‘Foundations along with both governments and the private sector can play a critical role in achieving the SDGs by sharing information, resources, and capabilities. Therefore, collaboration is key to fulfill the goals; it’s not the sole responsibility of one entity – we should altogether join our efforts for the common good.’ Tariq Al Gurg, CEO Dubai Cares. UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Mersha
‘Foundations along with both governments and the private sector can play a critical role in achieving the SDGs by sharing information, resources, and capabilities. Therefore, collaboration is key to fulfill the goals; it’s not the sole responsibility of one entity – we should altogether join our efforts for the common good.’ Tariq Al Gurg, CEO Dubai Cares. UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Mersha


By Johannes Kiess, Innovative Finance Specialist, Education Cannot Wait

To fill the estimated US$8.5 billion annual gap for education in emergencies that has left millions of children behind, we need to accelerate our work and engagement with a wider range of partners. A key group of partners that possess vast potential, resources and know-how are found in the foundations space.

Education Cannot Wait has engaged with foundations since its inception. Dubai Cares, the foundations’ representative on our governance structures contributed US$6.8 million to ECW so far and was a major force in establishing the Fund. Dubai Cares also is one of the main private funders of education in emergencies.

“The establishment of Education Cannot Wait as a new global fund for education in emergencies allows foundations like us to support a mechanism that enables improved delivery of education to children and young people displaced by conflicts, epidemics and natural disasters through a coordinated and collaborative effort that minimizes transaction costs and maximizes impact,” said Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg.


Our new policy brief “Foundations’ Engagement in Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises” outlines that education in emergencies is becoming a priority for an increasing number of foundations. It’s an evolving space, but our analysis indicates a good potential for growth, strengthened coordination and mutually beneficial partnerships.

This isn’t necessarily news. The International Education Funders Group has hosted a group on education in emergencies for some years. This group took significant steps towards a more purposeful collaboration in 2018, and will be essential in any future planning.

We are also seeing a substantial increase in engagement from foundations. In 2017, the MacArthur Foundation awarded a US$100 million grant to Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. In 2018, the LEGO Foundation awarded US$100 million to Sesame Workshop to bring the power of learning through play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises.

In our policy brief – prepared with substantive inputs and data from members of the Education in Emergencies subgroup of the International Education Funders Group – we explore strategies to expand and strengthen our engagement with foundations for delivering quality education in emergencies.


  • Education in emergencies is an important theme for several major foundations but not the only focus of their work. We are also witnessing new foundations entering the education in emergencies sector. This increasing engagement may be just the push needed to grow the pool of resources invested on education in emergencies beyond what traditional donors are giving. This engagement is expected to grow modestly with established funders and may increase with some large entrants from foundations previously not involved in the space.
  • Overall, foundation grantmaking to education in emergencies increased slightly between 2008 and 2016, the years for which data was available. Total contributions are estimated to be US$294.5 million over the past 9 years. Graph
  • About 5.4 per cent of all foundation funding to countries in emergencies went to education. This is above the global target of 4 per cent and above the actual proportion of 3.9 per cent of education funding as a share of humanitarian aid in 2017.
  • Foundations gave on average 39 per cent of funding directly to local recipients and not through international organizations. This exceeds the 25 per cent target for humanitarian aid under the Grand Bargain commitment.
  • Compared to official donors, foundations granted relatively more funds to secondary and early childhood education. Other priorities included ‘child educational development’ for children of all ages to foster social, emotional and intellectual growth, educational services, and equal-opportunity education.
  • Foundations’ giving modalities are in line with recent developments in humanitarian finance to provide less earmarked funding, invest in data and evidence-driven programme management, and support broader systems reform and collaboration.


These findings lead to a number of conclusions and recommendations for continued engagement and partnership with the foundations space.

First, while foundations already provide a significant financial contribution to overall humanitarian aid across education levels and for important priorities such as gender equality and equity, the enormous need to mobilize US$8.5 billion annually for education in emergencies requires foundations to rethink the scale and speed of their giving.

Second, foundations increasingly see funding as just one and not the only tool in their toolbox. They sometimes have deep roots in a country that go back well before a crisis started. If the education in emergencies community reaches out to foundations narrowly as just another source of funding, then it is unlikely to engage the foundations to their full potential. Taking this to heart, the education in emergencies community should engage with foundations in a way that shares and builds knowledge, networks and systemic capacity.

Third, closer collaboration, cooperation, and co-financing with other humanitarian and development actors – both non-profit organizations and UN agencies – may lead the way forward to strengthen the role of foundations in contributing to education in emergencies. Engagement in the multilateral funding system can help influence the global agenda.

