Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), today launched a new toolkit to support stronger integration of gender equality in education responses for children and youth in countries affected by emergencies and protracted crises.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March 2021 – ECW, INEE and UNGEI – three partners working together for gender equality in education in emergencies (EiE), have joined forces to launch a toolkit promoting gender-responsive and inclusive education interventions in emergency & protracted crises settings.

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3 March 2021, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), today launched a new toolkit to support stronger integration of gender equality in education responses for children and youth in countries affected by emergencies and protracted crises.

Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters, health emergencies and other crises increase barriers to safe, quality education, especially for vulnerable children and youth. Girls, boys, women and men experience these barriers to education in different ways, resulting in an exacerbation of pre-existing gender inequalities and vulnerabilities. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to cause unprecedented disruptions to learning worldwide for millions of crisis-affected girls and boys.

“As the world strives to address and recover from global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must apply lessons learnt from previous crises. We know the tragic hardship that looms ahead for millions of girls and other vulnerable children and youth living in crisis settings. We can’t say we did not know. Unless we protect and empower them urgently with the safety, hope and opportunity of quality, inclusive education, we will have failed both them and ourselves. There is no excuse not to act now,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “In launching this new toolkit with our partners, we appeal to all education stakeholders to join us in putting gender equality at the centre of our collective emergency response to the pandemic. At Education Cannot Wait, we are committed to making girls’ education a reality across our investments, boldly, firmly and passionately.”

Previous health emergencies, like Ebola, Zika and SARS, led to school closures which disproportionately affected girls and women. In crises, adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable and face increased risks of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, child marriage and early pregnancy. This is proving to be the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis conducted by UNHCR and the Malala Fund already show that 50 per cent of refugee girls in secondary school may not ever return when their classrooms open. This is why the new ‘EiE-GenKit’ comes as a timely, ground-breaking resource for aid practitioners to ensure education in emergencies interventions are both gender-responsive and inclusive.

“Education plays a key role in redefining gender norms in any situation, but especially in humanitarian situations, where a good education that is gender-transformative can break cycles of violence and promote tolerance and reconciliation,” said Antara Ganguli, Director of the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, “We must harness this potential and ensure that all learners of all genders are able to contribute equally and positively to their communities’ recovery, as a cornerstone of sustainable peace and development”.

When gender-responsive, quality, inclusive education is available to all – including crisis-affected girls and boys – it has the potential to transform children’s futures, build up societies and lead to sustainable peace. The ‘EiE-GenKit’ equips education practitioners with the tools to achieve that vision.

“Now is the time to leverage the power of education in emergencies. Together we can reverse gender inequalities and transform education for women and girls, men and boys. We must commit to leave no one behind,” said Dean Brooks, Director of the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies.

The ‘EiE-GenKit’ was developed over two years through an extensive consultation process involving the review of over 150 existing education in emergencies and gender resources, with contributions from over 80 global, regional and country level gender and EiE experts and other stakeholders.

The toolkit is based on internationally recognised minimum standards and guidelines and is closely aligned with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender Handbook, the INEE Minimum Standards for Education and the INEE Guidance Note on Gender.


Notes to editors:

For more information and to download the EiE-GenKit, visit:

For press inquiries:

Education Cannot Wait:

Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1-917-640-6820

Kent Page,, +1-917-302-1735

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings around the world. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

UN Girls’ Education Initiative:

Gloria Diamond,

Emilie Rees-Smith,

About the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI): 

UNGEI is a global, intergenerational partnership united by a shared commitment to advancing gender equality in and through education. UNGEI provides a platform for coordinated advocacy and collective action in order to break down barriers to education, close the gender gap and unlock its transformative power for all girls, everywhere. For more than two decades the UNGEI partnership has been championing gender-responsive education systems, policies and practices – speaking out as one and holding the international community to account.

Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

Laura Davison:

Lauren Gerken:

About INEE:

The Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) is an open, global network that works to ensure all persons the right to quality education and a safe learning environment in emergencies and post-crisis recovery. INEE is composed of more than 18,000 practitioners, students, teachers, staff from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donors, governments (including Ministries of Education), and universities who work together within a humanitarian and development framework. INEE serves its members through the core functions of community-building, convening diverse stakeholders, maintaining knowledge management, amplifying and advocating, facilitating and learning, and providing members with the resources and support they need to carry out their work on education in emergencies.


“The choice facing world leaders is simple: act now to tackle the hunger crisis, or pay a much higher price later. Immediate action will be cheaper and save more lives than responding only after multiple famines have taken hold and a generation’s missed education has exacted a terrible toll.” ~ Gordon Brown, Mark Lowcock

In this new, compelling opinion piece featured on Project Syndicate, Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, highlight the devastating COVID-19 hunger and education crisis facing millions of vulnerable children and youth around the world. They call for urgent financing for Education Cannot Wait and its partner organizations like WFP and Save the Children to feed hungry children. They also highlight the need for funding to tackle low enrollment rates for refugee children in secondary education, particularly for adolescent girls. This is a commitment ECW has made in the Global Refugee Forum, and for which it is working closely with UNHCR to address, its key partner for refugee children’s education. They lastly flag the digital divide leaving two thirds of the world’s school-age children without internet access at home and for which a UNICEF-led project is working to bridge. They call for immediate action, so that ECW together with partners can reach more of these children with the help they so desperately need now.

LONDON – Today, 270 million people – equivalent to the combined population of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy – are on the brink of starvation. This number has doubled over the last 12 months. And it is the world’s children who are suffering most.

An estimated 11 million children under the age of five face extreme hunger or starvation in 11 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia. Of these, 168,000 will die of malnutrition by the end of 2022 unless they receive emergency support. And a total of 73 million primary schoolchildren in 60 low-income countries are chronically hungry.

Hunger was already on the rise before the coronavirus pandemic, mostly as a result of war and conflict, and climate change exacerbated it. But the secondary effects of the pandemic have created a global hunger crisis.

One reason for this is that COVID-19 has broken the lifeline of school. More than 1.6 billion children have missed time in the classroom since the pandemic began, and nearly 200 million are still not back at school.

Previous crises have shown that school closures carry huge social and economic costs, including increases in child marriage and child labor. Some young people end up paying the ultimate price: complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in low- and middle-income countries. Ultimately, crises reverse progress on ensuring that all girls have access to quality education.

Moreover, schools provide many poor children with their only nutritious meal of the day. School closures mean that millions of children have lost their opportunity not only to learn, but also to eat. Children have missed more than 39 billion school meals during the crisis. Women and girls are often the first to miss meals, and account for more than 70% of people facing chronic hunger.

The damage caused by just a few weeks of missed nutrition can stunt a hungry child for a lifetime, and malnutrition can stunt a country’s economic progress for a generation. So, getting children back into school where they can be educated and fed must be a high priority.

With relatively little money, the international humanitarian system has achieved much. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), for example, feeds around 100 million people per year. And when COVID-19 severely disrupted commercial airline services, the UN created a logistics system to transport health and humanitarian workers and vital supplies, including food. But a crisis on this scale requires an ambitious plan that involves more than just providing school meals. Humanitarian organizations can’t do it alone.

At their June summit, the wealthy G7 economies should commission a long-term plan to address rising global food needs. The plan should include provisions for pre-emptive action: building up food stocks, developing insurance as a protection, and supporting developing-country farmers and food growers with long-term investments to help them become self-sufficient.

