New funding will provide children and youth displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado and doubly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with safe and protective learning environments

Portuguese Version

4 February 2021, New York – In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Mozambique, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced a US$1 million first emergency response allocation to benefit displaced children and youth impacted by increasing violence in Cabo Delgado province. Ongoing violence and insecurity have displaced more than half a million people, including 250,000 children in just the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic makes matters even worse, straining education, health and financial systems, and forcing crisis-affected children even further to the margins.

There has also been a rise in attacks on schools in Mozambique. Between 2017 and 2020, 171 schools were affected by school attacks and 45 schools were destroyed. This affected close to 75,000 students and 1,500 teachers. Even more concerning were the killings of six teachers over this same time period. Mozambique endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015. The declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effects of armed conflict.

“Without access to safe and protective learning environments in such a volatile environment, girls face the risk of sexual abuse, early pregnancy and child marriage, while boys may be recruited into armed groups or forced out of school into child labour. The Safe Schools Declaration is our global commitment to ensure every girl and boy on the planet has the right to an education without fear of violence or attack,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “Amidst insecurity, forced displacement and COVID-19, education means not only means safety, protection and a sense of normalcy for these crisis-affected girls and boys, it also means the possibility for a brighter tomorrow.”

“Cabo Delgado Province has been experiencing armed violence in its central and northern zone districts since 2017, forcing many displaced people to take refuge in the districts of Mecúfi, Pemba, Metuge, Ancuabe, Chiúre, Namuno, Balama, Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade and Palma. Before this, classrooms were already overcrowded in the province,” said Mr. Florencio Mbiquem, Cooperation and Emergency Coordinator with the Cabo Delgado Provincial Education Directorate. “Furthermore, Cyclone Kenneth in 2019 resulted in damage to 185 schools in the province, affecting 45,242 students and 966 teachers. The rainy seasons are causing more education infrastructural damage, not to mention the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Education Cannot Wait’s support is therefore very important for children, youth, teachers and their families.”

The new 12-month grant builds on ECW’s COVID-19 response and cyclone relief grants, which have already benefited hundreds of thousands of children in the country. The new funding grants will be implemented in coordination with the Government of Mozambique and the Education Cluster through Save the Children (US$341,000), UNICEF (US$341,000) and Plan International (US$316,000).

Planned interventions will build age-appropriate educational opportunities for crisis-affected girls and boys, support safe and inclusive learning spaces, expand remote learning options, provide children with learning materials, train teachers, and raise awareness to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, including psychosocial support. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, water and sanitation services will be built at schools and learning centres.

In launching this new US$1 million investment, Education Cannot Wait calls on donors, philanthropic foundations and the private sector to fully fund the US$4.2 million education funding gap within Mozambique’s Humanitarian Response Plan.


Education Cannot Wait is expanding its recovery support for communities affected by the devastating cyclone season in Southern Africa with an additional US$7.8 million in funding for education responses for children in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique 3,500 classrooms were destroyed by the cyclones. Education Cannot Wait’s funding covers close to 9 per cent of the education sector funding gaps in Malawi and Zimbabwe and 11 per cent of the gap in Mozambique. Photo Manan Kotak/ECW


3 July 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait is expanding its recovery support for communities affected by the devastating cyclone season in Southern Africa with an additional US$7.8 million in funding for education responses for children in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

This is the second tranche of funding announced by Education Cannot Wait to respond to the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai in the three countries. In Mozambique, the funding includes a $360,000 allocation to provide education support to children and youth affected by Cyclone Kenneth which pummeled through the country just a few weeks after Cyclone Idai.

This new funding allocation brings Education Cannot Wait’s total support to emergency responses in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to almost US$15 million to date, including contributions from the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) and Dubai Cares.

“This additional support from Education Cannot Wait for the children affected by the catastrophic cyclone season in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe helps to ensure education is a top priority for aid stakeholders throughout the various phases of crisis, from the immediate emergency response to longer-term recovery,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Speed, continuity and sustainability of interventions are crucial for children to achieve quality learning and for education to play its role as a stepping-stone for children and communities to recover and build back better after disaster.”  

