Education Cannot Wait Announces US$2 Million First Emergency Response Grant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

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UNHCR school

Delivered by UNHCR in coordination with the Government of the DRC and other partners, new investment provides educational support for refugees and host-community children and adolescents 

Kinshasa/New York

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today US$2 million in new funding to provide life-saving educational support for refugees and host-community children and adolescents in the Nord Ubangi province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The fast-acting 12-month First Emergency Response grant was announced by the Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, at the end of a one-week mission to the DRC. It will be delivered by The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in coordination with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other strategic partners.

The grant will support both refugee and host community girls and boys on getting back to safe and protective learning environments in host government schools, an approach consistent with the aspirations of the Global Compact on Refugees and the sustainable development goals to “leave no one behind.”

The funding builds on the positive results of ECW’s First Emergency Response launched last year and implemented by UNHCR and local partners and communities, together with the government, in response to the refugees arriving from Central African Republic.

Through the programme, over 8,000 children and adolescents have been enrolled in school and 56 classrooms were built/rehabilitated to date, with implementation still ongoing.

“I witnessed first-hand the refugees crossing after a harrowing journey from CAR and the generosity of the government and local communities hosting them. For vulnerable children, particularly girls, education offers protection and hope. Many girls and boys who had never been to school in their home country now benefit from an opportunity to learn and thrive. With this new grant allocation, we can ensure to sustain and expand the response and build on this successful programme,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

This new investment from ECW has helped to close the funding gap. However, UNHCR still requires an additional US$3.94 million to fully meet CAR refugee education needs in 2022 and US$6.5 million for 2023. UNHCR has the capacity and partnerships in place but urgently needs the funding to fully implement its plans.

The DRC has a long history of welcoming and hosting refugees and has a goal of providing universal access to quality education for host community, internally displaced and refugee children alike. Nevertheless, with conflicts, displacements, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and other epidemics such as Ebola disrupting development gains, as many as 3.2 million children (aged 6-11) are out of school, with less than 1 out of 10 possessing basic reading skills.

According to UNHCR, DRC is host to more than 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers (as of September 2022) from the Central African Republic. In total, there are over 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers in DRC currently, among which more than 60% of the population is less than 18 years old.

“The new funding from ECW comes at such a critical time and UNHCR DRC, on behalf of the refugee and their hosting community, remains deeply grateful to ECW for the renewed trust and commitment. Once again, this new funding will help to ensure the results and gains made in education service delivery in the northern province of Nord Ubangi are not lost, but also expanded to other refugee and host community children and youth. UNHCR continues to appeal to other donors to extend support to other equally under-resourced refugee hosting areas in the DRC, this not least as Education serves multiple purposes: Protection, Solution and Prevention; thereby confirming the triangulation of the three UN Charter Pillars,” said Angele Dikongue-Atangana, UNHCR Representative in the DRC.

  • Download photos of the ongoing programme here.
  • Download video/b-roll of the ongoing programme here.

Note to Editors

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth.  The Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference, co-hosted by ECW and Switzerland, and co-convened with Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan, will take place February 16-17, 2023, in Geneva. 

On Twitter, please follow: @EduCannotWait, @YasmineSherif1, @KentPage


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Joel Smith,, +243  825 257 774
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