Policymakers must also adopt innovative ways to generate financing, including guarantee-based facilities that can maximize the use of development aid and private-sector funding, which was at the heart of the 2015 Addis Ababa proposals for financing the Sustainable Development Goals. Another priority could be a closer partnership between the UN and the World Bank – the one wholly global organization capable of mobilizing substantial additional resources on a sustained basis.

But there is a very simple, common-sense solution to the immediate crisis: new international money. At least $600 billion in Special Drawing Rights (the International Monetary Fund’s reserve asset) can be allocated to poorer countries. Leaders and lenders can agree on up to $80 billion of debt relief on the condition that the money goes to education, health, and nutrition. And the World Bank and regional development banks can rapidly expand grants and loans.

With around $10 billion this year, the world could stave off famine in Yemen, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, and the Sahel. And it could prevent mass hunger – which immediately precedes famine – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and other vulnerable places.

This may sound like a lot of money. But it’s the equivalent of a dollar a month from each person in the world’s richest economies, and represents a fraction of 1% of wealthy countries’ pandemic-related stimulus spending.

We need to move quickly. This means giving grants up front to the WFP and leading NGOs like Save the Children to feed hungry children and their families. With only 31% of refugee children enrolled at the secondary level, and just 27% of girls, Education Cannot Wait – which helps displaced children into school and has raised almost $1 billion in its short existence – needs to be fully funded. By directing additional resources to education, we can get 136 million children in some of the poorest and most conflict-affected countries back in school – and help them stay there.COVID-19 has also exposed another educational divide: two thirds of the world’s school-age children lack internet access at home, which prevents them from online learning. Today, only 5% of children in low-income countries have such access, compared to 90% in high-income countries. A UNICEF-led project to connect the world could bridge this gaping digital divide.

The UK government has pledged to play a leading global role in getting all children into school and ensuring that girls receive 12 years of education. But we will not achieve that noble objective unless the G7 summit addresses this issue, in addition to food security.

Time and again, education has demonstrated its power to transform individuals, families, and entire countries. But chronic hunger can have devastating consequences: cruel and preventable deaths, violent conflict, and mass displacement.

Ignoring the global scourge of hunger is thus not an option. What happens in the world’s most fragile places has knock-on effects in the most stable countries.

The choice facing world leaders is simple: act now to tackle the hunger crisis, or pay a much higher price later. Immediate action will be cheaper and save more lives than responding only after multiple famines have taken hold and a generation’s missed education has exacted a terrible toll.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2021


Please find below Education Cannot Wait’s interview with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, focused on the crucial role of education in the lives of crisis-affected children and youth.

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ECW: Why is education a priority in emergencies and protracted crises?  

António Guterres:  The COVID-19 pandemic has upended societies and created the largest-ever disruption of education systems, affecting more than 1.5 billion students.  While remote solutions were rolled out, 1 in 3 children missed out on such opportunities, exposing and exacerbating inequalities and vulnerabilities, especially for those in crisis situations.  In such circumstances, education protects girls and boys from sexual violence and exploitation, trafficking, early pregnancy and child marriage, forced recruitment into armed groups and child labour. It also ensures that they continue learning, offering them hope for the future. As we enter 2021, education must be at the core of pandemic response and recovery efforts. Without resolute political commitment by global leaders, as well as additional resources for Education Cannot Wait, and its UN and civil society partners, millions of girls and boys may never return to school. Investing in the education of these vulnerable children and youth is an investment in peace, prosperity and resilience for generations to come – and a priority for the United Nations.

ECW: Why is it important to facilitate more collaboration between humanitarian and development actors in crisis contexts? 

António Guterres: With the intensification of conflicts, climate change-related disasters, forced displacement reaching record levels and crises lasting longer than ever, humanitarian needs keep outpacing the response despite the generosity of aid donors. Partnerships are crucial to transform the aid system, end silos and ensure that aid is more efficient and cost-effective. Whole-of-child education programmes offer a proven pathway for stakeholders to collaborate in enabling vulnerable children and youth to access quality education in safe learning environments so they can achieve their full potential.

ECW: What message would you like to share with crisis-affected girls and boys whose right to education is not yet being realized? 

António Guterres:  Above all, I pay tribute to their resilience and I commit to working with governments, civil society and all partners to overcome both the pandemic and the crises that have been such profound setbacks in their lives. We must also step up our efforts to reimagine education – training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world.

ECW: As a secondary student in Portugal, you won the ‘Prémio Nacional dos Liceus’ as the best student in the country. After completing your university studies in engineering, you started a career as a teacher. Can you tell us what education personally means to you? 

António Guterres:  Long before I served at the United Nations or held public office, I was a teacher. In the slums of Lisbon, I saw that education is an engine for poverty eradication and a force for peace.  Today, education is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.  We need education to reduce inequalities, achieve gender equality, protect our planet, fight hate speech and nurture global citizenship.  Upholding our pledge to leave no one behind starts with education.

ECW:  Following the turbulence of 2020, what is your message to the world as we enter 2021? 

António Guterres:  2020 brought us tragedy and peril.  2021 must be the year to change gear and put the world on track.  The pandemic has brought us to a pivotal moment.  We can move from an annus horribilis to make 2021 an “annus possibilitatis” – a year of possibility and hope.  We must make it happen — together.

Background on UN Secretary-General António Guterres

António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017.

Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen, led to a huge rise in UNHCR’s activities as the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015.

Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.

As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002. Learn more about Mr. Guterres.


Educación No Puede Esperar: ¿Por qué constituye la educación una prioridad en situaciones de emergencia y crisis prolongadas? 

António Guterres: La pandemia de COVID-19 ha transformado por completo nuestras sociedades y causado una interrupción de los sistemas educativos sin precedentes, que ha afectado a más de 1.500 millones de estudiantes. Se han adoptado modalidades remotas, pero 1 de cada 3 niños no ha tenido acceso a estas oportunidades, lo que ha puesto de relieve y ha agravado las desigualdades y vulnerabilidades, sobre todo para las personas que se encuentran en situaciones de crisis. En estas circunstancias, la educación sirve para proteger a las niñas y los niños de la violencia y la explotación sexuales, la trata, los embarazos precoces y los matrimonios infantiles, el reclutamiento forzado por parte de grupos armados y el trabajo infantil. También contribuye a que los niños sigan aprendiendo, lo que les brinda esperanza de cara al futuro. En estos primeros compases del 2021, debemos cerciorarnos de que la educación representa un elemento central de la respuesta ante la pandemia y la recuperación posterior. Si los líderes internacionales, así como los recursos adicionales de Educación No Puede Esperar y sus asociados del sistema de las Naciones Unidas y la sociedad civil, no muestran un férreo compromiso político, es posible que millones de niñas y niños no vuelvan nunca a la escuela. Invertir en la educación de estos jóvenes y niños vulnerables nos permite contribuir a la paz, prosperidad y resiliencia de las generaciones venideras —además de constituir una de las prioridades de las Naciones Unidas—.

Educación No Puede Esperar: ¿Por qué es importante facilitar una mayor colaboración entre los agentes humanitarios y para el desarrollo en situaciones de crisis? 

