EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT CALLS FOR US$116 MILLION IN EXPANDED SUPPORT FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN AND YOUTH IMPACTED BY THE VENEZUELA REGIONAL CRISIS

ECW announces an additional US$1.5 million grant to accelerate the impact of the Fund’s US$27.2 million multi-year education in emergency response for refugee, migrant and host-community children and youth in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru 

ECW announces an additional US$1.5 million grant to accelerate the impact of the Fund’s US$27.2 million multi-year education in emergency response for refugee, migrant and host-community children and youth in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru 

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1 April 2021, New York – In response to the Western Hemisphere’s largest humanitarian crisis, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a US$1.5 million regional grant to advance resource mobilization, policy support, data collection and advocacy to accelerate the impact of the Fund’s multi-year investments in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The new allocation builds on ECW’s US$27.2 million in catalytic grants announced in December 2020. The funding supports multi-year resilience programmes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru that aim to ensure continued access to inclusive and equitable quality education for over 350,000 vulnerable children and youth.

“We commend Colombia’s recently announced offer of temporary protection to Venezuelans, and hope that the grant from Education Cannot Wait will help implement this remarkable step forward and encourage other countries in the region to follow suit. Financing education for refugees is a moral and political imperative for all world leaders in the 21st Century,” stressed Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group.

With the issuance of the new grant, Education Cannot Wait’s Director Yasmine Sherif called on donors and the private sector to mobilize an additional US$116 million to support the Fund’s education in emergency responses for refugee children and youth in host communities impacted by the Venezuela Regional Crisis.

“Global leaders must step up to address this pressing humanitarian crisis. Over 5.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela have fled their country due to violence and insecurity. Girls and boys in this group are at risk of sexual exploitation, human trafficking, discrimination, hunger and malnutrition, and restricted access to schooling. If we don’t act now, many will never return to the safety and opportunity that an education provides,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The escalating crisis in Venezuela has triggered the largest forced displacement in South America’s history. Globally, only the Syrian exodus is larger. Since 2015, a significant number of Venezuelans have fled into Colombia (2.4 million), Ecuador (1.5 million) and Peru (830,000).

As the situation in Venezuela continues to escalate, it is likely that Venezuelans seeking refuge in neighboring countries and beyond will not be able to return home safely any time soon. Many refugee and migrant children and youth lack documentation or official status, and oftentimes lack access to basic services, including health services, education and social services.

The COVID-19 crisis makes matters even worse. In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, 28 million learners have been affected by school closures.

While ministries of education are making efforts to expand remote learning options and expand educational programmes to absorb the influx of refugees into local schools, refugee children are often left behind. Without access to the internet, computers and smartphones, these children are being cut off from distance learning opportunities.

New funding accelerates Venezuela regional crisis response

The new US$1.5 million ECW Acceleration Facility Grant supports regional public goods and a cross-border vision aimed at increasing access to quality, inclusive education for refugee, displaced and host community children and youth impacted by the crisis.

The initiative will accelerate the impact of ECW’s country-level multi-year resilience programmes by strengthening education management information systems to integrate migrants and refugees, providing a platform for sharing lessons and good practices across the region, advocating and mobilizing additional resources at the regional and global level, and promoting dialogue for the development of positive education in emergency policies that ensure access and quality education in national systems.

Progress is already underway. With support from ECW, the Governments of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are taking extraordinary measures to ensure refugee and displaced children have access to education.

Through ECW’s investments, children are provided with safe learning environments, improved access to remote learning and technologies that bridge the digital divide, and psychosocial services to help children deal with the trauma of being forcibly driven from their homes.

Built in coordination with governments, civil society, UN organizations and other key partners, ECW’s multi-year investments in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru align with existing educational, humanitarian and national development plans. The investments address both the immediate humanitarian needs and system-strengthening, enhancing the coherence between humanitarian and development interventions in the education sector.

OVER 1 MILLION TEXTBOOKS DISTRIBUTED TO SCHOOLS IN SOUTH SUDAN

ECW investment delivered through Save the Children in partnership with Norwegian Refugee Council, Finn Church Aid, and the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction, delivers textbooks in more than 3,700 primary and secondary schools.

ECW investment delivered through Save the Children in partnership with Norwegian Refugee Council, Finn Church Aid, and the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction, delivers textbooks in more than 3,700 primary and secondary schools.

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24 March 2021, Juba – The first of over 1.12 million textbooks was handed to school leaders in Juba today as part of a massive program aimed at ensuring out-of-school children are able to learn in South Sudan. The textbooks will play a vital role in the teaching and learning process that gives every child the best possible opportunities for education in South Sudan.

The programme, led by Save the Children in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council, Finn Church Aid, and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) is funded by Education Cannot Wait (ECW).

The programme is one of the most wide-reaching education resourcing initiatives in South Sudan. More than 1.5 million children – including 1,449,219 primary school pupils and 109,854 secondary school students – in 3,391 primary and 401 secondary schools in the six states of Eastern Equatoria, Lakes, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Warrap will benefit from the books.

“Many children are not learning in South Sudan and one of the factors is that both learners and teachers do not have access to adequate reference materials, guides or textbooks that they need to effectively facilitate quality teaching and learning,” said Rama Hansraj, the Country Director of Save the Children in South Sudan. “We believe that these 1.12 million textbooks will reduce the high pupil- textbook ratio thereby allowing more children to get access to textbooks. Thus, putting books in the hands of learners. These textbooks have come in handy at a time when social distancing is a key requirement to controlling the spread of COVID-19. This means that with more books, we are able to reduce the number of children that come together to share a book.”

The textbooks ratio is expected to be reduced to 1:1 for secondary and primary learners in the targeted six states across South Sudan.