Cyclone Idai wreaked vast devastation across the three countries in March. Mozambique was hardest hit by the cyclone and subsequent flooding. Estimates indicate over 3,500 classrooms were destroyed, affecting more than 300,000 students and 7,800 teachers. Children not only lost their homes but were also displaced and in some cases lost family members, friends, classmates and teachers in the disaster. Just a few weeks later, Cyclone Kenneth also hit Mozambique, leaving close to 250,000 people in need of assistance, including 42,000 school-aged children.

Education Cannot Wait’s second funding tranche for the response to Cyclone Idai supports inter-agency humanitarian appeals in the three countries. It includes US$1.2 million in grant funding for Malawi, US$5 million for Mozambique, and US$1.2 million for Zimbabwe. The funding covers close to 9 per cent of the education sector funding gaps in Malawi and Zimbabwe and 11 per cent of the gap in Mozambique.

Building upon the initial funding announced by Education Cannot Wait in April and May to support the response to Cyclone Idai, these additional grants will reach more than 185,000 children across the three countries: 41,491 children in Malawi (20,732 girls); 107,266 children (49,041 girls) in Mozambique and 36,350 children (18,085 girls) in Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique, the new US$360,000 grant to support the response to Cyclone Kenneth is also aligned with the inter-agency humanitarian appeal and will reach an additional 15,000 children (7,500 girls).

Grants to United Nations agencies and international NGOs will be used to support a wide range of partners, including national governments, local NGOs and communities impacted by the cyclones and are aligned with national education sector plans.

Programmes will support access to safe and protective learning environments for affected girls and boys through a wide range of context-specific activities across the three countries. These include: establishing temporary learning spaces; rehabilitating schools; supplying educational materials and recreation kits; school feeding programmes, training and support for teachers to deal with disasters and crisis in schools and community; promoting back-to-school and live-saving messaging; promoting hygiene education and psychosocial support by teachers; and, support to disaster preparedness and disaster management.


  • Learn more about Education Cannot Wait’s emergency education response for Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe
  • Meet Maria Alberto, a courageous teacher supporting the recovery of children in Mozambique in our story Portraits of Resilience


A frontlines champion for education in emergencies, Maria Alberto is incorporating disaster preparedness into school lessons to help children recover from the devastating cyclones. Photo Manan Kotak/ECW

In Mozambique, communities are reeling from the devastating Cyclones Idai and Kenneth which caused widespread destruction affecting 1.5 million children across the country. In the wake of the disaster, Education Cannot Wait is supporting the swift resumption of education services to ensure children get back to safe and protective learning environments. Teachers are returning to their classrooms with an eye on the future, serving as a beacon of hope for their communities, nurturing young minds and helping them to heal and recover a sense of normalcy in their lives.

By Manan Kotak, Education Specialist at Education Cannot Wait

 “I want to support these children more and more. I want to be able to help the people of our town and the children in need.”

As she sits in her classroom and gets her lesson plan done before the class starts, 42-year-old Maria Alberto talks about her dedication for her pupils and the traumatic experience of the recent disaster.

“I always wanted to be a teacher, I think a teacher is the foundation of a child’s education,” she says.  “We have never seen this type of cyclone before and were not prepared for this disaster.”

The mother of five, whose house was partially destroyed by the cyclone, stresses how this ordeal has transformed her perspective on teaching, community engagement and disaster preparedness.

“After a week, we were still recovering from this loss and I got a message from school headteacher that we had to resume school and all the teachers should come and start teaching.”

Maria Alberto and her family had already lost a lot. But she decided to return to school.

She wasn’t alone in dealing with the stress, anxiety and uncertainty of the disaster. At least nine teachers and more than 100 students in her school had lost their homes to the brute-force winds, rains and floods.

Rather than do nothing, Maria Alberto decided to push her sorrow to the side and work to restore a normal life for herself and for her students.

“Children and individuals need to cope with the current situation,” she says.

As they dug through the rubble and went to returning to normalcy, the sheer devastation of the cyclone hit home. Eight out of 11 classrooms had lost their roofs, and most of the desks and school materials were totally damaged. There wasn’t even a place for children to sit.