Fourth, in order to operationalize coordinated financing on the ground, all education in emergency actors should develop and/or review their operating procedures and frameworks. This would enable public-private partnerships between foundations, governments, and multilateral organizations including global funds.

Fifth, going local is key for foundations. Foundations tend to work more directly with local actors than government and multilateral donors, according to the policy brief. This offers a clear value-add to potential partnerships. Foundations could help the wider education in emergencies community to better implement the localization agenda.

Sixth, foundations are a crucial voice in advocating for education in emergencies. They can play an important role in joint advocacy, engaging private sector champions, and lifting the profile of education in emergencies on the global agenda.

Finally, foundations have implemented education innovations – such as socio-emotional learning, development of soft-skills, learning through play, empathy, leadership skills, teamwork, conscientiousness, and creativity – supporting a holistic approach to children’s well-being. These are crucial for addressing some of the challenges faced by children living in crises.

By working more closely with official donors, foundations could share their knowledge, help scale up what works and ensure these programs are available to a much larger number of learners in emergency situations by integrating them into the larger programmes of official donors.

Taken from a 50,000-foot perspective, investing in education in emergencies offers plenty of opportunity for foundations to have real impact. As we step up engagement and convene dialogue and partnership between foundations and key education-in-emergency actors, it’s clear that there is a tremendous amount of growth potential. Only through strengthened collaboration and joining forces towards collective outcomes will we, as a sector, be able to meet the full scope of needs, and ensure every child, everywhere – even the ones most at risk that are living in war zones, conflict and crisis – has the hope, opportunity and protection of a quality education.


There is a US$8.5 billion funding gap for education in crisis that has left some 75 million children in some of the harshest living conditions on the planet without access to safe, reliable education. That’s more than the total population of Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands combined.

As we mark the first International Day of Education, the global community has a responsibility to invest in the inherent right of these children and youth.

Shofika is a nine-year-old refugee in Bangladesh that's benefiting from timely education responses funded by Education Cannot Wait. 'I love learning the songs and the dances in the learning centre.' Photo Dafhnee Cook/Save The Children
Shofika is a nine-year-old refugee in Bangladesh that’s benefiting from timely education responses funded by Education Cannot Wait. ‘I love learning the songs and the dances in the learning centre.’ Photo Daphnee Cook/Save The Children


By Yasmine Sherif

There is a US$8.5 billion funding gap for education in crisis that has left some 75 million children in some of the harshest living conditions on the planet without access to safe, reliable education. That’s more than the total population of Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands combined.

As we mark the first International Day of Education, the global community has a responsibility to invest in the inherent right of these children and youth.

Failing to do so will derail our efforts to end hunger and poverty by 2030, and build a more peaceful, more humane and more constructive world.

It may not be easy, but it is possible. By breaking down barriers, connecting coalitions of the willing, investing adequate financial resources, and making a value proposition that underscores the outstanding return on investment that education funding brings – especially in crisis contexts – we can reach our goals.

The socio-economic value of education in crisis

The persistent absence of timely responses to deliver quality education in crisis settings exposes children and youth to risks of psychological trauma, gender-based violence, child trafficking, forced recruitment in armed groups, early marriage and pregnancy.

Education is the best investment we can make to save their lives and end the cycles of poverty, hunger, inequality, violence, instability and unspeakable human suffering they live with every day.

Girls are even more at risk. An estimated 39 million girls living in crisis lack consistent access to education. To make it even worse, girls in crisis are two and a half times more likely to be out of school than boys, and we need to take affirmative actions to ensure these girls are not left behind.

This is where our value proposition comes in. The economic returns for investing in education in emergencies and protracted crisis are significant.

According to the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, for each dollar invested in education, more than US$5 is returned in additional gross earnings in low-income countries and US$2.50 in lower middle-income countries.

The World Bank estimates that if every girl worldwide were to receive 12 years of quality schooling, irrespective of whether there’s a crisis or not, the human capital wealth represented by their lifetime earnings could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion.

Translating moral values into action

If we deconstruct these numbers, we can fill this gap by mobilizing just US$113 per year per child.

Less bureaucracy and more accountability, and placing people above process, are essential. It requires speed to be responsive and depth to be inclusive and sustainable.

An illustrative example is the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh. With the support of donors and implementing partners on the ground, Education Cannot Wait allocated US$3 million to support a 12-month educational emergency response.

Last year, the Fund announced an additional US$12 million allocation for a multi-year program that builds upon the short-term emergency response to ensure continuity, quality and sustainability. By connecting national co-finance, other donor contributions, this seed funding will be leveraged to reach the US$60 million needed. In doing so, it brings together partners to align efforts towards collective learning outcomes.

No single stakeholder has the capacity to meet the full scope of needs to ensure we achieve education for all girls and boys in crisis settings by 2030. Collaboration is key.

Missing this mark has potentially catastrophic impacts on our world’s economic and social future, and, eventually, on our sense of moral responsibility. Nelson Mandela once said: “To deny people their human rights means denying their humanity.” Education is an inherent human right and the 75 million children and youth in crisis are a test of our true values and sense of humanity.

About the Author

Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait. A lawyer specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, she has 30 years of experience with the United Nations (UNHCR, UNDP, OCHA) and international NGOs. Follow Yasmine on twitter. Education Cannot Wait, a new multilateral global fund hosted by UNICEF, was set up with the special mandate to address the funding gap for education in crisis. By 2021, the Fund aims to mobilize an additional US$1.8 billion in finance to reach approximately 8.9 million children.



Education DayToday we celebrate the first International Day of Education.

Education transforms lives. As United Nations Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai once said: “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. Nelson Mandela rightly called education “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Long before I served at the United Nations or held public office in my own country, 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 and improve health. We need education to achieve gender equality and eliminate child marriage. We need education to protect our planet’s resources. And we need education to fight hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance, and to nurture global citizenship.

Yet at least 262 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school, most of them girls.  Millions more who attend school are not mastering the basics.

This is a violation of their human right to education. The world cannot afford a generation of children and young people who lack the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy, nor can we afford to leave behind half of humanity.

We must do far more to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education can also break and reverse cycles of intergenerational poverty. Studies show that if all girls and boys complete secondary education, 420 million people could be lifted out of poverty.

Let us prioritize education as a public good; support it with cooperation, partnerships and funding; and recognize that leaving no one behind starts with education.



Twitter #EducationDay




Sarah Brown connecting with children in the field. Photo © Theirworld
Sarah Brown connecting with children in the field. Photo © Theirworld


Sarah Brown is a passionate advocate for global education and health issues. One of the true leaders in advocating for improved resource mobilization to reach the 75 million children and youth living in crisis today that need support in accessing safe and reliable education, Sarah’s work brings together the worlds of business, philanthropy, social media and charity campaigning.

She is the Chair of the children’s charity Theirworld and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education. At the nexus of humanitarian relief, development and private-sector engagement, Sarah’s work through Theirworld and other charities is paving the way to mobilize more funds for the girls and boys living in the midst of war, conflict and protracted crisis that need immediate and lasting support to ensure no one is left behind in our global efforts to provide inclusive and equitable education for every child on earth by 2030.

Sarah has been a long-time champion for Education Cannot Wait. We caught up with the education luminary to get her perspectives on education in emergencies, lessons learned from the new Theirworld report ‘Safe Schools: The Hidden Crisis,’ the need for partnerships and a number of related topics.

Photo © Theirworld
Photo © Theirworld

Can you tell us why education in emergencies and crisis must be a priority for the international community to advance gender-equality, the SDGs, peace and stability?

SB: Education is at the heart of young people’s future, their communities and our planet – and never more so than for those caught up in crises rarely of their own making.

Theirworld has just completed a eye-opening report on safe schools and learning environments which underscores the scale of the challenge, and highlights exactly what we can do about it. In 2030, one-third of all school age young people will live in countries affected by conflict, humanitarian disaster and violence.  And shockingly, 75 per cent will not have the most basic skills required for employment. That means the vast majority of young people living in emergencies will be left behind and without hope for a brighter future. That is why education in emergencies is so important.

Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. Photo © UN/Mark Garten
Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. Photo © UN/Mark Garten

Why was Education Cannot Wait created and how did the Global Business Coalition for Education and Theirworld contribute to make it a reality?

SB: Education Cannot Wait was the positive response to the void in the global architecture of financing for education in emergencies. The history of humanitarian relief has been to act to deliver to short-term needs – food, shelter, emergency medical support – but there was no plan for education. Now that it is the norm for a crisis to last years and not just weeks or months, we need to offer education in emergency situations with a  bridge to the future.

As much as development organizations wanted to help they were unable to work with the speed needed in an emergency — and most are not able to operate in some of the countries where the largest numbers of refugees were living. This means that children were waiting years before education was funded and deprived of all hope.