Globally, Save the Children and partners work to ensure that every child receives a good quality education and gains the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the 21st century. Save the Children is committed to coordinating and working with all development partners to ensure that all children have access to safe, inclusive, and quality learning opportunities they need to realize their full potential.

ECW’s US$20 million catalytic grant in South Sudan set in motion a multi-year educational response programme for two years in the country. The programme provides access to pre-primary education, boosts gender equity, prevents early dropouts, and supports children and youth in accessing the psychosocial support they need to recover and rebuild from trauma, conflict and displacement in South Sudan.

Highlights

  • 1.12 million textbooks distributed in Juba, set to reach 3,792 primary and schools across South Sudan
  • Programme is in response to the 2.2 million children still missing out on education.
  • 1 in 3 schools have been damaged, destroyed, occupied or closed due to conflict, weather events, and COVID-19 in South Sudan.
  • Only 3.5% of girls enrolled in secondary schools, primary school completion rate is the lowest in the world, at less than 10%

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Notes to Editors:

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.

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

About Save the Children international:

Save the Children has been working with and for children, their families and communities in South Sudan since 1991. We provide children with access to equitable quality education, healthcare and nutrition support, and families with food security and livelihoods assistance. Our child protection programmes support vulnerable children including unaccompanied and separated children and those affected by violence, as well as advocating for children’s rights at national, state and community levels. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights and we help them fulfil their potential.

For any other inquiries, please contact:

Kangu Tito Justin, Media and Communication Coordinator Save the Children Tito.Justin@savethechildren.org | +211922844458

LE FONDS ÉDUCATION SANS DÉLAI ET SES PARTENAIRES LANCENT UN PROGRAMME D’EDUCATION PLURIANNUEL POUR ASSURER L’ACCES A L’EDUCATION A PLUS DE 800 000 ENFANTS TOUCHES PAR LES CRISES AU BURKINA FASO

Éducation sans délai fait un investissement initial de 11,1 millions de dollars américains pour déployer le programme triennal de 59 millions de dollars américains

14 janvier 2021, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – En collaboration avec le gouvernement du Burkina Faso, l’UNICEF et Enfants du Monde, Éducation sans délai (« Education Cannot Wait » en anglais ou « ECW » – le fonds mondial dédié à l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence et les crises prolongées – a lancé aujourd’hui un nouveau programme pluriannuel qui vise à assurer l’accès à l’éducation à plus de 800 000 enfants et adolescents dans les régions du pays touchées par la crise.

Le nouveau programme bénéficie d’un financement de démarrage de 11,1 millions de dollars sur trois ans de la part d’ECW, qui sera mise en œuvre par l’UNICEF (6,1 millions de dollars) et Enfants du Monde (5 millions de dollars) en collaboration avec les partenaires des Nations Unies et de la société civile. Il vise à mobiliser 48 millions de dollars supplémentaires auprès de donateurs publics et privés pour être entièrement financé. Les interventions du programme sont alignées avec la Stratégie nationale d’éducation en situation d’urgence du Burkina Faso et le Plan de réponse humanitaire du pays.

« Au Burkina Faso, le secteur de l’éducation subit les effets négatifs de la crise de la COVID-19 ainsi que de la crise sécuritaire actuelle. Cette dernière a entraîné la fermeture de plus de 2 300 écoles et le déplacement massif de plus d’un million de personnes, tandis que la pandémie de COVID-19 a provoqué la fermeture de toutes les écoles du pays pendant plusieurs mois. Je saisis donc cette occasion pour exprimer ma reconnaissance envers Éducation sans délai pour son appui indéfectible envers nos efforts pour soutenir l’éducation en situation d’urgence », a déclaré S.E. M. Stanislas Ouaro, Ministre de l’Éducation nationale et de l’Alphabétisation du Burkina Faso.

S’exprimant lors du lancement à Ouagadougou, la directrice d’ECW, Yasmine Sherif, a salué le leadership du Gouvernement et des partenaires en éducation quant à la qualité du programme spécialement conçu pour relever les défis spécifiques auxquels les filles et les garçons touchés par la crise sont confrontés pour accéder à une éducation de qualité dans les communautés touchées par la violence et l’insécurité, les déplacements forcés, l’insécurité alimentaire et les catastrophes (épidémies, sécheresses, inondations) qui sévissent au pays.

« La crise au Burkina Faso et dans tout le Sahel central est parmi les crises qui se détériorent le plus rapidement dans le monde. Nous pouvons soit regarder et ne rien faire, soit agir maintenant en investissant dans les enfants et les adolescents pour leur donner les moyens de réaliser leur plein potentiel et de devenir des agents de changement positifs pour leurs communautés », a-t-elle déclaré. « Au fonds Éducation sans délai, nous croyons au véritable pouvoir transformateur d’une éducation de qualité. Avec le lancement de ce nouveau programme, nous appelons d’autres donateurs à se joindre à nous pour garantir qu’aucune fille ni aucun garçon ne soit laissé pour compte au Burkina Faso ».

Mme. Sherif a souligné l’approche holistique des interventions planifiées pour répondre à la gamme complète des besoins des enfants et des jeunes vulnérables, y compris le soutien en matière de santé mentale, psychosocial et nutritionnel, ainsi que l’accent mis sur l’éducation des filles et la promotion d’environnements d’apprentissage sûrs et protecteurs conformément à la Déclaration sur la sécurité dans les écoles. « Nous ne pouvons pas laisser des enfants se rendre à l’école sans savoir s’ils en sortiront vivants. La Déclaration sur la sécurité dans les écoles et le droit international doivent être respectés », a-t-elle déclaré.