Maria Alberto and her colleagues, alongside with school’s headteacher and district education offices mobilized some basic resources and started classes outside. Children resumed their educational paths, and Maria Alberto and her counterparts were able to do what they do best: teach. 

With support from teachers like Maria Alberto, community organizations, the government and non-profits, children are slowly beginning to return to a normal life.

“Once [children] started to regain their confidence – despite the difficult situation – it is now our duty as teachers to help them to take the next steps and bring them back to a normal life and continue their education with bright future prospects,” Maria Alberto says.


“If I were more prepared for this nature of disaster and knew what to do before and during the cyclone, I could have helped more people in my town,” she says.  

Through Education Cannot Wait’s funding to the emergency response in Mozambique – and in other countries affected by the devastating cyclones – teachers like Maria Alberto are receiving training to teach children about disaster preparedness and facilitate the psychosocial support needed to help children recover. Thanks to the Fund’s support, partners on the ground have already begun rehabilitating classrooms, establishing temporary learning spaces, distributing teaching and learning materials, and training local teachers and community members.

To date, Education Cannot Wait has allocated close to US$15 million to support children affected by the cyclones in Mozambique and in the neighboring countries of Malawi and Zimbabwe.





 © UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez
An estimated 1.9 million people have been affected in Mozambique by cyclone Idai, of whom 1 million are children. © UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez


23 April 2019, New York – Just five weeks after Cyclone Idai hit the coast of Southern Africa, Education Cannot Wait, a global fund for education in emergencies, has approved US$5 million for immediate relief in Mozambique to get children back in school.

Recent estimates from the Government of Mozambique indicate that 3,504 classrooms were either destroyed or damaged in Mozambique, disrupting the education of more than 335,000 girls and boys.

Working with the Government of Mozambique in a coordinated response with international and national NGOs, UN Agencies, civil society and donors, the ECW investment will reach the most vulnerable children in Mozambique and keep girls safe from the heightened risk of gender-based violence that frequently occurs in emergencies.

The ECW response will reach 75,000 children, including 36,000 girls. Over 1,900 education personnel will receive specialized training to ensure children have the psychosocial support they need to resume their lives and deal with the trauma of seeing family members die, losing their homes in the floods or being displaced, and living in dangerous and unsafe conditions in temporary shelters.

The 12-month ECW investment will be implemented by Save the Children in partnership with CARE (US$1.7 million grant), World Vision (US$1.2 million grant), Food for the Hungry (US$550,00 grant), AVSI (US$700,000 grant), and Plan International (US$700,000 grant).

In getting children back in safe learning environments, implementing partners will establish temporary learning spaces, provide roofing for classrooms, and provide children and communities with life-saving information on hygiene to reduce the spread of disease.

ECW is working with partners to prepare an additional investment in Mozambique, as well as in neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe, where the cyclone also caused serious damage.

Education Cannot Wait and its partners have committed a total of US$14 million to the educational response in the three countries to reach approximately half a million children in all.

The fast-acting response was made possible with the generous support of ECW’s donor partners, including DFID, Dubai Cares, and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, who announced supplemental support to Education Cannot Wait’s US$7 million grant on the margins of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting.



