It’s The Final Countdown

Director's Corner
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It's the Final Countdown

In one week, on 16-17 February, the world will converge in Geneva – the United Nations humanitarian capital – for the first Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference (HLFC). From near and afar, ECW stakeholders around the globe will travel to Switzerland to represent our shared determination in delivering on the foundational Sustainable Development Goal 4 in humanitarian crises: quality education for children and adolescents in conflicts, climate disasters and forced displacement. With just days to go, it’s the final countdown to the HLFC and to delivering on #222MillionDreams✨📚.

Following on the heels of the UN Secretary-General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, the ECW Conference showcases our shared transformation of the delivery of education into the 21st century. The HLFC is co-hosted by ECW and the Government of Switzerland, and co-convened by the Governments of Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway, and South Sudan.

The High-Level Financing Conference features important pledging sessions with our strategic donor partners, a spotlight on girls’ education in Afghanistan, plenary sessions on ECW’s models of joint programming and responses, forced displacement, and climate-induced disasters, as well as a number of highly relevant breakout sessions on early learning, girls’ education and children with disabilities.

This is the moment to stand up for crisis-affected children and adolescents in an action-oriented and meaningful way. Through the High-Level Financing Conference, ECW will have the resources to scale up joint programming and ensure cost-efficiency, speed and quality in the education sector, which in turn lays the ground for eliminating poverty, establishing gender-equality and solidifying partnerships in the world’s most crisis-affected countries and regions.

As the co-conveners of the Conference so eloquently put it in their recent joint statement: “Education is our investment in peace where there is war, our investment in equality where there is injustice, our investment in prosperity where there is poverty.” In other words, education is our investment in the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Human Rights.

In this spirit, children worldwide have written letters to global leaders to highlight what access to an education has meant for them. Our #PostcardsFromTheEdge campaign features remarkable stories of hope and resilience on the frontlines. As we make our final push toward #HLFC2023, I encourage you to read the compelling stories of LucasDarlineZehab and other children surviving and thriving against all odds through accessing a quality education.  

Indeed, as Patricia Danzi, Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, stresses in this month’s high-level interview: “Quality education is a crucial building block for the development of societies and for our economies. Education plays an important role in building more stable and peaceful countries, and it can be a bridge out of a crisis situation.”

In one week, nearly two-thousand like-minded partners will convene in-person in Geneva and on-line from around the world, to reaffirm the imperative and universal fact: by investing in education for those left furthest behind in crises, we can achieve all other SDGs and human rights.

May this be the milestone for our next and absolute final countdown: to reach 222 million children and adolescents in crises with quality education, so their full potentials are realized and their dreams are achieved.

Yasmine Sherif  
Executive Director
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
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ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine Sherif

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