United Kingdom Announces £5 Million in Additional Funding for Education Cannot Wait’s Education in Emergency Response to Covid-19

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ECW’s largest donor scales up support for children and youth caught in emergencies and crises

New York

The United Kingdom, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has just announced a £5 million (approximately US$6.26 million) contribution to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies.

The new funds will support ECW’s rapid deployment of emergency education services for children and youth caught in crises and emergencies. 75 million children and youth – including 39 million girls – are already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and protracted crises, and they now face a double crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our new UK aid support will help stop the virus from infecting millions of people in the poorest countries, meaning we can end this global pandemic sooner,” said International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in a press statement on UK aid’s overall coronavirus support package, which includes £200 million in new contributions to UK charities and international organizations, including the £5 million in dedicated contributions to ECW.

With this new contribution, the United Kingdom (UK) reaffirms its leadership in the education in emergencies sector, with a strong focus on reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized children and youth, including girls and children with disabilities. The UK is ECW’s largest donor, with £124 million (approximately US$160 million) in total contributions to date.

“We are profoundly grateful for this generous support from the United Kingdom which is being rapidly deployed to reach the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. The spread of COVID-19 is ‘a crisis upon crises’ already faced by children and youth in emergency contexts of conflicts and forced displacement, where girls are the most-exposed. With this timely support, we can mitigate the impact and sustain protection through emergency or virtual education combined with health measures for students and teachers. The UK’s speedy contribution is a reminder that a crisis is not a reason for delayed action, but rather a trigger for immediate action,”  said Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait.

To address the COVID-19 pandemic, ECW has issued a global appeal to the private sector, foundations, governments and other donors to urgently replenish its emergency funds reserve with at least US$50 million in emergency funds needed over the next three months.

On 3 and 4 April, ECW rapidly released US$23 million in First Emergency Response grants to ensure swift and coordinated humanitarian responses in 26 crisis-affected countries/contexts  to support emergency education measures,  facilitate distance learning, raise community awareness of the risks associated with COVID-19, provide children with access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools, and prioritize mental health and psychosocial support for girls and boys whose lives, safety and wellbeing are at risk.   

rapid assessment by ECW – carried out in close collaboration with governments, UN agencies and civil society partners in countries already affected by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters – paints an alarming picture of the massive impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on already severely strained educational systems. There is an acute shortage of distance learning tools and materials, many communities lack awareness and information and are failing to implement protective measures, teacher’s salaries are going unpaid, families are being pushed further into hunger and poverty, school feeding programmes are being disrupted, and children are being pushed to the side with limited opportunities to return to safe learning environments when the pandemic subsides.

In line with the UN’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, ECW is using its existing allocation windows to rapidly adjust ongoing programmes and leverage additional emergency funding to support governments, UN agencies and civil society partners on the ground to build coordinated and effective joint responses to the pandemic.

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Notes to Editors:

Information on the ECW Fund and its investment modalities are available at: www.educationcannotwait.org  

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

Please follow on Twitter: @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: