Education Cannot Wait launches US$12 million allocation for Rohingya children education in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar, 13 November 2018

In a major boost to the education response of the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund is allocating US$12 million to support 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. The fund is being awarded to UNICEF, UNESCO and UNHCR to ensure a common vision for education and continued access to quality learning.

13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: Launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

“Education is a long-term investment in any context. Within the Rohingya refugee crisis, education plays an even more vital role. It ensures children’s protection. It is also a lifeline of hope for children and young people living in a very unpredictable situation. ECW is making a major investment in their future,” says James Lynch, UNHCR Regional Representative and Acting Representative in Bangladesh.

The launch was announced from an ECW supported learning centre in the Rohingya refugee camps earlier today, in the presence of 50 children, parents, teachers, government, UN and NGO representatives.

ECW's Senior Education Advisor Graham Lang attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
13 November 2018: ECW’s Senior Education Advisor, Graham Lang, attends the launch of the ECW-supported programme in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

When asked about his learning centre, 8-year-old Rohingya boy Amin said “diley shanti pai – I feel peace in my soul.”

For Amin and many others, time spent at the learning centre is the highlight of their day. Rohingya children attend classes for two hours each day to learn English, Burmese, mathematics and life skills. However, teaching hours will be expanded to four hours per day with the rollout of the new education programme.

“We are dealing with a refugee population which has been denied the right to education for a very long time. Over the past year, we have witnessed incredible changes in the children attending classes in the refugee camps. Children who were quiet and reserved have grown in confidence, they have learned new skills in a safe, protective environment and achieved a sense of normality. We must continue to nurture their talents and prospects for a brighter future,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.


Over 2,000 teachers will benefit from professional development programmes through the multi-year ECW grant to ensure quality education that can sustain and save lives, providing safe learning environments, psychosocial support for children and youth.  In particular, the programme will focus on training female teachers and meeting the specific needs of girls and boys and of children and adolescents with disabilities. This includes measures to prevent and address gender-based violence.

In host communities, emphasis will be placed on strengthening education systems to improve quality in public schools. Cox’s Bazar has one of the highest rates in the country of primary and secondary age children out of school. The ECW grant will invest in strengthening access to education, retention of students and increasing performance levels.

“ECW’s support will enable us to enhance the quality of the education delivered. We will train more teachers with an improved syllabus and learning materials. We can expand the network of our reach to close the gap on the Rohingya children and youth we are currently unable to reach in the refugee camps,” highlights Beatrice Kaldun, UNESCO Representative in Bangladesh.

At the onset of the refugee crisis, ECW donated US$3 million to establish emergency education services in the Rohingya camps. This US$12 million contribution builds on the earlier support and aligns with a broader framework of support for education facilitated by ECW.  The estimated additional cost to deliver this education program in 2019 is almost US$60 million. ECW is calling upon other donors and partners to step up to the plate and provide further financing to fill the gap.

“This funding builds on the first emergency investment made by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) during the initial months of the Rohingya arrivals in 2017.  We will not give up on these children and youth now, as they start to recover from the painful experiences in the recent past. On the contrary, now is the time to sustain and expand their access to education, which also means to continue providing a healing and protective environment,” says Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW.


The press release is also available at the following links:

UNESCO office in Dhaka

UNICEF Bangladesh



Media contacts

UNICEF Bangladesh, Jean-Jacques Simon. Email: jsimon(at) Tel: +8801713 043478

UNHCR Bangladesh, Firas Al-Khateeb. Email: Khateeb(at) Tel: +880 188 593 4309

UNESCO Bangladesh, Sun Lei. Email: l.sun(at) Tel: +880 1708 455077

ECW, Anouk Desgroseilliers, Email: adesgroseilliers(at) Tel: +1 917 640 6820



 ECW provides its largest allocation to date to support quality education for 1.6 million crisis-affected children and youth in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Uganda

20 September 2018, New York – The Education Cannot Wait fund (ECW) is allocating a total of US$35 million as seed funding to support the launch of three ground-breaking multi-year education programmes designed to deliver quality learning opportunities to 1.6 million children and youth affected by conflict and violence.

This is the largest allocation from the ECW Fund since its inception. It comprises $11 million to support the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host communities in Uganda, $12 million allocated to the Delivering Collective Education Outcomes in Afghanistan programme, and $12 million to support Education for Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities in Bangladesh.

“The launch of these three multi-year programmes marks a turning point in the way the multilateral aid system delivers education in emergencies and protracted crises,” said Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif. “It sets concrete examples of ‘the new way of working’ through cooperation and collaboration between humanitarian and development actors. It is about all coming together, about how global, national and local stakeholders join forces to find solutions to provide quality education and restore hope to millions of children and youth caught up in some of the most difficult circumstances of conflict and displacement.”

ECW is pioneering the new way of working in the education-in-emergencies sector to strengthen the links between relief and development efforts, and deliver rapid and sustainable responses to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4. The Fund provided the impetus and supported the development by in-country partners of the three multi-year programmes, acting as a catalyst to bring together humanitarian and development actors.

“The announcement of ECW’s allocation today is the starting line. In order to deliver on our collective obligation to fulfill the right to education of all children in conflict and crisis, public and private donors must deepen and expand their investment specifically addressing education in humanitarian contexts,” said Sherif. “Valued stakeholders and donors have already indicated their support to these ECW-facilitated programmes, and we are confident additional actors will come forward and contribute.”