Le financement pluriannuel d’ECW cible 60 pour cent de filles et se concentre sur les plus vulnérables, y compris les enfants déplacés et les enfants des communautés d’accueil, ainsi que les enfants handicapés. Le programme assure la continuité de l’éducation de la petite enfance (25 pour cent des enfants visés) au primaire (43 pour cent) et jusqu’au secondaire (33 pour cent).

Ces dernières années, la violence et l’insécurité ont contraint 1 000 000 de personnes à fuir leur domicile au Burkina Faso. En raison de l’insécurité croissante et des violentes attaques contre l’éducation, les enseignants et les élèves, les fermetures d’écoles ont doublé entre 2017 et 2019, perturbant l’éducation de plus de 400 000 enfants. La pandémie de COVID-19 en 2020 a exacerbé davantage les vulnérabilités aiguës des filles et des garçons déjà frappés par les crises.

À l’échelle nationale, un quart des filles et des garçons âgés de 6 à 11 ans ne sont pas scolarisés, et deux tiers de ceux-ci viennent de six des régions les plus à risque : Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord et Sahel. Le nouveau programme pluriannuel se concentre sur ces six régions, où le taux d’achèvement du primaire n’est que de 29 pour cent, soit moins de la moitié de ce qu’il est au niveau national, et où 56 pour cent des filles et des garçons, en particulier des adolescents, ne sont pas scolarisés. Le fait de ne pas être scolarisé expose ces filles, garçons et adolescents à de nombreux risques, notamment le recrutement dans des groupes armés, le mariage forcé et la grossesse précoce, et l’engagement dans des pratiques dangereuses de travail des enfants.

Nous sommes convaincus que ce partenariat améliorera l’accès à l’éducation des enfants vulnérables gravement touchés par la crise et préviendra la perte d’apprentissage, le risque d’abandon scolaire et l’exposition aux risques de travail des enfants et de mariage forcé », a déclaré Sandra Lattouf, Représentante de l’UNICEF au Burkina Faso. « Nous savons que l’investissement dans l’éducation est essentiel pour donner aux filles et aux garçons la possibilité de réaliser leur plein potentiel et de devenir des citoyens actifs et productifs de l’avenir. Par conséquent, nous devons agir maintenant et accélérer nos actions pour protéger le financement de l’éducation, accélérer l’accès à des écoles sûres et réintégrer tous les enfants non scolarisés, en particulier les filles les plus marginalisées et les enfants handicapés ».

« Enfants du Monde est ravie d’avoir été sélectionnée comme l’un des bénéficiaires du prochain financement de l’ECW dans le cadre du programme pluriannuel de résilience. Elle s’engage à travailler avec les partenaires du consortium d’ONG nationales, du Ministère de l’Éducation à travers le Secrétariat Technique de l’Éducation en Situation d’Urgence et ses autres services techniques ainsi que le Cluster Éducation pour réaliser les objectifs définis dans le programme en appui à la Stratégie nationale d’éducation en situation d’urgence, » a déclaré Tougma Téné Sankara, Coordinateur Régional, Sahel, Enfants du Monde.

L’annonce du financement initial pluriannuel porte le total des investissements d’ECW au Burkina Faso à plus de 21 millions de dollars depuis la mi-2019. ECW a également annoncé de nouveaux investissements pour déployer des programmes de résilience pluriannuels similaires afin de répondre aux besoins éducatifs pressants dans les pays voisins du Mali et du Niger, qui sont également touchés par les crises qui sévissent au Sahel central.

Faits et chiffres clés:

  • Le budget total du programme pluriannuel de résilience 2021-2023 pour le Burkina Faso est de 59,1 millions USD. Avec une allocation généreuse de 11,1 millions de dollars de financement de démarrage du fonds Éducation sans délai, le programme vise à mobiliser 48 millions de dollars supplémentaires auprès de donateurs publics et privés pour être pleinement mis en œuvre.
  • Le programme pluriannuel de résilience cible 813 000 filles et garçons, y compris les adolescents, dans six régions prioritaires – Boucles de Mouhoun, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord et Sahel.
  • Le financement de démarrage d’ECW ciblera directement 144 000 enfants (21% du total) dans trois des six régions prioritaires avec une vaste gamme d’interventions. Les bénéficiaires visés incluent les personnes exposées à des risques sanitaires élevés et / ou de sécurité, dont 87 000 (60%) sont des filles et des adolescentes et 14 000 (10%) sont des enfants et des adolescents handicapés. Par ailleurs, 9 000 filles et garçons supplémentaires, y compris des adolescents, bénéficieront de possibilités d’éducation non formelle.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT AND PARTNERS LAUNCH MULTI-YEAR EDUCATION PROGRAMME TO DELIVER EDUCATION TO OVER 800,000 CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CRISES IN BURKINA FASO

Together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – launched today a new multi-year programme that aims to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected regions of the country.

ECW invests initial US$11.1 million to roll out the 3-year US$59 million programme

14 January 2021, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – Together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – launched today a new multi-year programme that aims to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected regions of the country.

The new programme benefits from an initial three-year $11.1 million allocation in seed funding from ECW to be implemented by UNICEF ($6.1 million) and Enfants du Monde ($5 million) in collaboration with UN and civil society partners. It aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully funded and reach all targeted children and youth. Programme interventions are aligned to Burkina Faso’s National Education in Emergencies Strategy and to the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan.

“In Burkina Faso, the education sector is suffering the negative effects of both the ongoing security and COVID-19 crises. The security crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,300 schools and a massive displacement of more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic further resulted in the closure of all schools in Burkina Faso for several months. I therefore take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Education Cannot Wait for their unwavering support in our efforts to support education in emergencies,” said H.E. Mr. Stanislas Ouaro, Minister of National Education and Literacy for Burkina-Faso.