I remember when Theirworld published a report a few years ago laying out the plan for delivering education to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We had all of the major actors in the room — but there was no one capable of delivering the plan despite the willingness to help. That became the basis for the Lebanon RACE initiative — which started a new way of working between partners to deliver education in emergencies.

It was immediately clear at that point that we needed to create something to deliver education in emergencies with humanitarian speed and development depth wherever it is required in the world.  We were hearing strong messages from Theirworld’s cohort of Global Youth Ambassadors that this was a top priority — so we put our energy and resources into a campaign to create a new fund specifically for education in emergencies.

At the start, it wasn’t the most popular idea to campaign for (too difficult, too dangerous, too different- the Global Youth Ambassadors heard it all) but today, one million of young people are being given a chance at education because we all came together and stood up for the most marginalized children and youth.

At Theirworld we also wanted to make sure the business community plays its part to deliver free, quality education as a valued partner. So we made a pledge to bring business behind Education Cannot Wait. We helped ensure there was a business representative on the High-Level Steering Group and then really focused on how to make practical use of business assets to solve challenges alongside governments, international organizations and delivery NGOs.

Julie Cram of USAID and Justin van Fleet of the Global Business Coalition for Education, an initiative of Theirworld, are chairing the group which has made significant progress on private-sector engagement in support of Education Cannot Wait — with both practical examples of progress as well as the innovative thinking that seeks out the high-hanging fruit of real, lasting improvements.

Children in Afghanistan schools. Photo © Education Cannot Wait
Children in Afghanistan schools. Photo © Education Cannot Wait

Can you explore why Education Cannot Wait’s model is promising in making a difference on the ground, and the progress thus far.

SB: What I admire about ECW is that it is operationally based on results. I am also astonished (in a good way) on its speed of delivery. It truly lives up to its name: Education Cannot Wait.

Education is a human right and the passion and creativity with which Education Cannot Wait is operating is impressive.  At times, people heads spin a bit because it is such a new way of working — but that is what we need if we are to achieve SDG 4.

The multi-year programs — which are now crowding in funding in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Uganda — are basically replicating and improving on Lebanon’s RACE model in the various emergency contexts and building a bridge to development while protecting development funding.

I could not be prouder of Theirworld’s role in pushing for the innovation for Syrian refugees education in Lebanon, and now seeing this same idea replicated in other parts of the world welcoming in refugees fleeing from conflict and seeking education for the children. We often both say that our organisations are full of ‘next generation actionists’ and these new programmes are the proof of that.

Children in Chad. Photo © Devaki Erande/JRS

Please help us explore the importance of partnerships with Education Cannot Wait, including development donors, humanitarian donors as well as the private sector and foundations.

SB: Partnerships lie at the core of all success stories in the humanitarian world – to deliver education in emergences as rapidly and successfully as Education Cannot Wait, partnerships are needed with donors of all kinds from governments to philanthropists to business.

In Theirworld’s new Safe Schools report, we set out three categories to help actors identify interventions that reflect their areas of interest, organisational objectives, and comparative advantages – and they are immediately relevant to Education Cannot Wait:

1. Prioritise safe schools and learning environments in organisational and government policies

2. Invest in safe schools and learning environments by ensuring adequate financing is available and supports best practice

3. Deliver results for children and youth through safe schools and learning environment programming which scales up best practice through direct engagement with affected communities

At the Global Business Coalition for Education, the new REACT platform with private sector and foundations is being developed to map out who can deliver what, where and how fast for education in an emergency. This exists to work with Education Cannot Wait projects and is a great example of partnership in rapid action.

Delivering emergency school supplies with Education Cannot Wait funding. Photo © Devaki Erande/JRS

Any other points and messages you would like to make?

SB: Like all good action plans, this approach to delivering education in emergencies is rooted in the philosophy that only through next-generation partnerships, and working together in non-traditional ways, can we collectively rise to the challenge of creating a greater impact for the next generation and to enable children to reach their full potential. At Theirworld we stand by that, and are privileged when we work with Education Cannot Wait that we find a like-minded partner.

Sarah Brown. Photo © Theirworld
Sarah Brown. Photo © Theirworld

Let’s act before it’s too late: the urgent need for action on the hidden safe school crisis

 Justin van Fleet is the Director of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity & Chief Advisor to Theirworld.

When Education Cannot Wait was established, its founders knew there was an immediate issue which needed solved: systematically, education was not seriously included in humanitarian response plans and the link between emergencies and longer-term development was missing. A new way of working was necessary.