António Guterres: A pesar de la generosidad mostrada por los donantes de asistencia, la intensificación de los conflictos, los desastres relacionados con el cambio climático, los niveles históricos de desplazamientos forzados y la cada vez mayor duración de las crisis impiden que la respuesta adoptada pueda seguir el ritmo del aumento de las necesidades humanitarias. Las alianzas desempeñan un papel crucial a la hora de transformar el sistema de ayuda, reducir la compartimentación e incrementar la eficiencia y eficacia en función de los costos de la ayuda. Se ha demostrado que los asociados pueden colaborar mediante programas de educación infantil de carácter integral a fin de garantizar que los niños y jóvenes vulnerables tengan acceso a una educación de calidad en entornos de aprendizaje seguros, lo que les permitirá desarrollar su pleno potencial.

Educación No Puede Esperar: ¿Qué mensaje le gustaría transmitir a las niñas y los niños en situaciones de crisis que aún no pueden ejercer su derecho a la educación?

António Guterres: Sobre todo, me gustaría reconocer su resiliencia, además de comprometerme a cooperar con los gobiernos, la sociedad civil y todos los asociados disponibles con vistas a superar la pandemia y las crisis que han supuesto grandes reveses en sus vidas. También debemos ampliar nuestros esfuerzos dirigidos a reimaginar la educación mediante la capacitación de los docentes, la reducción de la brecha digital y la reestructuración de los planes de estudios para que los discentes dispongan de los conocimientos y aptitudes que necesitan para prosperar en un mundo en constante y rápida evolución.

Educación No Puede Esperar: Cuando cursaba la secundaria en Portugal, lo reconocieron como el mejor estudiante del país al otorgarle el “Prémio Nacional dos Liceus”. Tras estudiar ingeniería en la universidad, comenzó a ejercer de docente. ¿Podría explicarnos qué significa para usted la educación a nivel personal?

António Guterres: Mucho antes de trabajar para las Naciones Unidas o la administración pública, ejercí de docente. Observé que, en los barrios marginales de Lisboa, la educación contribuye a la erradicación de la pobreza y al fomento de la paz. En la actualidad, la educación constituye un elemento esencial de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible. Mediante ella, conseguiremos reducir las desigualdades, alcanzar la igualdad de género, proteger nuestro planeta, luchar contra el discurso de odio y promover la ciudadanía mundial. Para cumplir nuestro compromiso de que nadie se quede atrás, es preciso partir de la educación.

Educación No Puede Esperar: Tras la inestabilidad experimentada en 2020, ¿qué mensaje le gustaría trasmitir al mundo en estos primeros meses de 2021?

António Guterres: Después de un 2020 que nos trajo tragedias y peligros, el 2021 debe ser el año en que cambiemos de velocidad y pongamos el mundo en la senda correcta. La pandemia ha supuesto un punto de inflexión para todos. Podemos dejar atrás un annus horribilis para hacer del presente un annus possibilitatis: un año de posibilidades y esperanza. Debemos conseguirlo. Desde la unidad.


ECW : Pourquoi l’éducation est-elle une priorité en situation d’urgence ou de crise prolongée ? 

António Guterres : La pandémie de COVID-19 a bouleversé nos sociétés et provoqué la plus grande perturbation des systèmes éducatifs jamais enregistrée, avec plus de 1,5 milliard d’élèves affectés. Bien que des solutions d’éducation à distance aient été mises en place, un enfant sur trois n’a pas pu en profiter. Cette situation a mis en évidence et exacerbé les inégalités et les vulnérabilités dont ils souffrent, en particulier dans les situations de crise. Dans de tels contextes, l’éducation est un rempart contre les violences sexuelles et l’exploitation, la traite des êtres humains, les grossesses précoces et le mariage d’enfants, l’enrôlement forcé dans des groupes armés et le travail des enfants. Elle permet également aux enfants de poursuivre leur apprentissage et de croire en l’avenir. Alors que nous entamons l’année 2021, l’éducation doit être au cœur de notre riposte à la pandémie et de nos efforts de relèvement. Sans un engagement politique ferme de la part des leaders mondiaux, et sans ressources supplémentaires pour Éducation sans délai et ses partenaires des Nations Unies et de la société civile, des millions d’enfants risquent de ne jamais retourner sur les bancs de l’école. Investir dans l’éducation de ces enfants et jeunes vulnérables revient à investir dans la paix, la prospérité et la résilience pour les générations à venir. C’est une des priorités des Nations Unies.

ECW : Pourquoi est-il important de favoriser une plus grande collaboration entre les acteurs de l’humanitaire et du développement dans les contextes de crise ? 

António Guterres : Du fait de l’intensification des conflits, des catastrophes liées aux changements climatiques, des déplacements forcés qui atteignent des niveaux records et des crises qui perdurent, les besoins humanitaires ne cessent de croître et de devancer les interventions visant à y remédier, et ce malgré la générosité des donateurs. Les partenariats sont essentiels pour faire évoluer le système d’aide, mettre fin aux interventions cloisonnées et garantir une action plus efficace et efficiente. Ainsi, l’intérêt des programmes éducatifs axés sur le bien-être de l’enfant n’est plus à démontrer : ils permettent aux parties prenantes de collaborer en vue d’offrir aux enfants et aux jeunes vulnérables un accès à une éducation de qualité, dans des environnements d’apprentissage sûrs, de sorte qu’ils puissent réaliser pleinement leur potentiel.

ECW : Quel message souhaitez-vous faire passer aux enfants touchés par les crises, et pour lesquels le droit à l’éducation n’est pas encore concrétisé ?

António Guterres : Je rends avant tout hommage à leur résilience, et je m’engage à collaborer avec les gouvernements, la société civile et tous les partenaires afin de surmonter la pandémie et les crises qui ont tant marqué leurs vies. Nous devons également redoubler nos efforts pour réinventer l’éducation : former les enseignants, remédier à la fracture numérique et repenser les programmes scolaires afin de fournir aux apprenants les compétences et connaissances nécessaires pour s’épanouir dans notre monde en constante mutation.

ECW : Lorsque vous étiez lycéen au Portugal, vous avez obtenu les meilleurs résultats du pays et reçu le « Prémio Nacional dos Liceus ». Après des études d’ingénieur à l’université, vous avez commencé une carrière dans l’enseignement. Pouvez-vous nous dire ce que représente l’éducation pour vous ?

António Guterres : Bien avant de servir aux Nations Unies ou d’exercer une fonction officielle, j’étais enseignant. C’est dans les quartiers pauvres de Lisbonne que j’ai constaté que l’éducation est un moteur d’éradication de la pauvreté et une force pour la paix. Aujourd’hui, l’éducation est au cœur des objectifs de développement durable. Nous avons besoin de l’éducation pour réduire les inégalités, atteindre l’égalité des genres, protéger notre planète, combattre les discours de haine et cultiver la citoyenneté mondiale. L’éducation constitue les fondations sur lesquelles doivent reposer les actions qui nous permettront de tenir notre engagement à ne laisser personne de côté.

ECW : Après les bouleversements de 2020, quel est votre message pour le monde à l’aube de l’année 2021 ?

António Guterres : 2020 ne nous a apporté que souffrance et détresse. 2021 doit être l’année du renouveau, et permettre au monde de se placer sur la bonne voie. La pandémie nous a amenés à un moment charnière. Nous pouvons passer d’une annus horribilis à une « annus possibilitatis » : 2021, l’année des possibles et de l’espoir. Nous devons y parvenir, ensemble.


New funding will provide children and youth displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado and doubly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with safe and protective learning environments

Portuguese Version

4 February 2021, New York – In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Mozambique, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced a US$1 million first emergency response allocation to benefit displaced children and youth impacted by increasing violence in Cabo Delgado province. Ongoing violence and insecurity have displaced more than half a million people, including 250,000 children in just the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic makes matters even worse, straining education, health and financial systems, and forcing crisis-affected children even further to the margins.

There has also been a rise in attacks on schools in Mozambique. Between 2017 and 2020, 171 schools were affected by school attacks and 45 schools were destroyed. This affected close to 75,000 students and 1,500 teachers. Even more concerning were the killings of six teachers over this same time period. Mozambique endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015. The declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effects of armed conflict.

“Without access to safe and protective learning environments in such a volatile environment, girls face the risk of sexual abuse, early pregnancy and child marriage, while boys may be recruited into armed groups or forced out of school into child labour. The Safe Schools Declaration is our global commitment to ensure every girl and boy on the planet has the right to an education without fear of violence or attack,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “Amidst insecurity, forced displacement and COVID-19, education means not only means safety, protection and a sense of normalcy for these crisis-affected girls and boys, it also means the possibility for a brighter tomorrow.”

“Cabo Delgado Province has been experiencing armed violence in its central and northern zone districts since 2017, forcing many displaced people to take refuge in the districts of Mecúfi, Pemba, Metuge, Ancuabe, Chiúre, Namuno, Balama, Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade and Palma. Before this, classrooms were already overcrowded in the province,” said Mr. Florencio Mbiquem, Cooperation and Emergency Coordinator with the Cabo Delgado Provincial Education Directorate. “Furthermore, Cyclone Kenneth in 2019 resulted in damage to 185 schools in the province, affecting 45,242 students and 966 teachers. The rainy seasons are causing more education infrastructural damage, not to mention the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Education Cannot Wait’s support is therefore very important for children, youth, teachers and their families.”

The new 12-month grant builds on ECW’s COVID-19 response and cyclone relief grants, which have already benefited hundreds of thousands of children in the country. The new funding grants will be implemented in coordination with the Government of Mozambique and the Education Cluster through Save the Children (US$341,000), UNICEF (US$341,000) and Plan International (US$316,000).

Planned interventions will build age-appropriate educational opportunities for crisis-affected girls and boys, support safe and inclusive learning spaces, expand remote learning options, provide children with learning materials, train teachers, and raise awareness to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, including psychosocial support. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, water and sanitation services will be built at schools and learning centres.

In launching this new US$1 million investment, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors, philanthropic foundations and the private sector to fully fund the US$4.2 million education funding gap within Mozambique’s Humanitarian Response Plan.


25 January 2021, Geneva – Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Switzerland, UNICEF, the University of Geneva, UNESCO and UNHCR are delighted to announce the launch of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies.

The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies is an ambitious commitment towards the realisation of the right to education for crisis-affected and displaced children and youth and comes at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs. Of the world’s approximately 257 million primary and secondary school-age children out of school, 127 million live in countries affected by emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this situation. We are witnessing a global crisis in which children and youth are at heightened risk of losing years of education.

The urgent need to respond effectively to the education needs of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth is why the co-signatories pledged at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum to making Geneva the Global Hub for Education in Emergencies. The members will work together towards three main goals:

  • Growing demand for change: The Hub is a catalyst for partners to come together to increase their prevention and response to education needs in emergencies. It will strengthen policy and integrated approaches across the humanitarian, development, migration and peace spectrum, as well as with other sectors such as health and climate, to better prioritise and deliver quality, inclusive education in emergencies for crisis-affected children and youth through the increased collaboration of International Geneva actors and beyond, including linking up with other relevant initiatives.
  • Inspiring commitment: Bringing together the Geneva strategic community of committed thought leaders will inspire political will and influence agenda setting so that governments and partners see education as a top priority before, during and after emergencies and in protracted crises.
  • Boosting country-level impact: All children and youth affected by armed conflicts, violence, disasters, epidemics and forced displacement must have their right to a quality education realised. The Hub aims at boosting the country-level impact of education in emergencies preparedness measures and responses through better data, evidence on what works and innovative research and solutions that support the delivery of safe and quality education while building resilient education systems.

Overall, the Hub will be a catalyst to accelerate progress towards SDG 4 in crises and displacement contexts and help realise the commitments set out in the Global Compact for Refugees.

About the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies

Humanitarian crises, conflict and displacement deny millions of children and youth their right to education. Of the world’s approximately 257 million primary and secondary school-age children out of school, 127 million live in countries affected by emergencies. Nearly 30% of the world’s primary and secondary school-age children and youth live in crisis-affected countries. However, prior to the COVID19 pandemic, they accounted for almost half of all out-of-school children. The situation is even starker at primary level: in 2019, less than one-third of primary-school-age children resided in crisis-affected countries, but almost three-quarters of those out of school resided in these countries.

That is why at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum, Switzerland pledged to promote Geneva a Global Hub for Education in Emergencies to leverage the Geneva international community by convening actors and creating synergies for joint action so that all crisis-affected and displaced children and youth have their right to education fulfilled, respected and protected. The pledge was co-signed by Education Cannot Wait, the Global Education Cluster, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies, UNICEF, the University of Geneva, UNESCO and UNHCR.

The Geneva Global Hub focuses on school-aged children and youth, meaning access and completion of quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education, including non-formal educational pathways and transition to the formal national education system, in line with SDG 4.1. and 4.2. The Hub is also involved in research and evidence-creation for education in emergencies and data. Furthermore, the Hub’s focus includes all crisis-affected and displaced children and youth, regardless of their status (i.e. refugee, host community, internally displaced children and youth, as well as those affected by conflict, violence, disaster and epidemics).

The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies is open to building a wider partnership around common areas of focus.

The Hub office space is located at Rue de Varembé in Geneva, close to the UN HQ and managed by Education Cannot Wait.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @EiEGenevaHub and tag the Hub in relevant tweets/posts. #EiEGenevaHub.

For more information contact:
Petra Heusser | Coordinator of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies |


Responding to a surge in refugees fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, ECW funding will be used to build urgently needed learning centres and expand water and sanitation facilities in refugee settlements in eastern Sudan            

Arabic Version

22 January 2021, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today approved a US$2 million allocation to support rapid education in emergencies interventions for children and youth fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. This emergency funding will help ensure continued access to quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education for at least 5,800 refugee children and youth in refugee settlements in the eastern regions of Sudan.

Recent fighting in Tigray has forced nearly 60,000 refugees to flee their homes and seek safety and protection across the border in Sudan. More than 30 per cent of them are children, with UNHCR planning a response in order to assist up to 100,000 refugees in eastern Sudan by mid-year.

With more refugees arriving every day, ECW joins the Government of Sudan, UN agencies and civil society in an inter-agency appeal to donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to immediately close the estimated US$6.6 million funding gap needed for the education in emergency response in eastern Sudan.

“These innocent girls and boys are the victims of conflict. They were forced to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their back. Many have been separated from their families and have experienced violence, hunger and untold psychological trauma on the long and treacherous journey to the camps in eastern Sudan,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “Together with our partners, we will work to make sure they are able to access inclusive, safe and protective learning environments – including quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education – and to ensure that learning facilities offer access to gender- and disability-sensitive water and sanitation facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.”

