© UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez
An estimated 1.9 million people have been affected in Mozambique by cyclone Idai, of whom 1 million are children. © UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez


23 April 2019, New York – Just five weeks after Cyclone Idai hit the coast of Southern Africa, Education Cannot Wait, a global fund for education in emergencies, has approved US$5 million for immediate relief in Mozambique to get children back in school.

Recent estimates from the Government of Mozambique indicate that 3,504 classrooms were either destroyed or damaged in Mozambique, disrupting the education of more than 335,000 girls and boys.

Working with the Government of Mozambique in a coordinated response with international and national NGOs, UN Agencies, civil society and donors, the ECW investment will reach the most vulnerable children in Mozambique and keep girls safe from the heightened risk of gender-based violence that frequently occurs in emergencies.

The ECW response will reach 75,000 children, including 36,000 girls. Over 1,900 education personnel will receive specialized training to ensure children have the psychosocial support they need to resume their lives and deal with the trauma of seeing family members die, losing their homes in the floods or being displaced, and living in dangerous and unsafe conditions in temporary shelters.

The 12-month ECW investment will be implemented by Save the Children in partnership with CARE (US$1.7 million grant), World Vision (US$1.2 million grant), Food for the Hungry (US$550,00 grant), AVSI (US$700,000 grant), and Plan International (US$700,000 grant).

In getting children back in safe learning environments, implementing partners will establish temporary learning spaces, provide roofing for classrooms, and provide children and communities with life-saving information on hygiene to reduce the spread of disease.

ECW is working with partners to prepare an additional investment in Mozambique, as well as in neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe, where the cyclone also caused serious damage.

Education Cannot Wait and its partners have committed a total of US$14 million to the educational response in the three countries to reach approximately half a million children in all.

The fast-acting response was made possible with the generous support of ECW’s donor partners, including DFID, Dubai Cares, and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, who announced supplemental support to Education Cannot Wait’s US$7 million grant on the margins of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting.


Madge Thomas, Senior Director of Global Policy of Global Citizen, Yasmine Sherif, Director Education Cannot Wait, and Jana Babatunde-Bey, President and CEO of the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation.FUNDS RAISED THROUGH SMITH’S OMAZE CAMPAIGN WHERE HE BUNGEE JUMPED OVER GRAND CANYON

11 April 2019, Washington – Today during the World Bank Spring Meetings, Jana Babatunde-Bey, President and CEO of the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation and Madge Thomas, Senior Director of Global Policy, of international advocacy organization Global Citizen presented Education Cannot Wait with a check to support children whose education has been disrupted by conflict and crisis. The Fund aims to mobilize resources to deliver urgent educational support to 75 million children and young people affected by the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Will Smith, globally renowned actor and a high-profile advocate for education, is among those supporting Education Cannot Wait in its efforts to raise US $1.8 billion by 2021 to support education programmes for close to 9 million children and youth living in crisis settings. Last year, in partnership with Omaze, a platform which democratizes traditional auction-giving by offering people the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience for as little as $10, Smith bungee jumped from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon on his fiftieth birthday to raise funds for Education Cannot Wait.

Will’s historic jump raised $746,000 from donors from 166 countries, and helped mobilize millions more through a unique partnership that brought together Global Citizen, Omaze and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation to help empower vulnerable children across the globe.

The resources mobilized through Global Citizen and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation will support Education Cannot Wait’s ongoing actions to provide education to children living through some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. This includes relief efforts to ensure children affected by Cyclone Itai – which destroyed parts of Mozambique and Southern Africa in late March – do not suffer from interruptions in their schooling. In addition, the relief efforts will include ongoing efforts to provide urgent access to education services to the hundreds of thousands of children fleeing the crisis in Venezuela and seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Over the next three years, Education Cannot Wait will launch multi-year educational response programmes in 25 crisis countries that are struggling with long-lasting complex crisis to help reduce needs and build resilience. These priority countries include Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

Global Citizen recently led a field mission to Peru, which has taken in over 650,000 Venezuelan refugees – the second highest intake in the region, and met with Peruvian families who benefited from a previous Education Cannot Wait grant, as well as families arriving from Venezuela in search of hope, normalcy and a better future and regular schooling for their children.

“We need more people like Will Smith to take up the cause of education in crisis and fill the US$8.5 billion funding gap. He is truly driven by a sense of humanity. Providing education for the 75 million children and youth that lack access to reliable education worldwide is the way to go to serve our shared humanity. For boys and girls subjected to utmost inhumanity, such as sexual violence, kidnapping, forced recruitment to become child soldiers, and children living with the scars of violence and conflict, education is the only hope they have left,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait. “Education is one of the best investments we can make to empower the next generation to raise out of poverty and protect themselves from exploitation and extremism. Investing in them today means investing in peace, justice and prosperity tomorrow.”


Notes to editors

Will Smith has long been a champion for education. Will Smith: The Jump, a YouTube Original special, produced by Smith’s Westbrook Studios, provided global visibility to a crisis that affects millions of children worldwide, and profiled global efforts to provide universal, equitable and accessible education for all by 2030 as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

At the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park,, Yasmine Sherif, Education Cannot Wait Director, underscored that global advocacy efforts – and the visibility created through the Global Citizen partnership and millions of fans who tuned in to see Smith’s “The Jump” and called on their governments to support the organisation.