Continue reading “Let’s act before it’s too late: the urgent need for action on the hidden safe school crisis”

PRESS RELEASE: Multi-million-dollar project to construct schools in refugee camps and host communities launched in Ethiopia

Multi-million-dollar project to construct schools in refugee camps and host communities launched in Ethiopia

 The project is part of a US$15m grant from the Education Cannot Wait global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and humanitarian crisis and will benefit 12,000 children.

 Addis Ababa, 10 December 2018: A project to construct schools in refugee camps and host communities in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz regions in Ethiopia has been launched. Part of a US$15 million two-year investment in refugee education in Ethiopia by Education Cannot Wait, the project will construct three new inclusive model secondary schools, 41 classrooms in eight secondary schools, and 84 classrooms in four primary schools. About 12,000 children from refugee camps and the surrounding host communities – half of them girls – are expected to benefit.

Continue reading “PRESS RELEASE: Multi-million-dollar project to construct schools in refugee camps and host communities launched in Ethiopia”



By Aida Orgocka

“If you are a girl, 11 years old, and disabled, you may not as well exist.” It was a blunt comment to my remark that I did not see any disabled children in the schools I visited last week in two refugee settlements in the West Nile region in Uganda.

Worldwide, one in every 10 children has a disability – and the proportion is even higher in areas with armed conflict, protracted crises or disasters. But, unless we ask about them, they are invisible. Cut off from the world, cut off from their education, play and laughter. Children with disabilities are perhaps the least serviced community when it comes to providing inclusive, accessible, reliable and safe access to education for children living in crisis.

Education Cannot Wait is investing to reverse this phenomenon. Making a difference in the lives of disabled children living in crises can be challenging, but it should not stop us from doing it. As part of a global movement to bring education to all vulnerable children living in crises, we are investing in solutions to make a positive change and pull disabled children out of the shadows and into the light.


Impairment can be a lot of irreversible issues, congenital, an illness, an injury. But disability is about inaccessible environment, discrimination, poverty, lack of opportunities, all human made. And it can be reversible.

Having said that, the reality of living in a refugee or displacement camp or in the midst of crisis can be harsh. Most disabled children in crises settings live in tough places – rough terrain, no electricity, distance to travel to access water, few ill-equipped schools, limited access to health services. Even healthy children struggle to survive, to access education, to find toys to play with, and to find hope. For girls, it’s even harder. Now imagine being a girl in a wheelchair?

For this girl – and the millions more like her – accessing education is extremely difficult.

Let’s start with the basics. If you are in a wheelchair and live in a displacement camp in Uganda way out in the countryside by the border with South Sudan, just getting to school is a challenge. Most wheelchairs and accessibility devices are ill-equipped for this rough terrain. And wheelchair ramps? Forget about it.

Let’s say, however, that your parents overcome the stigma of having a disabled child and figure out a way to get you to class. From there, you risk facing the brutality, bullying and ridicule of your peers – children can be pretty tough on their peers sometimes, especially if there are no measures in place to address discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.

In one of the refugee settlements in Uganda, some teenage refugee boys from South Sudan suggested we could get them bicycles and they would ride children with disabilities to school. Sure, I thought, great idea.

But they added that they would rather these kids be set apart in different classrooms. They felt that in these already congested classrooms with more than 50 students vying for the teacher’s attention, they would be left out.

This is a real challenge. In fact, teachers in these settings are undertrained, underpaid and ill-equipped to deal with students with disabilities. Sometimes their own knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards disability are also part of the problem.

We have a problem of stigma, a problem of access, a problem of capacity. So how do we deal with it?


This is what people call a wicked problem. And the only solution to wicked problems are courageous solutions, not one-off stints. That means a whole-of-system approach.

We can’t just give children souped-up wheelchairs. We have to create behavior change across society, and we have to engage with all the actors across the human-development-education-emergency-response field to create integrated solutions.

Our friends at UNICEF have been working on this problem for a long time. Some solutions are presented in their guidance on Children Living with Disabilities in Humanitarian Crisis.

In order to do this, Education Cannot Wait is investing in programs that mainstream gender equality and equity including disability. We collectively work to make inclusive quality education a reality for disabled children. They cannot be an after-thought.

Inclusive education is a government policy in Uganda. As one colleague remarked deliberate efforts for inclusive education come with a cost but this should not deter us.

In the refugee settlements in Uganda it starts with understanding and creating a culture of inclusion. To push this, teachers (our frontline ambassadors for engagement with children with disabilities living in crisis), need to be sensitized to the value of inclusion, need to be trained on dealing with children with special needs and need to be given the tools they need to address the issue.