The 12-month ECW ‘first emergency response’ grant will be implemented by Islamic Relief Worldwide (US$400,000), the Norwegian Refugee Council (US$600,000), Save the Children (US$500,000), and UNHCR (US$500,000), in close partnership with the Government of Sudan.

“Education is essential for every child, especially those who have been uprooted and have seen their daily lives and learning opportunities disrupted. To refugee children, education brings a sense of hope, stability and the chance to look to a brighter future,” said Axel Bisschop, UNHCR Representative in Sudan. “The generous support from Education Cannot Wait allows us and partners to build on the Global Refugee Forum’s commitments aiming at having children return to learning within three months of displacement.”

“It is essential that when children are displaced, they are immediately provided with emergency temporary learning spaces. These spaces ensure children are supervised and kept safe, have improved access to food, water and health services, and are able to maintain a sense of normalcy and a school routine,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Sudan Representative. “We are grateful to Education Cannot Wait for supporting conflict-affected children displaced to eastern Sudan to fulfill their right to a quality education.”

ECW’s first emergency response will support the expansion of education infrastructure in the Tunaydbah and Um Rakuba refugee settlements. Girls and children with disabilities will benefit from specialised services, and teachers will be trained to ensure students receive the mental health and psychosocial support they need to adapt to their new environment.


Notes to Editors:


New funding provides over 32,000 Palestine refugee children and youth with access to quality, inclusive education and expands COVID-19 prevention measures

Arabic Version | French Version

22 January 2021, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$1.5 million in grant funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon.

The expanded funding will provide over 32,000 Palestine refugee children and youth living in Lebanon with access to safe and inclusive learning and will provide personal protective equipment for staff and students to help control the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of all.

“UNRWA tirelessly advocates for the right of all Palestine refugee children to inclusive quality education to develop their full potential – regardless of gender, abilities, disabilities, socio-economic status and health and psychosocial needs,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini. ”As these young girls and boys learn to practice the principles of tolerance, conflict resolution and human rights, they positively impact their community while growing into responsible adults.”

A high-level delegation led by Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, visited Lebanon last month to assess ECW’s support for damaged schools rehabilitation following the Beirut explosion, and to advance progress on a potential Education Cannot Wait facilitated multi-year resilience programme in Lebanon. ECW approved a US$1.5 million education in emergency response to the blast in September 2020 and US$2.8 million in COVID-19 education in emergency response funds last year.

“We must continue to work for, and support Palestine refugee children and youth in Lebanon. They have an inherent human right to protection and quality education. I am especially concerned about the threat of cuts for children with disabilities, whose dreams are at stake,” said Sherif. “I therefore call on all public and private sector donors to support UNRWA and Lebanon’s education system now. By doing so, all these crisis-affected girls and boys will be able to enjoy an inclusive and quality education. All will be given an equal opportunity to become their dream.”

With this new round of ECW funding, UNRWA will reach children in grades 1 to 9 through its Learning Support Programme (LSP), which will ensure that over 200 teachers deliver enhanced and tailored learning support to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach students, especially children with disabilities. Over half of the project beneficiaries are girls. The new ECW investment will also provide personal protective equipment and supplies to 14,000 children to facilitate the safe reopening of schools and to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.


Notes to editors:

Learn more about ECW-financed programmes in Lebanon.

Programme intervention focus areas:

Access: The intervention will provide services to support children’s access to quality, inclusive, and equitable education in a safe and healthy school environment with a focus on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children

Continuity: The intervention supports the continuation of the Learning Support Programme (LSP) which reinforces the retention of students currently enrolled in schools, while the provision of PPEs and cleaning supplies enables UNRWA to continue to safely operate schools during the pandemic.

Gender Equality and Equity: The project provides tailored support for the individual learning needs of boys and girls, thus helping to prevent the risk of drop-outs.

Protection: The project will ensure the retention of students within the formal education system, considered to be one of the most important protective layers in a child’s life during times of crisis. Keeping children in school will also allow for the early detection of a range of child protection issues, as well as timely provision of additional support where needed and onwards referral to specialized services.

Quality: “Learning Support” is a special instructional approach designed to help students acquire a desired level of academic achievement by using instructional materials and techniques specifically designed to meet their individual needs in UNRWA schools. Supporting the continuity of the LSP ensures quality of both teaching and learning for all students.


Éducation sans délai fait un investissement initial de 11,1 millions de dollars américains pour déployer le programme triennal de 59 millions de dollars américains

14 janvier 2021, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – En collaboration avec le gouvernement du Burkina Faso, l’UNICEF et Enfants du Monde, Éducation sans délai (« Education Cannot Wait » en anglais ou « ECW » – le fonds mondial dédié à l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence et les crises prolongées – a lancé aujourd’hui un nouveau programme pluriannuel qui vise à assurer l’accès à l’éducation à plus de 800 000 enfants et adolescents dans les régions du pays touchées par la crise.

Le nouveau programme bénéficie d’un financement de démarrage de 11,1 millions de dollars sur trois ans de la part d’ECW, qui sera mise en œuvre par l’UNICEF (6,1 millions de dollars) et Enfants du Monde (5 millions de dollars) en collaboration avec les partenaires des Nations Unies et de la société civile. Il vise à mobiliser 48 millions de dollars supplémentaires auprès de donateurs publics et privés pour être entièrement financé. Les interventions du programme sont alignées avec la Stratégie nationale d’éducation en situation d’urgence du Burkina Faso et le Plan de réponse humanitaire du pays.

« Au Burkina Faso, le secteur de l’éducation subit les effets négatifs de la crise de la COVID-19 ainsi que de la crise sécuritaire actuelle. Cette dernière a entraîné la fermeture de plus de 2 300 écoles et le déplacement massif de plus d’un million de personnes, tandis que la pandémie de COVID-19 a provoqué la fermeture de toutes les écoles du pays pendant plusieurs mois. Je saisis donc cette occasion pour exprimer ma reconnaissance envers Éducation sans délai pour son appui indéfectible envers nos efforts pour soutenir l’éducation en situation d’urgence », a déclaré S.E. M. Stanislas Ouaro, Ministre de l’Éducation nationale et de l’Alphabétisation du Burkina Faso.

S’exprimant lors du lancement à Ouagadougou, la directrice d’ECW, Yasmine Sherif, a salué le leadership du Gouvernement et des partenaires en éducation quant à la qualité du programme spécialement conçu pour relever les défis spécifiques auxquels les filles et les garçons touchés par la crise sont confrontés pour accéder à une éducation de qualité dans les communautés touchées par la violence et l’insécurité, les déplacements forcés, l’insécurité alimentaire et les catastrophes (épidémies, sécheresses, inondations) qui sévissent au pays.

« La crise au Burkina Faso et dans tout le Sahel central est parmi les crises qui se détériorent le plus rapidement dans le monde. Nous pouvons soit regarder et ne rien faire, soit agir maintenant en investissant dans les enfants et les adolescents pour leur donner les moyens de réaliser leur plein potentiel et de devenir des agents de changement positifs pour leurs communautés », a-t-elle déclaré. « Au fonds Éducation sans délai, nous croyons au véritable pouvoir transformateur d’une éducation de qualité. Avec le lancement de ce nouveau programme, nous appelons d’autres donateurs à se joindre à nous pour garantir qu’aucune fille ni aucun garçon ne soit laissé pour compte au Burkina Faso ».