Speaking at the launch in Ouagadougou, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif commended the leadership of the Government and education partners in Burkina Faso in designing a programme addressing the specific challenges of crisis-affected girls and boys in accessing quality education in communities affected by the violence and insecurity, forced displacement, food insecurity and natural and man-made disasters (epidemics, drought, floods).

“The crisis in Burkina Faso and in the whole Central Sahel is among the fastest deteriorating in the world. We can either watch and do nothing, or we can actually act now by investing in children and adolescents to empower them to achieve their full potential and become positive change agents for their communities,” said Yasmine Sherif. “At Education Cannot Wait, we believe in the true transformative power of quality education. With the launch of this new programme, we appeal to additional donors to join us to ensure no girls and boys are left behind in Burkina Faso.”

Ms. Sherif stressed the holistic approach of the planned interventions to meet the full range of needs of vulnerable children and youth, including mental health, psychosocial and nutrition support, as well as the focus on girls’ education and the promotion of safe and protective learning environments in line with the Safe School Declaration. “We cannot have children going to school and not knowing if they will come out alive. The Safe School Declaration and International Law have to be respected,” said Sherif.

ECW’s multi-year funding targets 60 per cent girls, and focuses on the most vulnerable, including both forcibly displaced and host community children, as well as children with disabilities. The programme ensures continuity from early childhood education (25 per cent of the total children targeted), to primary (43 per cent) and secondary (33 per cent).

In recent years, violence and insecurity have forced 1,000,000 people to flee their homes in Burkina Faso. Due to growing insecurity and violent attacks against education, teachers and students, school closures doubled between 2017 and 2019, disrupting education for more than 400,000 children. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated the acute vulnerabilities of girls and boys already caught in crisis.

Nationwide, a quarter of girls and boys aged 6-11 are out of school, two-thirds of whom come from six of the highest risk regions: Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel. The new multi-year programme focuses on these six regions, where the primary completion rate is just 29 per cent, or less than half of what it is at the national level; and where 56 per cent of girls and boys, particularly adolescents, are out of school. Being out of school exposes these girls, boys, and adolescents to a plethora of risks including recruitment into armed groups, forced marriage and pregnancy, and engagement in harmful child labour work practices.

“We are confident that this partnership will improve the access to education for vulnerable children severely impacted by the crisis and prevent learning loss, the risk of drop-out and exposure to risks of child labor and forced marriage” said Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso. “We know that investing in education is critical to give girls and boys the opportunity to realize their full potential and to become active and productive citizens of the future. Therefore, we must act now, and accelerate our actions to protect education financing and to fast track the access to safe schools and reintegrate all children out-of-school, especially the most marginalized girls and children with disabilities”

“Enfants du Monde is pleased to have been selected as one of the grantees of ECW’s seed funding allocation to the Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Burkina Faso. We are committed to working with partners from the national NGO consortium, the Education Ministry through the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergencies and its other technical services as well as with the Education Cluster to meet the programme objectives in support of the National Strategy for Education in Emergencies,” said Tougma Téné Sankara, Regional Coordinator Sahel,  Enfants du Monde.

The announcement of the multi-year seed funding brings the total of ECW investments in Burkina Faso to over $21 million since mid-2019. ECW has also announced new investments to roll out similar multi-year resilience programmes to respond to pressing education needs in the neighbouring countries of Mali and Niger, which are also affected by crises in the Central Sahel.

Key facts and figures:

  • The full cost of the 2021-2023 Multi-Year Resilience Programme for Burkina Faso is US$59.1 million. With a generous $11.1 million seed funding allocation from Education Cannot Wait, the programme aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully implemented.
  • The Multi-Year Resilience Programme targets 813,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, in six priority regions – Boucles de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel.
  • ECW’s seed funding will directly target 144,000 (21% of the total) learners in three of the six priority regions with a comprehensive package of interventions. This includes those exposed to major health and/or security challenges, of whom 87,000 (60%) are girls and adolescent girls and 14,000 (10%) are children and adolescents with disabilities. An additional 9,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, will benefit from non-formal education opportunities.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT APPROVES US$33.3 MILLION FOR BURKINA FASO, MALI AND NIGER IN THE CENTRAL SAHEL

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$33.3 million in catalytic investment grants in response to the health and humanitarian crisis in the Central Sahel in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. These investments result in a total of US$103 million of ECW investments approved within the last month for refugee, forcibly displaced, host-community and other vulnerable girls and boys in these countries, as well as crisis-affected children and youth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

In response to escalating crises in the Central Sahel, these new programmes will reach 300,000 children and youth impacted by displacement, conflict and COVID-19

Available in French.

4 January 2021, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$33.3 million in catalytic investment grants in response to the health and humanitarian crisis in the Central Sahel in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. These investments result in a total of US$103 million of ECW investments approved within the last month for refugee, forcibly displaced, host-community and other vulnerable girls and boys in these countries, as well as crisis-affected children and youth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The new multi-year resilience programmes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger bring together humanitarian and development actors to jointly deliver inclusive, quality education to children and youth left furthest behind in the Central Sahel. These joint programmes will run for three years, with the goal of leveraging an additional US$117 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations.

The humanitarian situation is worsening in the Central Sahel as a result of multiple crises. The horrific attacks by non-state armed groups against civilians in the villages of Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadareye in Niger on 2 January which killed at least 100 people, including 17 children (according to UNICEF), and wounded and displaced scores of others is just the latest example of how violence in the region is threatening the future of an entire generation. Civilians, including children – and education – must always be protected against armed attacks. ECW’s investments support the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration to promote the safety of girls and boys and protect students, teachers and schools from the worst effects of armed conflict.