Their calls encouraged $70 million in new commitments to Education Cannot Wait during the 2018 UN General Assembly from several donors, including Norway, the Netherlands and Dubai Cares. The Government of Denmark announced its new funding to Education Cannot Wait at the Global Citizen Festival, with a new US$46 million contribution – making Denmark the single largest government donor to Education Cannot Wait’s history. Minister for International Development for Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs, saluted both Will Smith’s bravery and deceased former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s belief in the power of education when committing the new funding.

“Thank you Will Smith! I admire your bravery and share your passion for this cause…Kofi Annan was right. Education is the foundation on which free, liberal, democratic societies are built….We need to act. And Denmark does act. Next year Denmark will… reserve US$46 million for our good friends at Education Cannot Wait,” Tornaes said.

At the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in South Africa, additional funds were pledged by the leaders of Germany and Canada taking the total raised in 2018 to $124M.  Minister of Education for South Sudan, Deng Deng Hoc Yai said: “Someone who understands the importance of education is Will Smith, a true champion for children’s rights, who bravely bungee-jumped over the Grand Canyon in September raising over US$750,000 for the Education Cannot Wait initiative, to help countries like mine provide education in emergencies. I appreciate Will Smith for his support! Absolutely, education cannot wait.”

About Global Citizen

Since the first Global Citizen Festival in New York in 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for young people around the world calling on world leaders to honor their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Global Citizens have generated commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $37.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 2.25 billion people. This year alone Global Citizens have secured 29 commitments totaling over $2.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 501 million people by 2030.

With less than 2% of all humanitarian aid allocated to education, Global Citizen will continue to support Education Cannot Wait and other education finance initiatives to raise millions of dollars in funds from governments, businesses and individuals to fill the gap and leave no child behind.

For press enquiries and to schedule an interview, contact: Mr Andrew Kirk  +1 347 712 1877

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

ECW is a global fund launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to deliver education in conflict and crisis settings. 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.


ECW’s Secretariat is hosted by UNICEF in its Headquarters in New York.

Additional information is available at

For press enquiries and to schedule an interview, contact:

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

About the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation:

The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) is a non-profit organization that sits at the convergence of philanthropy, media and social impact. WJSFF is an incubator and accelerator that ignites the next generation of big ideas, cutting-edge artists, thought leaders, change-makers and social innovators. Together with grantees and partners, WJSFF invests in organizations and initiatives that empower traditionally overlooked communities and affect real change. For more information, please visit

About Omaze:

Omaze is an online fundraising platform that makes giving fun and easy by offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences in support of critical causes. Our campaigns connect influencers, nonprofits and donors to create lasting impact, and have raised funds and awareness for over 350 charities with donations from over 180 countries. For more information, please visit




Peter Tabichi, a science teacher in Kenya whose outstanding dedication to his students earned him the prestigious 2019 Global Teacher Prize is appointed as the first “Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crisis” for Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in crisis.

Photo originally published on the Varkay Foundation website.
Peter Tabichi donates 80 per cent of his income to the poor. Photo originally published on the Varkay Foundation website.

It gives me great pleasure to work together with like-minded people such as Peter Tabichi to ensure that nobody is left behind in achieving our goal of universal and equitable education.’ – Gordon Brown

11 April, New York – Peter Tabichi, a science teacher in Kenya whose outstanding dedication to his students earned him the prestigious 2019 Global Teacher Prize is appointed as the first “Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crisis” for Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in crisis.

Tabichi will champion the cause of Education Cannot Wait and 75 million children whose education is disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters. With travels to the world’s most crisis-affected children and planned engagements at the 2019 United Nations General Assembly and other high-level events, Tabichi’s inspiring story and powerful voice will help raise the urgency on the world stage to invest in the future of girls and boys left behind in crisis.

Tabichi was awarded the US$1 million Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize last month in Dubai, with actor Hugh Jackman and Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum joining him on stage to celebrate the teacher’s tireless efforts to bring quality education to poor children in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

“The award is a testament to Mr. Tabichi’s dedication to the education of the children of Pwani and inspiration to all involved in teaching and in learning,” said Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group. “It gives me great pleasure to work together with like-minded people such as Mr. Tabichi to ensure that nobody is left behind in achieving our goal of universal and equitable education.”

Tabichi’s school in Kenya has just one computer and a student-teacher ratio of 58 to 1. In all 95 per cent of Tabichi’s students come from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common.

Nurturing the talents of these students, Tabichi expanded the school’s Science Club, mentoring his students to win first prize in the national science fair for an invention they built to allow blind and deaf people to measure objects. The students have also been honored by the Royal Society of Chemistry for an experiment that harnessed local plant life to generate energy.

Enrollment has doubled in the past three years at Tabichi’s school, and in 2018, 26 graduates went on to studies at the University.

“The students I teach see true hardships every day, from poverty to drought and hunger. But I also see in them raw talent and great creativity, hard work, a determination to defy the odds, and be the best they can be. Every child, everywhere in the world deserves the chance to fulfil their full potential,” said Tabichi. “It is heart-breaking to know that 75 million children around the world see their educational chances disrupted by conflict and natural disasters. Education Cannot Wait is doing vital work to make sure these children are not left behind. It will be my great honour to help them ensure children whose lives have been blighted by war and catastrophe are given their birth right: a decent education.”

Teachers in crisis settings are today’s world unsung heroes. Day after day, they strive to preserve a sense of normalcy and hope for the millions of children and youth whose future is at stake. Some are killed or injured in performing their duties. Some go without a salary for months or years. The majority face extremely challenging working conditions: insecurity, widespread violence and psychological trauma, overcrowded classes, lack of the most basic infrastructure and teaching materials, epidemics and gender-based violence. What’s more, many are volunteers who sometimes have never been trained to perform their function but who are committed and choose to devote their life to making a difference for children.

“Every day a child is out of education is not just a tragedy for the child, it is a tragedy for the world they will inherit. To tackle the education crisis, most severe in those places plagued by conflict and natural disaster, it is vital that we learn from teachers like Peter Tabichi, who are working on the front line to give young people born into the most challenging circumstances the skills they need to face the future with confidence,” said Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation.

Through its investments, Education Cannot Wait relieves the hardship of teachers in crisis settings by providing them with the support they require to fulfil their role as a fundamental cornerstone of quality learning outcomes for children and youth. This entails providing training opportunities for teachers – with a special attention to ensuring females are equally represented in the teaching force – teaching materials, monetary incentives, school infrastructure upgrades, safe teaching and learning environments, and psychosocial services for children.

“We are honored to have Peter Tabichi as our Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crises. He is a profound visionary and a scholar, and he embodies the values of Education Cannot Wait. We feel privileged to partner with Mr. Tabichi because he represents the essence of education and its transformative power. His sense of service is inspiring and his pioneering achievements are a beacon of hope for the young generation of children, their teachers and, indeed, all of us,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.


About the Varkey Foundation

The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world and we continue to play a leading role in influencing education debates on the status of teachers around the world.



On 1 April 2019 in Mozambique, Leonora Jose, 12, and her friend Olga Romao, 11 poses for a portrait in a classroom that has no roof at the Escola Primeria de Ndunda de Ndunda, in Manga, Beira. Mozambique. The school was badly damaged during Cyclone Idai and resumed activities in some of the classrooms on 27 March 2019. Tropical cyclone Idai, carrying heavy rains and winds of up to 170km/h (106mp/h) made landfall at the port of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth largest city, on Thursday 14 March 2019, leaving the 500,000 residents without power and communications lines down. As at 1 pril 2019, at least 140,784 people have been displaced from Cyclone Idai and the severe flooding. Most of the displaced are hosted in 161 transit centers set up in Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete provinces. As of 31 March, 517 cholera cases and one death have been reported, including 246 cases on 31 March alone with 211 cases from one bairo. Eleven cholera treatment centres (CTC) have been set up (seven are already functional) to address cholera in Sofala. UNICEF supported the Health provincial directorate to install the CTC in Macurungo and Ponta Gea in Beira city, providing five tents, cholera beds and medicines to treat at least 6,000 people. UNICEF has procured and shipped 884,953 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) that will arrive in Beira on 01 April to support the OCV vaccination campaign expected to start on 3 April. With support of UNICEF and DFID, the water supply system in Beira resumed its operations on 22 March providing water to about 300,000 people. UNICEF has been supporting the FIPAG-water supply operator with fuel – 9,000 liters of fuel per day, and the provision of chemicals for water treatment. Water supply systems for Sussundenga and Nhamatanda small towns have also been re-established.
On 1 April 2019 in Mozambique, Leonora Jose, 12, and her friend Olga Romao, 11, pose for a portrait in a classroom that has no roof at the Escola Primeria de Ndunda de Ndunda, in Manga, Beira. Mozambique. The school was badly damaged during Cyclone Idai and resumed activities in some of the classrooms on 27 March 2019. Photo: Cyclone Idai, Mozambique, © UNICEF/UN0294994/DE WET


11 April 2019, Washington – Education Cannot Wait, the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) and Dubai Cares announced today new commitments of up to US$14 million in funds to support educational responses in the wake of the devastation from Cyclone Idai, which caused widespread destruction and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Out of the total allocation, the Education Cannot Wait Global Trust Fund is providing US$7 million from its emergency reserve, DFID is providing up to US$5.2 million (4 million pounds) and Dubai Cares is providing US$2 million against the emergency education response facilitated by Education Cannot Wait and coordinated by the Education Cluster.

The funds will help restore education services for an estimated total of 500,000 children and youth.

With entire communities uprooted, missing or deceased caregivers, and schools destroyed or being used as temporary shelters, children across the cyclone-affected countries have had their education disrupted and are instead grappling with trauma. They are also vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence, and face the risk of cholera, among other scourges.

