Statement by Rt Hon Gordon Brown on the Launch of the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda

Statement by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education & Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group (HLSG)

Today marks an important milestone in the way that the international community, together with host governments, address the crisis situation of the 75 million children and youth in armed conflict, refugee camps, natural disasters and countries affected by epidemics deprived of their right to a quality education.   These children and their education, traditionally left behind, are now not only at the center of humanitarian response and will also be supported by a new way of working: supporting the delivery of education in the humanitarian-development nexus.

Following the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees of June last year, the Government of Uganda, together with local and international humanitarian and development partners, have worked to complete an Education Response Plan for over half million refugees from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and other countries.  Together with students from Ugandan host communities, who have been very supportive of their refugee peers, we now have plan to deliver education in a true partnership.   While the total cost of the three and a half year plan is USD 389 million, I am happy to report that Education Cannot Wait will be working to provide significant seed funding towards this programme.

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank my dear friend, Uganda’s Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni,  for her leadership and support to this comprehensive, joint plan, bringing together the in international donor agencies, UN agencies, and NGOs who have worked to make the plan a reality.

– Gordon Brown

Extended Resources


UNHCR monthly update highlights details of Education Response Plan
The Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda (ERP) was launched in Kampala on 14 September 2018 by the Minister for Education and Sports, Her Excellency Mrs. Janet Museveni, the First Lady of Uganda.

This Plan is the first of its kind worldwide and represents a huge policy step forward for refugee education globally. Speaking at this Launch Event, as above, included the
Minister for Education and Sports; Alex Kakooza (Permanent Secretary MoES); Minister Hilary Onek (Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees), Aggrey Kibenge (Under Secretary MoES), Rosa Malango (UN Resident Coordinator), Joel Boutroue (UNHCR Representative); Jennie Barugh (Former Head of DFID),
Yasmine Sherif (Global Director of Education Cannot Wait) and refugee teacher, Dumba Lawrence David from Bidibidi Settlement in Yumbe District.

The Plan sets out a vision where all refugee children, as well as host community children, have access to quality learning at all levels, including pre-primary, primary, secondary and non-formal education.

The ERP targets children and youth in 12 refugee-hosting districts in Uganda
where more than half a million children are currently out of learning and out of school.” – UNHCR Monthly Update

Learn More

ECW Announces Resource Mobilization Challenge Finalists

New York, 10 September 2018 – The Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund is delighted to reveal the fundraising ideas selected for the final of its resource mobilization challenge. These ideas – submitted by seven individuals, social entrepreneurs and civil society organisations – have been identified as the best ones among the almost 200 submissions received from all over the world.

Ideas were nominated based on their innovative character, their potential to mobilize millions of dollars to fund education programmes for children and young people in crisis settings, as well as their feasibility, implementation cost and associated risks.

Finalists will have 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to the Challenge Jury during a livestreamed event on Friday 21 September from 7:30 am to 9:00 am (EST). Jury members will then deliberate in a closed session to select the best ideas to be awarded the three $25,000 funding prizes destined to support the development of business plans.

The three best ideas will be announced at the Global People’s Summit on 22 September on the margins of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.


Finalists for the ECW Resource Mobilization Challenge are:


  • Global Investment Fund by Yasser Bentaibi, 4usConsulting, from Morocco Waqf (charitable endowment) which would invest in economic empowerment programmes. The profit generated would be used to support education in emergencies.


  • Charity Motivation App by Lisa Biermann from Germany App users can set goals for behavior change for themselves. Whenever users do not achieve their goals they must pay a fee that would be donated to education in emergencies.


  • Education in Emergencies Coin by John Gravel from the USA ECW would issue a new cryptocurrency and receive funding through its Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a “tax” on “mining” new coins, and issuing emergency coins that would work like a parametric insurance.


  • Reverse Debt Conversion by Richard R. Murray from the USA The idea is to convert defaulted U.S. credit card debt to fund both education in emergencies and partial payments to creditors in return for the creditors deleting negative information from debtors’ credit reports.


  • Kanelbullar by Richard R. Murray from the USA IKEA would dedicate its sales from kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls) on Tuesdays, its slowest retail day, to fund education in emergencies.


  • College Endowment Excise Tax by Richard R. Murray from the USA Wealthy U.S. colleges would enroll students from crisis-affected countries, which would provide the colleges with a strategy for avoiding/reducing millions of dollars from the new federal excise tax on their endowments.


  • Global Lottery on Mobile Phones by Michael Makwani, Randy Mulinge, and Amina Mwatu from Kenya A share of the proceeds of the lottery would be donated to education in emergencies.


  • Every Child Needs a School – Book Industry supports ECW by Mary Muchena- Stredwick and Rachel Stredwick from the United Kingdom International book publishers, retailers, and authors would sign-up to contribute up to 1 percent of the net sale of book purchases to the ECW Fund.