Girls are disproportionately impacted by these protracted crises and thus Education Cannot Wait investments prioritize girls’ education from pre-school through to secondary levels by ensuring that 60 per cent of the beneficiaries across the three countries are female. Education Cannot Wait also places specific emphasis on reaching those left furthest behind in protracted crises contexts, hence children and adolescents with disabilities comprise ten per cent of those to be reached with this multi-year funding.

“Millions of girls and boys in the Central Sahel live on the frontlines of armed conflicts, hunger, forced displacement and poverty. COVID-19 and a rise in climate-change induced disasters exacerbate the challenges they already face in realizing their right to education. For them, education represents their only hope. However, more financial resources are needed to fully fund these carefully designed and crisis-sensitive joint programmes, which will transform education in the Central Sahel – provided financing is made available,” said The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group.

The programmes build upon the results of Education Cannot Wait’s US$30 million in first emergency investments across the three countries which were initiated in 2019. These first emergency responses are currently reaching over quarter of a million girls and boys affected by forced displacements across the region.

“Children, youth and their teachers are disempowered by the lack of an inclusive quality education and a safe learning environment as they are also targeted in violent attacks,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. “I have met them. I have seen both the despair and the resilience of young adolescent girls demanding their right to education and appealing for protection from early marriage. We can change all that and ECW’s investments represent our resolve to deliver hope and a real opportunity for change. Together with our partners, Education Cannot Wait calls on public and private sector donors to join us and urgently close the US$117 million funding gap and complete ECW’s catalytic investments in these three joint programmes, for Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. We have to act and we have to act now.”

Burkina Faso

More than 2.6 million children and youth are out of school in Burkina Faso, with another 1.7 million students at risk of dropping out of school. While the government has made impressive strides in improving its education system, poverty, a lack of documentation, child labour, disabilities, early pregnancies and marriages, and other factors push many children out of school, with just 1 out of 10 continuing on to secondary education.

With a US$11.1 million catalytic grant, the Burkina Faso multi-year resilience programme seeks to mobilize US$48 million in additional funds. Fully funded, the programme will reach 913,000 girls and boys, 60 per cent of whom are girls. The programme specifically targets displaced, refugee and returnee children, children with disabilities and children currently out of school.  The ECW seed funding will directly target 144,000 learners in vulnerable situations with a comprehensive package of interventions and will be implemented by UNICEF (US$6.1 million) and Enfants Du Monde (US$5 million).

“In Burkina Faso, the education sector is suffering the negative effects of both the ongoing security and COVID-19 crises. The security crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,300 schools and a massive displacement of more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic further resulted in the closure of all schools in Burkina Faso for several months. I therefore take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Education Cannot Wait for their unwavering support in our efforts to support education in emergencies,” said H.E. Mr. Stanislas Ouaro, Minister of National Education and Literacy for Burkina-Faso.

Mali

Mali faces a serious humanitarian and security crisis. The combined effects of conflict and multi-faceted insecurity and a repetitive cycle of flooding accentuate pre-existing vulnerabilities and prevent sustained access to educational opportunities. Indiscriminate attacks by armed groups against civilians, violence against girls and women, and attacks on state institutions, including schools and health facilities, are common. They result in displacements of populations in a region that is already facing the impacts of climate change, extreme poverty, a lack of economic opportunities and scarcity of basic services. This situation has worsened with the arrival of COVID-19. Currently, approximately 3.8 million girls and boys are enrolled in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools across Mali. These numbers suggest that as many as 50 per cent of children are out of school.

With US$11.1 million in seed funding from ECW, the multi-year resilience programme in Mali seeks to mobilize US$30.6 million in additional funding. Fully funded, the three-year programme will reach 370,000 girls and boys, 60 per cent of whom are girls and 10 per cent of whom are children with disabilities. The ECW catalytic grant will be implemented by EducCo (US$2.7 million), Plan International (US$2.7 million), Save the Children (US$3.2 million) and UNHCR (US$2.5 million). The investment will enable partners to reach 90,000 children and youth and support interventions in the priority regions with an emphasis on the regions of Mopti and Menaka with the highest levels of vulnerability. Beneficiaries include refugees, returnees, internally displaced and host community children and youth.

“The Government of Mali expresses its appreciation for Education Cannot Wait’s funding of $11.1 million to support the continued quality education of crisis-affected children and youth impacted by school closures in emergency areas of the country by providing them with diverse learning opportunities,” said Mr. Kinane Ag Gadeda, Secretary-General of the Ministry of National Education for Mali.

Niger

The education system in Niger faces many major challenges. In 2019 just 13 per cent of pre-school, 64 per cent in primary, 29 per cent in lower secondary and 10 per cent upper secondary students were enrolled in school. The investment actively targets crisis-affected regions where these rates are all below the national average. The humanitarian crisis has further exacerbated pressures on the education system. Climate change spurs chronic food insecurity and displacement due to drought. This triggers conflict and cross-border migration, placing significant pressures on the education system.

With US$11.1 million in seed funding from ECW, the overall multi-year response seeks to mobilize an additional US$39.2 million to reach a total of 275,000 children. ECW catalytic grants target 61,000 girls and boys, including adolescents in the Tahoua and Tillaberi regions. Implemented by World Food Programme (US$4.4 million), Plan International (US$3.3 million) and World Vision International (US$3.3 million), ECW funds will reach 19,300 refugees, 2,600 children and adolescents with disabilities and more than 30,000 girls and adolescent girls.

