaboré in our meeting. Skills acquired through quality training help support smooth transition to labour market. In the long term, skilled labour force is a key element of sustainable economic growth and stability.

Commissioner Lenarčič: Unfortunately, hundreds of schools have been closed in Burkina even before COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been under attack, affecting thousands of children and teachers. Out-of-school and vulnerable girls and boys face violence and exploitation, including gender-based sexual violence, child labour and forced recruitment.

Scaling up and improving humanitarian assistance to Burkina Faso has become an imperative. More, better and faster humanitarian aid requires adequate coordination. Only an integrated approach can ensure communities’ security, the ability to meet their needs and aspirations, and to restore trust.

Education is crucial in this respect. To intensify our efforts, we recently decided to support two large multi-annual partnerships to address broad education and protection needs in the Sahel region with the EU’s humanitarian aid budget.

2- What motivates you to be part of the Education Cannot Wait, and as members of the ECW High-Level Steering Group? What do you hope to achieve through supporting this rapidly growing global fund?

Commissioner Urpilainen: I strongly believe in the power of collective action. Education Cannot Wait was formed to mobilise a collective response to urgent needs in education in emergencies, bringing together traditional and new actors. The European Union was part of ECW’s inception, bringing development funding to allow multi-year, predictable support.

From a development perspective, I place great importance in the Multi-Year Resilience Programming window of the fund, which incentivises humanitarian and development actors to come together in joint response.

Commissioner Lenarčič: Following the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, ECW created an impressive dynamic around the importance of education in emergency contexts. It rallied in an unprecedented way donors from around the world to support initiatives to ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality education.

The sense of urgency, strong collective action, enhanced prioritisation and capacity to respond are our shared goals. From the humanitarian perspective, I would like to highlight the First Emergency Response Window. The EU has been strengthening in the past years the work of education clusters and working groups, as well as systematic inclusion of education in the rapid response mechanism. Together, we can continue to be a vocal advocate for the strengthening of clusters, improving coordination, needs assessments and localisation. We can also better identify and develop innovative approaches and build partnerships at the systemic level.

3- How do your different departments, the DG for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid and the DG for International Cooperation and Development, work together strategically and practically to promote quality education in the humanitarian-development nexus for girls, boys and youth caught in protracted crises?

Commissioner Lenarčič: Working across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus is at the core of our efforts. The first step was to develop a joint policy framework, making sure we have clear, shared objectives and goals. This is provided by the 2018 Communication on Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises, in which we jointly commit to four common goals (access to education, quality education, protection of education, coordination and partnerships). The EU Member States also endorsed this policy framework through Council Conclusions in 2018.

At country level, we have joint planning and review processes. EU Delegation staff and ECHO staff sit together at important moments, such as the formulation of the Humanitarian Implementation Plans (HIP), or the annual reviews of Multiannual Indicative Plans (MIP). Processes are often shared, such as monitoring visits, reviews, planning workshops. There is a regular exchange of information.

Our presence in the field is mutually reinforcing, with humanitarian actors operating in contexts where development instruments are not present, e.g. active conflicts or hard to reach areas.

Commissioner Urpilainen: Our EU Delegations have strong credibility with education ministries, based on years of partnership through budget support, technical assistance and policy dialogue. When appropriate, information from our humanitarian teams can be channelled into policy dialogue with national authorities. This is an effective way of influencing policy dialogue and improving coordination among actors, who may be trying to tackle the same issue from different angles.

Within the ‘nexus’ space we operate in different ways according to our mandates, but we share the same goals. We promote equity and equality, especially gender equality. We focus on the poorest and most vulnerable, striving for inclusive education systems. Peace, tolerance, good governance and non-violence are essential values in all education support.

4-What are the EU’s main priorities for education in emergencies and protracted crises in your new strategy for 2021-2027?

Commissioner Lenarčič: The EU’s policy framework for education in emergencies of 2018 will continue to guide our actions and offering children affected by humanitarian crises access to safe, quality, and accredited education.

Yet, we know that COVID-19 has disrupted education for 1.2 billion learners globally and added a new layer of complexity for education in humanitarian settings, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.

I am deeply concerned about the most vulnerable children, at risk of never returning to school. If even a small percentage do not return to education, this translates into millions of children. We will strive to forge even closer links between child protection and education and promote integrated and comprehensive approaches to children’s needs.

To build up better education systems, we should focus more on the equity and quality aspects. Innovative, digital-based solutions are key but they should be accompanied with adequate attention to connectivity, skills and knowledge of teachers and caregivers, accelerated education programmes to bridge the education gaps, and development of alternative remote learning channels, such as pre-registered offline content or TV/radio-based teaching.

The scale of needs is unprecedented and requires sustained, timely and coordinated financing. Our key commitment to dedicate 10% of EU’s humanitarian aid budget to education remains for the years to come and will guide our policy, advocacy and funding support.

I was struck by the findings of the recently released report “Education under Attack 2020” by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. Much remains to be done to protect students, educators and personnel and schools from attack. Protection of education will also feature high on my agenda as Commissioner.

Commissioner Urpilainen: The current crisis risks reversing decades of progress towards education for all. We must re-focus attention towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 as education is part of the solution.

I have decided to boost the share of education expenditure in the upcoming EU Development Financing between 2021-2027. As a former teacher, I am convinced that investments in education will bring great returns in terms of human development, poverty eradication and reducing inequalities.

We know how important teachers are. For children caught up in cycles of violence and crisis, a reliable teacher can be the anchor that keeps them on track, helping them find their best future. We will support teachers’ professional development programmes and curriculum reform, so education teachers have the tools needed to provide 21st century skills to children.

Furthermore, qitting in school is not enough. Students need to graduate with strong skills. We are preparing students to live in a new world, to work in jobs that do not exist yet, with technology that has not been invented yet. Strengthening education systems to meet these needs is our main priority over the next seven years.

5- In 2019 and 2020 ECW increased its engagement in the Sahel and the Middle East as two regions in crisis. How do you see ECW making a difference for children’s education, particularly girls in these regions in trouble?

Commissioner Lenarčič: ECW plays a major role in advancing education in the humanitarian-development nexus during crises. ECW has been an important voice, highlighting the dire and worsening situation in the Sahel region and in the Middle East. ECW operates at an impressive speed – we saw this for the COVID-19 First Education Response funding, which reached 26 countries in March.

Furthermore, ECW has a clear targeting – focusing on vulnerable children affected by crises. This combination holds great potential for children in the Sahel and in the Middle East. In these regions, children are affected by multiple crises, often overlapping, and it is the most vulnerable, particularly girls and displaced children, who are left behind. The emphasis that ECW places on girls is much needed, considering for example the huge disparities in gross enrolment rates and literacy levels, e.g. in the Sahel region, girls are on average 17% behind boys.

The weight that ECW has as a donor allows it to push for more integrated actions, understanding that the educational needs of girls and boys cannot find their solutions only in education but require a more holistic view of the multifaceted barriers to education, which is particularly valid for regions like Sahel or the Middle East.

Commissioner Urpilainen: ECW’s plans to start Multi-Year Resilience Programmes throughout the Sahel in 2020 offers much hope. Countries like Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali require medium and long-term planning. The multi-year framework aims to improve coordination and incentivise joint planning and financing.

We are proud to be part of Education Cannot Wait’s drive to improve coordination and joint planning for children affected by crises.

6- The EU/EC plays an instrumental role at the global level and in its partnership with the United Nations, the World Bank and other regional and international and multilateral institutions. How do you see EU/EC’s role in supporting the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals, not the least Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education, as we face COVID-19 and a continued uncertainty of the future. What can we all do to build back better?

Commissioner Urpilainen: In these extraordinary circumstances, the Sustainable Development Goals and the agenda of ‘leaving no one behind’ are more important than ever.

We need to draw a joint roadmap that considers COVID-19 and we need to harmonise the aid architecture for education. But above all, the education community must come together with a clear message: education is a top priority.  Education for all will enable the achievement of the other SDGs, and it is especially in times of crisis that we realise its power.

People on the move take their education and skills with them, helping them to adapt to and thrive in new settings. Educated people are quicker to take up technology solutions to access information, such as health messages or remote learning programmes. Science and technology offer innovative solutions. We depend more than ever on highly skilled healthcare providers and data analysts. Educated agriculturalists can take up new opportunities in green farming.

Commissioner Lenarčič: Furthermore, we need to use our collective voice to speak to the wider global community, to ensure all decision-makers are convinced of the importance and power of education.

The agenda of building back better requires appropriate consideration to equity and quality, and lessons learnt from diversified strategies to address distance learning, especially in low-income countries and in humanitarian contexts. A people-centred approach that focuses on the most vulnerable groups and on people in vulnerable contexts should remain at the heart of our actions.

‘STRONGER TOGETHER IN CRISES’ – EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT REACHES 3.5 MILLION CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HUMANITARIAN CRISES WORLDWIDE

ECW Press Release

‘STRONGER TOGETHER IN CRISES’ – EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT REACHES 3.5 MILLION CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HUMANITARIAN CRISES WORLDWIDE
 
Amid the worst education crisis of our time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ECW’s new Results Report provides evidence on progress made in delivering inclusive, equitable quality education in emergencies and protracted crises
 
11 August 2020, Geneva/New York – Education Cannot Wait launched its ‘Stronger Together in Crises – Annual Results Report 2019’ today, reaffirming itself as the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. Since the Fund’s inception in 2016, its investments have reached nearly 3.5 million children and youth in many of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.


 
“Education Cannot Wait works to serve the 75 million children and youth – 39 million of whom are girls – whose education has been disrupted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters and protracted crises. This new Annual Results Report shows ECW advancing from strength to strength, just three years into its operations,” said the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group. “The report comes at an unprecedented time when the global education crisis is exacerbated by COVID-19. The pandemic has swept across the world, threatening decades of hard-won development gains: 90 per cent of the world’s school-age children and youth have had their education disrupted. As an innovative fund, Education Cannot Wait is breaking new ground, but more needs to be done. Financing is absolutely essential.” 
 
The report provides evidence that ECW’s partnership model is spurring progress in delivering inclusive, equitable quality education for children and youth caught in emergencies and protracted crises. It shows growing political commitment for the emergency education sector and increased prioritization of education in humanitarian appeals: humanitarian funding for education grew five-fold from 2015 to 2019, with more than US$700 million committed in 2019. The share of funding dedicated to the education sector as part of the total sector-specific humanitarian aid globally also continued to rise, reaching 5.1 per cent in 2019.
 
To date, ECW has mobilized $662.3 million, including $252.8 million from both public and private donors in 2019. The Fund substantially increased its operations in 2019, disbursing $130.7 million to 75 grantees to support education in emergencies and protracted crises responses in 29 countries. The report shows that ECW is providing the impetus for quicker education responses in the face of sudden-onset crises, and is strengthening coherence between humanitarian and development aid interventions. It also captures encouraging trends in terms of strengthening national and local capacities to respond, as well as improving data, evidence and accountability for the sector. 
 
ECW-financed education in emergency activities reached 2.6 million crisis-affected children and youth in 2019 alone. The Fund’s focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized children and youth is translating into real results: while girls often face additional barriers to access education in crises settings, nearly half of ECW’s beneficiaries (48 per cent) are girls. In all, 30 per cent of the Fund’s beneficiaries are refugees, 15 per cent are internally displaced children and youth, and 55 per cent are other crises-affected children and youth, including those from host communities.
 
“ECW champions the inherent human right to an education for children and youth left furthest behind in humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Our undivided focus is on the realities on the ground and the more than 75 million children and youth whose education is disrupted by crises. They demand our attention and action. Where there is commitment, progress has been made. The primary enrolment ratio for refugee children improved from 53 per cent to 75 per cent in Uganda in just two years; and, in Afghanistan, where 60 percent in our investments are girls, out-of-school girls now have the opportunity to return to the safety and protection of an education thanks to the government’s community-based education approaches and the partnership with civil society and UN agencies. Yet, to further scale up what works requires significant, urgent funding.”
 
Indeed, more remains to be done. Funding appeals for education in emergencies and protracted crises remained significantly underfunded in 2019, with only 43.5 per cent of the required funding secured; and, the gap risks widening further with the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the stress it is exercising onto education and aid budgets worldwide.
 
“To answer the UN Secretary General’s recent call to avoid a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities, ECW and its partners are working to urgently mobilize an additional US$310 million to support the emergency education response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing crises. Together with in-country resource mobilization, this will allow us to reach close to 9 million children annually,” Sherif said. 
 
In just the past four months of 2020, ECW’s total First Emergency Response investments span 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with a record amount of US$60.1 million rapidly allocated by ECW for vulnerable children and youth, who are now doubly impacted by COVID-19.
Highlights of Key ECW 2019 Results by Country:

  • Afghanistan: A successful model of community-based education has reached 57 per cent of girls amongst its beneficiaries. An ECW grant to Save the Children and the Afghanistan Consortium for Community-based Education and Learning achieved substantial results in literacy and numeracy. At the beginning of the intervention, only 2 per cent of students were able to read a story and answer related questions correctly; after the intervention, 48 per cent of students were able to read and understand a basic story.
     
  • Central African Republic: ECW partner, Norwegian Refugee Council, delivered an 8-month accelerated learning programme for 720 conflict-affected children (45 per cent girls). 85 per cent of children who completed the programme were able to re-enter the formal system after receiving the required certification.
     
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: ECW investments delivered through AVSI, NRC and UNICEF supported reintegration of formerly out-of-school children into formal education, protection for children at school and at home, the provision of psychosocial support, and upgraded school infrastructure and the distribution of learning materials. About 10,000 children attended catch-up courses and took the end-of-cycle exam for primary school, enabling them to re-join the formal education system. Exceeding targets, over 46,000 children have been reached in all, 49 per cent of whom are girls.
     
  • Ethiopia: Following a US$15 million initial investment grant implemented through by UNICEF, the primary gross enrolment ratio for refugee children rose to 67 per cent, up from 62 per cent in 2018.
     
  • Nigeria: ECW partner Street Child successfully increased learning levels in reading and mathematics in areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. The grant provided non-formal education for 5,206 children between the ages of 4 and 14 who were either out-of-school or had fallen behind in the formal education system. As a result of the intervention, the percentage of children who were able to recognize letters rose from 1 per cent to 50 per cent. The percentage of students able to read words increased from 9 per cent to 43 per cent.
     
  • Uganda: Following ECW’s support to the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities (ERP) through the Fund’s multi-year resilience programme, the primary gross enrolment ratio for refugee children improved by 22 per cent – from 53 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2019 (reaching 71.4 per cent for girls).
     
  • Yemen: 1.8 million students in war-torn Yemen were able to sit for their exams with support from Education Cannot Wait and its partners. Through an initiative implemented by UNCEF, 128,000 teachers received cash incentives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relevant links to the report’s digital portal: www.educationcannotwait.org/annual-report

LAUNCH OF THE POLICY BRIEF: EDUCATION DURING COVID-19 AND BEYOND

“The future of education is here”

Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies.

It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities.

It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, and a primary driver of sustainable development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever.

In mid-July, schools were closed in more than 160 countries, affecting over 1 billion students.

At least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education in their critical pre-school year.

And parents, especially women, have been forced to assume heavy care burdens in the home.

Despite the delivery of lessons by radio, television and online, and the best efforts of teachers and parents, many students remain out of reach.

Learners with disabilities, those in minority or disadvantaged communities, displaced and refugee students and those in remote areas are at highest risk of being left behind.

And even for those who can access distance learning, success depends on their living conditions, including the fair distribution of domestic duties.

We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people.

We already faced a learning crisis before the pandemic.

More than 250 million school-age children were out of school.

And only a quarter of secondary school children in developing countries were leaving school with basic skills.

Now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities.

The knock-on effects on child nutrition, child marriage and gender equality, among others, are deeply concerning.

This is the backdrop to the Policy Brief I am launching today, together with a new campaign with education partners and United Nations agencies called ‘Save our Future’.

We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people.

The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.

This Policy Brief calls for action in four key areas:

First, reopening schools.

Once local transmission of COVID-19 is under control, getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority.

We have issued guidance to help governments in this complex endeavour.

It will be essential to balance health risks against risks to children’s education and protection, and to factor in the impact on women’s labour force participation.

Consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.

Second, prioritizing education in financing decisions.

Before the crisis hit, low and middle-income countries already faced an education funding gap of $1.5 trillion dollars a year.

This gap has now grown.

Education budgets need to be protected and increased.

And it is critical that education is at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.

Third, targeting the hardest to reach.

Education initiatives must seek to reach those at greatest risk of being left behind — people in emergencies and crises; minority groups of all kinds; displaced people and those with disabilities.

They should be sensitive to the specific challenges faced by girls, boys, women and men, and should urgently seek to bridge the digital divide.

Fourth, the future of education is here.

We have a generational opportunity to reimagine education.

We can take a leap towards forward-looking systems that deliver quality education for all as a springboard for the Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve this, we need investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, a rejuvenation of life-long learning and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.

And we need to draw on flexible delivery methods, digital technologies and modernized curricula while ensuring sustained support for teachers and communities.

As the world faces unsustainable levels of inequality, we need education – the great equalizer – more than ever.

We must take bold steps now, to create inclusive, resilient, quality education systems fit for the future.

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EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ANNOUNCES US$13 MILLION FIRST EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO BENEFIT A QUARTER OF A MILLION CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN THE SAHEL – ECW FIRST EMERGENCY RESPONSE INVESTMENTS IN THE PAST FOUR MONTHS NOW TOTAL $60.1 MILLION

With United Kingdom support, the education in emergency response to ongoing crises compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic will be scaled up in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger

29 July 2020, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today US$13 million in new funding to scale up the education in emergency response in the Sahel countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Approximately 247,000 crisis-affected children and youth (of which over 55 per cent are girls), will be able to access quality education through the new funding.

“With this new funding, ECW’s total First Emergency Response investments in just the past four months alone now span 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with a record amount of US$60.1 million allocated by ECW for vulnerable children and youth in crisis-affected countries ranging from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali, South Sudan, Uganda, Yemen, Zimbabwe and many more,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

The First Emergency Response investments in the Sahel were made possible with a frontloaded £10.5 million contribution from the United Kingdom. The new round of grants scale up ECW’s investments in the Sahel announced in July 2019 and in December 2019.

Interventions will improve access to learning in protective environments and reduce school dropouts in Burkina-Faso, Mali and Niger, responding to pre-existing crises and to the compounding effect of COVID-19. To build inclusive and equitable quality education, as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal 4, grants target the most vulnerable populations impacted by forced displacement, including girls and children with disabilities. Investments will reach children and youth across age-groups and education levels: 13 per cent in pre-primary, 66 per cent in primary and 21 per cent in secondary education.

“Attacks on children and youth, and violence across the Central Sahel in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger continue to surge and close to 5 million children are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Girls and boys displaced by violence, who are living in precarious conditions, exposed to high-levels of malnutrition, food insecurity and with limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities are facing heightened risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yasmine Sherif, ECW Director. “For the vulnerable children and youth of the Sahel, education is a beacon of hope, of safety and their only opportunity to build a better future.”

Despite ECW’s expanded response, there remains an approximate US$94 million funding gap for the education response across these three countries. To help fill the gap, and to expand its support for children and youth impacted by COVID-19 in other crisis-affected countries, ECW urgently appeals for US$310 million in additional funding, and calls on donors, the private sector and other key partners to support enhanced resource mobilization in response to the education crisis in the Sahel.

Information on Grants per Country:

  • In Burkina Faso, an estimated 544,000 school-aged children have been affected by the ongoing violence. The new ECW US$4 million grants allocation will support inclusive access to quality education, continuity of education for displaced children and youth, expanded COVID-19 response – including distance-learning – and school feeding programmes. The grants aim to reach over 51,600 children (60 per cent of whom are girls) and close to 1,200 teachers (60 per cent of whom are women). The investments will be delivered by EDUCO (US$800,000), Enfants du Monde (US$1 million), UNICEF (US$1.4 million) and the World Food Programme (US$800,000).
  • In Mali, as of March 2020, over 1,200 schools were closed as a result of ongoing attacks on learning facilities and insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic – and the ensuing closure of all schools in the country – has exacerbated pre-existing humanitarian needs, with an estimated 1.4 million children in need of urgent support in the education sector. The new ECW US$5 million grants allocation will support inclusive access to quality education, continuity of education for displaced children and youth, expanded COVID-19 response – including distance-learning – as well as the reopening of schools in a safe and protective learning environment. The investments will be delivered by Humanity and Inclusion (US$870,000), Plan International (US$599,000), Save the Children (US$1 million), UNICEF (US$1.6 million) and World Vision International (US$926,000).
  • In Niger, more than 2.6 million children and youth are out of school, according to analysis from 2018. COVID-19, displacements connected with attacks by armed groups on the borders with Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, and an increase in climate-changed-induced natural disasters such as floods and droughts are putting even more girls and boys at risk. Schools lack adequate water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. Targeted abductions and attacks on schools are keeping even more students from attending school. The US$4 million ECW investment will focus on inclusive access to safe and protective learning environments, psychosocial support for internally displaced, refugee and host community children and youth, vocational training courses to support out-of-school adolescents, and targeted support for girls. The investments will be delivered by COOPI (US$709,000), Save the Children ($850,000), UNICEF ($1.15 million), WFP (US$687,000) and World Vision (US$600,000).
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Notes to Editors:

For more information on ECW’s support in the Sahel:

  • Education Cannot Wait approves US$6 million first emergency response Sahel (July 2019)
  • Education Cannot Wait expands first emergency response in Sahelian nations of Mali and Niger (December 2019)

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.

On Twitter, please follow:  @EduCannotWait  @YasmineSherif1   @KentPage  
Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

For press inquiries:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org

Statement by the Signatories of the Pledge at the Global Refugee Forum to Make Geneva a Global Hub for Education in Emergencies

Call for action to address the threat by the COVID-19 pandemic to the education of those left furthest behind

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a global health and socio-economic crisis; it is also a massive education crisis with potentially extremely severe ramifications, especially for vulnerable children and youth impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, and protracted crises.

Read the full statement here: Statement Geneva Hub for Education in Emergencies

UNESCO and Education Cannot Wait provide the Ministry of Education and Higher Education with online learning material for teachers and students

 

UNESCO Beirut / MOE&HE Lebanon / ECW Press Release

 
UNESCO and Education Cannot Wait provide the Ministry of Education and Higher Education with online learning material for teachers and students

 





12 May 2020, Beirut, Lebanon (UNESCO/Ministry of Education and Higher Education/ECW) – The COVID-19 pandemic has translated into a major education crisis. In Lebanon, 1.2 million children are affected by school closures and have seen their learning routines disrupted. While Lebanon has switched to distance teaching and learning to mitigate the effects of this disruption, challenges related to preparedness, infrastructure and capacity, as well as the digital gaps, have put additional strains on students, parents, teachers, and the educational authorities.

In this context, and in the framework of their educational response to the COVID-19 crisis, UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States (UNESCO Beirut) and Education Cannot Wait (ECW) quickly joined efforts to support the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in developing inclusive distance learning solutions to ensure that learning never stops.

As one of the tracks of the Ministry of Education’s strategy to respond to the COVID-19 crisis focuses on developing online learning as an alternative to school closures, UNESCO Beirut and ECW, with generous support from the French government, provided the Ministry with online learning material and digital resources to be used by teachers and students in Lebanon. 297 video lessons, covering Math, Science, and French classes, were provided by Reseau CANOPE, and are available on the online platform launched by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for the COVID-19 response.

Minister of Education Dr Tarek Majzoub said: “We are happy to partner with UNESCO and ECW to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption. Special thanks to the French Government for its generous contribution that made this important initiative happen”, while adding: “This collective action will help build a more resilient system to develop more open and flexible approaches to reach all our children in Lebanon and to promote the values of citizenship, coexistence, and dialogue”.

This cooperation comes within the framework of UNESCO’s project “Supporting francophone teaching and learning in Lebanon”, funded by ECW with the support of the French government, and launched in November 2018. The project aims to promote the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in French for vulnerable Lebanese and non-Lebanese students enrolled in public schools, and is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

UNESCO’s Regional Director for Education in the Arab States, Dr Hamed al Hamami, said: “From school closures, to isolation, to a persistent sense of anxiety, the effects of this pandemic are greatly impacting children and youth. Despite the crisis, learning should never stop. This is why UNESCO is committed to supporting the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in developing remote learning solutions and ensuring inclusion and equity for all learners, so that no one is left behind. Our cooperation with the Ministry will not only help ensure continuity of education but can also contribute to building a more resilient education system for the future, through providing teachers and students with new learning material and resources ”.

Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, stated: “Lebanon deserves all our support and cooperation. UNESCO has years of experience in modeling, testing, and sharing some of the world’s most innovative learning solutions, and their ideas are now available for nations like Lebanon amidst this crisis. The admirable efforts of the Lebanese Ministry of Education to enable online learning  brings  equity and access to education for vulnerable children, including refugee and displaced girls and boys. This is how we empower these children to improve their learning, while unlocking the amazing potential for innovation. Our appreciation and gratitude to the Government of France for making this possible.”   

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Additional Resources


Notes to Editors:
Information on the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund and its investment modalities are available at: www.educationcannotwait.org 
 

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.
Please follow on Twitter: @EduCannotWait   @UNESCO  @YasmineSherif1 
Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org  www.unesco.org 
For press inquiries:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735
For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org

 
 

Coordinating Education in Crises

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) suite of reports on strengthening coordinated education planning and response among humanitarians, and with development actors. Independently researched and produced by ODI, the reports were commissioned in partnership by the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with funding from the Education Cannot Wait global fund for education in emergencies (ECW).

Education is a powerful tool and a source of hope for children and youth affected by humanitarian emergencies, providing knowledge, skills, and competencies for a better future. Yet over 75 million children currently have their education disrupted by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises – a situation further compounded by the current COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, generous support from ECW enabled the GEC, INEE and UNHCR to come together to strengthen joint planning, coordination and response, with the ultimate goal of supporting the education of children and youth living in emergencies and protracted crises contexts.

ODI was commissioned to undertake independent research to develop this evidence base, comprising of an analytical framework, 6 country case studies covering Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Bangladesh, Chad and Syria, and a synthesis report which outlines recommendations for action from key stakeholders and actors across diverse contexts.

Read the full suite of reports here (English only): https://www.odi.org/projects/2954-coordinating-education-crises

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Individual reports can be downloaded at the following links:

ECW Press Release: LEGO Foundation announces $15M contribution to ECW during Global Citizen Special

THE LEGO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES US$15 MILLION CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC DURING LADY GAGA-CURATED GLOBAL CITIZEN SPECIAL

ECW’s largest private sector donor scales up education in emergency support for children and youth caught in emergencies and crises with a powerful message during One World: Together at Home

18 April 2020, New YorkThe LEGO Foundation today announced US$15 million in funding for Education Cannot Wait’s education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LEGO Foundation is the largest private sector donor to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), with a total of US$27.5 million in contributions to date. The announcement was made during ‘One World: Together At Home’, an historic, cross-platform global special organized by Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organization to honor frontline responders and garner support for the global fight against the pandemic.

LEGO Foundation CEO, John Goodwin, announced the contribution via a video message aired during the broadcast special. The LEGO Foundation joined a host of other private sector organizations making historic commitments to COVID-19 relief efforts during the special, alongside performances by the world’s top artists and comedians curated by Lady Gaga which includes: The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Elton John, Shawn Mendes, Usher, Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox, The Killers, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and more.

“Research shows that while learning through play is vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures, which is needed now more than ever given the crisis we’re currently up against,” said John Goodwin, CEO, The LEGO Foundation. “We must support all children, including the most vulnerable children in refugee settings, to ensure they continue to have access to education and develop skills critical for them to thrive in a constantly changing world. We are honoured to collaborate and support Education Cannot Wait and our other partners who are working extremely hard in unforgiving circumstances to bring education, hope and a future to children everywhere.”

This contribution builds on recent emergency funding announced for ECW, the global fund for education in emergencies,  earlier this week by the United Kingdom. In just six days, thanks to these two contributions, ECW mobilized over US$21 million toward its US$50 million appeal to replenish its emergency funds reserve to deploy life-saving and life-sustaining  education services for crisis-affected girls and boys impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters – who now also face COVID-19.

“I am deeply grateful to the LEGO Foundation for its growing and steadfast support to Education Cannot Wait, and our shared mission for children and youth in crises. ECW appreciates this generous contribution to help children and youth left furthest behind in armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters, who are now doubly affected by COVID-19. There is no end in sight to how much these young souls have to suffer and they must be our absolute priority,” said Yasmine Sherif, Education Cannot Wait Director.

“The LEGO Foundation is the first private sector partner contributing to Education Cannot Wait’s emergency response to COVID-19, bringing hope to the world’s most vulnerable children through creative solutions to learning and play in the midst of the pandemic. LEGO is a shining example for all to follow and we encourage more private sector and government donor partners to come forward,” continued Sherif. “I also want to express my gratitude to our partners at Global Citizen and their supporters for providing this impactful platform ‘One World: Together at Home’ to share the critical work we are doing and encourage donors to support relief efforts.”

This funding is part of the LEGO Foundation’s US$50 million grant to support vulnerable children and youth impacted by COVID-19. It builds on ECW’s COVID-19 response by supporting play-based approaches, pre-primary education and synergies with existing ECW investments spanning some 30 crisis-affected countries to support refugee, displaced and host communities and other crisis-affected children and youth, including girls and children with disabilities who are often among the most marginalized.

ECW’s education in emergencies response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly being deployed across 26 crisis-affected countries and contexts, through 55 grantees from UN agencies and NGOs.  These activities will run from 6 to 12 months, and include emergency education interventions ensuring continuous learning opportunities and supporting the health and wellbeing of children, messaging on protective measures and support around risks, and increasing access to water and sanitation facilities for children and their communities.

With support from an exceptional group of artists, the One World: Together at Home global broadcast & digital special is supporting frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations and the WHO asked Global Citizen to support their COVID-19 response by bringing the world together through music and inspiring everyone to take action.

Additional Resources

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Notes to Editors:

Information on the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund and its investment modalities are available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

About the LEGO Foundation

 The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.

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.

Please follow on Twitter: @EduCannotWait  @LEGOfoundation @YasmineSherif1    @KentPage
Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

For press inquiries:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org

Education Cannot Wait Interview with Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown

Interview with Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Steering Group



As the world marks the second International Day of Education on 24 January 2020, Education Cannot Wait’s Director, Yasmine Sherif, interviewed one of today’s most prominent and passionate advocates for the global movement to ensure education for all. In his role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education and as Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group, Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown has successfully galvanized financial and political support globally with the hope and opportunity of quality education for every child in this world.



1. You are the leading global advocate for education worldwide. What inspired you to take on the cause of education out of so many issues facing our world?  

