Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies announced today a US$20 million investment to support learning opportunities for children and youth in seven crisis-affected countries. Children caught in crises in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Peru, Uganda, Ukraine and Somalia will benefit from improved access to quality learning, teacher training, psycho-social support and new school facilities.

Launched less than 12 months ago at the World Humanitarian Summit, ECW is already delivering a step-change in the coordination of humanitarian and development funding and planning. With an initial investment of US$55 million, ECW is funding quality education for an estimated 2 million vulnerable children in Chad, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen, over half of whom are girls.

This US$20 million investment marks the launch of ‘First Response Window’ – a unique mechanism to fund immediate education needs, either at the onset or escalation of a crisis. This mechanism funds a range of partners and activities on the ground for 12 months and serves as a catalyst for improved coordination and education response plans. It will crowd in further investment, in particular from non-traditional donors and the private sector, to increase overall funding for education in emergencies.

Today, in the margins of the 2017 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, leading political champions and members of the ECW High Level Steering Group gathered for the fund’s second face-to-face meeting and welcomed Ms. Annemiek Hoogenboom of Novamedia, as the first business representative to join the fund.

In her role as the Managing Director of the Deutsche Postcode Lotterie and Country Director of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Ms. Hoogenboom has pioneered a sustainable approach to philanthropy with Novamedia, raising over €7.9 billion to date. Ms. Hoogenboom brings her expertise, along with her passion for education, to expand the fund’s engagement with the business community.

The High-Level Steering Group was also joined by the new Director Designate of Education Cannot Wait, Ms. Yasmine Sherif.  Ms. Sherif brings over 25 years of professional experience in international, humanitarian and refugee law to the role and her appointment is a critical milestone for the ECW Secretariat.

ECW is continuing to mobilize the public and political commitments needed to get every crisis-affected child into school and learning by 2030. The investments already made and the ongoing advocacy and operations are the basis of an extraordinary global effort to transform the system.



For more information about Education Cannot Wait, visit or contact

⃰ The current fundraising total stands at US $113.4 million – a significant step towards achieving the Year 1 target of US $153 million.

** Countries were selected based on a methodology which assessed recent onset or escalation of crisis, severity of crisis, long-term education needs, levels of funding, and the potential for ECW engagement across the four modalities of the First Response window.

Migration & Education- 2019 GEM Report

The 2019 GEM Report will look at the issue of migration and education, as approved by the GEM Report International Advisory Board in June 2016.

Migration and education are multifaceted processes involving individuals, schools, communities, regions and countries. They invoke temporal, spatial and intergenerational dimensions. The 2019 GEM Report will enhance understanding of migration and education dynamics. It will give voice to educational challenges and opportunities facing both voluntary and involuntary migrants in host and home communities. It will draw upon wide-ranging evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies, and the analyses, conclusions and recommendations will advance the aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the global goal on education (SDG4).


This concept note discusses the issues and themes that the 2019 Report intends to address.

Specifically the 2019 GEM Report will explore two overarching questions:

A. Does migration accelerate or hamper progress in access to education? How?

B. How do migration patterns influence quality education?

It will also look at two key cross-cutting issues:

C. In what ways do policies focusing on educational equity and inclusiveness improve educational outcomes among migrants and refugees?

D. In what ways can the voices of migrants improve our understanding of how migration and education are interlinked?

We would like to hear your views on the intended content of the 2019 Report through an on-line consultation by 31 May 2017. The GEM Report team is particularly interested in receiving your thoughts on issues related to migration and education, as noted above, including suggestions on relevant literature, data analysis and case studies. We are keen to receive web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets that you think would be useful and informative for the GEM Report team.

The views of researchers, academics, governments, non-governmental organizations, aid donors, teachers, youth and anyone with an interest in migration, education and sustainable development are most welcome.

Please download our concept note and join our consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Harnessing the Technology & Compassion of the Private Sector for Education

Mr. Tom Fletcher, Director of Global Strategy at Global Business Coalition for Education, speaks to the fund about the role of the private sector in transforming education in emergencies. 

For many of us, when a disaster or crisis hits, we feel powerless. We watch events unfold with horror and sadness, but feel impotent to help beyond a donation to an NGO or a call for our government to help. For many of us, much of our compassion doesn’t find a practical outlet.

Some help does get through. Immediate humanitarian supplies, like food and water, may be provided. But education is often seen as too complicated, less urgent, and a luxury and is therefore rarely prioritised.

As a result, millions of children in emergencies are denied education every year.

But what if there was a different way to respond? Ingenious humans are already using technology to allow people to find a date, contact people on the other side of the world, and access content.

What if we took all that technology, and combined it with all that compassion? What if we were ready next time a crisis hits? And what if business led the way? Not with finance, but with practical help — supporting the education effort in the best ways it can.