Yes, engaging with parents and communities is important, but let’s not forget to make young girls and boys key agents of change. What a wonderful world it would be to see a child biking with a friend with a disability to school and sharing notes as they prepare for school exams!

And how about inviting organizations that provide disability services to sit in the same aid coordination fora with those who specialize in providing education services? They would have so much to say about what inclusive education is and how to help children with disabilities live a normal life.

No matter how we look at the problem, as we connect to reach the Sustainable Development Goals for inclusion, universal access to education and peace, it is certainly clear that we need to take immediate action. One-off responses are no longer enough, we need a collective response to ensure that being in a wheelchair, developmentally challenged or having special needs is not a sealed fate. No girl or boy living in crises should be left behind.

About the Author

Aida Orgocka is the Gender Advisor for Education Cannot Wait.

Photo: Geofrey Arum, Save the Children.
Children in Uganda. Photo: Geofrey Arum, Save the Children.



2 December 2018, New York – The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced a significant new CAD$50 million (US$38 million) pledge to Education Cannot Wait during today’s Global Citizen Festival in South Africa.

The Government of Canada stressed that its contribution will “improve children’s education in countries facing humanitarian emergencies and crises” and that “investing in education, especially in crisis situations, empowers girls and prepares them for the future”.

This new pledge from Canada to Education Cannot Wait tops up its initial US$15 million contribution for a total of US$53 million in contributions to date. Canada is now the second-largest donor to the Fund.

The funding will provide much-needed gender-responsive education for girls living in the midst of crisis, in war zones, in refugee camps, in displacement and in emergencies settings.

Canada’s pledge marks an important milestone as leaders from the G7 step up efforts to deliver on the commitments of this year’s Charlevoix Declaration, which promises to increase equal access to quality education for girls and women.

In the declaration, G7 leaders underscored the value of a quality education for girls in crisis settings to “promote peace and security and drive improved health and life outcomes” and committed to “continue investing in girls’, adolescent girls’ and women’s quality education in developing countries, including in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states”.

“Canada’s pledge sends a clear signal to the world that girls and adolescent girls everywhere can no longer be left behind, that they deserve equal access to education and opportunities. Today, Canada, together with the broad coalition of Education Cannot Wait’s partners, is telling the world that girls matter. We are telling the world that education cannot wait for the 39 million girls living in war and disaster that don’t have the opportunity to go to class, learn and thrive,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund for education in crisis and emergencies hosted by UNICEF, seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to provide access to safe, reliable, quality education for 8.9 million children – half of whom will be girls – enduring some of the worst possible human conditions on the planet.

Girls and adolescent girls living in crisis are often excluded from education. They are 2.5 times more likely to be out of primary school and 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in countries where there is no crisis. Girls’ access to quality education in conflict and crises settings helps to protect them against the risks of childhood marriage and early pregnancies, sexual assault and gender-based violence.


Click here to download the PDF version


Notes to Editors:

For more information on Education Cannot Wait, visit:

For press enquiries, contact:

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


About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

Education Cannot Wait 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







2 décembre 2018, New York – Le premier ministre du Canada, Justin Trudeau, a annoncé une nouvelle contribution de 50 millions de dollars CA (38 millions dollars USD) au fonds Education Cannot Wait dans le cadre du Global Citizen Festival aujourd’hui en Afrique du Sud.

Le gouvernement du Canada a souligné que cette contribution va « améliorer l’éducation des enfants dans les pays touchés par des urgences et des crises humanitaires » et « qu’investir dans l’éducation, surtout en situation de crise, renforce le pouvoir des filles et les prépare pour l’avenir. »

Cette nouvelle contribution du gouvernement du Canada à Education Cannot Wait s’ajoute à sa contribution initiale de 15 millions de dollars USD pour un total de 53 millions de dollars USD à ce jour, hissant le Canada au deuxième rang des plus importants donateurs du Fonds.

Le financement permettra d’assurer un accès équitable des filles et adolescentes vivant dans des zones touchées par les guerres et les crises humanitaires, dans des camps de réfugiés ou en situation de déplacement interne, à une éducation qui leur fait cruellement défaut. Le tout, à travers des programmes d’éducation prenant en compte la dimension genre.

Cette contribution du Canada constitue une étape importante dans les efforts des dirigeants du G7 pour tenir les engagements pris dans la Déclaration de Charlevoix plus tôt cette année. Le texte promet d’accroître l’égalité de l’accès à une éducation de qualité pour les filles et les femmes.

