The Secret of Change

Director's Corner
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Yasmine Sherif and youths

As famously stated by Socrates: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” It is in that spirit that the Secretary-General’s first-ever Transforming Education Summit took place during the United Nations General Assembly Week. The youth emerged as a powerful force of inspiration. Their determination, knowledge and passion fueled the United Nations with energy – an energy that we need to retain and nurture from here onwards.

Commitments made at the Transforming Education Summit can be realized if we channel that powerful energy into action. Financing education means action, as it is essential in delivering quality education to every child and adolescent around the globe. In this vein, one of the most groundbreaking mechanisms presented at the Summit was the International Financing Facility (IFFEd), which pioneers a complementary approach to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The numbers of children and adolescents around the globe who are out of school or not achieving basic proficiency are growing by the day. None can address this global learning crisis alone.

At Education Cannot Wait, our recently released research has established that 222 million children and youth are deprived of quality education in emergencies and protracted crises. This horrifying figure represents the dreams of 222 million young lives on the brink of losing hope. They are the ones left furthest behind and thus we applaud that education in emergencies and protracted crises was put at the very center of the Summit.

Through generous new funding to ECW by the LEGO Foundation, Germany and the United States made at the UN General Assembly and Global Citizen Festival, we saw commitments turning into action immediately. Indeed, transformation can only happen in the future if action is taken today. During UNGA, we launched our new 2023-2026 Strategic Plan and our Case for Investment on behalf of the 222 million children and adolescents left furthest behind in armed conflicts, climate-induced disasters and as refugees.

Building on the momentum, we continue our #222MillionDreams✨📚 Campaign toward ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference in February 2023 in Geneva. Hosted by Switzerland and Education Cannot Wait – and co-convened by Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan – the conference calls on government donors, private sector, foundations and high-net-worth individuals to turn commitments into action by making substantive funding contributions to ECW.  
By mobilizing US$1.5 billion against our Strategic Plan, our partners across government, private sector, UN agencies, civil society and local communities will be able to reach 20 million children and adolescents with whole-of-child educational solutions. We can change lives and transform societies.
Alongside our government donors, the private sector is increasingly showing this to be true. In this month’s newsletter, the high-level interview with Sigrid van Aken, CEO of Novamedia/Postcode Lottery Group, is a living testimony of what can be done when crowding-in resources and delivering through coordinated and cooperative partnerships.
Let’s keep the momentum alive.
This week, on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate all the teachers – often affected by crisis themselves. Behind every student, there is a teacher who suffers too and yet serves as a mentor, a guide and a source of inspiration and knowledge.
Let us learn from them and serve as an example. While the secret of change is indeed energy and focus, it also calls on us to be the change we wish to see.

About our Director

ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine Sherif

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