In Mozambique alone, the disaster has affected 1.8 million people and destroyed over 3,300 classrooms, leaving 263,000 children out-of-school. In Zimbabwe, close to 150 schools have been impacted, affecting an estimated 60,000 children. In Malawi, an estimated 200 schools have been impacted.

“We have all seen images of the terrible suffering and devastation caused by Cyclone Idai. The UK has, from the start, led the way in supporting the victims of this destruction and the fresh funding I am announcing will provide further help where it is most needed, right now,” said DFID’s Secretary of State, Penny Mordaunt.

Matthew Rycroft, DFID Permanent Secretary, shared DFID's commitments at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group meeting today on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meeting (Photo Elias Bahaa/ECW)
Matthew Rycroft, DFID Permanent Secretary, shared DFID’s commitments at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group meeting today on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meeting (Photo Bahaa Elias/ECW)

The First Emergency Responses in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will focus on supporting needs assessments, establishing temporary learning spaces, providing learning materials, supporting communities to get children back to school, giving teachers the tools, training and support they need to provide psycho-social support for the children in their care, and supporting governments to build back better.

“The loss of life, destruction and suffering that has resulted from Cyclone Idai is heartbreaking. Children, the most vulnerable victims of any disaster, are at the moment facing tremendous distress and uncertainty. Our partnership with Education Cannot Wait, allows us to quickly respond to this emergency and help reestablish access to education,” said Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares.

Dubai Cares (1)s
Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group (Photo Bahaa Elias/ECW)

Funds will be allocated against the emergency appeals launched by the governments of the affected-countries with the support of United Nations agencies and NGOs providing relief on the ground.

“A sudden and unexpected natural disaster of this magnitude causes immense human suffering. It demands an immediate response. For a child or adolescent, the losses are especially devastating,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Unless education services are given priority, the suffering will be prolonged and cause deeper disruption and trauma in their lives. I am deeply grateful to DFID and Dubai Cares for setting a shining example: they moved swiftly together with ECW to provide a coordinated and speedy response in partnership with Ministries of Education, the affected communities, the Education Cluster, UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations to reduce suffering and restore hope when these children and youth need it the most.”



Photo by Khalil Adwan


10 April 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait announces a US$11.7 million seed funding allocation to support the launch of a ground-breaking multi-year educational response programme aiming to reach 320,000 children in the State of Palestine.

Developed in coordination with the Ministry of Education of the Palestinian Authority and a broad-based partnership of UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, the three-year programme aims to mobilize US$34.8 million in total finance from additional donors.

“Children and youth in the West Bank and Gaza face significant levels of violence in their daily life. Education is a life-line for them. We must invest in their education and their schools as safe spaces where they can learn, thrive and be empowered to realize their potentials. Their potentials are great, indeed,” says the Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif.

The programme will target some of the most vulnerable and at-risk children and youth in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with special attention given to marginalized groups such as girls, children with disabilities, and vulnerable communities.

The programme will implement integrated initiatives to develop the capacity of teachers and schools, improve safety of learning environments, offer protection to children and teachers and integrate life-skills to improve the quality of education.

One of the things that children have said to me over and over again in Palestine, is that they wish school were a place where they felt safe – a place where they could immerse themselves in learning, where they could be with their friends and not have to worry about the politics that surround them,” says Jamie McGoldrick, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories. “The seed funding provided by the Education Cannot Wait initiative is, perhaps, an excellent first step towards making this very reasonable wish a reality.”      

Although the net enrolment in basic education in Palestine is over 95 per cent, access to pre-primary education and secondary education is lagging. The net enrolment rate in secondary schools is only 60.8 per cent (52.4 per cent boys and 69.5 per cent girls). Children with disabilities are even further behind, with only 5 out of 10 children aged 6-17 enrolled in school.

In 2017 alone, there were 169 incidents of education-related violations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Demolition and stop-work orders are affecting schools and pushing children away from formal education. Some students must walk 10 kilometres or more to get to and from school, putting their safety at risk. With parents worried to send their daughters to school, girls are particularly at risk.

The new multi-year response programme was designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the UN Country Team, development partners and NGOs.

It aligns with the over-arching framework for humanitarian and development education interventions in Palestine through the government’s Education Sector Strategic Plan 2017-2022, as well as the Joint Advocacy and Protection Strategy, the UNRWA Mid-Term Strategy, and the Humanitarian Response Plan.

This new US$11.7 million catalytic grant builds on the achievements of a $3 million First Emergency Response allocation from Education Cannot Wait which reached over 250,000  children (including 135,000 girls) and was implemented through the UNRWA.





Yasmine Sherif and Dr. Waleed Al-Wohaib Director of Islamic Solidarity Fund, signed the Global Education Declaration this week in Morocco


5 April 2019, Morocco – There are around 28 million out-of-school children in Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). That’s more than the total population of Australia.

To address this growing challenge, Education Cannot Wait – a global fund for education in emergencies that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach 8.9 million children living in the midst of war, disaster and crisis – signed an agreement this week with the Islamic Development Bank and a wide range of stakeholders for a Global Education Coalition for Enrolling and Retaining 28 million out-of-school children in OIC member countries by 2021.

