The LEGO Foundation, Germany and USA Announce US$42 Million in New, Additional Funding to Education Cannot Wait, Calling for US$1.5 Billion in Urgent Funding

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‘Education is our investment in human beings and the human potential. So far we have only seen a glimpse of it, there are 222 million children out there that will allow us to see the full potential of humanity.’  – Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

 In response to a global learning crisis that has left 222 million crisis-impacted children and adolescents in dire need of education support, The LEGO Foundation, Germany and the United States announced this week US$42 in new, additional funding to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The funding announcements were made on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and onstage at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, headlined by Metallica, Charlie Puth, Jonas Brothers, Måneskin, Mariah Carey, Mickey Guyton and Rosalía.

The new funding catalyzes much-needed support to address a global learning crisis where over 78 million crisis-impacted girls and boys are out of school, and nearly two-thirds of 10-year-olds are unable to read a simple text.

Taking the stage at this weekend’s Global Citizen Festival, The LEGO Foundation CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen announced a substantial new US$25 million contribution to ECW, bringing total contributions to approximately US$65 million to date.

“Imagine there was a magic lever that could transform the lived experiences of the 222 million children and youth living in crisis contexts into the peacekeepers and builders of tomorrow. Well, there is: Education. To help build this lever, the LEGO Foundation is thrilled to announce US$25 million in new funding to Education Cannot Wait,” said Albrectsen.

In response to the crisis in Ukraine, which has severely impacted access to education for close to 7 million children, the Government of Germany also announced €10 million in new funding. Germany is the largest donor to ECW, with approximately €330 million in total funding to date.

“The international community urgently needs to increase its investments in education. Global Citizens, thank you for raising your voices to call for more support for Education Cannot Wait, so that all young people everywhere in the world will have access to quality education: this will enable us to end extreme poverty – now," said Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.

At the Fund’s High-Level Steering Group meeting on Tuesday, the Government of the United States announced US$7 million in new funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, bringing total contributions to US$109.3 million to date.

“Today at ECW’s High-Level Steering Group meeting during the United Nations General Assembly, I was privileged to announce US$7 million in additional assistance from the United States for Education Cannot Wait to bring quality education to refugee, stateless and other displaced children,” said Julieta Valls Noyes, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

“Education is our investment in human beings and the human potential. So far we have only seen a glimpse of it, there are 222 million children out there that will allow us to see the full potential of humanity. These generous new contributions from the LEGO Foundation, Germany and the United States are a global call to action. We must unite to fully fund Education Cannot Wait and our strategic partners in mobilizing US$1.5 billion over the next four years. This new funding will allow us to reach 20 million children and adolescents caught in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

Since its inception in 2016, ECW and its strategic partners have mobilized over US$1.1 billion and directly supported nearly 7 million children and adolescents. An additional 31.2 million have been reached through the Fund’s COVID-19 response.

ECW launched its Case for Investment and 2023-2026 Strategic Plan during this week’s United Nations General Assembly. World leaders, donors and other global advocates are joining ECW’s global #222MillionDreams✨📚 campaign in lead up to the Fund’s High-Level Financing Conference, which will take place in Geneva in February 2023.

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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