Lost Years: Secondary Education for Children in Emergencies

This story originally appeared on the Human Rights Watch website.

Amin, 18, became a refugee when his family fled Syria for Lebanon five years ago. He has not set foot in school since. With his father unable to get legal status or work, responsibility for supporting the family of seven fell to Amin. A seventh grader when he left his school in Homs, he became a construction worker at age 13, hauling cement blocks for apartment buildings. “I’ve been here five years and lost five years of my life,” he said.

Fahd, 15, originally from Syria, is not in school. Instead, he works in construction in the Bekaa Valley. © 2016 Bassam Khawaja/Human Rights Watch
Fahd, 15, originally from Syria, is not in school. Instead, he works in construction in the Bekaa Valley. © 2016 Bassam Khawaja/Human Rights Watch

Every day in 2015, around 17,000 children fled their homes due to persecution and conflict. Forcibly displaced children, including refugees, have the right to available and accessible quality secondary education, without discrimination. School can protect them, set a normal routine vital to healing, create economic opportunities, and nurture hope.

But for many older children, going to school is impossible.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), half of the world’s 3.5 million refugee children of primary-school age attend classes, but fewer than a quarter of the 1.95 million secondary-school aged children do. In countries like Pakistan and Lebanon, enrolment falls to just 5 percent.

It is worse for girls: globally, just 7 girls for every 10 refugee boys go to secondary school. Forcibly displaced children with disabilities are often excluded altogether.

The problems, and solutions, are at root about funding and refugee policies. Globally, less than 2 percent of donor support goes to education in emergencies; of that, far more goes to primary than secondary education. Inadequate resources coincide with restrictive refugee host-country policies that often hit children hardest as they become adolescents. Some host countries simply deny them the right to enrol in secondary schools outside refugee camps.

Children with secondary education are typically healthier, and likelier to find work as adults and escape poverty. Those who drop out of school may face hazardous labour, child marriage and sexual violence, harassment by state security forces, and targeting and recruitment by armed groups.

Failure by donors and host countries to ensure secondary education for displaced children and adolescents risks undermining economic development. It also robs secondary school-aged children of the skills they need to contribute to host communities, and if they return home — with repercussions for security and stability.

Secondary education and conflict

Education promotes stability: it provides children with tools for resolving disputes peacefully, and increases productivity. Quality secondary education has been shown to promote tolerance, foster a stronger belief in democracy, and help resist recruitment to violent extremism.

High secondary school enrolment levels may even lower the probability of civil war, while failure to provide education for displaced adolescents in crises can hamper reconstruction efforts.

Yet education is often a casualty when children are forced to flee for safety. Children and their families have fled Somalia due to forced recruitment and abduction of children by parties to the conflict. School dropout rates reportedly reached 50 percent in 2010.

The impact of conflict is especially hard on secondary education, which needs specialised resources, including teachers, that are hard to get in crises. And forcibly displaced adolescents who drop out of school are unlikely to return.

Some governmental responses have only made matters worse.

In Nigeria, the government has not adequately protected schools from attacks by the extremist group Boko Haram (“western education is forbidden”). One teacher told Human Rights Watch in 2015 that his secondary school had become “a Boko Haram slaughtering ground… anyone they caught, they will bring to the school and kill them.” In conflict-affected states, fewer than 90,000 of nearly 590,000 displaced school-age children can access education.

Compounding the problem, Nigeria’s government has closed both primary and secondary schools in order for security forces to use them as operations posts or barracks, violating its own commitment to the Safe Schools Declaration signed in 2015.

Overlooked and underfunded

In survey after survey, refugees identify education as a critical need, on which many spend large portions of their incomes. Others take enormous risks: one woman returned to Syria after being unable to enrol her children in Lebanese schools despite the danger. “Education is the only goal,” she told Human Rights Watch.

Yet education’s share of donor aid is paltry, falling, and fails to reach many children. Less than a quarter of overseas development aid is disbursed to low-income countries, which host 86 percent of the world’s refugees. And some long-term crises are permanently underfunded, as money skews towards the latest, most visible emergencies. Many grants last only 12 months.

Of the limited funds available for education, primary education receives the lion’s share, with secondary an afterthought despite the need for more textbooks, classrooms, equipment, and highly-qualified teachers. In 2015, for example, UNHCR allocated just 13 percent of its education budget to secondary education, one-third of what it spent on primary.

Agencies do not necessarily have as much programming for secondary education as they do for younger children. Humanitarian actors are still playing catch-up when it comes to secondary education.

In Lebanon, the Education Ministry and UNHCR set a target last year of enrolling nearly 200,000 Syrian refugee children in public primary schools, but just 2,080 in public secondary schools, out of nearly 83,000 secondary-age children.

Bureaucratic barriers

Bureaucracy can often hamper access to secondary education.

Secondary school-age children who have been forcibly displaced have been barred from education because they lack official documentation. In Lebanon, children turning 15 must pay $200 — often a prohibitive sum — to renew their residency, and many lack the required documents. In Turkey, Syrian refugee children must obtain an “identification” to enrol in schools, but the wait often lasts half a year.

Some Syrian adolescents gave up trying to re-enrol in secondary school after years trying to meet inflexible requirements. Amal, 20, said she had completed all her high school exams “except the very last one” before her family fled Syria, but when she tried to finish her exams in Jordan, Education Ministry officials repeatedly refused. “They said they needed proof I had passed 11th grade, but they wouldn’t accept my faxed form, and told me I needed to send in the original.” Not only would she have to return to war-torn Syria to obtain it, “but the border is closed.”

In Lebanon, refugee children must provide 9th grade transcripts to enrol in secondary school, which many left behind while fleeing the war in Syria. And some school officials refuse to accommodate them. Sixteen-year-old Loreen has been out of school since heavy shelling cut her off from the 7th grade in Syria. When she tried to enrol in Turkey, the school director said she would “have to join her age group, no exceptions,” even though she spoke no Turkish. When her mother asked the school about language help, she was told “there wasn’t any.” Loreen now works full-time in a dried-fruit factory.

Barriers to girls’ education

Crises can exacerbate the hurdles girls face to secondary school, including sexual and gender-based violence, and early pregnancy and marriage.

A 15-year-old girl from Ghouta, Syria, shows her engagement ring in Amman, Jordan, where she dropped out of grade 7. Rates of early marriage have increased fourfold among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan since 2011. Very few girls continue their education after marriage. © 2016 Elin Martinez / Human Rights Watch
A 15-year-old girl from Ghouta, Syria, shows her engagement ring in Amman, Jordan, where she dropped out of grade 7. Rates of early marriage have increased fourfold among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan since 2011. Very few girls continue their education after marriage.
© 2016 Elin Martinez / Human Rights Watch

In Afghanistan, Taliban forces targeted girls’ education after being forced from power in 2001; by 2004, only 5 percent of Afghan girls attended secondary schools, and attacks increased thereafter. Taliban forces threatened girls to stop attending school past puberty, shot students and teachers, threw battery acid in the faces of adolescent schoolgirls, burned their schools and attacked them with rockets and explosives.

In situations of forced displacement, parents may marry off girls to cope with poverty or safety concerns, and most married girls stop going to school. Child marriage has leapt four-fold among Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan.

Conversely, secondary education can be life-changing for girls, with potential gains for host countries and overall development. It can reduce childhood deaths because children with higher education levels are more likely to have a healthy diet and seek medical care, and girls with secondary education are less likely to marry early.

Poverty and child labour

Poverty — exacerbated by policies that prevent parents from finding work — pushes school out of reach for many displaced children. Pressure to earn intensifies as children grow. In any case, many families cannot afford secondary-school fees, uniforms, notebooks, and higher transport costs, since secondary schools are often fewer and farther away.

Children who leave school to work are at risk of serious harm: exploitation, hazardous work environments, or violence. Lebanon saw a sharp increase in the worst forms of child labour among refugee children in 2015, and children have been injured, attacked, or arrested while working.

