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 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.


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.

Statement of the ECW Director, Yasmine Sherif, at the Ministerial Roundtable for the Central Sahel

20 October 2020 – as prepared for delivery

Education Cannot Wait is the first and only global fund dedicated to supporting the education of children and youth in emergencies and protracted crises, including armed conflict.  Following the escalation of the crises in Central Sahel in 2019, particularly in Burkina Faso, ECW has been engaging with the governments and education partners in all three countries, including UN agencies and civil society organizations.  ECW sees education as a central, key component of any sustainable solution to crises, not only ensuring that children and youths’ right to education is fulfilled but also in contributing to peace, tolerance and understanding as a basis for long-lasting stability.  Since July 2019, ECW has approved $30 million in grants to the three countries in four funding phases to over 20 different grantees – thanks to generous support from our diverse donor base, including the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and Denmark.  We would like to take the opportunity today to say two things:  First, ECW, working across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, is now committing an additional $33 million to the three countries over the next three years in support of multi-year resilience programme funding. This will support existing education in emergencies strategies and help them to bridge longer-term development interventions outlined in the respective sector plans.  Secondly, we appeal to other donors to join ECW in recognising the central role of education in tackling the crises in Central Sahel by swiftly increasing their financing to eliminate the $94 million gap which ECW is urgently needed for education in the crises affected zones across all three countries.



Click here for more information on the Ministerial Roundtable for the Central Sahel

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Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a new US$3.7 million tranche of funding to support education in emergencies responses in the Sahelian nations of Mali and Niger.

The new funding will expand support from ECW’s initial US$6 million First Emergency Response grant announced for Sahel this July / Le nouveau financement s’ajoute à l’allocation de 6 millions de dollars (USD) de première réponse en situation d’urgence annoncée en juillet par ECW pour la région du Sahel.Photo UNICEF Mali/Dicko

US$3.7 million grant will reach children and youth impacted by insecurity, displacement, conflict and ongoing crises in the region

Voir la version en français ci-dessous

13 December 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced today a new US$3.7 million tranche of funding to support education in emergencies responses in the Sahelian nations of Mali and Niger.

The new funding will expand support from ECW’s initial US$6 million First Emergency Response grant announced this July.

In addressing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, the expanded funding will reach over 160,000 children and youth.

Through national governments and implementing partners on the ground, the new round of ECW funding will support the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms for 15,000 out-of-school children and youth, provide learning materials to over 100,000 students, promote good menstrual health and hygiene for over 130,000 girls, and promote more protective learning environments for more than 160,000 students.

A large funding gap for the educational humanitarian response persists in the target areas of the intervention, with estimates indicating US$42 million remaining unfunded.

Violence, displacement, insecurity and crises continue to grow across the region. More than 320,000 children and youth have been affected by school closures, and an uptick of attacks on schools has been registered across the two countries since 2017.

The ongoing education response in the two countries is yielding impressive results. In 2019, approximately 100,000 children and youth were able to access quality, inclusive education, according to Education Cluster reports. As of October 2019, the Education Cluster has reached over 46,000 girls and boys and provided 73,000 students with learning materials. More students are also receiving the psychosocial support and feeding programmes they need to cope with the exposure to the trauma of displacement and have enough food to eat every day.

“The Sahel is one of the most unstable and fragile regions on the globe. Children and youth bear the burden of armed conflicts, forced displacement, abject poverty, the effects of climate change, food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Together with our partners, today, we are investing in immediately providing educational opportunities for some of the most marginalized and vulnerable girls and boys in Mali and Niger to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and become positive agents of change.”

First Emergency Response in Niger

In the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions of Niger, over 100,000 school-aged children are in need of humanitarian assistance. The security and displacement situation remains in flux in most parts of Niger. Various regional conflicts, including the crisis in Mali, the Boko Haram insurgency and regional crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, and rising insecurity in northern states of Nigeria, are causing major displacement towards and within Niger and are having an adverse impact on economic activities and access to public services such as education. Refugee children are being left behind, with 17,000 refugees in Niger lacking access to any type of education support.

In Niger, UNICEF, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council will implement the ECW-financed programming with US$1.3 million in total funds allocated.

Assoumane Mahamadou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Primary Education, Literacy, National Language Promotion and Civic Education of Niger, said: “We are delighted to hear confirmation of the next US$1.3 million Education Cannot Wait rapid funding allocation for Niger. This additional funding comes at a time when our education system is facing several challenges. Various regional conflicts, including the crisis on the borders of Mali and Burkina and the regional crisis of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin have a negative impact on access to public services such as education. This funding will allow for continued support to the government’s efforts to fulfill the right to education for all girls and boys in need of schooling.”  

First Emergency Response in Mali

In Central and Northern Mali, insecurity has hindered the continuity of schooling for many children, who also are at increased risk of violence and abuses. In all, some 450,000 children need humanitarian assistance. As the crisis intensifies in the central regions, schools are closing under the threat of militant groups and intercommunity conflicts, and the situation for girls and boys grows more alarming every day. Recent estimates from the Education Cluster indicate over 1,000 schools are non-functional, affecting more than 315,000 students.

In Mali, World Vision and UNICEF will implement the ECW-financed response with US$2.4 million in allocated funds. 

Mbaranga Gasarabwe, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Mali, said: “Education is key to ensuring that girls and boys in Mali can contribute positively to the future of their country. The crisis has deprived too many children of this fundamental right. The Government of Mali is signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and as it strives to make quality education accessible to all, it needs the support of all partners to protect children’s right to education.”


Une nouvelle allocation de 3,7 millions de dollars (USD) soutiendra l’accès à l’éducation des enfants et des jeunes touchés par l’insécurité, les déplacements, les conflits et les crises en cours dans cette région du Sahel

13 décembre 2019, New York – Le Fonds Éducation sans délai (« Education Cannot Wait » ou « ECW ») annonce une nouvelle tranche de financement de 3,7 millions de dollars (USD) pour soutenir des programmes d’éducation en situation d’urgence au Mali et au Niger.

Cette nouvelle allocation augmente le financement d’ECW dans le cadre de son investissement de Première réponse en situation d’urgence annoncé en juillet dernier pour le Sahel.

Pour faire face à la détérioration de la situation humanitaire dans la région, ce financement accru bénéficiera à plus de 160 000 enfants et jeunes.

Par le biais des gouvernements nationaux et des partenaires de mise en œuvre sur le terrain, le financement d’ECW soutiendra la construction et la réhabilitation de salles de classe pour 15 000 enfants et jeunes non scolarisés, fournira du matériel d’apprentissage à plus de 100 000 élèves, favorisera une bonne hygiène menstruelle pour plus de 130 000 filles et assurera des environnements d’apprentissage plus protecteurs pour plus de 160 000 élèves.

Un important manque de financement pour la réponse humanitaire dans le secteur de l’éducation persiste toutefois dans les zones ciblées par les interventions : environ 42 millions de dollars (USD) restent à mobiliser, selon les estimations.

Les violences, les déplacements de population, l’insécurité et les crises continuent de s’aggraver dans la région. Plus de 320 000 enfants et jeunes sont touchés par les fermetures d’écoles et une recrudescence des attaques contre les écoles a été enregistrée dans les deux pays depuis 2017.

La réponse en cours en éducation en situation d’urgence dans les deux pays obtient cependant des résultats notables. En 2019, environ 100 000 enfants et jeunes ont pu accéder à une éducation inclusive et de qualité, selon les rapports du Cluster Éducation. En octobre 2019, les acteurs du Cluster Éducation avait atteint plus de 46 000 filles et garçons et fourni du matériel d’apprentissage à 73 000 élèves. De plus en plus d’enfants bénéficient du soutien psychosocial et des programmes d’alimentation dont ils ont besoin pour faire face à l’adversité et au traumatisme liés aux situations de déplacement forcé et pour avoir suffisamment à manger chaque jour.