Mme. Sherif a souligné l’approche holistique des interventions planifiées pour répondre à la gamme complète des besoins des enfants et des jeunes vulnérables, y compris le soutien en matière de santé mentale, psychosocial et nutritionnel, ainsi que l’accent mis sur l’éducation des filles et la promotion d’environnements d’apprentissage sûrs et protecteurs conformément à la Déclaration sur la sécurité dans les écoles. « Nous ne pouvons pas laisser des enfants se rendre à l’école sans savoir s’ils en sortiront vivants. La Déclaration sur la sécurité dans les écoles et le droit international doivent être respectés », a-t-elle déclaré.

Le financement pluriannuel d’ECW cible 60 pour cent de filles et se concentre sur les plus vulnérables, y compris les enfants déplacés et les enfants des communautés d’accueil, ainsi que les enfants handicapés. Le programme assure la continuité de l’éducation de la petite enfance (25 pour cent des enfants visés) au primaire (43 pour cent) et jusqu’au secondaire (33 pour cent).

Ces dernières années, la violence et l’insécurité ont contraint 1 000 000 de personnes à fuir leur domicile au Burkina Faso. En raison de l’insécurité croissante et des violentes attaques contre l’éducation, les enseignants et les élèves, les fermetures d’écoles ont doublé entre 2017 et 2019, perturbant l’éducation de plus de 400 000 enfants. La pandémie de COVID-19 en 2020 a exacerbé davantage les vulnérabilités aiguës des filles et des garçons déjà frappés par les crises.

À l’échelle nationale, un quart des filles et des garçons âgés de 6 à 11 ans ne sont pas scolarisés, et deux tiers de ceux-ci viennent de six des régions les plus à risque : Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord et Sahel. Le nouveau programme pluriannuel se concentre sur ces six régions, où le taux d’achèvement du primaire n’est que de 29 pour cent, soit moins de la moitié de ce qu’il est au niveau national, et où 56 pour cent des filles et des garçons, en particulier des adolescents, ne sont pas scolarisés. Le fait de ne pas être scolarisé expose ces filles, garçons et adolescents à de nombreux risques, notamment le recrutement dans des groupes armés, le mariage forcé et la grossesse précoce, et l’engagement dans des pratiques dangereuses de travail des enfants.

Nous sommes convaincus que ce partenariat améliorera l’accès à l’éducation des enfants vulnérables gravement touchés par la crise et préviendra la perte d’apprentissage, le risque d’abandon scolaire et l’exposition aux risques de travail des enfants et de mariage forcé », a déclaré Sandra Lattouf, Représentante de l’UNICEF au Burkina Faso. « Nous savons que l’investissement dans l’éducation est essentiel pour donner aux filles et aux garçons la possibilité de réaliser leur plein potentiel et de devenir des citoyens actifs et productifs de l’avenir. Par conséquent, nous devons agir maintenant et accélérer nos actions pour protéger le financement de l’éducation, accélérer l’accès à des écoles sûres et réintégrer tous les enfants non scolarisés, en particulier les filles les plus marginalisées et les enfants handicapés ».

« Enfants du Monde est ravie d’avoir été sélectionnée comme l’un des bénéficiaires du prochain financement de l’ECW dans le cadre du programme pluriannuel de résilience. Elle s’engage à travailler avec les partenaires du consortium d’ONG nationales, du Ministère de l’Éducation à travers le Secrétariat Technique de l’Éducation en Situation d’Urgence et ses autres services techniques ainsi que le Cluster Éducation pour réaliser les objectifs définis dans le programme en appui à la Stratégie nationale d’éducation en situation d’urgence, » a déclaré Tougma Téné Sankara, Coordinateur Régional, Sahel, Enfants du Monde.

L’annonce du financement initial pluriannuel porte le total des investissements d’ECW au Burkina Faso à plus de 21 millions de dollars depuis la mi-2019. ECW a également annoncé de nouveaux investissements pour déployer des programmes de résilience pluriannuels similaires afin de répondre aux besoins éducatifs pressants dans les pays voisins du Mali et du Niger, qui sont également touchés par les crises qui sévissent au Sahel central.

Faits et chiffres clés:

  • Le budget total du programme pluriannuel de résilience 2021-2023 pour le Burkina Faso est de 59,1 millions USD. Avec une allocation généreuse de 11,1 millions de dollars de financement de démarrage du fonds Éducation sans délai, le programme vise à mobiliser 48 millions de dollars supplémentaires auprès de donateurs publics et privés pour être pleinement mis en œuvre.
  • Le programme pluriannuel de résilience cible 813 000 filles et garçons, y compris les adolescents, dans six régions prioritaires – Boucles de Mouhoun, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord et Sahel.
  • Le financement de démarrage d’ECW ciblera directement 144 000 enfants (21% du total) dans trois des six régions prioritaires avec une vaste gamme d’interventions. Les bénéficiaires visés incluent les personnes exposées à des risques sanitaires élevés et / ou de sécurité, dont 87 000 (60%) sont des filles et des adolescentes et 14 000 (10%) sont des enfants et des adolescents handicapés. Par ailleurs, 9 000 filles et garçons supplémentaires, y compris des adolescents, bénéficieront de possibilités d’éducation non formelle.


Together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – launched today a new multi-year programme that aims to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected regions of the country.

ECW invests initial US$11.1 million to roll out the 3-year US$59 million programme

14 January 2021, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – Together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – launched today a new multi-year programme that aims to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected regions of the country.

The new programme benefits from an initial three-year $11.1 million allocation in seed funding from ECW to be implemented by UNICEF ($6.1 million) and Enfants du Monde ($5 million) in collaboration with UN and civil society partners. It aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully funded and reach all targeted children and youth. Programme interventions are aligned to Burkina Faso’s National Education in Emergencies Strategy and to the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan.

“In Burkina Faso, the education sector is suffering the negative effects of both the ongoing security and COVID-19 crises. The security crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,300 schools and a massive displacement of more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic further resulted in the closure of all schools in Burkina Faso for several months. I therefore take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Education Cannot Wait for their unwavering support in our efforts to support education in emergencies,” said H.E. Mr. Stanislas Ouaro, Minister of National Education and Literacy for Burkina-Faso.

Speaking at the launch in Ouagadougou, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif commended the leadership of the Government and education partners in Burkina Faso in designing a programme addressing the specific challenges of crisis-affected girls and boys in accessing quality education in communities affected by the violence and insecurity, forced displacement, food insecurity and natural and man-made disasters (epidemics, drought, floods).

“The crisis in Burkina Faso and in the whole Central Sahel is among the fastest deteriorating in the world. We can either watch and do nothing, or we can actually act now by investing in children and adolescents to empower them to achieve their full potential and become positive change agents for their communities,” said Yasmine Sherif. “At Education Cannot Wait, we believe in the true transformative power of quality education. With the launch of this new programme, we appeal to additional donors to join us to ensure no girls and boys are left behind in Burkina Faso.”