The Global Business Coalition for Education is supporting the efforts of Education Cannot Wait by harnessing the compassion of the private sector and combining it with modern technology to transform education in emergencies.

GBC-Education’s Rapid Education Action (REACT) database creates that potential for the first time. Already, over 45 companies have pledged their time, creativity, and practical ideas to help meet practical needs on the ground.

A REACT partnership between NaTakkalam and Re:coded is using technology to generate sustainable incomes through the delivery of online skills training for the 21st century job market. NaTakkalam is pairing displaced Syrians with Arabic learners around the world over Skype. This provides Re:coded with resources to pay refugees in Iraq as they train to become world-class software developers, and links them to job opportunities.

 And REACT partners are not the only members of the private sector already active in helping provide education in emergencies. Here are some examples of how business is already helping …

  • Communication providers such as AT&T, Turkcell, and T-Mobile are providing free access to their services, making it easier for communities hit by disaster to access educational content.
  • Accenture and KPMG have schemes allowing employees paid time off to volunteer to help.
  • Companies such as BMW have funded places at European universities for displaced students and faculty to continue their education.
  • Tech companies are also engaged. HP has created digital classrooms in Lebanon for those fleeing Syria to access the best possible education. Google deployed People Finder to help families locate loved ones. Microsoft has allowed people to use Skype to make free calls. Ericcson ran a project to reconnect refugees in Europe with their families. ITWORX Education is offering significant in-kind support — providing tablets and access to digital learning platforms for those hit by crisis.  Endless has donated hundreds of computers to refugees in Jordan.
  • Other companies are providing the physical space in which to study. NRS International has pledged tents and shelter for schools. In Jordan, engineering companies are working with USAID and the Jordanian government to build new schools. Coalitions of companies, such as Techfugees, the UK/Lebanon Tech Hub, and Alt City are bringing ingenuity and time to the challenge.
  • Pupils and their families also need access to finance. Money transfer companies such as Western Union have made it easier to send financial support to those who need it to continue their education. And MasterCard has distributed prepaid debit cards to thousands of refugees.
  • Facebook is providing wifi connectivity to locations where refugees are based while Uber is providing free delivery of vital items, including books, for child refugees.

But there is so much more we can do – and REACT aims to make business engagement greater than the sum of its parts through better coordination and real-time matching of business assets with actual needs in the sector.

 To create systemic change, we need to move from one-off projects to larger-scale, systemic approaches. Our partners in the field are now sending REACT their specific requests for help. We plan to work with ECW to identify needs in initial investment countries of Yemen, Chad, Syria and Ethiopia.  We also want REACT to be involved at the onset of an emergency, ready to deliver logistics networks and other essential supports. There is also a role for the business community in developing global public goods that can enhance the overall response of the international community.

 We are now asking Education Cannot Wait, UN agencies, and others on the frontline of the education effort to tell us what help they need. This week I’ve spoken to extraordinary organisations working in Northern Kenya, Eastern Lebanon and Somalia, looking for support to deliver education to the most vulnerable children, in complex environments. Only with real requests can we find out if this new system will work effectively.

Business can now be among the first on the frontline of the crisis response. And if business can do it, maybe the next phase is to make it easier for individual citizens to do more to help. We are then on the way to a 21st century response to these challenges. And with an education, the next Gates, Einstein or Curie currently caught up in crisis can go on to achieve their potential.

That is surely worth imagining. Please get us your requests.

“Education is the single most powerful tool to protect children in crisis”

In the new Leaders Series, Education Cannot Wait introduces you to those who have been tireless advocates and champions of the fund and its work.

In March, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides spoke to us about his determination to provide education for all crisis-affected children. 

In 2016, there was an extraordinary effort to galvanize the political will and resources needed to transform education in emergencies. How can we build on that?

Indeed, 2016 was rather extraordinary. It feels like, after speaking about education as a basic need in conflicts and disasters for so long, we are finally making headway. I saw unprecedented political will and dynamism that led for example to the launch of ‘Education Cannot Wait (ECW)’ at the World Humanitarian Summit. And 2016 was also the year the EU decided to change our traditional ‘external’ understanding of humanitarian aid and to bring forward new funding and legislation to support access to quality education to the children recently arrived as refugees and irregular migrants in Greece. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.

But there is still so much to do. We need to mobilise more resources, widen the donor community and improve coordination and complementarity between funds. It’s time to really ensure a seamless transition from emergency response to development, and vice versa. We also need better and more efficient data and evidence, so that we are genuinely learning the lessons of the past to make sure we spend every euro wisely. The momentum is there, and we cannot sit back now.

In the context of a large number of competing priorities and a complex political environment in Europe, how have you managed to prioritize education in emergencies?

