Education Cannot Wait launches US$12 million allocation for Rohingya children education in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar, 13 November 2018

In a major boost to the education response of the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund is allocating US$12 million to support 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. The fund is being awarded to UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR to ensure a common vision for education and continued access to quality learning.

13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

“Education is a long-term investment in any context. Within the Rohingya refugee crisis, education plays an even more vital role. It ensures children’s protection. It is also a lifeline of hope for children and young people living in a very unpredictable situation. ECW is making a major investment in their future,” says James Lynch, UNHCR Regional Representative and Acting Representative in Bangladesh.

The launch was announced from an ECW supported learning centre in the Rohingya refugee camps earlier today, in the presence of 50 children, parents, teachers, government, UN and NGO representatives.

ECW's Senior Education Advisor Graham Lang attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: ECW’s Senior Education Advisor, Graham Lang, attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

When asked about his learning centre, 8-year-old Rohingya boy Amin said “diley shanti pai – I feel peace in my soul.”

For Amin and many others, time spent at the learning centre is the highlight of their day. Rohingya children attend classes for two hours each day to learn English, Burmese, mathematics and life skills. However, teaching hours will be expanded to four hours per day with the rollout of the new education programme.

“We are dealing with a refugee population which has been denied the right to education for a very long time. Over the past year, we have witnessed incredible changes in the children attending classes in the refugee camps. Children who were quiet and reserved have grown in confidence, they have learned new skills in a safe, protective environment and achieved a sense of normality. We must continue to nurture their talents and prospects for a brighter future,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.


Over 2,000 teachers will benefit from professional development programmes through the multi-year ECW grant to ensure quality education that can sustain and save lives, providing safe learning environments, psychosocial support for children and youth.  In particular, the programme will focus on training female teachers and meeting the specific needs of girls and boys and of children and adolescents with disabilities. This includes measures to prevent and address gender-based violence.

In host communities, emphasis will be placed on strengthening education systems to improve quality in public schools. Cox’s Bazar has one of the highest rates in the country of primary and secondary age children out of school. The ECW grant will invest in strengthening access to education, retention of students and increasing performance levels.

“ECW’s support will enable us to enhance the quality of the education delivered. We will train more teachers with an improved syllabus and learning materials. We can expand the network of our reach to close the gap on the Rohingya children and youth we are currently unable to reach in the refugee camps,” highlights Beatrice Kaldun, UNESCO Representative in Bangladesh.

At the onset of the refugee crisis, ECW donated US$3 million to establish emergency education services in the Rohingya camps. This US$12 million contribution builds on the earlier support and aligns with a broader framework of support for education facilitated by ECW.  The estimated additional cost to deliver this education program in 2019 is almost US$60 million. ECW is calling upon other donors and partners to step up to the plate and provide further financing to fill the gap.

“This funding builds on the first emergency investment made by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) during the initial months of the Rohingya arrivals in 2017.  We will not give up on these children and youth now, as they start to recover from the painful experiences in the recent past. On the contrary, now is the time to sustain and expand their access to education, which also means to continue providing a healing and protective environment,” says Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW.


The press release is also available at the following links:

UNESCO office in Dhaka

UNICEF Bangladesh



Media contacts

UNICEF Bangladesh, Jean-Jacques Simon. Email: jsimon(at) Tel: +8801713 043478

UNHCR Bangladesh, Firas Al-Khateeb. Email: Khateeb(at) Tel: +880 188 593 4309

UNESCO Bangladesh, Sun Lei. Email: l.sun(at) Tel: +880 1708 455077

ECW, Anouk Desgroseilliers, Email: adesgroseilliers(at) Tel: +1 917 640 6820





To re-establish education for 60,000 children, Education Cannot Wait partners with Government of Indonesia, UNICEF and Save the Children, to provide temporary learning spaces, educational supplies, coordinated responses and training for teachers

31 October 2018, New York – To provide immediate relief for the boys and girls whose lives have been shattered by the devastating 28 September earthquakes and tsunami in Indonesia, Education Cannot Wait announced today a US$2.6 million first emergency response allocation that will benefit over 60,000 children and youth.

Recent estimates from national authorities indicate that over 2,000 lives have been lost in the disaster, which displaced more than 200,000 people and directly impacted more than 160,000 students.

“A tsunami is a horrible experience that renders people and communities completely powerless. There is no mercy. The devastating tragedy in Indonesia is ripping families apart and disrupting the life of children and youth in the most painful ways. We need to get these boys and girls back in safe and secure learning environments immediately. It is about restoring the safe foundation and necessary lifeline for children without delay and thus their education cannot wait,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global Fund that seeks to raise US$1.8 billion to provide access to quality, reliable education for 8.9 million children living in crisis and emergencies by 2021.

“By providing immediate support to re-establish education for these children and youth, we are taking an important first step in returning the people of Indonesia to normalcy and in contributing to a sustainable humanitarian response that protects and brings hope” Sherif said.

Through ECW’s funding, 910 temporary classrooms will be established, and children and teachers will receive educational supplies. An additional 2,700 teachers – of whom 75 per cent are female – will be trained so they can provide the necessary psychosocial support for these children, who have lost their homes, and sometimes their parents and loved-ones in this disaster. The intervention will target the most vulnerable girls and boys, including orphans, children who experienced severe traumas, children living in poverty and children with disabilities. Ensuring safe and inclusive access to schools is a priority for Education Cannot Wait, and over 50 per cent of the beneficiaries will be girls.

While the intervention will largely focus on getting children back in safe and reliable learning environments, additional support will be provided to conduct a rapid education impact and needs assessment, create a back-to-school campaign, and ensure a coordinated and integrated response between the various agencies and first responders on the ground under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

At least 1,185 schools – from early childhood learning centers to secondary schools – have been directly affected in four districts of Sulawesi, according to the latest figures from UNICEF. In all, some 1.5 million people have been affected, and observations from local sources show a high number of separated and unaccompanied children, as well as missing children and teachers.

With children out of school since the earthquake, many of the basic human needs that are connected with safe learning environments – including school meals, child protection, safety from sexual abuse, and access to hygiene and sanitation facilities – have been limited, further exacerbating existing health and nutrition factors affecting Indonesia’s children.

The 12-month projects will be implemented by UNICEF and the local chapter of Save the Children (YSTC) in close collaboration with other partners including the localized entities of World Vision (WVI) and Plan International (YPII). All activities will be implemented in coordination with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture through the Safe School Secretariat, which has already allocated approximately US$28 million for the response, rehabilitation and recovery in the education sector.


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