When there are few opportunities for skilled work or higher education — like in Kenya’s Dadaab camp, where just 13 percent of adolescents attend secondary schools — there is far less incentive to get a secondary education. A UN survey in Zaatari, Jordan’s largest refugee camp, found that barriers to education included “a sense of the pointlessness of education as [Syrian children] had limited hope for their future prospects.”

Allowing refugees to work could ameliorate poverty’s knock-on effects on secondary education. Host countries may fear that refugees will take citizens’ jobs, but refugees often take jobs that nationals do not want, and labour protections could help stem the downward pressure on wages that results from informal work.

Even in countries that have opened access to work permits for refugees, like Turkey, restrictions — such as quotas, geographical restrictions and permits tied to local sponsorship — often remain. Syrian refugees in Lebanon, denied the opportunity to work legally and dependent on insufficient aid, have sunk deeper into poverty, making it harder to afford to send children to school.

Alternatives are possible. In Uganda, 500,000 refugees are allowed to work and access public schools, and only 1 percent rely completely on aid.

Global response

It has taken decades for the global community to recognise the importance of education in humanitarian response, but recent promises could help displaced children—if they are kept.

In May 2016, humanitarian donors and UN agencies launched Education Cannot Wait, a global fund that aims to support education for 75 million children and young people affected by emergencies each year, looking to raise $3.85 billion by 2020.

In September 2016, countries pledged to improve access to lawful work for 1 million refugees, and access to education for 1 million refugee children. The UN Global Commission on Education has set specific goals and timelines for governments to achieve free, equitable, and quality secondary education for all by 2030, a target that all UN member states pledged to meet as one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

But the good news must be taken with a grain of salt. Donor attention to education has proved fickle before; in 2010, funding dedicated to education decreased dramatically when donors reduced aid budgets or diverted funds to other sectors. And greater transparency is needed to hold donors to their promises.

Ways forward

It is essential for governments affected by crises to protect secondary education from attack, create safe alternatives, and ensure their forces refrain from the military use of schools.

Governments and humanitarian actors need to address barriers that cause older displaced children to drop out, including girls and children with disabilities, and make secondary education an integral part of response plans to crises. Transparent, sustained, multi-year funding is urgently needed to ensure children can access and complete secondary school.

To enable families to pay school-related costs, host countries should allow refugees access to lawful work. Donors should fund livelihood efforts so that families do not have to rely on child labour and can send secondary-age children to school.

Governments hosting foreign children should provide legal access to secondary education or vocational and skills training on an equal basis with nationals, and de-link immigration-related requirements such as residence permits from enrolment criteria.

Host countries should ensure national education plans include refugee children, and accommodate them with flexible enrolment requirements. Administering placement exams, in lieu of requiring transcripts, is one simple way to ensure children are not excluded from secondary education due to factors beyond their control.

Host countries must recognise that older children deserve the same protection and support offered to primary school age children, and above all need to be in school. Continuing to ignore their needs would be a grave mistake.

16 December 2016 – article by Bill Van Esveld, Elin Martinez, and Bassam Khawaj.

Introducing #ImagineaSchool

“In Syria, I only saw numbers in my mathematics book. Now, my tent is number 19, my camp is number 007 and my UN card has a number. I hate numbers. I am just a number. I don’t feel human anymore.” These are the words of a Syrian refugee child in Lebanon.

Mohamad is another one. His hands, blistered and dry from cement dust tell his story. Mohamad fears he will never go to school again: “You’re supposed to start school when you’re six years old, not 15,” he says.

Waiting and uncertainty are eating up the lives of Syria‘s children. When asked about the point of attending school, one 4-year-old explained that he would need to be able to read signs if he ever got kidnapped, to be able to find his way home.

These words represent hundreds of thousands of voices – voices of Syrian refugee children now living in Lebanon. They live in an informal settlement, one of thousands in Lebanon, the country hosting the highest number of refugee children per capita in the world.

Playing in the mud is their way of killing time. They have no schools, no pencils and no books. One day just drags into another. This is not a life for these children, for any child. Yet, it is the sad reality for close to 200,000 school-aged Syrian children in the country.

Last summer, UNICEF filmed and produced an interactive documentary, #ImagineASchool, on a generation of children denied their basic right to education. Launched online today, it gives a rare insight into the lives of children shaped by the absence of schooling. Featuring 19 interviews of children and an extraordinary collection of class photos – the documentary is shot not in schools, but in the drab surroundings of an informal refugee settlement.

A child’s place is in a classroom. Schools give purpose, structure and routine, a feeling of safety and normalcy. In the long run, only education can end inter-generational cycles of poverty and discrimination, prevent extremism and despair. Never is education more crucial than in times of conflict. For a child whose short life has been marked by violence, loss, fear and displacement, education represents the last resort of a life worth living.

Children’s voices featured in the documentary are a reminder of what has been lost. It is heartbreaking to see children that have stopped speaking, their development set back because of trauma and shock. Others speak of their hopes and aspirations. We can help put these children back on track. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, many say they want to be teachers – a reminder of the powerful impact of educators as role models.

There has been progress.

Countless children are now receiving an education. With the help of the Government of Lebanon, the United Nations, donors and NGOs, the Lebanese public school system has shown remarkable hospitality and strength. It has been an impressive achievement to lift school fees for all children in Lebanon. But we can do better. Every Syrian child in the country should be attending school.

If there is a common theme to these children’s accounts, it is a combination of loss, determination and hope.

That you have been able to read this far is because you were fortunate enough to go to school. For many Syrian children today, the basic right to education has become a luxury. The stories of Mohamad, Sidra, Assia and all the other children in the UNICEF documentary www.imagineaschool.com, are stories of children imagining an alternative future, a future that is still within reach if we give these children the chance of claiming the simple right you and I enjoyed. If we listen carefully to their testimonies, there are glimpses of an amazing potential and alternative futures – if we choose to listen….

Their plight, and their courage, is a call for action and a stark warning. Should we fail the children that tell us that they envy birds for their wings and that their homes feel like prison- neither history nor the children, will judge us kindly – nor should they. Their voices are a reminder of what we stand to gain – or to lose. Time is not on our side. Let’s listen to these children and act now, to reach every child with education wherever they are.

23 January 2017 – An op-ed by Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF Lebanon Representative.

Education in emergencies:
EU funding helps reach historic milestone

A global fund to educate children whose lives have been disrupted by emergencies last month received a critical boost from the European Union.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, announced on 30 November that it will increase its contribution to education in emergencies in 2017 to 6 per cent of its humanitarian aid budget. The increase comes on the heels of a 4 per cent contribution in 2016 and amounts to a six-fold increase since 2014.

The 2017 contribution makes the EU the world’s leading supporter of some of the world’s most vulnerable children and champions of cause that has been historically under-funded and under-appreciated – education in emergencies.

“By funding education, we can make a real investment in children’s futures and their hope for a better life,” said Christos Stylianides, the EU’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. “The EU is leading by example and I call on other international donors and stakeholders to step up their efforts worldwide.”

Mr Stylianides announced the EU’s commitment in Brussels at the Education in Emergencies Forum hosted by the European Commission. The forum brought together decision makers, humanitarian experts and practitioners to explore ways to support quality education for children affected by crises. In addition to Mr Stylianides, speakers included Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Education, Ömer Çelik, Turkey’s Minister for European Affairs, and Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s Minister of Education and Higher Education.

With the increase in its contribution, the EU is drawing attention to the importance of education in emergencies and mobilizing resources desperately needed to educate children in crises including wars and natural disasters. In the recently released report, ‘The Learning Generation’, the Education Commission called for all countries to follow the EU’s lead and increase the amount of money they earmark for education in emergencies to 4 to 6 per cent of their overall humanitarian aid contributions.

Throughout the world, the complexity and duration of crisis and displacement has required unprecedented humanitarian and development responses. However, funding has decreased as a proportion of development aid and humanitarian appeals. In the last decade, for example, the demand for education in emergency settings increased by 126 per cent, but only 4 per cent of the appeals made for Oversees Development Aid or humanitarian appeal funds were met.

