Education Cannot Wait and UN Girls’ Education Initiative Form Partnership to Support Gender-responsive Approaches for Education in Emergencies

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‘this is about putting girls first in everything we do.’ Yasmine Sherif, Education Cannot Wait director

In its efforts to protect girls and mainstream gender for educational responses in emergencies, Education Cannot Wait and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) signed an agreement that will improve cooperation and partnership between the two bodies.

“This is about putting girls first in all that we do. Girls in crisis are subjected to multiple human rights violations because of their gender, such as sexual and other forms of physical violence, including child marriage and trafficking. Girls’ access to quality education is both a form of protection and empowerment to bring an end to gender-injustice.” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of 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 and youth annually – half of whom are girls.

Through the new partnership, UNGEI will support Education Cannot Wait with technical expertise, ensuring the systematic integration of gender into the design, delivery, and monitoring and reporting on Education Cannot Wait investments in crisis-affected countries.

The partnership will also support the alignment of Education Cannot Wait investments with global initiatives and propel advocacy efforts to eliminate barriers to girls’ education in crisis settings.

“Breaking barriers for girls’ education in crisis situations, where gender inequalities are most acute, is at the heart of UNGEI’s work. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to join forces with ECW in order to progress this shared agenda. This new partnership will enable us to support local partners in the design of educational programmes for girls in the most challenging contexts,” said  Nora Fyles, Director of UNGEI.

Girls in crisis settings are two and a half times more likely to be out of school than boys at the primary level and 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in countries where there is no crisis.

Investing in education for girls is a powerful tool for global social and economic resilience. 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, their lifetime earnings could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion.

Gender equality and equity is at the core of Education Cannot Wait’s investments that aim to support the delivery of quality, safe and inclusive education to the most marginalized children in crisis settings.  The Fund is addressing gender disparities in and through education by promoting safe and protective learning environments, improving learning and skills for teachers, and ensuring greater continuity and sustainability for gender-responsive education responses in crisis settings.

UNGEI is a multi-stakeholder partnership committed to improving the quality and availability of girls’ education and contributing to the empowerment of girls and women through transformative education. The initiative strives to promote girls’ education and gender equality through policy advocacy and support to governments and other development actors to deliver on the gender and education-related Sustainable Development Goals. UNGEI promotes the building of evidence and sharing of good practice in girls’ education and gender equality, and seeks to strengthen collaboration and partnership.


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