On 1 April 2019 in Mozambique, Leonora Jose, 12, and her friend Olga Romao, 11 poses for a portrait in a classroom that has no roof at the Escola Primeria de Ndunda de Ndunda, in Manga, Beira. Mozambique. The school was badly damaged during Cyclone Idai and resumed activities in some of the classrooms on 27 March 2019. Tropical cyclone Idai, carrying heavy rains and winds of up to 170km/h (106mp/h) made landfall at the port of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth largest city, on Thursday 14 March 2019, leaving the 500,000 residents without power and communications lines down. As at 1 pril 2019, at least 140,784 people have been displaced from Cyclone Idai and the severe flooding. Most of the displaced are hosted in 161 transit centers set up in Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete provinces. As of 31 March, 517 cholera cases and one death have been reported, including 246 cases on 31 March alone with 211 cases from one bairo. Eleven cholera treatment centres (CTC) have been set up (seven are already functional) to address cholera in Sofala. UNICEF supported the Health provincial directorate to install the CTC in Macurungo and Ponta Gea in Beira city, providing five tents, cholera beds and medicines to treat at least 6,000 people. UNICEF has procured and shipped 884,953 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) that will arrive in Beira on 01 April to support the OCV vaccination campaign expected to start on 3 April. With support of UNICEF and DFID, the water supply system in Beira resumed its operations on 22 March providing water to about 300,000 people. UNICEF has been supporting the FIPAG-water supply operator with fuel – 9,000 liters of fuel per day, and the provision of chemicals for water treatment. Water supply systems for Sussundenga and Nhamatanda small towns have also been re-established.
On 1 April 2019 in Mozambique, Leonora Jose, 12, and her friend Olga Romao, 11, pose for a portrait in a classroom that has no roof at the Escola Primeria de Ndunda de Ndunda, in Manga, Beira. Mozambique. The school was badly damaged during Cyclone Idai and resumed activities in some of the classrooms on 27 March 2019. Photo: Cyclone Idai, Mozambique, © UNICEF/UN0294994/DE WET


11 April 2019, Washington – Education Cannot Wait, the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) and Dubai Cares announced today new commitments of up to US$14 million in funds to support educational responses in the wake of the devastation from Cyclone Idai, which caused widespread destruction and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Out of the total allocation, the Education Cannot Wait Global Trust Fund is providing US$7 million from its emergency reserve, DFID is providing up to US$5.2 million (4 million pounds) and Dubai Cares is providing US$2 million against the emergency education response facilitated by Education Cannot Wait and coordinated by the Education Cluster.

The funds will help restore education services for an estimated total of 500,000 children and youth.

With entire communities uprooted, missing or deceased caregivers, and schools destroyed or being used as temporary shelters, children across the cyclone-affected countries have had their education disrupted and are instead grappling with trauma. They are also vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence, and face the risk of cholera, among other scourges.

In Mozambique alone, the disaster has affected 1.8 million people and destroyed over 3,300 classrooms, leaving 263,000 children out-of-school. In Zimbabwe, close to 150 schools have been impacted, affecting an estimated 60,000 children. In Malawi, an estimated 200 schools have been impacted.

“We have all seen images of the terrible suffering and devastation caused by Cyclone Idai. The UK has, from the start, led the way in supporting the victims of this destruction and the fresh funding I am announcing will provide further help where it is most needed, right now,” said DFID’s Secretary of State, Penny Mordaunt.

Matthew Rycroft, DFID Permanent Secretary, shared DFID's commitments at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group meeting today on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meeting (Photo Elias Bahaa/ECW)
Matthew Rycroft, DFID Permanent Secretary, shared DFID’s commitments at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group meeting today on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meeting (Photo Bahaa Elias/ECW)

The First Emergency Responses in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will focus on supporting needs assessments, establishing temporary learning spaces, providing learning materials, supporting communities to get children back to school, giving teachers the tools, training and support they need to provide psycho-social support for the children in their care, and supporting governments to build back better.

“The loss of life, destruction and suffering that has resulted from Cyclone Idai is heartbreaking. Children, the most vulnerable victims of any disaster, are at the moment facing tremendous distress and uncertainty. Our partnership with Education Cannot Wait, allows us to quickly respond to this emergency and help reestablish access to education,” said Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares.

Dubai Cares (1)s
Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Steering Group (Photo Bahaa Elias/ECW)

Funds will be allocated against the emergency appeals launched by the governments of the affected-countries with the support of United Nations agencies and NGOs providing relief on the ground.

“A sudden and unexpected natural disaster of this magnitude causes immense human suffering. It demands an immediate response. For a child or adolescent, the losses are especially devastating,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Unless education services are given priority, the suffering will be prolonged and cause deeper disruption and trauma in their lives. I am deeply grateful to DFID and Dubai Cares for setting a shining example: they moved swiftly together with ECW to provide a coordinated and speedy response in partnership with Ministries of Education, the affected communities, the Education Cluster, UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations to reduce suffering and restore hope when these children and youth need it the most.”