Spending more on education in emergencies in the current context of growing humanitarian needs and budgetary constraints has not been easy. Prioritisation in humanitarian aid is extremely difficult; however, we are moving towards a more holistic and integrated approach to handle the challenges. Our close partnership with Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States who share this vision was instrumental in securing a budget increase for education in emergencies last year. One of the lessons learned for me was the importance of tireless advocacy and outreach to build a gradual consensus on a new policy agenda.

Since the beginning of my mandate I have been a tireless advocate of education in emergencies and have progressively scaled up EU’s humanitarian funding, first from 1% to 4%, and now to 6% of our annual humanitarian aid budget. In fact, the EU is currently one of the world’s largest donors of humanitarian and development assistance for education.

As one of the world’s largest donors to education in emergencies, how would you make the case to other donors to follow your lead and invest?

Ensuring that the most vulnerable children – many of whom live in conflict-affected countries or have been forcibly displaced – have access to school is the key to making sure we don’t leave a lost generation behind. These children cannot wait until some long term reconstruction plan is put in place post emergency. We need to maintain the continuum of their education to build the resilience of their communities. This is what will enable and speed up the potential recovery from the trauma of the conflict or disaster they have been through.

In February 2017, leaders gathered in Oslo to pledge their support for children living in Nigeria & the Lake Chad Basin- what is the role of education in finding a lasting solution to this crisis?

The Lake Chad region is clearly an area where the international community must do much more to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Many years of neglect, marginalisation, as well as violence and insecurity have wreaked havoc and destroyed the livelihoods and lives of so many. The Oslo Conference was a more than timely recognition of this. The EU pledged to mobilise EUR 105 million for the region in 2017 to face the huge unmet needs.

Students and their teachers have endured countless attacks and interruptions in the region. Investing in education is investing in peace, in long-term societal resilience, in development and economic growth, in our future and that of coming generations.

As part of our support, we dedicated EUR 4 million already in 2015 to provide quality learning in safe and secure environments in the Lake Chad region. I am pleased to see that Chad is actually one of the countries that will benefit of the initial investments by Education Cannot Wait. I hope that our common efforts will support children and help scale up the capacities for much needed stronger education response in the region.

You’ve met with many children who are overcoming enormous obstacles to stay in school and learn in the world’s toughest environments- what have you heard from them and how have they inspired you?

Every time I travel to crisis areas and visit those suffering the consequences of conflicts or natural disasters, I make a point of meeting with children, youths, their parents and teachers. I spend time with them to hear about their lives and concerns, their hopes and dreams.

Since my earliest encounters with beneficiaries as EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, education has been a recurrent theme. I still remember the day in the Bekaa Valley, in Lebanon, when I talked with a Syrian mother. She thanked me for the EU aid but was quite blunt that just any kind of aid was not enough. It had to come hand in hand with hope and prospects for her children, which only education could bring. And of course she was right.

Whenever I speak to children who have the chance to continue studying despite their circumstances, I am amazed by how resilient and positive they are. I truly believe that education is the single most powerful tool that can protect, sustain and support children, not only in the midst of a crisis but also when the situation improves.

I believe that engaging directly and listening to what they have to say is the best way to understand what they really need. During my visits, many children going through unspeakable hardship and tragedy have shared with me their aspirations. Some want to become doctors, others teachers. They want to be able to study to ensure their own futures, to help others and, in the longer term, to rebuild their countries. This is an inspiring message that we would be extremely foolish to ignore.

Briefing to Member States at the United Nations: A Roadmap to Achieve the Learning Generation



Co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Norway and Lebanon
Date: Tuesday, 31 January, 4.00 – 5.30 p.m.
Location: United Nations Secretariat, Room CR11

The world is facing an alarming education crisis. If current trends continue, over three-quarters of a billion young people in low- and middle-income countries will not be on-track to gain basic secondary skills, and 1.5 billion adults will have no education beyond primary school by 2030. Despite the overwhelming case for investment in education and the promises made and remade, in recent years domestic and global investment has flat-lined and too often money invested has led to disappointing results. Chronic underfunding and lack of sufficient focus on the most marginalized is compromising the international community’s ability to deliver ‘inclusive and equitable quality education for all’, as outlined in Agenda 2030.

Increased education financing is needed to provide for the largest expansion of education opportunity in modern history: creating the Learning Generation. It will cost USD $3 trillion to get all children in school and learning by 2030– 97% from domestic resource mobilisation and 3% from international financing. In more than 30 low-income countries, investments and reforms will leave half of the total budget unfunded and in need of international support. The Global Partnership for Education aims to raise $2 billion annually by 2020, ramping up to $4 billion annually in 2030 to build and implement strong education sector strategies to achieve SDG 4.

Increasingly the world’s out-of-school children are concentrated in conflict or disaster-stricken countries yet education in emergencies remains chronically underfunded. Supporting education in emergencies could add approximately $9 billion to projected education costs. In this context, systems reform is needed to bridge the divide between the humanitarian and development sectors. The Education Cannot Wait fund is bringing in new untapped resources to bridge this divide and acts as a catalytic fund to improve the efficiency of existing approaches.

There is already a well-designed financing architecture to enable the international community to provide high quality learning opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children and youth — and the Commission has additional recommendations to leverage new financing from the multilateral development banks to scale up the impact of these mechanisms. Achieving the Learning Generation, especially in the most fragile and complex environments, requires unprecedented levels of coordination, reforms and resource mobilisation from a wide range of audiences, starting with Member States. This briefing will outline the distinct mechanisms and roadmaps in place to achieve this:

  • Providing an overview of the current state of global education, including the Education Commission’s findings and recommendations;
  • Highlighting the role of the Global Partnership for Education in improving learning and equity through stronger education systems;
  • Highlighting the urgent need to bridge the humanitarian-development divide and the unique role for ECW in bringing about the innovative and long-needed changes;
  • Outlining the scale of both domestic and international resource mobilization efforts required to create a Learning Generation and the complementarity of various funding mechanisms.

List of speakers

  • H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly
  • Ms. Laila Bokhari, Deputy Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • H.E. Dr. Nawaf Salam, Permanent Representative of Lebanon
  • Mr. Justin Van Fleet, Director of the Education Commission
  • Mr. Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Ms. Sarah Beardmore, Head of Policy, Global Partnership for Education
  • H.E Mr. Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway (moderator)


Originally posted by GEM Report

UNESCO infoGRAPHIC ON REFUGEE CHILDRENDays before the World Humanitarian Summit, the GEM Report and the UNHCR Education Section jointly released a new policy paper, ‘No more excuses’, with new data showing that only 50% of refugee children are in primary school and 25% of refugee adolescents are in secondary school.

As people gather for one of the biggest ever summits on humanitarian needs, we are calling for all those forcibly displaced to have access to quality education within three months of displacement. Countries and their humanitarian and development partners must urgently ensure that those forcibly displaced are included in national education plans and programmes and to collect better data to monitor their education status and progress.

What data there are show that, behind the global average number of refugee children out of school, there are significant differences among countries. Primary enrolment rates average 80% in selected refugee sites in Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen but only 40% in Pakistan and 50% in Ethiopia.

Access to secondary education is even more limited for refugees in many countries. In 2014, in Kenya, Pakistan and Bangladesh, less than 5% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 were enrolled in secondary education. Enrolment in early childhood education also remains very limited in some countries, reaching only 7% in Turkey in 2015.

UNESCO infoGRAPHIC ON REFUGEE CHILDREN (1)There is no doubt that collecting information on moving populations is challenging, if not impossible sometimes. What little we know is mostly about those living in camps, yet almost two thirds of the world’s refugees reside outside of camps, largely in urban areas, where even less is known because information systems aren’t tracking them. Countries must monitor these children and youth when they enter national systems so we know who they are, how they are progressing and whether we’re effectively responding to their needs.

From select available data outside of camps coming from Ministries, we can see that of school-aged Syrian refugees only 53% in Jordan and 30% in Turkey are enrolled in school.

Reliable data on internally displaced people (IDPs) are even more limited, but reports from the International Organization for Migration and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre indicate that their displacement is putting huge strain on already weak education systems.

unhcr imageIn Nigeria, for instance, children displaced due to attacks by Boko Haram in 19 out of the 42 camps did not have access to any form of education in June 2015. In Iraq, only 32% of internally displaced children and adolescents in 2015 had access to any form of education.  In Yemen, only one third of school age IDP children in Lahj governorate were enrolled in school.

Those already marginalised, such as girls, are often the worst affected among refugees. In Kakuma camps in Kenya, in 2015 only 38% of primary school students were girls. In Pakistan, where child marriage and teenage pregnancy are often cited among refugee girls, dropout rates for refugee girls are as high as 90%.

Girls and women make up 70% of the world’s internally displaced population and are left the furthest behind in education. In Iraq, in Najaf governorate 81% of 15-17 year-old girls were out of school compared to 69% of boys of the same age. In urban areas in Afghanistan only 1% of IDP women were found to be literate versus 20% of IDP men.

Education is essential for all children and especially so for refugee children who have already lost so much. Our joint findings lead to four main policy directions for governments and their partners:

  • Enshrine forcibly displaced people’s rights to education in national laws and policy
  • Include displaced children and youth in national education systems 
  • Enable accelerated and flexible education options to meet diverse needs
  • Ensure an adequate supply of trained and motivated teachers

Join in the conversation #NoMoreExcuses @GEMReport / @Refugees

Listen to the podcast: French/ English
See the video

By the GEM Report and the UNHCR Education Section