Ms. Sherif stressed the holistic approach of the planned interventions to meet the full range of needs of vulnerable children and youth, including mental health, psychosocial and nutrition support, as well as the focus on girls’ education and the promotion of safe and protective learning environments in line with the Safe School Declaration. “We cannot have children going to school and not knowing if they will come out alive. The Safe School Declaration and International Law have to be respected,” said Sherif.

ECW’s multi-year funding targets 60 per cent girls, and focuses on the most vulnerable, including both forcibly displaced and host community children, as well as children with disabilities. The programme ensures continuity from early childhood education (25 per cent of the total children targeted), to primary (43 per cent) and secondary (33 per cent).

In recent years, violence and insecurity have forced 1,000,000 people to flee their homes in Burkina Faso. Due to growing insecurity and violent attacks against education, teachers and students, school closures doubled between 2017 and 2019, disrupting education for more than 400,000 children. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated the acute vulnerabilities of girls and boys already caught in crisis.

Nationwide, a quarter of girls and boys aged 6-11 are out of school, two-thirds of whom come from six of the highest risk regions: Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel. The new multi-year programme focuses on these six regions, where the primary completion rate is just 29 per cent, or less than half of what it is at the national level; and where 56 per cent of girls and boys, particularly adolescents, are out of school. Being out of school exposes these girls, boys, and adolescents to a plethora of risks including recruitment into armed groups, forced marriage and pregnancy, and engagement in harmful child labour work practices.

“We are confident that this partnership will improve the access to education for vulnerable children severely impacted by the crisis and prevent learning loss, the risk of drop-out and exposure to risks of child labor and forced marriage” said Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso. “We know that investing in education is critical to give girls and boys the opportunity to realize their full potential and to become active and productive citizens of the future. Therefore, we must act now, and accelerate our actions to protect education financing and to fast track the access to safe schools and reintegrate all children out-of-school, especially the most marginalized girls and children with disabilities”

“Enfants du Monde is pleased to have been selected as one of the grantees of ECW’s seed funding allocation to the Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Burkina Faso. We are committed to working with partners from the national NGO consortium, the Education Ministry through the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergencies and its other technical services as well as with the Education Cluster to meet the programme objectives in support of the National Strategy for Education in Emergencies,” said Tougma Téné Sankara, Regional Coordinator Sahel,  Enfants du Monde.

The announcement of the multi-year seed funding brings the total of ECW investments in Burkina Faso to over $21 million since mid-2019. ECW has also announced new investments to roll out similar multi-year resilience programmes to respond to pressing education needs in the neighbouring countries of Mali and Niger, which are also affected by crises in the Central Sahel.

Key facts and figures:

  • The full cost of the 2021-2023 Multi-Year Resilience Programme for Burkina Faso is US$59.1 million. With a generous $11.1 million seed funding allocation from Education Cannot Wait, the programme aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully implemented.
  • The Multi-Year Resilience Programme targets 813,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, in six priority regions – Boucles de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel.
  • ECW’s seed funding will directly target 144,000 (21% of the total) learners in three of the six priority regions with a comprehensive package of interventions. This includes those exposed to major health and/or security challenges, of whom 87,000 (60%) are girls and adolescent girls and 14,000 (10%) are children and adolescents with disabilities. An additional 9,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, will benefit from non-formal education opportunities.


En réponse à l’aggravation des crises au Sahel central, ces nouveaux programmes bénéficieront à 300 000 enfants et jeunes touchés par le déplacement, les conflits et la COVID-19 

New York, le 4 janvier 2021 – Éducation sans délai a annoncé aujourd’hui le déboursement de 33,3 millions de dollars É.-U. de subventions aux investissements à effet catalyseur, en réponse à la crise sanitaire et humanitaire qui touche le Sahel central au Burkina Faso, au Mali et au Niger. Ces investissements donnent lieu à un total de 103 millions de dollars É.-U. d’investissements de la part d’Éducation sans délai, approuvés le mois dernier pour les enfants réfugiés, déplacés de force, vivant dans des communautés d’accueil et autres filles et garçons vulnérables dans ces pays, ainsi que pour les enfants et les jeunes touchés par la crise en République démocratique du Congo, au Nigeria, en Colombie, en Équateur et au Pérou.

Ces nouveaux programmes pluriannuels de résilience au Burkina Faso, au Mali et au Niger réuniront les acteurs des secteurs de l’humanitaire et du développement pour offrir conjointement aux enfants et aux jeunes laissés pour compte dans le Sahel central une éducation inclusive et de qualité. Ils s’étendront sur trois ans, avec pour objectif de mobiliser 117 millions de dollars É.-U. supplémentaires sous forme de cofinancement de la part de partenaires nationaux et internationaux, du secteur privé et de fondations philanthropiques.

La situation humanitaire s’aggrave au Sahel central en raison de multiples crises. Les terribles attaques perpétrées par des groupes armés non étatiques contre des civils dans les villages de Tchoma Bangou et Zaroumadareye au Niger le 2 janvier, qui ont tué au moins 100 personnes, dont 17 enfants (selon l’UNICEF), et blessé et déplacé des dizaines d’autres, témoignent de la façon dont la violence dans la région menace l’avenir de toute une génération. Les civils, y compris les enfants – et l’éducation – doivent en tout temps être protégés contre les attaques armées. Les investissements d’ECW soutiennent la mise en œuvre de la Déclaration sur la sécurité dans les écoles afin de promouvoir la sécurité des filles et des garçons et de protéger les élèves, les enseignants et les écoles des pires effets des conflits armés.

Les filles sont touchées de manière disproportionnée par ces crises de longue durée. C’est pourquoi les investissements d’Éducation sans délai font de leur éducation – du niveau préscolaire au niveau secondaire – une priorité, en veillant à ce que 60 % des bénéficiaires dans les trois pays soient des femmes. Éducation sans délai souligne également la nécessité d’atteindre les personnes les plus délaissées dans les contextes de crises prolongées. Les enfants et les adolescents en situation de handicap représentent ainsi 10 % des personnes à atteindre grâce à ce financement pluriannuel.

« Au Sahel central, des millions de filles et de garçons vivent en première ligne des conflits armés, de la faim, des déplacements forcés et de la pauvreté. La COVID-19 et l’augmentation des catastrophes liées aux changements climatiques exacerbent les défis auxquels ces enfants font déjà face pour exercer leur droit à l’éducation. L’éducation représente leur seul espoir. Toutefois, davantage de ressources financières sont nécessaires pour financer entièrement ces programmes conjoints, soigneusement conçus et adaptés aux crises, qui transformeront l’éducation dans le Sahel central, à condition que le financement soit disponible », a déclaré Gordon Brown, Envoyé spécial des Nations unies pour l’éducation mondiale et Président du Comité directeur de haut niveau d’Éducation sans délai.

Les programmes s’appuient sur les résultats dans les trois pays des premiers investissements en situation d’urgence d’Éducation sans délai à hauteur de 30 millions de dollars, qui ont été lancés en 2019. Ces premières réponses en situation d’urgence concernent actuellement plus de 250 000 filles et garçons touchés par les déplacements forcés dans la région.