« Le Sahel est l’une des régions les plus instables et les plus fragiles du monde. Les enfants et les jeunes paient le plus lourd tribut des conflits armés, des déplacements forcés, de l’extrême pauvreté, des effets du changement climatique, de l’insécurité alimentaire et de la malnutrition qui y sévissent », a déclaré Yasmine Sherif, Directrice du Fonds Éducation sans délai. « Avec nos partenaires, nous investissons pour offrir immédiatement des possibilités d’éducation aux filles et garçons parmi les plus marginalisés et vulnérables au Mali et au Niger afin qu’ils et elles puissent apprendre et développer les compétences dont ils ont besoin pour s’épanouir et devenir des agents de changement positif.»

Première réponse en situation d’urgence au Niger

Dans les régions de Tillabéri et Tahoua au Niger, plus de 100 000 enfants d’âge scolaire ont besoin d’une aide humanitaire. La situation en matière de sécurité et de déplacement reste volatile dans la plupart des régions du pays. Divers conflits régionaux, notamment la crise au Mali, l’insurrection de Boko Haram et la crise régionale dans le bassin du lac Tchad, et l’insécurité croissante dans les États du nord du Nigéria, provoquent des déplacements importants vers et à l’intérieur du Niger et ont un impact négatif sur les activités économiques et l’accès aux services publics tels que l’éducation. Les enfants réfugiés sont particulièrement touchés : 17 000 réfugiés au Niger n’ont accès à aucun type de soutien éducatif.

Au Niger, l’UNICEF, Save the Children et le Conseil norvégien pour les réfugiés (NRC) mettront en œuvre les programmes financés par l’allocation de 1,3 million de dollars d’ECW.

Assoumane Mahamadou, Secrétaire Général du Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire de l’Alphabétisation de la Promotion des Langues Nationales et de l’Éducation Civique, a déclaré : “Nous sommes ravis d’apprendre la confirmation du prochain financement rapide de 1,3 million de dollars pour le Niger dans le cadre de l’investissement du Fonds Éducation sans délai. Ce financement additionnel arrive en ce moment où notre système éducatif fait face à plusieurs défis. Divers conflits régionaux, dont la crise aux frontières du Mali et Burkina, la crise régionale de Boko Haram dans le bassin du lac Tchad et l’insécurité croissante dans les États du nord du Nigéria entraîne une situation qui impacte négativement l’accès aux services publics tels que l’éducation. Ce financement va permettre de continuer à accompagner les efforts du gouvernement à assurer les droits à l’éducation à tous les filles et garçons en besoin de scolarité.”

Première réponse en situation d’urgence au Mali

Dans le centre et le nord du Mali, l’insécurité entrave l’accès continu à l’éducation de nombreux enfants, qui courent également un risque accru de violence et d’abus. Au total, quelque 450 000 enfants ont besoin d’une aide humanitaire. Alors que la crise s’aggrave dans les régions du centre, les écoles ferment sous la menace de groupes militants et des conflits intercommunautaires; la situation des enfants devient chaque jour plus alarmante. Des estimations récentes du Cluster Éducation indiquent que plus de 1000 écoles ne sont pas fonctionnelles, ce qui affecte plus de 315 000 élèves.

Au Mali, Vision mondiale (World Vision) et l’UNICEF mettront en œuvre les programmes financés par l’allocation de 2,4 millions de dollars d’ECW.

Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Coordinatrice résidente des Nations Unies et Coordinatrice de l’action humanitaire pour le Mali, a déclaré: « L’éducation est cruciale pour assurer que les filles et les garçons au Mali puissent contribuer positivement à l’avenir de leur pays. La crise a privé trop d’enfants de ce droit fondamental. Le gouvernement du Mali est signataire de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant et, alors qu’il s’efforce de rendre l’éducation de qualité accessible à tous et toutes, le soutien de tous les partenaires est nécessaire pour protéger le droit des enfants à l’éducation. »


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