On International Women’s Day, Education Cannot Wait Announces US$1.35 Million Investment to Advance Gender Equality in Education in Emergencies & Protracted Crises

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Girls smiles in class

New Acceleration Facility grant delivered by Plan International UK, UNICEF and VOICE creates public goods and contributes to building stronger evidence and capacity for gender-transformative education in crises.

New York

Today, on International Women’s Day, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced a US$1.35 million grant to advance gender equality for global education in emergencies and protracted crisis responses.  

The ECW Acceleration Facility grant will be delivered by Plan International UK, UNICEF and VOICE to address pre-existing gender barriers and risks that disproportionally impact girls impacted by conflict, climate change, forced displacement and other protracted crises and emergencies.  

“Without the safety, hope and opportunity that quality education provides, crisis-affected girls face grave risks of dropping out, child marriage, gender-based violence and other human rights violations. ECW is committed to ensuring every girl, everywhere, can access 12 years of quality education,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of ECW, the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “By investing in public goods and transforming the delivery of our education responses for these crisis-impacted girls, we are paving the way to deliver on the commitments of education for all and gender equality as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.”  

Only around a quarter of vulnerable girls living in crisis-affected countries complete their lower secondary education, and adolescent girls are among the most marginalized and under-served groups of children in crises. Today, over 42.2 million crisis-impacted girls are not in school.  

Gender equality is at the forefront of ECW’s four-year strategic plan and financing strategy. This new Acceleration Facility grant will fund initiatives by the grantees that: address key systemic gender and gender-based violence gaps and bottlenecks in education in emergencies; support ECW’s multi-year programmes to operationalize innovative approaches; and develop public goods to advance gender equality and empowerment of girls around the world. 

ECW will provide a $600,000 grant to Plan International UK to build stronger evidence and capacity for gender-transformative education in emergencies and protracted crises. This work will support the design of evidence-based gender-transformative multi-year programmes in four ECW investment countries – and strengthen capacities of partners to deliver such programming in three countries. This will be achieved through the development of a rapid gender analysis tool tailored for education in emergencies actors and capacity strengthening of implementing partners to design and put into action gender-transformative education in emergencies programmes. 

“Plan International UK is committed to bringing our expertise in gender equality to this new partnership with ECW, putting girls’ voices and specific needs at the center of our work to ensure greater access to education for all. These are the women of tomorrow – only by solving the inequalities they face now will greater opportunities open up for their futures,” said Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK. 

ECW will also provide a $500,000 grant to UNICEF for an initiative that aims to advance gender-transformative education and strengthen the capacity of actors to monitor and measure the effectiveness of gender-based violence risk mitigation in the sector – in line with ECW’s commitment to systematically integrate gender-based violence risk mitigation measures in all its investments. There is no commonly agreed upon methodology to measure this, so developing robust measurement methods and indicators to track interventions is vital. This partnership will contribute to fill a critical gap in guidance on the practical application of gender-transformative education in emergencies and protracted crises. 

“Breaking down the barriers that keep girls and young women out of school is one of the most effective ways to ensure equal access to education and build a more equitable world,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “This funding is critical in strengthening our work in addressing gender-based violence and discrimination in education. Together with partners, UNICEF is committed to ensuring that schools are safe places where every child can learn and thrive.”  

VOICE will receive a $250,000 ECW grant to strengthen meaningful engagement of local women organizations in the education in emergencies sector. As frontline responders during crisis, these organizations have unique access to and awareness of the realities faced by the girls that ECW and partners serve, and best understand barriers that they face to accessing safe, inclusive quality education. This initiative would culminate in the creation of an operational research paper focusing on two ECW investment countries and a case for investment brief calling for greater donor support for local women organizations’ meaningful engagement in the sector. 

“VOICE is thrilled to join ECW in delivering this grant to help address the inequitable power relation between local women- and girl-led organizations and the education in emergencies sector to create transformative change for equitable, non-extractive partnerships and coordination,” said Mendy Marsh, Executive Director and Co-founder of VOICE. 

In line with ECW’s new Strategic Plan 2023-2026, the Fund has committed to ensuring Acceleration Facility investments focus on initiatives to lift barriers to gender equality, mitigate gender-based violence risks, and contribute to the empowerment of women and girls in/through education. 

ECW and its strategic partners are more committed than ever to leading the charge in support of gender equality in and through education in emergencies and protracted crises. This grant is a major step in ensuring that future ECW investments, particularly in multi-year programming, work to shift deeply entrenched gender barriers – ensuring that crisis-affected girls and adolescent girls have access to the safe, inclusive, and gender-equitable quality education that is their right. 

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.   

On Twitter, please follow:@EduCannotWait   @YasmineSherif1   @KentPage 
Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org 
For press inquiries: 
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820 
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735 
For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org 

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

Kent Page: