Dutch Minister Sigrid Kaag highlights the vital importance of education in crisis

The Netherlands is a core contributor to Education Cannot Wait, with US$24 million in signed contributions to date. At the heart of this partnership between the new global fund for education in crisis and the Netherlands is the work of the charismatic Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag.

37238388254_f6d2e9b1d9_kPARTNER VOICES Q&A

‘In times of crisis, education offers stability, security, prospects for the future, and opportunities to acquire vital knowledge and skills’

As part of its efforts to tackle the root causes of poverty and instability – and improve young people’s prospects the world over – the Netherlands plans to expand its activities to support education in protracted crisis and emergencies.

In partnership with Education Cannot Wait, the Dutch Government is focusing its educational support on global hotspots, including targeted efforts in West African Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with continued support to the Africa’s Great Lakes region, and Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Asia.

The Netherlands is a core contributor to Education Cannot Wait, with US$24 million in signed contributions to date. At the heart of this partnership between the new global fund for education in crisis and the Netherlands is the work of the charismatic Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag.

A leading and high-profile global advocate for education in crisis with a broad and deep experience in development and multilateralism, Mrs. Kaag was appointed as the Dutch Minister in October 2017 after working for 25 years as a senior leader in the United Nations.

Minister Kaag went to university in Utrecht, Cairo, Exeter and Oxford. After finishing her studies – which resulted in a M.Phil. in International Relations and a M.A. in Middle East Studies – she worked for Shell International in London and at the UN section of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs before joining the United Nations in 1994.

A well-informed leader, Minister Kaag has served in numerous senior positions with the United Nations, starting with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Among others, she served as the Chief of Staff with UNICEF, and as Assistant Secretary-General for UNDP in New York. Minister Kaag subsequently was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to serve in two successive political leadership positions.

From October 2013 to September 2014, as UN Under-Secretary-General, she led the mission to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. In 2015, she was appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator in Lebanon.

Learn more about Minister Kaag’s development cooperation agenda in her policy document on Investing in Global Prospects.

Girls learning in an Education Cannot Wait supported classroom in Afghanistan (Photo ECW).
Girls learning in an Education Cannot Wait supported learning space in Afghanistan (Photo ECW).

Why must education in crisis be made a priority in order to achieve gender equality, the Sustainable Development Goals, peace and stability?

In times of crisis, education offers stability, security, prospects for the future, and opportunities to acquire vital knowledge and skills. If we forget the 75 million children and youth who are living in countries affected by emergencies and crises, we will not only fail to attain SDG 4 (to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning and opportunities for all) but also fall short of other SDGs. Education gives people greater economic opportunities. Access to quality education is also key to gender equality: it helps us combat child labour, child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence, and enhances the ability of women and girls to make decisions about their own lives and bodies.

In places like Afghanistan, where 2.2 million girls have been left behind and lack reliable and safe access to education, Education Cannot Wait is a timely global fund as it bridges the humanitarian-development divide and places gender as a priority of this pioneering work. The empowerment of girls and adolescent girls during an emergency and crisis through quality education is essential to achieving all the other Sustainable Development Goals. It is also essential in advancing peace processes and sustaining that peace.

Elisabeth, 52 years old, teaches 4th graders at a temporary learning space in the Kaga Bandoro’s IDP site where Education Cannot Wait is currently deploying educational support for displaced children. (UNICEF/Sokhin)
Elisabeth, 52 years old, teaches 4th graders at a temporary learning space in Kaga Bandoro’s IDP site in CAR, where Education Cannot Wait is currently deploying educational support for displaced children. (UNICEF/Sokhin)

As a former senior UN official, can you explain the contribution that education makes to realizing the UN’s values and to pursuing multilateral efforts? Specifically, how will Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund hosted by UNICEF that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach 8.9 million children and young people living in crisis, help us achieve these goals?  

Education makes a particular contribution to a UN core value by giving children and young people the opportunity to live decent lives and find decent jobs. Education is also a human right, so investing in education is the right thing to do. Furthermore, education brings prosperity: one extra year of education raises individual income by 10 per cent.

In times of crises, education provides safety and hope. As a rapidly growing fund with a focus on results, Education Cannot Wait contributes to multilateral efforts to be more responsive and to working together across the humanitarian and development spectrum to achieve lasting impact. As a broker and catalyst for change, this new Fund will be an essential actor in working toward more inclusive and equitable education for all. With the support of Education Cannot Wait’s donors, including the Netherlands, this is happening in places like the Lake Chad region, where 3.5 million children are at risk. That’s more people than the populations of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague combined. To address this issue, the Government of Chad is demonstrating a strong willingness to provide educational support for refugees.

But there simply aren’t enough resources to deal with the influx. To avoid negative cycles of poverty, violence and extremism, the international community needs to come together, in partnership with organizations like Education Cannot Wait, to address this issue. And we must address it not as a series of individual challenges, but as an interlinked problem that requires coordinated responses across the human-development spectrum. This is one of the unique advantages of a global fund such as Education Cannot Wait. They can bring these stakeholders together and foster more agile and integrated approaches to our educational responses to crisis.

How can the New Way of Working, through joint programming and linking humanitarian aid to development, be used to deliver education in crisis and emergencies? And what role can Education Cannot Wait play in linking relief to development in the education sector during protracted crises?

Displaced people are displaced for an average of 17 years, so this is not a short-term challenge. There is an urgent need for humanitarian and development actors to join forces. I value Education Cannot Wait’s role in meeting this need and prioritizing education. By fostering development in humanitarian settings, Education Cannot Wait invests in young people’s values, skills and capacities. Their generation has a crucial role to play in shaping post-crisis societies. That makes them crucial actors in development. Think about the Rohingya children that are living in dire conditions in the refugee camps of Bangladesh. Around 400,000 children here lack access to education and live in dangerous environments where an education can mean the difference between safety and peril, and where sometimes the only food they will get in a day will be at a learning center. With Dutch funding and the contributions of growing group of donors, Education Cannot Wait is working with a multiple partners including UNICEF, UNCHR, UNESCO, Save the Children, Friendship and BRAC to expand learning centers in Bangladesh. This means children will have safe places to learn, play and grow. But we need to go beyond just first response, and the new US$12 million allocation from the Fund that will support 88,500 refugees will be central in efforts to create a long-term resilience programme in Bangladesh.

You are a champion of education – especially education for the world’s most vulnerable children. Can you explain the importance of education to the Dutch development strategy?

Dutch policy takes SDG 4 as a starting point. Not only is education a human right; it should also lead to empowerment. By increasing people’s autonomy and capacity for self-determination, education should provide equal opportunities for all. My policy gives priority to the poorest people and the most marginalized and excluded, including women and girls, young refugees and refugee children. It focuses on appropriate education that includes three sets of interrelated skills: basic numeracy and literacy (foundation skills), life skills (transferable skills), and technical and vocational skills. All three skill sets are necessary for the personal development and empowerment that make it possible to find a decent job and have a decent life. It is important that transferable skills are included in education in humanitarian situations through Education Cannot Wait-financed programmes.

Girls are being supported in Chad with Education Cannot Wait funding. (Devaki Erande/JRS)
Girls are being supported in Chad with Education Cannot Wait funding and the contributions of the Dutch Government. (Devaki Erande/JRS)

As a government minister and former senior UN official, can you share some reflections on education and SDG 4 in achieving the 2030 Agenda for those left furthest behind: refugees, girls and children with disabilities?  How is SDG 4 connected to the other SDGs?

In my opinion, a great injustice is being done to those left furthest behind. I believe that education, decent work and gender equality, particularly for young people, are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.

I would like to congratulate Education Cannot Wait on its strong gender strategy, especially with regard to SDG 5 (to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). I look forward to seeing this strategy implemented over the upcoming months and years as the Fund brings its initial efforts to scale and expands its reach with both expanded first emergency responses that are responsive to the unique needs of girls, as well as multi-year programming that will empower girls for generations to come. This can only happen by increasing women’s participation in political decision making and leadership, by increasing economic empowerment and improving the economic environment for women and girls, by preventing and eliminating gender-based violence, and by strengthening the role of women in conflict prevention and peace processes.

On the way to school in Chad (Devaki Erande/JRS)
On the way to school in Chad (Devaki Erande/JRS)

Do you have any additional comments?

Because we know that the 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without partnerships, I would like to stress the importance of SDG 17 (to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). I look forward to seeing even more complementarity and partnership between Education Cannot Wait and other key actors such as the Global Partnership for Education. Only in partnership can we ensure that every child and young person has access to appropriate, quality education by 2030.

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GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ANNOUNCES US$38 MILLION PLEDGE FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT [EN/FR

GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION FROM CANADA TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR GIRLS LIVING IN CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES

2 December 2018, New York – The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced a significant new CAD$50 million (US$38 million) pledge to Education Cannot Wait during today’s Global Citizen Festival in South Africa.

The Government of Canada stressed that its contribution will “improve children’s education in countries facing humanitarian emergencies and crises” and that “investing in education, especially in crisis situations, empowers girls and prepares them for the future”.

This new pledge from Canada to Education Cannot Wait tops up its initial US$15 million contribution for a total of US$53 million in contributions to date. Canada is now the second-largest donor to the Fund.

The funding will provide much-needed gender-responsive education for girls living in the midst of crisis, in war zones, in refugee camps, in displacement and in emergencies settings.

Canada’s pledge marks an important milestone as leaders from the G7 step up efforts to deliver on the commitments of this year’s Charlevoix Declaration, which promises to increase equal access to quality education for girls and women.

In the declaration, G7 leaders underscored the value of a quality education for girls in crisis settings to “promote peace and security and drive improved health and life outcomes” and committed to “continue investing in girls’, adolescent girls’ and women’s quality education in developing countries, including in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states”.

“Canada’s pledge sends a clear signal to the world that girls and adolescent girls everywhere can no longer be left behind, that they deserve equal access to education and opportunities. Today, Canada, together with the broad coalition of Education Cannot Wait’s partners, is telling the world that girls matter. We are telling the world that education cannot wait for the 39 million girls living in war and disaster that don’t have the opportunity to go to class, learn and thrive,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

Education Cannot Wait, a new global fund for education in crisis and emergencies hosted by UNICEF, seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to provide access to safe, reliable, quality education for 8.9 million children – half of whom will be girls – enduring some of the worst possible human conditions on the planet.

Girls and adolescent girls living in crisis are often excluded from education. They are 2.5 times more likely to be out of primary school and 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in countries where there is no crisis. Girls’ access to quality education in conflict and crises settings helps to protect them against the risks of childhood marriage and early pregnancies, sexual assault and gender-based violence.

 

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Notes to Editors:

For more information on Education Cannot Wait, visit: www.educationcannotwait.org

For press enquiries, contact:

Ms. Anouk Desgroseilliers,

adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org, +1 917 640-6820

 

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)

Education Cannot Wait 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

 

 


 

 

LE GOUVERNEMENT DU CANADA ANNONCE UNE CONTRIBUTION DE 38 MILLIONS DE DOLLARS USD AU FONDS EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT

LA CONTRIBUTION GÉNÉREUSE DU CANADA RENFORCERA L’ACCÈS À L’ÉDUCATION DES FILLES ET ADOLESCENTES VIVANT DANS LES PAYS EN CRISE

2 décembre 2018, New York – Le premier ministre du Canada, Justin Trudeau, a annoncé une nouvelle contribution de 50 millions de dollars CA (38 millions dollars USD) au fonds Education Cannot Wait dans le cadre du Global Citizen Festival aujourd’hui en Afrique du Sud.

