Education Cannot Wait Extends Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Central African Republic with US$40 Million Catalytic Grant, Total ECW Funding Tops US$67 Million

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Child attending school

Delivered by UNICEF, NRC and Plan International, expanded programme will provide over 92,000 girls and boys every year with quality learning opportunities.

New York

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today US$40 million in additional funding to extend its Multi-Year Resilience Programme in the Central Africa Republic.

The four-year programme will be delivered by UNICEF, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Plan International, and will reach more than 92,000 crisis-impacted girls and boys every year. Total cumulative ECW funding in the Central African Republic now tops US$67 million.

The Central African Republic is one of the world’s least developed and most volatile countries. Hunger, poverty, conflict, displacement, climate change, political unrest and other related crises are putting children at severe risk.

Only one in three children finish primary education, and just 12% will graduate from secondary school. At least 1.5 million school-aged children are in need of education support. Armed groups are attacking schools and targeting children, rising serious concerns for the welfare of girls and boys impacted by the ongoing conflict.

“We must rise up for the children of the Central African Republic. Without safe and protective learning environments, girls face sexual assaults, early marriage and other forms of gender-based violence. Boys are being recruited into armed groups and forced to drop out of school to find work. This must stop today. By ensuring access to quality learning environments, we are sowing the seeds of peace, stability and economic progress in Central African Republic,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The new round of funding builds on ECW’s multiple investments in the Central African Republic, which have reached a quarter of a million children, built or rehabilitated over 500 classrooms, and provided financial support to thousands of teachers.  

“Children in the Central African Republic are in dire need of our support; the continuous instability and the poverty reigning across the country has made them amongst the most vulnerable. Yet, every one of them still has aspirations and dreams. That’s why we are thankful for ECW’s contribution to this programme as it ensures that children in crisis zones, especially young girls, have access to the tools that will enable them to turn their dreams into reality one day,” said Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic.

“Education gives children, girls and boys, affected by the armed conflict in the Central African Republic new hope for a better life and the skills to overcome their vulnerability,” said Houssaini Ouedraogo, Central African Republic Country Director Plan International. 

“The violence generated by conflict for more than a decade in CAR has devastated the education system and affected the protection status of children, who are at risk of dropping out of school, joining armed groups, and various other forms of violence. Only 29% of Central African children attend school regularly. It is projected that by 2023, 1.4 million children will be in need of education. Through ECW's flexible, multi-year funding, education programmes are building the skills of young girls and boys and giving them hope for a better future with dignity,” said Tchatat Yakwa Godain Powel, NRC Country Director for Central African Republic.

The expanded Multi-Year Resilience Programme aims to address the country's most urgent needs at the intersection of humanitarian assistance and development programming.

The programme increases access for children and adolescents to a quality education in safe and protective learning environments, strengthens national and local education systems, and provides targeted support for girls and children with disabilities.   

There is a significant gap in humanitarian funding for education in the Central African Republic. Reports from 2021 indicate that only 43% of the requested funding was delivered, while in 2020 it was only 11%. To reach its targets, the ECW seed funding grant requires approximately US$20 million in additional resources. Fully funded, the programme will reach a total of 188,000 children and adolescents.

Worldwide, 222 million children are having their dreams of an education ripped from them by conflict, climate change and other crises. ECW is calling on donors, the private sector and high-net-worth individuals to provide additional resources at next year’s  High-Level Financing Conference to fund ECW’s four-year strategic plan, which seeks to reach 20 million children.

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 Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan, will take place February 16-17, 2023, in Geneva. 

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