The three ECW-facilitated multi-year education programmes aim to provide quality education to refugees, internally displaced, and host community and vulnerable children and youth as follows:

  • In Uganda: The 3.5-year programme calls for contributions of $389 million to reach over 560,000 refugee and host community children and youth, recruit and remunerate more than 9,000 teachers on a yearly basis, train over 12,500 teachers and build close to 3,000 classrooms yearly. The response plan has been developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and UNHCR, and will be managed by consortium facilitated by Save the Children. Other key partners include UN Agencies, bilateral donors, and international and local civil society organizations. To date, $80 million in contributions from the Government and its partners has been identified, including ECW’s seed funding.

In Afghanistan: The 3-year programme calls for contributions of $150 million to reach over 500,000 internally displaced and returnee children and youth as well as vulnerable children in remote areas and host communities. It will create an inclusive teaching and learning environment; improve continuity of education; and create safer and more protective learning environments, with a target of 50 per cent towards girls’ access to quality education. The key partners facilitating the programme under the leadership of the Ministry of Education include UNICEF, Save the Children, UN agencies, bilateral donors, and international and local civil society organizations. To date, $22 million in contributions has been allocated to the programme, including ECW’s seed funding.

  • In Bangladesh: The 2-year framework calls for contributions of $222 million to build on the existing emergency response and reach over 560,000 refugee and host community children and youth and 9,800 teachers in Cox’s Bazar district. It is an extension of the humanitarian response and is therefore aligned with the current Joint Response Plan. Key partners who have participated in the development of this framework include UNHCR, UNESCO, UNICEF, and international and local civil society organizations. To date over $97 million has been allocated towards the framework, including ECW’s seed funding..

This $35 million allocation brings ECW’s investments to a total of $127 million in 17 crisis-affected countries since the Fund became operational eighteen months ago. ECW’s investments are currently reaching 765,000 children and youth in the world’s worst crises, half of whom are girls and adolescent girls. The number of children and youth reached will now scale up significantly.

The full press release is available here.


A second field mission is ongoing in Uganda to meet with partners

A joint mission led by Education Cannot Wait (ECW), including the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Save The Children, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)and UNHCR, is currently in Kampala meeting with government officials, the UN Resident Coordinator, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNESCO, WFP, the World Bank, donors, local NGOs and civil society organisations to finalise a comprehensive multi-year Response Plan for Refugee and Host Communities. This plan comes in support of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) led by the Government of Uganda and UNHCR.

This mission follows a preliminary field assessment conducted by ECW and its partners in July and a $3.35 million grant allocated earlier this year. This first ECW grant is supporting a one-year First Emergency Response programme, also funded and managed by UNHCR in partnership with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and other in-country partners. The programme aims to meet the specific educational needs of children living in refugee settlements and their host communities in Uganda with innovative solutions such as accelerated education, double-shifting, adapted infrastructure, as well as refugee teacher training and certification. This mission was the first concrete action taken since the Uganda Solidarity Summit, which had taken place in Kampala the previous month. In a spirit of sustainability, the objective of the second mission is to extend the first-year response provided by ECW and its partners with a comprehensive four-year plan.

Uganda is hosting 1.3 million refugees – the highest numbers of refugees in Africa and the third largest in the world today. Out of these 1.3 million refugees, an estimated one million people are fleeing insecurity and violence in South Sudan and 86 percent are children and women. The remaining 300,000 refugees are coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. The Government is committed to ensure access to quality education to all refugee children, in line with the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants adopted at the UN General Assembly last year. Refugee children can study with Ugandan children in regular schools.

However, the national education sector is itself hindered by underlying poverty, lack of teaching capacities, poor infrastructure, overcrowded classes, poor learning outcomes and a low enrollment of girls at post-primary levels aggravated by gender-based violence and dire hygiene conditions. The areas where refugees have settled are already some of the most disadvantaged parts of the country, which may exacerbate tension between the two communities, making it important for ECW and its partners to adopt a fast and holistic approach that integrates the educational needs of both refugees and their host communities. A report prepared by Save the Children and launched during the Solidarity Summit showed that $132 million is needed to meet the basic education needs of children living in those areas.

In line with ECW’s core principles, joint planning efforts seek to empower the local education sector and fill identified gaps, while building on existing in-country partners, coordination mechanisms and frameworks, including the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment approach (ReHoPe), the Government National Development Plan, the Settlement Transformative Agenda (STA) and Uganda’s SDG targets.

This all-inclusive stakeholder workshop organized by ECW in Kampala this week, in cooperation with DFID and USAID, is the first-of-its-kind meeting bringing together state and non-state humanitarian and development parties involved in Uganda’s education sector. It will accelerate the efforts deployed by all actors on the ground to ensure access to quality learning for children in both refugee and host communities in a rapid, coordinated, effective and sustainable manner.

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As part of the mission, ECW’s Director Ms. Yasmine Sherif and her team met refugee students and teachers, as well as with Ugandan families living in the area, to get a first-hand understanding of their situation, the needs and to ensure that their voice drives all efforts planned in the coming years.

More: Press release issued by the Office of the First Lady and Ministry of Education of Uganda

Photo: ©UNHCR/SouthSudan

Posted 28 September 2017