Le gouvernement du Canada a souligné que cette contribution va « améliorer l’éducation des enfants dans les pays touchés par des urgences et des crises humanitaires » et « qu’investir dans l’éducation, surtout en situation de crise, renforce le pouvoir des filles et les prépare pour l’avenir. »

Cette nouvelle contribution du gouvernement du Canada à Education Cannot Wait s’ajoute à sa contribution initiale de 15 millions de dollars USD pour un total de 53 millions de dollars USD à ce jour, hissant le Canada au deuxième rang des plus importants donateurs du Fonds.

Le financement permettra d’assurer un accès équitable des filles et adolescentes vivant dans des zones touchées par les guerres et les crises humanitaires, dans des camps de réfugiés ou en situation de déplacement interne, à une éducation qui leur fait cruellement défaut. Le tout, à travers des programmes d’éducation prenant en compte la dimension genre.

Cette contribution du Canada constitue une étape importante dans les efforts des dirigeants du G7 pour tenir les engagements pris dans la Déclaration de Charlevoix plus tôt cette année. Le texte promet d’accroître l’égalité de l’accès à une éducation de qualité pour les filles et les femmes.

Dans la Déclaration, les dirigeants du G7 ont souligné l’importance d’une éducation de qualité pour les filles vivant dans des situations de conflits et crises: «  une éducation de qualité favorise la paix et la sécurité et favorise l’amélioration de la santé et de la qualité de vie », ils  se sont engagés à « investir dans une éducation de qualité pour les filles, les adolescentes et les femmes dans les pays en développement, y compris dans les États en situation d’urgence, en proie à des conflits et fragilisés. »

« La contribution du Canada est un signal clair pour le monde entier que les filles et les adolescentes ne peuvent plus être laissées pour compte, qu’elles méritent un accès égal à l’éducation et à des chances égales. Aujourd’hui, le Canada et la vaste coalition de partenaires du fonds Education Cannot Wait, disent au monde entier que les filles sont importantes. Nous disons que l’éducation des 39 millions de filles et adolescentes qui sont dans des situations de guerre et de catastrophes et n’ont pas la possibilité d’aller en classe, d’apprendre et de s’épanouir ne peut pas attendre », a déclaré Yasmine Sherif, Directrice de Education Cannot Wait.

Education Cannot Wait est un nouveau fonds mondial pour l’éducation dans les situations de crise et d’urgences. Le Fonds, hébergé par l’UNICEF, cherche à mobiliser 1,8 milliard de dollars USD d’ici 2021 afin de fournir un accès à une éducation fiable, de qualité et dans un environnement protecteur à 8,9 millions d’enfants – dont une moitié sont des filles – vivant dans des conditions parmi les plus difficiles sur la planète.

Dans les situations de crises engendrées par les guerres et les catastrophes, les filles et les adolescentes ont un accès plus limité à l’éducation. Elles sont 2,5 fois plus susceptibles de ne pas fréquenter l’école primaire et 90 % plus susceptibles de ne pas fréquenter l’école secondaire que les filles dans les pays où il n’y a pas de crise. Un meilleur accès à une éducation de qualité aide à les protéger contre les risques accrus de mariages et grossesses précoces, d’agressions sexuelles et de violences basées sur le genre.

 

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Pour plus d’informations sur Education Cannot Wait, visitez: www.educationcannotwait.org

Contact pour la presse:

Anouk Desgroseilliers,

adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org, +1 917 640-6820

 

À propos du fonds Education Cannot Wait  (ECW)

Education Cannot Wait (« L’Éducation ne peut attendre ») est le premier fonds mondial dédié à l’éducation en situation d’urgence. Il a été lancé par des acteurs internationaux de l’aide humanitaire et du développement, ainsi que des donateurs publics et privés, pour répondre aux besoins éducatifs urgents de 75 millions d’enfants et adolescents touchés par des situations de conflits et de crises. Les modalités d’investissement du Fonds visent à instaurer une approche plus collaborative entre les acteurs sur le terrain, en veillant à ce que les acteurs humanitaires et de développement unissent leurs forces pour obtenir des résultats en matière d’éducation.