I’m just one of many who realized that – as the Education Commission concluded – education unlocks not only individual opportunities, but also unlocks gender equality, better health, better qualities of life and a better environment. The Education Commission’s report illustrates how education is the very foundation for unlocking all other Sustainable Development Goals. For example, I am struck by the fact that infant and maternal mortality can be as much as twice as high among uneducated women compared to those who are educated, and I continue to be shocked by several brutal facts:

  • 260 million school-age children are not in school
  • 400 million children are completely out of education for good at age 11 or 12
  • 800 million children are leaving the education system without any qualifications worth their name 

In fact, it’s even worse than that: In 2030, we could be as far away from meeting SDG4 as we currently are, unless we act decisively together, now. One reason why the situation is so grave is that today there are 75 million children and youth in need of urgent education support in crisis-affected countries, of whom 20 million are internally displaced children and 12 million are child refugees. Indeed, only a fraction – 1 to 3 per cent – of refugees go on to higher education, whereas, for example, in pre-conflict Syria it used to be 20%. That is why Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is so crucial to meeting SDG4. We need action now. It simply cannot wait if we are to meet the target by 2030.
 
2. As the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, what is your vision for some of the key multilateral actions, such the UN, EU and the World Bank to achieve SDG4 by 2030?

We need a renewed focus on education and we need resources, response and reform. We set up the Global Education Forum, working with UNESCO, to ensure that we have maximum coordination of our efforts between the UN, EU and the World Bank and we will soon outline plans for raising the profile of global education in countries across the world. 
 
As humanitarian crises and refugee flows are multiplying at an unprecedented speed, it is critically important to fund ECW’s investments delivering quality education to children and youth impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters. Furthermore, and in partnership with these actors, we have set up the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd). Through IFFEd, we are aiming for $10 billion in extra funds for educational investment. Currently, we are now around $2-2.5 billion. To achieve our goal, we have to secure the support of more countries.   

3. What do you see as the biggest challenges in ensuring that every child and young person has continued access to a quality education and what are the priorities to meet those challenges?
 
Quality education is crucial. As I said, we need resources, speed in the response during crisis and long-term reform to succeed.
 
Children and youth affected by emergencies and crisis cannot be out of school or wait for a decent education for years simply because a crisis has erupted in their country. As a matter of fact, education is their only hope and opportunity to be able to sustain conflicts and disasters. By the same token, every crisis-affected country needs human capital to rebuild and recover.
 
We need to train and properly remunerate teachers. Teachers are so important – no one ever forgets their teachers and teachers are the key to improved school standards. We also need the best school leaders serving as head teachers. We need a more relevant curriculum.  We need to use technology more effectively, especially in outlying areas – to ensure children are not denied the input and the resources they need for a good education. We need to use technology effectively not just for school education, but for higher educational opportunities that could be both on-line and tutor-led.  

4. You are also the Chair of the High-Level Steering Group of the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund, which was created during the World Humanitarian Summit largely thanks to your leadership. Education Cannot Wait is a rather unique name. How did you come up with such name and why did you think this fund was necessary?
 
I saw the urgency and the need for speed in situations of crisis and forced displacement. Education in countries affected by conflicts and disasters was falling between two stools – humanitarian aid, which prioritized health, food and shelter, with hardly any resources allocated for education – AND development aid, which is more long-term and often is slow to react to a crisis. Millions of children and young people were left behind with no education, no hope and no means of bouncing back and plan for their future.
 
Education Cannot Wait was established at the World Humanitarian Summit to inspire political support and mobilize the resources that we lacked. It was also established to bring together both humanitarian and development actors to jointly provide the crucial flow of educational support for children and youth impacted by crises. And so far it has worked! It is a fast moving fund that is focused to bringing education to the most difficult humanitarian contexts. We now have investments in over 30 countries.
 
One example is the comprehensive Uganda Education Response Plan for Refugees to give support to South Sudanese and other refugees – where all organizations have come together and where we are providing support to the government in mainstreaming refugee education. This is important because the common impression people have of refugees is that they are only out of their country for a short time. But in fact, the average humanitarian crisis now lasts more than nine years, and families caught up in conflicts spend an average of 17 years as refugees. For far too many children, this mean being a refugee throughout their entire school age years. So, they need help with education now. It cannot wait until a conflict or crisis has ended and they can return home.



5. How do you see the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund progressing in advancing UN reform, the New Way of Working and making a real difference for children and youth in conflicts, disasters and forced displacement?
 
I think we are learning all the time. We now see that education in emergencies and protracted crises requires joint programming where governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and private sector organizations work cooperatively together to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development systems. Education Cannot Wait brings all these actors together through one joint programme whereby humanitarian and development activities are coordinated and complementary towards collective outcomes. This in turn accelerates delivery and strengthens the collective capacity to produce real learning outcomes.
 
Since Education Cannot Wait is situated in the UN, it is well placed to translate the New Way of Working, the Grand Bargain and Humanitarian-Development coherence into very tangible action in-country. It is encouraging to see how education in emergencies and protracted crises is now playing such an instrumental role in setting an example. In Uganda, for instance, the Education Response Plan for Refugees is now modeling response plans and joint programming in other sectors, such as health. Education Cannot Wait has developed a crisis-sensitive formula that is not only aligned with, but also has the potential of supporting the New Way of Working across the SDG Agenda.
  