“I take this opportunity to reaffirm our gratitude and appreciation to ECW for approving the multi-year resilience programme to support the Niger government’s efforts over the next three years to help vulnerable children in crisis-affected areas in the country. I appeal to all of Niger’s partners to support this programme by closing the funding gap to ensure that education is not forgotten among the crises affecting Niger,” said Yahouza Sadissou, Coordinating Minister of the Ministries responsible for Education in Niger.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT APPROVES US$22.2 MILLION FOR MULTI-YEAR RESILIENCE PROGRAMME IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Responding to the intensifying humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$22.2 million in catalytic investment grants to accelerate the nation’s education in emergency response. The initial programme will run for three years, with the goal of leveraging an additional US$45.3 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to reach over 200,000 children and youth.

In response to large-scale, complex and protracted crises, the three year programme aims to reach over 200,000 internally displaced, returnee and refugee girls and boys – as well as host community children and youth – with safe and equitable quality education.

18 December 2020, New York – Responding to the intensifying humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today announced US$22.2 million in catalytic investment grants to accelerate the nation’s education in emergency response. The initial programme will run for three years, with the goal of leveraging an additional US$45.3 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to reach over 200,000 children and youth.

“Education is a top priority for the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, contributing to sustainable development and peace in the country,” said Jean-Marie Mangobe Bomungo, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education. “Refugee, internally displaced and host community children must be able to benefit from education like all children. Thanks to Education Cannot Wait funding, this new multi-year resilience programme will help us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind, especially as we work to guarantee inclusive, quality education for every girl and boy in the country.”

“Millions of children and youth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being left behind. Facing the compounding risks of violence, conflict, food insecurity, natural disasters – as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple health crises over the years including cholera and ebola – girls and boys are at high risk of dropping out of school permanently, being forcefully recruited into armed and militant groups, or being pushed out of school to join the workforce. For girls, the situation is even worse. They risk all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation, forced child marriage and early pregnancy and various forms of abuse,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Working together with the speed of humanitarians and the quality of development in crisis contexts, this new joint programme helps bridge the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and aims to address the current needs, while also building long-term solutions to keep Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most crisis-affected children and youth in school with a real opportunity for learning. Their education cannot wait. Now is the time for hope.”

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe impact on education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Following the closure of schools as a preventive measure, around 27 million students have had their schooling interrupted. This is in addition to an estimated 15 to 23 million school-aged children and adolescents who were out of school before the COVID-19 crisis. The government is stepping up its response, with recent initiatives to support free primary education allowing more children the opportunity to attend school, but this has also caused overcrowded classrooms and is depleting resources.

Attacks on schools and recruitment into armed groups are on the rise. Recruitment into armed groups doubled from the previous year in 2017, with over 1,000 verified cases. Schools are being destroyed during armed conflicts and are being occupied by armed groups or displaced persons. In crisis-affected Tanganyika, Ituri and Kasai Central provinces, one out of every four children and youth are out of school. Across the country, teachers are hard to retain and receive low pay, and only 5 per cent of children have access to pre-school education, with girls receiving more access than boys.

This new, multi-year education programme – implemented by UNICEF in coordination with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, national and international partners, and a broad coalition of partners on the ground – the programme will improve equitable access to inclusive learning environments in the provinces of Tanganyika, Ituri and Kasaï Central.

Fully funded, the programme will reach over 200,000 internally displaced, returnee and deported refugee girls and boys – as well as host community children and youth. Out of this total, Education Cannot Wait seed funding will focus on Tanganyika province to reach 68,000 children and adolescents aged 5–17 years, 52 per cent of whom are girls. These include children from internally displaced, returnee and refugee populations and children with disabilities (15 per cent of the total). Teachers and school communities, indigenous people, former child soldiers, victims of gender-based violence, unaccompanied children, children from host communities, and other vulnerable children and adolescents are also targeted through the intervention.

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Notes to editors:
Programme outputs:

  • The programme focuses on increasing access to safe and quality education for all children and adolescents with a focus on the most vulnerable, including those with disabilities. This will be partially accomplished through the construction or rehabilitation, and equipping of learning spaces for formal (pre-primary, primary and secondary) and non-formal education (remedial education and vocational training centres). The school environment will be adapted to ensure equity of access and to meet local safety, hygiene and sanitation standards.
  • To address high numbers of out-of-school children, and to prevent further dropouts, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme will address the underlying issues that lead to drop-out. Collaboration between the Education Cluster and the government together with the Health, Nutrition and Child Protection Cluster will develop a multi-sectoral approach to nutrition and wellbeing. To address issues of food security, learners will be provided school meals and will also be taught to grow gardens and to learn about nutrition and ecology.
  • The programme will ensure that children and adolescents have access to a holistic package of education that is relevant to their academic, physical and socio-emotional development.
  • The programme will work with the local, provincial and national government to improve key capacities for the provision of quality and relevant learning. It will also ensure the systems are in place that monitor the quality of learning, respond to crisis and improve equity of access to education.
  • The programme will address the significant protection risks faced by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in particular for children affected by armed conflict. This starts with creating a safe and protective learning environment. A safe school approach will be developed and adapted in accordance with the joint education needs assessments results and through joint planning with the Child Protection Cluster.
  • The programme will address gender equity and inclusion through direct action and by creating a supportive environment that establishes space for greater inclusiveness in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the long term. In line with the programmatic approach, the programme will address immediate barriers to learning, particularly for girls, while also strengthening systems to ensure that these barriers are reduced indefinitely.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT APPROVES US$27.2 MILLION FOR VENEZUELAN REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNITIES IN COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PERU

These multi-year education in emergency and protracted crisis responses will reach over 350,000 refugee, migrant and host-community children and youth to ensure continued access to inclusive and equitable quality education

These multi-year education in emergency and protracted crisis responses will reach over 350,000 refugee, migrant and host-community children and youth to ensure continued access to inclusive and equitable quality education

Disponible en español

3 December 2020, New York – In response to the ongoing situation forcing Venezuelans from their homes, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today US$27.2 million in catalytic investment grants for multi-year resilience programmes in  Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; these countries are receiving large numbers of children and their families fleeing violence and instability in Venezuela. The three-year education multi-year resilience programmes will reach over 350,000 Venezuelan and host-community children and youth.