The declaration was signed at the 44th Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group, and provides a pathway to reach the Sustainable Development Goal for universal and equitable education (SDG4).

Signatories of the declaration include the Islamic Development Bank, Islamic Solidarity Fund, Education Above All, Education Cannot Wait, Save the Children, GPE, SPARK and others.

The declaration builds on momentum to address the growing needs of many OIC member states that are struggling to meet the needs of growing populations in the midst of poverty, natural disasters, and local and regional protracted crises.

“Prioritizing education in OIC countries is becoming more and more urgent, especially in countries where escalating crises are threatening the stability of an entire region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “There is an urgent need to enhance the quality and inclusion in education, and to reopen thousands of schools in OIC countries like Afghanistan, Niger, Syria, Yemen, and many others.”

Several OIC countries are also affected by large-scale refugee crises and internally displaced populations that require urgent action.

Education Cannot Wait, along with a broad coalition of international actors, UN agencies, civil society, on-the-ground implementing agencies, national governments, the private sector, donors and financial institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank are building and supporting both first emergency responses and multi-year resilience programmes for several OIC countries, including Palestine, Bangladesh (Rohingya crisis), Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, Syria and Yemen.

There 75 million children in urgent need of educational support in crisis settings worldwide. Approximately 60 per cent of the education humanitarian caseload in 2018 (31 million children) were living in 19 crisis-affected OIC member countries.

Through its US$153 million investment portfolio, Education Cannot Wait is already reaching 1.4 million of the most marginalized children and youth in crisis settings, including 10 OIC countries.






5 March 2019, New York – The global charity Theirworld announced today a new US$2.85 million (2.52 million euros) contribution to Education Cannot Wait to support the rapid deployment of education assistance to refugee, displaced and vulnerable children caught in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

IMG_9582 - Copy
Amsterdam, 4 March 2019: The Chair of Theirworld, Sarah Brown, receiving a generous grant from the Dutch Postcode Lottery at the annual Goed Geld Gala in Amsterdam.

This contribution was made possible through a US$3.57 million (3.15 million euros) grant from the Dutch Postcode Lottery to Theirworld for the global charity to support education in emergencies which was announced at the annual Goed Geld Gala in Amsterdam on Monday. Theirworld will direct US$2.85 million (2.52 million euros) of this generous grant to be delivered in partnership with Education Cannot Wait, launching a unique public-private partnership between the lottery,  and Education Cannot Wait. As part of the new partnership, Theirworld’s Safe Schools Framework will provide guidance on how investments in safe schools and learning environments can be made more effective.

“We are more impactful by working together, and the award by the Dutch Postcode Lottery will allow us to not only deliver education to the most marginalised children, but leverage-up the funding through campaigning to have a multiplier effect for children,” said Sarah Brown, Chair of Theirworld.


Education Cannot Wait brings together a wide coalition of partners. Through the Fund’s innovative investment modalities, bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations and companies, governments, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations work together to mobilize new education financing and to deploy joint programmes that span across humanitarian and development aid sectors.

“The funding will be used to provide rapid education assistance in places where it is needed most” said Justin van Fleet, Theirworld’s President.  “This new partnership will allow us to support thousands of children living in refugee camps who are not in school – where we need to provide education quickly so they are not part of the lost generation – while we also finding the longer-term solutions so all children can reach their full potential.”

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

This contribution by Theirworld and the Dutch Postcode Lottery joins contributions by business partners through the Global Business Coalition for Education and Dubai Cares, another major education philanthropist. It is the second largest single private contribution to date to Education Cannot Wait – a new global fund that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to provide access to education for girls and boys living in war zones, conflict and disasters. Some of Theirworld’s funding will be placed in challenge grants to be matched by other private contributors to multiply the impact.


“We are profoundly grateful to Theirworld for this contribution to Education Cannot Wait, and to the Dutch Postcode Lottery for making this possible. This is an important signal for other private foundations looking to support educational initiatives. It sets an example for other donors to follow through and we hope to leverage this funding with additional public-private partnerships”, said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

Education Cannot Wait’s investments have already reached more than 1 million children in crisis such as the recent tsunami in Indonesia, escalating violence in North-East Nigeria, ongoing conflicts in Syria,  Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, and massive refugee influxes in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda. However, much more remains to be done, with 75 million children in urgent need of educational support in emergencies and protracted crisis worldwide.

IMG_9588Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation – Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait – Annemiek Hoogenboom, Country Director People’s Postcode Lottery – Sarah Brown, Chair of Theirworld – Sigrid van Aken, Chief Operating Officer of Novamedia and a member of the boards of the Dutch Postcode Lottery

“Education needs to be this generation’s moonshot and this funding from the Postcode Lottery will allow us to mobilise enough people, partners and resources so that every refugee child is at school” said van Fleet.  “We will look for the hardest to reach children in emergencies and keep a watching brief on all hotspots where children’s education is at risk – from the Greek Aegean Islands, Venezuela and Syria to the Central African Republic and beyond.”