  • 1-in-9 Fund by Brock Warner, War Child Canada, from Canada Establish a publicly traded investment fund which would direct a share of the fund’s management fees to support children and youth affected by conflict and crisis. 1 in 9 children are living in a war-affected country.


ECW congratulates all finalists for their bold ideas and the quality of their submissions! ECW also extends its sincere appreciation to all those who participated in the Resource Mobilization Challenge.

Our team was impressed by the creativity and variety of ideas that were submitted. It is our hope that the engagement of contestants for the cause of education in emergencies will continue well beyond this challenge.

Read the full Press Release here: Press Release – Resource Mobilization Challenge Finalists



Will Smith is bungee-jumping for the cause of Education Cannot Wait!


World renowned American actor Will Smith will be bungee-jumping on his 50th birthday to raise funds for the education of girls, boys and youth who live in conflicts and crises!

Will Smith is inviting his fans to donate funds to support his jump from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon for his anniversary on 25 September. Returns of the campaign will be allocated to the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund through Global Citizen who is partnering with the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation on this initiative.


Will Smith believes “every child should have access to the transformative power of an education, which provides the chance to thrive, live and succeed”. His dedication to empowering disadvantaged children and youth spans over two decades through the foundation he and his wife set up.  ECW is excited and extremely grateful for this opportunity to help extend Will Smith’s long-lasting commitment to education to the children and youth caught in some of the world’s worst crises.

“Will Smith’s bungee-jumping to campaign for our most critical contemporary cause: education in conflict and crisis countries, is a sheer demonstration of courage which should be an inspiration to all” says ECW Director, Yasmine Sherif.  “We need courage and bold action to set the course straight and close the education gap that leaves behind 75 million children and youth whose education is disrupted by crisis.”

ECW extends it gratitude to Global Citizen who has been a strong advocate for the Fund since its inception and has helped facilitate this fantastic opportunity!

To learn more about the Will Smith bungee-jumping campaign and participate, visit:

More information on Global Citizen’s advocacy for education is available at:

Will Smith – The Power of 100




Education Cannot Wait Resource Mobilization Challenge: Close to 200 Fundraising Ideas Received!

Resource_Mobilization_Challenge_logoOur call for bold innovative fundraising ideas to support education for children and youth in crisis settings yielded almost 200 submissions from all over the world! This is a very exciting outcome for Education Cannot Wait (ECW)’s first Resource Mobilization Challenge.

The variety and creativity of ideas we received are impressive. Submissions range from establishing new cryptocurrencies, to crowdfunding, voluntary consumer micropayments, partnerships with companies, Islamic finance, debt conversion, affinity credit cards, and many others.

A huge thanks to all of you who submitted ideas or who helped spread the word about the challenge!

We are now reviewing all submissions and we will soon publish highlights of the best ones.

Next steps

Over the next few weeks all submissions will be reviewed to identify the best ideas. This evaluation will be guided by various criteria such as the ideas’ innovative character, potential to mobilize resources, feasibility, implementation cost and associated risks.

Towards the end of September, all finalists will have an opportunity to present their ideas to the Resource Mobilization Challenge Jury who will select the three best ideas.

Winners will receive a $25,000 funding prize to turn their idea into a business plan. After that, ECW hopes to work with the winners towards implementing these plans to turn their ideas into concrete action. There are currently 75 million vulnerable children and youth left behind in emergency and protracted crisis situations. These resource mobilization ideas can make a real difference in generating the funding needed to ensure they have access to quality education.

Additional information on ECW’s Resource Mobilization Challenge is available here.

GLOBAL DISABILITY SUMMIT 2018: Education Cannot Wait commits to ensure disabled children in crisis settings fulfill their right to learn

New York, 24 July 2018 – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is proud to sign the Global Disability Summit 2018 Charter for change. As a global fund for education in emergencies, ECW’s overarching goal is to support the delivery of quality education to the millions of children and youth whose schooling is disrupted due to conflict and natural disasters – with special attention to disabled children and youth.

Our investment modalities are geared to reach the furthest behind – those who fall between the cracks of the aid system and yet, are among the most in need. This is particularly true for disabled children and youth who become even more vulnerable in the face of conflict and natural disasters.

As crisis shuts down education systems and destroys infrastructures, temporary learning spaces may be inaccessible to disabled children and youth, or available teachers may lack the necessary training to address their needs. Some families may choose to no longer send disabled children to school due depleted financial means. And what’s more, children and youth in crisis are at greater risk of becoming disabled as they are more susceptible to be injured by landmines, small arms and heavy weapons or to suffer from the lack of medical care.

Hanaa, 8, who was paralysed by an exploding bomb and lost the use of her legs, solves a problem on a whiteboard in a classroom at a school in east Aleppo city, Syrian Arab Republic, February 2018. Hanaa's dream is to become a physiotherapist to help children like her. ©UNICEF/Al-Issa
Hanaa, 8, who was paralysed by an exploding bomb and lost the use of her legs, solves a problem on a whiteboard in a classroom at a school in east Aleppo city, Syrian Arab Republic, in February 2018. Hanaa’s dream is to become a physiotherapist to help children like her.

ECW is committed to addressing and reducing these vulnerabilities and upholding the right of all children to learn. Our investments have a clear focus on equity, ensuring that ECW-supported education programmes address the needs of children and youth with disabilities in crisis settings.

During ECW’s first year of operations – from April 2017 to March 2018 – children and youth with disabilities were specifically targeted in 6 out of our 14 countries of investment. Results are already promising: in a country like Uganda, where estimates of child disability prevalence range from 2 to 10 per cent, disabled children and youth accounted for up to 7 per cent of all children reached through ECW-supported programmes!

Ensuring that disabled children and youth have access to education is not only a moral and legal obligation; it is a sound investment in human development, livelihoods, poverty reduction and social cohesion. People with disabilities are resilient and have other abilities, which may be developed and manifested through quality education. As experience tells us, those furthest left behind often prove to be the most resilient.

I will never forget 10-year-old Siddiqula whom I met in 1991 in an ICRC hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. He lost both his legs to a landmine while playing with friends under a tree. Yet, he was determined and smiled out of gratitude that his life was saved. He had a rare ability: to experience inner strength and gratitude in the face of great adversity. For someone like Siddiqula, education is a powerful means to harness his strength and drive positive change, not only in his own life, but for his whole community.

Through the Charter for Change, together, let’s join forces to ensure these opportunities are not lost!

Yasmine Sherif
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

More information on ECW’s commitments and achievements in reaching children and youth with disabilities in crisis settings is available in our 2018 -2021 Strategic Plan and our 2017 – 2018 Results Report.   

For further details on the Global Disability Summit – Charter for change, consult

ECW Annual Results Report: Over 650,000 Children Reached in the Fund’s First Year of Operations

New York, 6 July 2018 – The just-released ECW annual results report  shows ECW’s investments have reached more than 650,000 children and youth affected by conflict and natural disasters during the Fund’s first year of operations from April 2017 to March 2018. In total ECW invested US$82 million in 14 crisis-affected countries.

ECW map of investments and results (as of 31 March 2018)
ECW map of investments and results (as of 31 March 2018)

ECW’s investments are geared to reach the “furthest behind”, i.e. the millions of children and youth who have traditionally fallen between the cracks of the aid system: refugees and displaced children and youth, those living in an ongoing crisis, host communities, girls and adolescent gilrs, the disabled, etc.

The Fund supports programmes spanning a wide spectrum of context-specific activities to meet education needs of crisis-affected children and youth aged 3-18 years old with a focus on improving access to education, equity and gender equality, continuity, protection and quality of learning.  These include learning materials and psychosocial support, school and classroom equipment and infrastructure, teachers’ training and support, and non-formal education programmes.

Girls account for 48 per cent of all children reached by the Fund’s investments which is a crucial achievement to reduce the gender gap in crisis settings, as crises disproportionately affect girls’ education; in Afghanistan alone, where girls represent only 39 per cent of primary level school enrolment, ECW investments reached 60 per cent of girls. Another important achievement is the inclusion of early childhood development components – a sector neglected in crisis settings – in two thirds of country programmes supported by ECW, ensuring children in crisis settings benefit from a good start.

EWR1001_Annual Results Report_web 93

The report also highlights ECW’s unique role in catalyzing joint efforts between humanitarian and development aid actors to ensure more effective and sustainable responses and strengthen response capacity and accountability. In particular, ECW is delivering on its promise to ensure rapid education responses from the onset of crises: for example, when the massive influx of Rohingya refugees was recorded in Bangladesh in August-September 2017, ECW was among the first organizations to respond, proving funding to partners on the ground within 6 weeks of the start of the crisis. With 19 per cent of ECW’s funds channeled as directly as possible to local and national responders at country level, ECW is a key player in advancing the localization of aid agenda, already nearing the Grand Bargain target of 25 per cent by 2020 set by a group of the world’s biggest donors and aid providers.

This is only a glimpse of the progress ECW achieved in delivering education to some of the most vulnerable children and youth on the globe in its first year of operations.  To know more, read the full report here.








ECW has a zero tolerance policy towards any misuse of its funds. That means action will be taken to address any incident of misuse and secure recovery of any resources lost. ECW takes a broad definition of misuse: it is the use, or attempted use, of funds for purposes other than for which they have been approved, and includes corrupt, fraudulent, coercive, collusive and obstructive conduct.