The Education Cannot Wait fund was created in 2016 to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and development assistance and provide funding for education in emergencies.

In his keynote address at the Education in Emergencies Forum, Gordon Brown said that recent humanitarian appeals have directed only two per cent of funding to education in emergencies. In contrast, the latest estimate is that the average time refugees are exiled from their country is 10 years.

The world, Brown said, “must answer why, for the most vulnerable, we do the least, and why, instead of guaranteed help, all we do is pass the begging bowl around at times of crisis.”

Though the EU remains committed to funding education in emergencies, the dramatic rise in the number of emergencies still strains resources. In its Communication on Forced Displacement and Development, the EU recognizes the importance of education in crises and the need for close cooperation between humanitarian and development sectors to ensure longer-term outcomes.

To achieve these goals, the Education Cannot Wait fund works to provide short-term humanitarian responses to education needs while providing development interventions that contribute to medium- and long-term goals.

Melding the goals of humanitarian aid and long-term development assistances demands a transformation of how education is provided to children during emergencies. Melding humanitarian and development goals will only be possible with the extraordinary levels of coordination and investment exhibited in the EU’s historic commitment to educating children in times of crises.

For more information, the Education in Emergencies Forum event page has been updated with the meeting report and the presentations projected at the stands during the EiE Café session. A video recording is available for the closing High-Level Panel.

Breaking the Cycle By Investing In Girls’ Education

As we approach the end of the year, the grim Groundhog Day of the Syrian conflict trundles on. We’re back round to winter again. For the fifth year, millions of refugees will spend the coming months shivering and wet, trapped in a frigid, frozen limbo.

NGOs will issue their winter appeals fundraising for coats and blankets. TV news crews will file reports of the harsh conditions; tell stories of unimaginable suffering leavened with glimmers of hope and human resilience. Maybe they could just reuse last year’s footage?

Refugee lives aren’t lived to the rhythm of the news cycle. In between the snapshots we see, their needs are not reducible to lists of household items, their hopes are not limited to just warmth and survival.

This was driven home for me last week working with a young Syrian called Muzoon Almellehan. At the centre of her life — which has taken her from Daraa in Syria to the UN in New York via refugee camps in Jordan and resettlement in the North of England —- is a fierce belief in her right to an education, regardless of the circumstances of her life. Moreover, she feels a responsibility to fight for this right not just for herself, or her Syrian sisters, but for all girls affected by conflict and disasters around the world.

Children now make up more than 50 per cent of the world’s 21.3 million refugees. These children are ripped from their homes, fleeing extreme danger with many spending their entire childhoods out of school as conflicts and emergencies become longer and more frequent.

To date, we have neglected the education of refugee children, especially girls at secondary level. These girls are not just being robbed of their childhoods, but they are being robbed of their futures too. That’s why, as part of our goal to secure 12 years of free, safe, quality education for all girls, Malala Fund places a special emphasis on refugee girls to ensure they are not left behind.
With researchers at the University of Cambridge, Malala Fund has produced a report surveying the global landscape of refugee education. In its own way, it tells a story as troubling as the images that we will see on our screens in the coming weeks.

In 2015, only half of of refugee children were in primary school and just 22 per cent of refugee adolescents were in secondary school. The impact of conflict and displacement on girls’ education is particularly pronounced. Young women living in conflict settings are nearly 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than other girls.

Despite this need, the response of donors has been appalling for the most part. Last year, just 30 per cent of the education sector’s requests were met and of total humanitarian funding just 1.8 per cent was for the education sector. Among host nations, international agencies and other stakeholders, there are huge gaps in policies and data that hamper efforts to get girls into school. This paper, and its accompanying campaign report Yes All Girls, set out a series of recommendations to plug these gaps.

Included is our support for the need to provide the necessary funding to the Education Cannot Wait Fund to support education for more than 25 million children, covering nearly four million out-of-school refugee children under UNHCR’s mandate.

Equally we want to see donor countries upping their bilateral support to education in emergencies. At present only three of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee countries (Ireland, Norway and Sweden) are providing their fair share of funds, while the contributions of BRIC countries is virtually nil.