After years of campaigning, including by Theirworld’s cohort of 1,000 Global Youth Ambassadors, the Education Cannot Wait fund was established in 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit to provide education to the millions of children and youth who have lost out on education because of war, disasters and crisis. The Fund’s investments focus on increasing access to quality and equitable education in safe and protective learning environments for the most marginalized and vulnerable children, with a special attention to girls, children with disabilities and minorities.

“It is thanks to the voices of young people across the world that education is becoming a global priority for all of humanity – regardless of borders. Education Cannot Wait will quickly translate this generous funding into concrete delivery of education to refugee and displaced children with our new partner Theirworld,” said Sherif.


Notes to Editors:

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. 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. 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. For more information:

Theirworld is a global charity which unleashes the potential of the next generation.  Every child deserves the best start in life, a safe school to learn in, and skills for the future.  We analyse complex systems to identify the barriers to progress and then use our tools of campaigning, innovation projects and partnership building to unlock the innovation, finance, political will and inclusion necessary to create change from the top down and bottom up.

The Global Business Coalition for Education, an initiative of Theirworld, serves as the business community’s social impact advisor, combining the expertise of education and business to develop customised programs and identify investments, partnerships, and opportunities that will have the greatest impact for children and youth.

The Nationale Postcode Loterij (The Dutch Postcode Lottery) is the biggest charity lottery in the Netherlands. Since the start in 1989, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has contributed over 5.5 billion euros to charity organisations dedicated to ‘people’ and ‘planet.’ It now supports 112 charities worldwide and plays a pioneering role in the quest for a fair and enterprising, green and responsible world.

For press enquiries, contact:
Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1 917 640-6820





27 February 2019, Bangui – The Government of the Central African Republic and Education Cannot Wait launched a three-year education programme today that will reach an estimated 900,000 children – half of whom are girls – and address the violence and displacement that have left nearly half a million children out of school in the country.

“Education will build the foundation of peace, security and economic development for the people of the Central African Republic,” said Mr. Aboubakar Moukadas-Noure, Central African Republic Minister of Education. “By providing girls and boys with safe learning spaces, qualified teachers, learning materials, school meals, counseling support and other services, this bold and comprehensive programme signals a new age of progress in the Central African Republic. Our children deserve an education. If we are ever to end hunger, violence, displacement and poverty in our country, truly, their education cannot wait.”

The programme benefits from an initial investment of US$6.5 million for 2019-2020 from Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund for education in crisis. The fund is looking to catalyze US$1.8 billion by 2021 to address the needs of children in crisis-affected countries such as the Central African Republic.

Building on the successes of a 12-month US$6 million First Emergency Response financed by Education Cannot Wait, the programme seeks to mobilize US$77.6 million over the next three years. Education Cannot Wait has indicatively committed an additional US$6.5 million per year for the second and third years of the programme, dependent on successful results and availability of funds.

“The global community must step up to fund educational responses in the Central African Republic,” said Graham Lang, Senior Education Advisor at Education Cannot Wait. “The challenges to overcome for children in the country to have universal access to quality education may be immense. But the resilience of these children is even greater. Education is the key that can empower them to tap into this strength to realize their potential and become agents of positive change. Without education, there can be no sustainable recovery, reconciliation and peace.”

The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world’s most unstable countries. Widespread violence has had a heavy toll on the population, with one out of four Central African uprooted by the conflict and over two-third of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. Girls and boys are particularly affected, with reports of separated children, sexual violence, forced marriage and early pregnancies, and forced recruitment into armed groups. Since 2017, 89 attacks against schools have been reported while 20 per cent of schools remain closed.

“The programme will target displaced children and host communities with comprehensive efforts to increase access to education, improve retention and ensure education continuity, improve the quality of learning and teaching, and establish safe, protective and inclusive learning environments” Lang said.


As part of Education Cannot Wait’s efforts to strengthen links between humanitarian and development aid efforts, the programme connects actors from across the government, UN organizations, national and international NGOs and the private sector.

Key Facts & Figures on the Multi-Year Resilience Programme

  • With transitional classes, the rehabilitation and construction of over 1000 classrooms, and the distribution of 320,000 school kits, the ECW investment in the overall multi-year programme seeks to get over 360,000 out of school children back in protective and safe learning environments, with the goal of reintegrating 90 per cent of the country’s out of school children into the formal education system.


  • To reach children in remote locations, an innovative radio education programme is expected to reach around 300,000 girls and boys. It also looks to test cash transfer programmes and will connect with the World Food Programme to implement school feeding programmes in 35 schools.


  • Without pay, most teachers have left their posts in CAR, and the educational system primarily relies on untrained community teachers, which comprise over half the teaching force. The programme will provide training and incentives to 12,000 teachers – 35 per cent of whom are female – with the goal of providing better education, keeping children in school and equipping teaching personnel to help children deal with the scars of war, violence and displacement.


  • Only one in four girls in CAR are considered literate. The programme seeks to increase the participation of girls in formal and non-formal education by 5 per cent per year. Girls-only sanitary facilities and comprehensive campaigns on sexual education and girl’s rights are part of the programme’s overall efforts to get more girls back in school. The programme will also support 90,000 girls and boys in obtaining official documentation.