“The dire situation in Venezuela has tragically forced approximately 5 million refugees and migrants, as of March 2020, outside their country of origin, and millions of girls and boys out of their schools, to seek safety in other countries in the region. These children and youth can now continue their education in their host communities, and this provides them with protection and hope in their future. This is precisely what they need now. Their education cannot wait until this protracted crisis is over. We need collective action and urgently call on public and private-sector donors to fully fund Education Cannot Wait’s comprehensive joint education programme for refugees and others forcibly displaced, as well as their host-communities in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “These multi-year investments deliver humanitarian-development coherence in the education sector, addressing both the immediate humanitarian needs and system-strengthening. Together we can make a difference now, while also paving the way for the future.”

Today’s investment builds on results delivered through ECW’s US$7 million first emergency response in 2019 to address the region’s largest exodus in recent history.

Colombia

The number of Venezuelans who have fled into Colombia has grown exponentially, from 40,000 in 2015 to 2.4 million by the end of 2020, making this protracted humanitarian crisis the largest in the Western Hemisphere and among the largest globally. Another 2 million Venezuelans go back and forth across the border on a regular basis to access basic services, including education.

This mass movement puts already vulnerable children and youth at increased risk. Girls – adolescent girls in particular – are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, abuse and early marriage and pregnancy. Boys face the risk of being forcibly recruited into criminal gangs and other armed groups.

Colombia allows all Venezuelan children and youth to enroll in its national education system regardless of their immigration status. The number of Venezuelan children and youth enrolled in Colombia’s formal education system has increased ten-fold over the last two years, from 34,000 in 2018 to 334,000 in 2020. Nevertheless, COVID-19, insufficient absorption capacity at schools, severe financial constraints, lack of teaching and learning materials, and discrimination and xenophobia are keeping many out of school.

The Colombia multi-year resilience programme benefits from US$12.4 million in catalytic grant financing from ECW, to be implemented by Save the Children ($10.7 million) and UNICEF ($1.7 million), together with the Norwegian Refugee Council, World Vision, Plan International and national NGOs, including national education secretariats to ensure as many children as possible are provided education.

The initial programme will run for three years, with the goal of leveraging an additional US$70.5 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations. The programme will reach at least 30,000 children through early childhood education, 90,000 children through primary education, and 30,000 children through secondary education.

The ground-breaking multi-year program bridges immediate humanitarian needs and longer-term development efforts strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus approach and targets 11 priority departments across the north and the north-east of the country, where over 80 per cent of Venezuelan children and youth are enrolled.

Ecuador

Since 2015, about 1.5 million Venezuelans have fled to Ecuador. While many travelled onward to Peru and to other countries, some 380,000 people remain. Drastic budget cuts and an escalating social and economic crisis in the country are reducing the nation’s capacity to deliver basic human services, such as education and healthcare.

Recent data from the World Bank indicates that more than 30 per cent of Venezuelans who have sought safety suffer from chronic malnutrition. Most of them lack access to education, health, housing and livelihoods, and many have been victims of sexual and gender-based violence, including human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Despite these challenges, the number of Venezuelan children and youth enrolled in Ecuador’s formal education system has more than quadrupled over the last two years, from 10,730 in 2018 to 47,319 in 2020. Nevertheless, approximately 35,000 Venezuelan children and youth living in Ecuador remain out of school.

Education Cannot Wait is allocating an initial catalytic grant of US$7.4 million in Ecuador, to be implemented by UNESCO in collaboration with UN and Civil Society Organizations, and calls on public and private sector donors to help fully fund the remaining US$32 million gap for the education-in-emergency response. Fully funded, the programme will reach 105,000 children and youth, including 64,000 girls and adolescent girls, and 10,000 children with disabilities.

Peru

According to the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, there are an estimated 830,000 Venezuelans who have escaped to Peru. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated quarantine measures in Peru have taken a severe toll, particularly on Venezuelan children, adolescents and their families. Children and youth are now dealing with multiplying risks including hunger, poverty, an increase in mental health problems and gender-based violence. There are notable spikes in the number of missing girls, abuse, and unintended and early pregnancies.

The Government of Peru is making important strides to include forcibly displaced Venezuelan children and youth into the nation’s education system. Ministry of Education data indicates that a total of 96,613 Venezuelan migrant and refugee students (52,319 girls and 44,294 boys) are enrolled in Peruvian schools (2020), a number which has steadily increased over recent years. Despite these efforts, there are 67,957 refugee and migrant children (33,234 girls and 34,723 boys) who are not registered in the Ministry of Education’s system.

Education Cannot Wait is allocating an initial catalytic grant of US$7.4 million in Peru, to be implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with UN and Civil Society Organizations. With the US$7.4 million in catalytic grant funding from ECW, the three-year multi-year resilience programme in Peru calls on donors and the private sector to help fully fund the remaining US$14 million gap for the education-in-emergency response.

Once fully funded, the programme will reach 100,000 children and youth – particularly Venezuelan girls and boys – and improve the inclusivity and quality of the Peruvian education system. The ECW seed grant responds to the pressing needs of 30,000 children and adolescents.

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About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. 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 around the world. 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.

On Twitter, please follow: @EduCannotWait  @YasmineSherif1  @KentPage

Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

To support our efforts and donate to Education Cannot Wait, text ‘ECW’ to 707070 (*from the US and Canada only) or visit www.pledgeling.com/ECW.