In addition host nations (the report looks at Chad, Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda) implementing agencies and donors alike must adopt a variety of new policies and systems to promote girls’ education. This includes extending basic education provision to upper secondary school; gathering and reporting better sex-disaggregated data; and increasing the provision of non-formal and catch-up education programmes.

The end of the year brings thoughts of New Year’s resolutions, too. At Malala Fund we’re resolved to spending 2017, and beyond, working with partners like Education Cannot Wait to step up efforts to make sure girls have access to education in emergencies. If global leaders and policymakers work to the same objectives, then the images on our TV screens this time next year may start to tell a more hopeful story.

9 December 2016A blog by Barry Johnston, Associate Director of Advocacy, Malala Fund

In Pictures: These Children In War Zones Are Still Attending School

This story originally appeared on a BuzzFeedNews website.

Nearly 3.5 million school-aged children in Iraq are not receiving education and one in every five schools are out of use. In Syria, an estimated 2 million children are out of school. Meanwhile, South Sudan has one of the largest number of children who are not attending school at all. As millions of children in war zones are deprived of receiving an education, they are increasingly facing risks of early marriage, child labor, and recruitment into armed groups.

These photos, all from 2016, show children from war-torn countries continuing their education despite the ongoing conflicts around them.

Iraq

Girls attend a damaged school in Ramadi, Anbar province, Iraq. © UNICEF/UN037984/Khuzaie
Girls attend a damaged school in Ramadi, Anbar province, Iraq. © UNICEF/UN037984/Khuzaie
A young girl looks through a hole in the wall from damage from conflict in a school in Ramadi.
A young girl looks through a hole in the wall from damage from conflict in a school in Ramadi. © UNICEF/UN038011/Khuzaie
Boys jump over floodwater on their way to school in Baghdad. © UNICEF/UNI200141/Khuzaie
Boys jump over floodwater on their way to school in Baghdad. © UNICEF/UNI200141/Khuzaie
Sjud, 11 (centre), back in class in Ramadi three days after returning home from a camp in Sulaymaniyah. © UNICEF/UN038009/Khuzaie
Sjud, 11 (centre), back in class in Ramadi three days after returning home from a camp in Sulaymaniyah. © UNICEF/UN038009/Khuzaie

Yemen

A classroom in Sa’ad, Yemen, shows damage caused by conflict. © UNICEF/UN026956/Rajat Madhok
A classroom in Sa’ad, Yemen, shows damage caused by conflict. © UNICEF/UN026956/Rajat Madhok

Syria

Students at a primary school in Hujjaira, rural Damascus, have not been able to attend classes because of the damaged building. In Syria, 1 in 4 schools are damaged, destroyed, or occupied for military purposes or to host displaced families. © UNICEF/UN018882/Abdulaziz
Students at a primary school in Hujjaira, rural Damascus, have not been able to attend classes because of the damaged building. In Syria, 1 in 4 schools are damaged, destroyed, or occupied for military purposes or to host displaced families. © UNICEF/UN018882/Abdulaziz
A boy stands in front of his school, which was flattened by a bombardment in Ainjara village in rural Aleppo, Syria. © UNICEF/UN018873/Khalil Alshawi
A boy stands in front of his school, which was flattened by a bombardment in Ainjara village in rural Aleppo, Syria. © UNICEF/UN018873/Khalil Alshawi
Students return from school in eastern Aleppo. Judy, one of the students, told Unicef he goes to class every day, except when he hears the planes hovering in the sky. © UNICEF/UN034442/Rami Zayat
Students return from school in eastern Aleppo. Judy, one of the students, told Unicef he goes to class every day, except when he hears the planes hovering in the sky. © UNICEF/UN034442/Rami Zayat
In Syria’s Idlib province, two former teachers have transformed a cave into a school. Almost 120 children take classes in two shifts. © UNICEF/UN037962/Khalil Ashawi
In Syria’s Idlib province, two former teachers have transformed a cave into a school. Almost 120 children take classes in two shifts. © UNICEF/UN037962/Khalil Ashawi