« Les enfants, les jeunes et leurs enseignants sont désemparés face à l’absence d’une éducation inclusive de qualité et d’un environnement d’apprentissage sûr, car ils sont également la cible de violentes attaques », explique Yasmine Sherif, Directrice d’Éducation dans délai, le Fonds mondial pour l’éducation en situation d’urgence ou de crise prolongée. « Je les ai rencontrés. J’ai vu à la fois le désespoir et la résilience de jeunes adolescentes, qui revendiquent leur droit à l’éducation et demandent à être protégées contre le mariage précoce. Nous pouvons changer tout cela. Les investissements d’Éducation sans délai représentent notre volonté de donner de l’espoir et une réelle possibilité de changement. En collaboration avec ses partenaires, Éducation sans délai appelle les donateurs des secteurs public et privé à le rejoindre, à combler d’urgence le déficit de financement de 117 millions de dollars É.-U. et à mener à bien ses investissements à effet catalyseur dans ces trois programmes communs pour le Burkina Faso, le Mali et le Niger. Nous devons agir maintenant. »

Burkina Faso

Au Burkina Faso, plus de 2,6 millions d’enfants et de jeunes ne sont pas scolarisés, et 1,7 million d’élèves supplémentaires risquent d’abandonner l’école. Alors que le gouvernement a accompli des progrès impressionnants grâce à l’amélioration de son système éducatif, la pauvreté, l’absence de documents, le travail des enfants, les handicaps, les grossesses et mariages précoces ainsi que d’autres facteurs poussent de nombreux enfants à quitter l’école. Ainsi, seul un enfant sur dix poursuit ses études secondaires.

Avec une subvention à effet catalyseur à hauteur de 11,1 millions de dollars É.-U., le programme pluriannuel de résilience du Burkina Faso cherche à mobiliser 48 millions de dollars É.-U. de financement supplémentaire. Entièrement financé, le programme touchera 913 000 filles et garçons, dont 60 % de filles. Le programme cible particulièrement les enfants déplacés, réfugiés et retournés, les enfants en situation de handicap ainsi que les enfants actuellement non scolarisés.  Le financement initial d’Éducation sans délai ciblera directement 144 000 élèves en situation vulnérable grâce à un ensemble complet d’interventions. Il sera mis en œuvre par le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (6,1 millions de dollars É.-U.) et Enfants du Monde (5 millions de dollars É.-U.).

« Au Burkina Faso, le secteur de l’éducation subit les effets négatifs de la crise de la COVID-19 ainsi que de la crise sécuritaire actuelle. Cette dernière a entraîné la fermeture de plus de 2 300 écoles et le déplacement massif de plus d’un million de personnes, tandis que la pandémie de COVID-19 a provoqué la fermeture de toutes les écoles du pays pendant plusieurs mois. Je saisis donc cette occasion pour exprimer ma reconnaissance envers Éducation sans délai pour son appui indéfectible envers nos efforts pour soutenir l’éducation en situation d’urgence », a déclaré S.E. M. Stanislas Ouaro, ministre de l’Éducation nationale et de l’Alphabétisation du Burkina Faso.


Le Mali fait face à une grave crise humanitaire et sécuritaire. Les effets combinés du conflit et de l’insécurité aux multiples aspects ainsi que les inondations à répétition accentuent les vulnérabilités préexistantes et empêchent un accès durable aux possibilités d’éducation. Les attaques aveugles de groupes armés contre les civils, la violence à l’égard des femmes et des filles ainsi que les attaques contre les institutions publiques, y compris les écoles et les établissements de santé, sont courantes. Elles entraînent des déplacements de populations dans une région déjà confrontée aux conséquences des changements climatiques, à l’extrême pauvreté, à l’absence de débouchés économiques et à la pénurie des services de base. L’arrivée de la COVID-19 a aggravé la situation. À l’heure actuelle, environ 3,8 millions de filles et de garçons sont inscrits dans une école primaire ou secondaire au Mali, ce qui signifie que jusqu’à 50 % des enfants ne sont pas scolarisés.

Avec 11,1 millions de dollars É.-U. de financement initial de la part d’Éducation sans délai, le programme pluriannuel de résilience au Mali cherche à mobiliser 30,6 millions de dollars É.-U. de financement supplémentaire. Entièrement financé, le programme, qui s’étend sur trois ans, touchera 370 000 enfants, dont 60 % de filles et 10 % d’enfants en situation de handicap. La subvention à effet catalyseur d’Éducation sans délai sera mise en œuvre par EducCo (2,7 millions de dollars É.-U.), Plan International (2,7 millions de dollars É.-U.), Save the Children (3,2 millions de dollars É.-U.) et le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (2,5 millions de dollars É.-U.). L’investissement permettra non seulement aux partenaires d’atteindre 90 000 enfants et jeunes, mais aussi de soutenir des interventions dans les régions prioritaires en mettant l’accent sur les régions de Mopti et de Menaka, qui présentent les niveaux de vulnérabilité les plus élevés. Les bénéficiaires comprennent les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés, retournés, déplacés à l’intérieur de leur pays et vivant dans des communautés d’accueil.

« Le Gouvernement du Mali exprime sa gratitude à l’égard d’Éducation sans délai pour son financement de 11,1 millions de dollars des États-Unis en vue de maintenir une éducation de qualité pour les enfants touchés par des crises et les jeunes affectés par la fermeture des écoles dans les zones d’urgence du pays, par le biais de nombreuses possibilités d’apprentissage », a déclaré M. Kinane Ag Gadeda, Secrétaire général du Ministère de l’éducation nationale du Mali.


Le système éducatif du Niger est confronté à de nombreux défis majeurs. En 2019, seuls 13 % des élèves du préscolaire, 64 % du primaire, 29 % du secondaire inférieur et 10 % du secondaire supérieur étaient scolarisés. L’investissement cible activement les régions touchées par la crise où ces taux sont tous inférieurs à la moyenne nationale. La crise humanitaire a encore renforcé les pressions sur le système éducatif. Les changements climatiques entraînent une insécurité alimentaire chronique et des déplacements dus à la sécheresse. Ces deux facteurs provoquent des conflits et des migrations transfrontalières qui exercent des pressions importantes sur le système éducatif.

Avec un financement initial à hauteur de 11,1 millions de dollars É.-U. de la part d’Éducation sans délai, l’intervention globale pluriannuelle vise à mobiliser 39,2 millions de dollars É.-U. supplémentaires pour toucher un total de 275 000 enfants. Les subventions à effet catalyseur d’Éducation sans délai visent 61 000 filles et garçons, y compris les adolescents des régions de Tillaberi et de Tahoua. Mis en œuvre par le Programme alimentaire mondial (4,4 millions de dollars É.-U.), Plan International (3,3 millions de dollars É.-U.) et World Vision International (3,3 millions de dollars É.-U.), les fonds d’Éducation sans délai bénéficieront à 19 300 réfugiés, à 2 600 enfants et adolescents en situation de handicap, et à plus de 30 000 filles et adolescentes.

« Je profite de cette occasion pour réaffirmer notre gratitude et notre reconnaissance envers Éducation sans délai pour avoir approuvé le programme pluriannuel de résilience visant à soutenir les efforts du gouvernement du Niger au cours des trois prochaines années en vue d’aider les enfants vulnérables dans les zones du pays touchées par des crises. J’appelle tous les partenaires du Niger à soutenir ce programme en comblant le déficit de financement afin que la crise touchant le secteur éducatif ne soit pas oubliée parmi les crises qui sévissent dans le pays », a affirmé Yahouza Sadissou, Ministre de coordination pour les ministères en charge de l’éducation au Niger.