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

EVERY ACTION COUNTS – WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2020

This story was built from the analysis and reporting in Education Cannot Wait’s upcoming 2019 Annual Report. Stay tuned for more stories, high-level virtual events and analysis from the report. All figures reflect reporting as of 31 December 2019 unless otherwise noted. Photo © Avsi Foundation

Education Cannot Wait investments are reaching refugee children and youth in crisis-affected countries around the world, providing them with the hope, opportunity and protection of an education. In places like Uganda, this means disabled girls, like Sunday Harriet, are regaining access to education, allowing them to learn, grow and thrive.

Everyone can make a difference and every action counts! This is the rallying cry of 2020’s World Refugee Day, led by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and supported by stakeholders and partner across the world, including Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

For refugee students living in the Palake Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda, like Sunday Harriet, even the smallest of actions can make a big difference.

As an infant, Sunday suffered a serious infection in both her ears. Now 11 years old and in primary school, Sunday’s learning ability is impaired because her hearing is now limited.  “I used to be picked by teachers and brought to the front of the classroom because I did not hear well,” she said.

Sunday’s challenges are complex. Because she has a disability, and because she was forced to flee her home, her chances of receiving quality education were limited.

The spread of COVID-19 now exacerbates the hardships faced by refugee children like Sunday.  Refugee girls are especially at risk, often pressured by economic hardship, culture and tradition to stay home and work, or vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. According to the Malala Fund, approximately 10 million more secondary-school-aged girls could be out of school as a result of the pandemic, putting them at even higher risk.

To support Sunday, and other students like her, Education Cannot Wait provides funding for the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda and through a fast-acting First Emergency Response to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced in early April.

In Uganda, ECW’s education in emergency COVID-19 response includes $1 million in funding to Save the Children and UNHCR, which focuses on ensuring continuous access to education, including: distance, online and radio learning; information campaigns, risk communications and community engagement in local languages, including psychosocial and mental health support; and, water and sanitation facility upgrades in schools and learning centers as a first line of defense.

Recent reports indicate that 60,000 refugee and Ugandan children are benefiting from extended learning and mental health support during the lockdown through ECW’s first emergency response.

These interconnected programmes were developed through a collaborative process, including the Government of Uganda, donors, NGOs, UN agencies, the education in emergencies working group and other key stakeholders.

To get Sunday back to learning, the AVSI Foundation screened her using a contact disability assessment tool, which helps detect children and youth with impairments. Having clearly qualified for assistance, she was referred for further clinical assessment from an ear, nose and throat specialist in Gulu, in northern Uganda, who recommended she be fitted with hearing aids.

The assistance has been life changing! Having eventually received her digital hearing aids from Kampala Audiology and Speech Centre, Sunday can now properly engage in classroom exercises and listen clearly to what her teachers are saying.

Photo © Manan Kotak/ECW

Impact

According to ECW’s upcoming Annual Report, Uganda is host to the third largest refugee community in the world as more than 1.3 million refugees have crossed its borders from Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 60 per cent of the refugees are under the age of 18; girls and women make up a total of 51 percent of the total displaced population.

The Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda, was launched in September 2018 and aims to improve access and delivery of quality education for refugees and host communities affected areas in the border regions. The Education Response Plan is based on the ‘Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’ (CRRF) and these work together to make the education system more inclusive for refugees and other vulnerable groups, such as children with disabilities, girls and child mothers.

In 2019, the Uganda Education Consortium, working under the national emergency response plan, delivered a comprehensive package of services that include the distribution of scholastic materials to 150,941 children (48 per cent girls), the construction of more than 150 new classrooms, the recruitment of 640 teachers, and the establishment of referral pathways alongside accelerated learning programmes.

This multi-pronged approach helped improve the gross enrolment ratio for refugee children from 53 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent by the end of 2019.

Taken together with other actions, this provides a strong enabling environment for the government of Uganda to roll out effective education in emergencies relief to the COVID-19 pandemic and other fast-acting emergencies that derail development gains and push budgets and coping mechanisms to the breaking point.

Photo © Manan Kotak/ECW

Every Action Counts – The Global Picture

The global population of forcibly displaced people reached 70.8 million in 2019 – the highest level since World War II. This includes almost 26 million refugees and over 41 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs), who often face significant barriers to access education in host countries.

In 2019, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, only 63 per cent of refugee children attended primary school (compared to 91 per cent globally) and only 24 per cent of refugees accessed secondary education. COVID-19, climate change, armed conflicts and a trend toward longer periods of displacement and protracted crises are putting even more girls and boys at risk, and derailing global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG4,which focuses on universal and equitable quality education.

While host countries took in large numbers of refugees, they were not always able to accommodate the increased demand for services, and the 26 million refugees around the world face particularly dangerous, life-threatening obstacles in the fight against COVID-19. In a camp in Northwest Syria hosting 1 million people, people face cramped living conditions, little or no healthcare and a lack of access to clean water. In Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, as many as 16,000 people currently live in quarantine zones. Even worse, these multiplying crises that could result in 300,000 people starving every day, cost our economy trillions of dollars, and push millions back into poverty.

Education is part of the solution. Schools and learning centers provide refugee children with meals, they provide them with sanitation facilities, and they provide them with a safe haven to escape the fear and danger of life that they may face in exile. In short, education provides them hope.

Immediate relief is needed. ECW has expanded its education in emergencies COVID-19 response appeal to US$300 million. Much of this funding will directly reach refugee and other displaced children.

To create true transformational change, however, the education system needs to be built back better with integrated long-term approaches that bridge the humanitarian-development nexus, and put refugee children and education first.