South Sudan

Chubat (right), a 12-year old South Sudanese student, sits with her friend in the burned ruins of her school in the Malakal Protection of Civilian site. The school had five classrooms and seven teachers. © UNICEF/UN018992/George
Chubat (right), a 12-year old South Sudanese student, sits with her friend in the burned ruins of her school in the Malakal Protection of Civilian site. The school had five classrooms and seven teachers. © UNICEF/UN018992/George

Global Consultation Launched

On 9-10 November, Education Cannot Wait hosted the first design workshop on the fund’s operational model and results framework. Over 40 stakeholders, including donor governments, civil society groups, UN agencies and the private sector, gathered in New York to discuss critical design decisions for the development of 2 key products-

1. Operational framework and manuals – defining the grant management model for ECW’s funding windows.
2. Results framework and management package– developing a full results, monitoring and evaluation framework.

Today, the fund is extending this opportunity to provide feedback and input through the launch of an online global consultation. Questions are concentrated on the timeframe for disbursing funds, the types of support required by stakeholders, and measures of progress. The consultation process is outlined in more detail in this overview.

Partners can access the Government Input Form and Civil Society Input Form, where they will be presented with 4 key questions.

The forms have also been translated into French, Spanish and Arabic.

The closing date for submissions is the 2nd December 2016.

This input will be synthesized and shared with the fund’s senior officials and task team members. Ultimately, it will inform the final design of the operational model and framework and the fund welcomes your valuable input.

Support from Obama, Trudeau, Jensen & Rihanna

Now join 60,000 Global Citizens in showing your support for #EducationCannotWait

This weekend, New York’s Central Park will see tens of thousands of people come together to declare ‘Education Cannot Wait’ for 75 million children and youth. Living in the world’s most complex and dangerous places, their education has been disrupted due to violent conflict, natural disasters and other crises. World leaders have used the occasion of the 71st United Nations General Assembly to announce their firm commitment to reaching every crisis-affected child and young person with education by 2030.

In the New York Declaration, member states have emphasized that education is critical in helping to solve the global displacement crisis, starting that Access to quality education, including that for host communities, gives fundamental protection to children and youth in displacement contexts, particularly in situations of conflict and crisis.’

World leaders have voiced their strong support for Education Cannot Wait, as a collaborative platform to help implement the education-related commitments from both the New York Declaration and the Leader’s Summit. The Summit set a target of increasing the number of refugee children enrolled in school by 1 million and President Obama spoke directly about the importance of the fund –

“…we welcome efforts by UNICEF and the international community to establish Education Cannot Wait, the world’s first fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, championing children’s right to access education in the most complex and dangerous environments,”

President Barack Obama
Joint Statement on Leaders’ Summit on Refugees
Sept 20th 2016

General Assembly Seventy-first session: Opening of the General Debate 71Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged his country’s support, committing $15.3 million USD over the next two years to the Education Cannot Wait Fund to provide safe, quality learning for emergency-affected children and youth around the world.

denmark-ecwThe Minister of Foreign Affairs for Denmark, Kristian Jensen, announced $11.2 million USD . We must give children and young people in the surrounding areas meaningful content in their existence and a hope for a better future for them and their family. In this, education plays a very important role,” said the Minister.

Public support has been unprecedented – Rihanna has rallied her followers to demand ‘Education Cannot Wait’. Through her Instagram and Twitter accounts, Rihanna has asked her fans to phone the office of Justin Trudeau, and called on the French President, Francoise Holland to show his country’s support for the fund.

These commitments will be celebrated at the Global Citizen Concert Live on MSNBC and Youtube on Saturday, 24th September. Julia Gillard, Queen Rania and Salma Hayak will be among the personalities on stage. This year alone, Global Citizens have taken nearly 200,000 actions in support.

Stay tuned to learn about how you can show your support and hear more about the immediate impact the fund will have in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth.

Transforming the delivery of education in emergencies requires extraordinary levels of coordination from a wide range of people – this extraordinary effort is well under way.

The futures of the 75 million crisis-affected children and young people depends on it.