6. What are the three most important value-adds of the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund?

Education Cannot Wait was born in an era when we couldn’t provide for Syrian refugees an education without new ideas and coordination. One of them was double-shift schools. With refugees dispersed across Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, the idea was conceived to share existing schools, so that in Lebanon 300,000 or so Syrian refugee children are educated in their native Arabic in the afternoons in the same classrooms that Lebanese children are taught French and English in the mornings. We were creating the wheel in developing plans like the RACE plan in Lebanon with all of the donors and partners, and were determined to create a system that could provide rapid education delivery and medium term planning and financing in emergencies.
 
Education Cannot Wait works with governments, while supporting vulnerable populations, such as refugees, internally displaced, war-affected, marginalized groups, girls and children with disabilities. As a global fund, ECW was designed to reduce bureaucracy and strengthen accountability towards these children and youth. Hosted by UNICEF, the fund is able to operate with speed and quickly access those left furthest behind in crisis areas thanks to a business model and support mechanisms designed for crisis-contexts. A major added value is the way in which ECW serves as a catalyst for humanitarian-development coherence in the education sector.  This is quite unique.

7. You also conceived of the International Financing Facility for Education (IFFEd). How did it come about and how can it become a game-changer? What makes it different and how can it be optimized in cooperation with partners?

There are 200 million children in low income countries and what the World Bank has done by enhancing IDA is make more resources available from the international community. In theory, IDA could raise educational aid from $1.6 billion to $3.5 billion over the next few years and we’ve advocated that education in low incomes countries should be 15 per cent of all IDA spent.
 
But there’s a gap that hurts the 700 million children in lower middle-income countries where we have the most out-of-school children and the largest number of refugees. Here, the World Bank provides not 10 or 15 per cent of its resources for education but around 4 per cent, and sadly, the recapitalization of the World Bank – while successful – has also created a ceiling limiting the future availability of new resources.
 
Therefore, with World Bank support, we are creating a new fund for education that will focus resources and financing help for the 700 million children in lower middle-income countries, on similar terms that the World Bank offers, but with far more resources. 
 
We aim to raise $10 billion, which would require $2 billion in guarantees and perhaps $2 billion in grants to create four to five times as many resources for investment in education. This will be of special help to countries where there are large numbers of forcibly displaced persons, including refugees. 
 
8. How do you see the complementarity between the International Financing Facility for Education, the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund and the Global Partnership for Education?

Each of us have complementary jobs to do in a synchronized way. The chair of  GPE, Julia Gillard, was a member of our Education Commission, which recommended the new facility. GPE does important work – thankfully with increased resources after their recent replenishment – and this work, mainly in low-income countries, is complemented by what is offered through IFFEd.
 
Education Cannot Wait provides a different business model. It is grounded in the UN system’s ability to move with speed in crises, while also applying a crisis-sensitive development response, which is so important to reach SDG4 for those left furthest behind. It is no longer a start-up fund, but is growing rapidly in outreach and influence. So funding needs to continue to increase to complement other funds, such as GPE and IffEd. 

9. In your view, where will we be in 2030? Will we still be in a global education crisis or will we have resolved it?

One of the tragedies is that while the numbers of qualified young people have risen, still less than 25 per cent will have any recognizable qualifications by 2030. More than 27 per cent will have left school by the age of 11 or 12 years, or have ever been at school. This educational divide between the ‘education-poor’ and the ‘education-rich’ will only grow and what worries me most in this regard is Africa. I’ve  already shared earlier on in this interview the shocking figures for 2030, but worse still, Africa will see a rise in ‘out-of-school’ and in ‘unqualified school-leavers’, unless we act now. To inspire such action, we must share the data, show how challenging the situation is and propose the solutions that are so desperately need now and which all funds can help provide. 
 
10. Any final thoughts as we enter the Decade for Action? How do we best translate the vision of SDG4 into action in the coming 10 years?

We must become the first generation in history where every child goes to school. 
 
Instead of just developing some of the talents of some of the young people in some of the countries, we must develop all the talents of all young people in all countries. I am very conscious that universal education cannot be achieved unless we include the 75 million crises-affected children and youth whose education cannot wait. Their needs must be met if we are to meet SDG4 and achieve the noble objective that no one is left behind. 
 
I am a great believer in the power of young people. We have seen this in the global march against child labor, by girls getting together to prevent child marriages, and through the work of global youth ambassadors in UNICEF, UNHCR and Their World who are an effective pressure group for change.
 
We must enlist students and parents and we must put pressure on both national governments and international institutions to achieve change. Politicians say that adjudicating is their top priority, but the current state of financing for education does not yet recognize this; some countries spend only 2 per cent of their national income on education.
 
We must have a coalition of education advocates that ensures that governments and international institutions take action when they say education is a priority. This must start by acknowledging how far behind we have been in securing education for crisis-affected children, including refugee and displaced children. Their needs and aspirations must be at the forefront of our thoughts.
 
We know that hope dies when a food convoy does not get through to refugees or a boat carrying them is lost at sea – but hope also dies when education is denied to children who desperately want and need it, and who cannot prepare for, nor plan for, their future. We must restore that sense of hope in the future for every child and young person living in abject poverty, on the margins of their societies or in countries of war, as refugees or affected by sudden disasters. We cannot leave any child or young person behind.  
 

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About Education Cannot Wait

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the first global, multi-lateral 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.

Follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait
Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org 
 
For press inquiries:
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw-org, +1-917-640-6820

For any other inquiries: 
info@un-ecw.org  
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