ECW has produced a Policy on Misuse of Funds and a Communications Protocol. This document, which you can download here, gives more detail on our definition of ‘misuse’. It also sets out how a suspected incident can be reported, and the steps that ECW will take to address credible allegations of misuse. It explains what supporting information is needed, and provides an email address which can be used anonymously by anyone who wishes to submit details of a suspected misuse of ECW funds.

Download Policy on Misuse of Funds and a Communications Protocol.


New York, 22 June 2018 – The Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund announces an allocation of US$3 million to support the delivery of education services to newly displaced children in the ongoing Syria crisis. This allocation will support aid organizations in meeting urgent growing education needs resulting from new population displacements in Idleb and Aleppo Governorates in the North-West of the country and in Deir-ez-Zour, Hassakeh and Raqqa Governorates in the North-East.

The funds will improve access to quality education and learning opportunities for 20,000 newly displaced children and will support 500 education personnel. The 12-month programmes will include activities such as establishing safe learning spaces, delivering learning and recreational materials, distributing stipends and teaching resources to teachers and mobilizing communities in support of education.  Psychological support will also be provided to help children recover from the trauma they endured in active conflicts areas.

A displaced girl draws at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Ain Issa camp, Raqqa Governorate, Syria. © UNICEF/Souleiman
A displaced girl draws at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Ain Issa camp, Raqqa Governorate, Syria. © UNICEF/Souleiman

This allocation will build on the coordination and implementation architecture established under the ongoing Whole of Syria (WoS) ECW $15 million Initial investment. Activities to be implemented under this new allocation are also in line with the Syria Education Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2018.

Read the full press release here.

For press enquiries, contact:

Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1917 640-6820


New York, 9 June 2018 – The historic announcement today by G7 leaders – including Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom – and the World Bank of a US$2.9B (C$3.8B) investment in education for women and girls in conflict and crisis marks an inspiring moment of solidarity. I applaud Canada G7 Presidency’s leadership in catalyzing this groundbreaking investment which will help close the gender gap in education where it is most stringent.

These funds, along with the declaration on women and girls’ education in crisis situations adopted by G7 leaders, represent bold financial and political commitments to make gender equality a reality. The right to learn is crucial to end the vicious circle of disempowerment for women and girls in crisis.

Today, it is estimated that 39 million girls and adolescent girls in countries affected by conflict or natural disaster lack access to quality education. They are an entire generation deprived of their right to learn. Without education, they can’t acquire the necessary life skills to thrive and contribute effectively to the recovery and development of their communities.

Meanwhile, we know that educating a girl is the most important investment we can do. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) places girls and adolescent women at the forefront of the joint programmes it supports in crisis-affected countries. We know that girls who are better educated will have better income, and that their children will also be better educated and in better health. We also know that education reduces the vulnerability of girls and the likelihood of child marriage and early pregnancies.

There is no time to waste if the world is to fulfill its promise for all children and youth to access equitable and quality education by 2030. Today’s G7 announcement is a major leap forward in our collective efforts to reach the furthest behind in crisis and conflict. Now, let’s ensure these commitments can rapidly turn into action for the millions of girls whose future depends on education. They deserve no less.

Yasmine Sherif
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

For press enquiries, contact:
Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1917 640-6820

 Details on the G7 announcement are available on the G7 Summit website:


New York, 1 June 2018 – The Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund announces an allocation of US$1.5 million to bring thousands of children back to school in Papua New Guinea. The island nation was struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake at the end of February which affected more than half a million people and damaged key infrastructures, including hundreds of schools.

This ECW emergency response allocation will provide resources for humanitarian aid organizations to immediately start restoring education services, particularly through the setting up of temporary learning spaces. The funding will cover activities for a period of one year.

“It is urgent for children to recover a sense of normalcy in their lives after living through such a disaster. Going back to school is crucial to help them overcome the trauma they have endured and to ensure they continue to learn and thrive,” says ECW Director, Yasmine Sherif.

©UNICEF/Nybo: Lorina, 4, stands outside a makeshift tent where she has been living since a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on 26 February 2018 destroyed her home in nearby Daga village, in Pimaga, Papua New Guinea.
©UNICEF/Nybo: Lorina, 4, stands outside a makeshift tent where she has been living since a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on 26 February 2018 destroyed her home in nearby Daga village, in Pimaga, Papua New Guinea

ECW’s emergency response allocation targets some of the areas most affected by the earthquake in the Southern Highlands Province and in Hela Province. Thanks to ECW’s support, children will benefit from a safe learning environment while damaged infrastructure is being rehabilitated. They will also receive psychological support as well as learning and recreational materials. At total of 10,000 teachers will also be supported through these funds.

This is ECW’s second First Emergency Response allocation this year, further to a $3 million allocation announced in April to support the education response in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read the full press release here.