Dans la Déclaration, les dirigeants du G7 ont souligné l’importance d’une éducation de qualité pour les filles vivant dans des situations de conflits et crises: «  une éducation de qualité favorise la paix et la sécurité et favorise l’amélioration de la santé et de la qualité de vie », ils  se sont engagés à « investir dans une éducation de qualité pour les filles, les adolescentes et les femmes dans les pays en développement, y compris dans les États en situation d’urgence, en proie à des conflits et fragilisés. »

« La contribution du Canada est un signal clair pour le monde entier que les filles et les adolescentes ne peuvent plus être laissées pour compte, qu’elles méritent un accès égal à l’éducation et à des chances égales. Aujourd’hui, le Canada et la vaste coalition de partenaires du fonds Education Cannot Wait, disent au monde entier que les filles sont importantes. Nous disons que l’éducation des 39 millions de filles et adolescentes qui sont dans des situations de guerre et de catastrophes et n’ont pas la possibilité d’aller en classe, d’apprendre et de s’épanouir ne peut pas attendre », a déclaré Yasmine Sherif, Directrice de Education Cannot Wait.

Education Cannot Wait est un nouveau fonds mondial pour l’éducation dans les situations de crise et d’urgences. Le Fonds, hébergé par l’UNICEF, cherche à mobiliser 1,8 milliard de dollars USD d’ici 2021 afin de fournir un accès à une éducation fiable, de qualité et dans un environnement protecteur à 8,9 millions d’enfants – dont une moitié sont des filles – vivant dans des conditions parmi les plus difficiles sur la planète.

Dans les situations de crises engendrées par les guerres et les catastrophes, les filles et les adolescentes ont un accès plus limité à l’éducation. Elles sont 2,5 fois plus susceptibles de ne pas fréquenter l’école primaire et 90 % plus susceptibles de ne pas fréquenter l’école secondaire que les filles dans les pays où il n’y a pas de crise. Un meilleur accès à une éducation de qualité aide à les protéger contre les risques accrus de mariages et grossesses précoces, d’agressions sexuelles et de violences basées sur le genre.


Cliquez ici pour télécharger le PDF



Pour plus d’informations sur Education Cannot Wait, visitez:

Contact pour la presse:

Anouk Desgroseilliers,, +1 917 640-6820


À propos du fonds Education Cannot Wait  (ECW)

Education Cannot Wait (« L’Éducation ne peut attendre ») est le premier fonds mondial dédié à l’éducation en situation d’urgence. Il a été lancé par des acteurs internationaux de l’aide humanitaire et du développement, ainsi que des donateurs publics et privés, pour répondre aux besoins éducatifs urgents de 75 millions d’enfants et adolescents touchés par des situations de conflits et de crises. Les modalités d’investissement du Fonds visent à instaurer une approche plus collaborative entre les acteurs sur le terrain, en veillant à ce que les acteurs humanitaires et de développement unissent leurs forces pour obtenir des résultats en matière d’éducation.



Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Residents at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. UN Photo/Mark Garten


28 November 2018, Beirut – Language is power. To empower its students and improve French teaching and learning – especially for Syrian refugees who have struggled to progress and thrive in classes primarily taught in the French language – UNESCO is partnering with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) to scale up the impacts of a US$2.2 million project funded by Education Cannot Wait.

The project will promote the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in French for both Lebanese and non-Lebanese students to improve learning outcomes in core subjects. In a bilingual society, this will contribute to improvements in transition and retention rates, and provide a safer, more effective learning environment for recent arrivals fleeing the war, chaos and danger in Syria.

“This investment in developing the capacity of schools and teachers to deliver quality education to vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian children is one of the high priorities of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon to stress that access and enrollment to schools are not enough to ensure quality learning,” said Mr. Fadi Yarak, Director General of Education at the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education. “We have to continuously improve to deliver the best education for these children to ensure that they successfully finish their school years and move on to a brighter future.”


Development of Lebanon’s education sector was disrupted by the onset of the Syria Crisis, which obliged the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) to focus on coordinating and managing an emergency response.

Since 2011, MEHE has created places for more than 200,000 non-Lebanese, primarily Syrian, students in its public schools, from a starting point of around 3,000. As a result, the kindergarten to Grade 9 public school population has doubled in the last seven years.

The Ministry’s focus from 2018 is on transitioning from emergency response to meeting the development challenges of managing a protracted crisis. This is critical if Lebanon is to be able to offer all children the kind of education envisaged in Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030.

Around three-quarters of Lebanon’s public schools use French as the primary language for instruction for core subjects including mathematics and science from Grade 4 onwards. Students’ ability to learn effectively and progress is therefore highly dependent on developing functional literacy in a second language in early grades, supplemented by continuous, targeted, pupil-centric support from teachers onwards.

While many Lebanese students find the transition from Arabic to French instruction challenging, this issue is compounded for their non-Lebanese peers. These students are overwhelmingly Syrian nationals who have fled the conflict in their home country. Seven years into the Syria Crisis, half of all pupils enrolled in public schools are non-Lebanese. This presents significant challenges for the system, teachers, communities and students themselves.

“I believe that Education Cannot Wait has a very important role to play both to Lebanon and in other countries across the region. ECW’s financial resources and investments focus on quality education and powerful political advocacy, making ECW an impressive vehicle to influence and bring change,” said Philippe Lazzarini, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon and the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative. “Although we now have 200,000 Syrian students absorbed in Lebanese public schools, we have approximately 300,000 more who are out of school, largely girls and youth over 14 years old.”

Lazzarini went on to underscore the value of this investment, encouraging its replication and scaling up across all regions in Lebanon to address the pressing needs of vulnerable host communities and displaced populations.


Addressing education in crisis in the extremely complex region requires multiple bespoke approaches, engagement with a wide variety actors, innovation and flexibility. In neighboring Syria, Education Cannot Wait-funded activities have reached nearly 30,000 children, including over 15,000 girls. In the Occupied Territories of Palestine, Education Cannot Wait-funded activities have reached over 138,000 children, including 67,300 girls. (Figures June 2018)

“Quality education is an essential building block for peace, stability and a better future in this region,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund for education in crisis hosted by UNICEF that is looking to mobilize US$1.8 billion to reach 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021. ““This project enables Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese to effectively study core subjects and participate in the cultural heritage of diversity, art and literature. Such pluralism is a critical aspect of education for peace and stability.”


  • Supporting schools, teachers and students, with a range of high quality, teaching and learning software, materials and equipment, focused on Francophone education.
  • Building the capacity of the existing cadre of teacher coaches (DOPS Counselors) to support teachers in the classrooms of French medium schools, with an emphasis on math and science, as well as French language.
  • Sharing and debating the results of the project and the broader issues of Francophone teaching and learning, and of education in non-mother tongues through a series of workshops and seminars, and producing learning materials and resources.

To download the PDF version click here.


UN Photo: Isaac Billy
UN Photo: Isaac Billy


26 November 2018, Strasbourg – The European Parliament announced earlier this month new support for Education Cannot Wait, calling on the European Commission and Member States to increase funding for the new global fund for education in crisis.

In their resolution on European Union development assistance in the field of education, the Parliament welcomed the Commission’s objective of “devoting 10 per cent of the Union’s humanitarian aid to education from 2019.”

The resolution stresses that “education of refugee or displaced children must be regarded as a priority from the very outset; emphasizes the importance of supporting countries affected by fragility and conflict to improve the resilience of their education systems and guarantee access to quality education – including secondary education – for refugee children and young refugees, internally displaced children and their host communities.”

“EU’s landmark resolution shows European commitment to education in emergencies and protracted crisis. In line with the new EU Policy Framework approving 10% of education in emergencies and crisis in May this year, it follows years of EU leadership in making quality education for children and youth affected by conflicts and natural disasters a priority in humanitarian crisis,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, a new global Fund hosted by UNICEF dedicated to providing safe, reliable education for 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021.

“The collective commitment to action is very inspiring,” said Sherif. “With the bold new EU policy framework and EU resolution, as well as the generous G7 Summit in Charlevoix for girls and women education in crisis, and now the outstanding Global Education Monitoring Report for 2019 spearheaded by UNESCO, we have all reason to be hopeful. We are hopeful that the financial needs to deliver quality education to 75 million children and youth in emergencies and crisis are fully materialized. Through collective commitments of this kind, we see a powerful and action-oriented promise for real change.”


The European Council set a strong policy agenda in support of education in emergencies and protracted crises in its Conclusions  adopted on 26 November.

“The Council expresses its grave concern that more than 75 million children affected by emergencies and protracted crises have no access to quality education. The Council is equally concerned that violence is on the increase in and around the education environment. Education is a human right that must be upheld in all contexts as an essential means to help children and young people meet their full potential, to strengthen individual, community and country resilience, to achieve sustainable development and to ensure peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies.”

The Council reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring access to inclusive lifelong learning and safe, equitable quality education and training at all levels in emergency and crisis situations. It also welcomed the comprehensive approach to education in emergencies and protracted crises, which includes preparedness, disaster risk reduction, prevention, mitigation, rapid response, and a commitment to building resilient education systems.