[PDF] CAR-MYRP-Launch-Press-Release-ENG



For press enquiries, contact:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, , +1 917 640-6820

For any other enquiries, contact:



The Gov. of Afghanistan, Education Cannot Wait, UNICEF and a coalition of UN, NGO partners and donors launch a multi-year education response programme



The Government of Afghanistan, Education Cannot Wait, UNICEF and a coalition of UN, NGO partners and donors launch a multi-year education response programme to benefit ½ million children annually

Kabul, Afghanistan, 21 February 2019 –  Today, the Government of Afghanistan, the Education Cannot Wait, global fund for education in crisis, and UNICEF launched a multi-year (2018 – 2021) education response programme, for which an initial US$ 22 million has been secured. The new programme will support the government’s policy on community based-education and improve access to safe and reliable education for 500,000 most vulnerable children, including 325,000 girls, in Afghanistan annually.

During the past decade, Afghanistan has been making progress in improving children’s access to education.  Primary school enrollment rate increased from 1 million to 8.5 million between 2002 and 2019.  Yet, violence, poverty and drought are among the many issues that threaten to reverse these gains. Approximately 3.7 million children remain out-of-school. Girls and children with disabilities are especially vulnerable. About 60 per cent of the out-of-school children are girls, and only 5 per cent of children with disabilities are able to access education.

Only half of the schools in Afghanistan are housed in buildings, and 1,000 schools remain inactive or closed due to security issues. Reports of attacks on schools have increased significantly during 2018, putting children at risk of injury, increased violence and threats of dropping of out-of-school.

The ECW programme in Afghanistan will contribute to reducing the number of out-of-school children in Afghanistan by identifying the most vulnerable boys and girls who have been affected by emergencies, and providing them with immediate learning opportunities.  Using community-based and innovative initiatives over a three-year period, access to quality education will increase particularly for girls, and at the same time teachers and community members will be key stakeholders in the process.

“Today’s education provides the foundation for tomorrow’s economic recovery and growth and supports society as a whole”. says Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, Minister of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  “This new programme is part of our commitment to ensure that every girl and boy in Afghanistan are in school and learning by the year 2030.”

The multi-year response programme, whose total cost is US$ 157 million is facilitated by Education Cannot Wait and is implemented by a broad coalition of international and national organisations[1].  Building on the significant progress made through Afghanistan’s first emergency response in providing most vulnerable children access to schools, the programme aspires to raise over US$ 35 million for unmet needs in the first year.

“The Government of Sweden, and its people are committed to supporting the most vulnerable girls’ and boys’ education,” says Ambassador Tobias Thyberg, Embassy of Sweden in Afghanistan, who is representing the significant donor country to this programme.   “Through innovative community-based approaches, we can help retain school attendance, improve quality of education, and create a safe and protective learning environment.”

This programme resonates with the aims of the Ministry of Education Girls’ Education Policy to remove barriers to education for all Afghan girls and women; to close the gender gap in the school enrollment of boys and girls, and to bring out-of-school girls into the education system; and to undertake affirmative action for girl students and female education personnel.
“This is a new way of working in delivering education in emergencies, by bridging humanitarian and development aid efforts. Only by working together can we achieve universal education by 2030,” says Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “The girls and boys of Afghanistan have suffered enough and have a right to develop their potentials to rebuild this war-torn country. Today, we have an opportunity to invest in them through quality education, to empower them to fulfill their full potential and that of their country. Let us seize it, sustain it and never let go of it.”

Download the PDF version of the Press Release










Download Afghanistan MYRP Factsheet


Afghanistan Multi-Year Programme Launch




For more information, please contact:

Mohammad Kabir Haqmal, Director General of Information & Publication- MoE, Mobile: + 93(0) 700186150,

Ms. Monica Awad, UNICEF Afghanistan, mobile: +93 730717111,

Mr. Feridoon Aryan, UNICEF Afghanistan, mobile: +93 (0) 730 717 115,

Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers, Education Cannot Wait +1 917 640-6820;

[1] Afghanistan Ministry of Education, IOM, OCHA, OHCHR, UNAMA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNHCR, WFP, WHO, the World Bank and Education Cannot Wait, national and international NGOs such as Save The Children, Norwegian Refugee Council and International Rescue Committee.

PRESS STATEMENT: Urgent appeal for new funding for lost generation of 30+ million displaced and refugee young people

For Immediate Release
February 19 2019

Urgent appeal for new funding for lost generation of 30+ million displaced and refugee young people

** Two major programmes launched this month to help the 75 million children without education trapped in emergencies and crises

Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, speaking at the United Nation headquarters in New York said:

“I am here today to speak up for the 99 percent of the world’s young refugees – the lost generation who are now becoming, to us, the invisible generation – who will never get a place in college or in higher education.  And to speak for the 80 percent of refugee teenagers who will never get a secondary education.

A lost generation is not only identified by empty classrooms, silent playgrounds and short, unmarked graves.  A lost generation is one where hope dies in those who live.

The urgency comes as 2019 is starting with escalating crises:

  • the estimated 3 million exodus from Venezuela – the largest in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • the half a million out-of-school children living in the Central African Republic (CAR);
  • the need to reopen 1,000 schools in Afghanistan where there are still 3.7 million out-of-school children, more than 2 million of them girls;
  • and the ongoing refugee crises as result of the Rohingya, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan conflicts.

The desolation of the lost generation is so extreme that there have been reports last autumn from the Moria refugee camp, where there is no formal education on offer to thousands of young people, that two young boys had attempted suicide.  At ten, when life should be in front of you – full of hope and excitement at every new dawn – young boys are so devoid of hope that they attempted to take their own lives.

These young people are no longer only the lost generation, they are the invisible generation. And we must do more.

On Thursday February 21, the Education Cannot Wait Fund (ECW) – headed by Yasmine Sherif – and a coalition of partners will launch a program for safe and reliable education for 500,000 children in Afghanistan, including 325,000 girls.

The following week, on 27 February in the Central African Republic, ECW, the government and a coalition of partners will launch a new three-year education response program to reach an estimated 900,000 children – half of whom are girls – to address the violence and displacement that has left nearly half a million children out of school.

This follows the multi-year program in Uganda, launched in September, to help with the influx of South Sudanese refugees, which has already brought $70 million in additional resources through the coordinated multi-year approach.

ECW aims to catalyse a total $1.8 billion in education financing by 2021. This includes mobilizing $570 million by 2021 for the Trust Fund which will support rapid responses, global goods and seed funding investments to catalyse an additional $1.1 billion of in-country financing for multi-year programmes to be rolled out in ECW’s 25 priority countries.

Current investments will soon reach 2.5 million children – with 1 million children covered by the end of 2018 and 1.4 million in new programs announced by the end of this month.

Already ECW has invested $134.5 million in 19 crisis-affected countries, including in 16 emergency responses.

It is time to count the cost of a decade of disruption:

  • 12 million child refugees and rising
  • More than 30 million displaced children in total – with Venezuela, CAR, the DRC, South Sudan, Pakistan, Myanmar and Syria some of the biggest numbers
  • 75 million children with education disrupted because of conflict and emergency

People – children – are not broken just by the wave that submerges the life vest or the convoy that does not make it to the besieged town. They are broken by the absence of hope – the soul-crushing certainty that there is nothing ahead for which to plan or prepare, not even a place in school.

What holds them back is not just their location, their homelessness, and their poverty – but the death of their dreams.

The only way to reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of every child at school is for a child’s real passport to the future stamped in the classroom – and not at a border check post.

So today I propose:

First, let us expand Education Cannot Wait and recognize that committing to the SDG on education for all means committing to education without borders – the right of even the stateless and the displaced child to a quality education.

And second, for the long-term, we must support the International Finance Facility for Education, which is designed to serve the 700 million children and youth living in lower-middle-income countries, where the majority of out-of-school and displaced children reside.  The facility is advancing rapidly with a high-level event scheduled in April where prospective donors will agree to constitute what could be a $10 billion fund this year.


Download the full press statement as PDF




  • According to UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people is 68.5 million. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Today 1 out of every 110 people in the world is displaced.
    Source: UNHCR Global Trends,
  • A report from Médecins Sans Frontières says that MSF teams are seeing multiple cases each week of teenagers who have attempted to commit suicide or have self-harmed.  In group mental health activities for children (aged between six and 18 years) between February and June 2018, MSF teams observed that nearly a quarter of the children (18 out of 74) had self-harmed, attempted suicide or had thought about committing suicide. Other child patients suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, aggressive outbursts, constant nightmares or voluntarily become mute.

The report by Theirworld, Safe Schools: The Hidden Crisis, showed that by 2030, 622 million – nearly a third of all children that will be alive at that point – will live in countries where education is under threat from war, endemic high violence, or environmental threats. In the absence of increased investment and delivery of safe schools and learning environments, three of every four young people in these countries are projected to be unequipped with the skills to participate fully in society and the economy.




Education Cannot Wait is the first global movement and fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises.  It was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to help reposition education as a priority on the humanitarian agenda, usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and foster additional funding to ensure that every crisis-affected child and young person is in school and learning. Based on the recognition that continuous access to quality learning is a priority for children and families affected by conflicts, natural disasters and displacement and that no organisation can do it alone, ECW comes as a ground-breaking initiative bringing together public and private partners eager to work together differently and mobilise the funding required to deploy immediate and sustainable programmes tailor-made to the educational needs of these children.




The International Finance Facility for Education is a groundbreaking way to finance education in countries around the world. By multiplying donor resources and motivating countries to increase their own investments, the Facility will unleash tremendous new funding streams for education. The Facility has the power to help tens of millions of children go to school and prepare millions more young people for the future of work.

The Facility is a recommendation of the Education Commission, put forward in The Learning Generation report released in September 2016. In the first round of funding, donor countries will provide the Facility with about $2 billion in guarantees, which will then be leveraged to create up to about $8 billion in new financing. By blending this financing with grant funding, the Facility would help mobilize more than $10 billion for education.

For more information contact: Francois Servranckx, at

Education Cannot Wait:
Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,  +1 917 640-6820