THE CASE FOR INVESTMENT
Crises disrupt some of the most protective and supportive environments for children and young people – places where they live and learn.
The world’s first fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises has committed to delivering quality education to all children and youth in the toughest of circumstances. In principle, the fund upholds their right to education, and in practice it presents a compelling Case for Investment for reaching the most vulnerable.
The fund has identified 75 million children and youth aged 3-18 in 35 countries who are in urgent need of educational support. Dedicated action to reach and teach these children and youth will transform their lives, and the future of their communities. Education is a unique investment – delivering returns that last a lifetime for individuals, and positive benefits that form the bedrock of peaceful and prosperous nations. Education goes beyond saving lives – it allows communities to determine the shape of their futures.
The magnitude, frequency and severity of crises are all increasing- unprecedented levels of crises demand an unprecedented response. Business as usual will not suffice. Humanitarian, development and security needs can no longer be treated separately.
Protracted crises present complex challenges – worldwide, people now spend on average 17 years displaced. For those affected by crises, this disruption can last their entire childhood – denying them their chance to live full lives and develop to the best of their ability. While children and youth are uniquely vulnerable to crisis, the inadequate humanitarian response fails to account for these unique needs.
Despite a desperate need to keep children in school and learning in times of emergencies, in 2015 only 1.4 per cent of humanitarian aid went towards education. Against this backdrop, affected populations consistently cite education as the top priority for children and families in the aftermath of a crisis. Education Cannot Wait: a fund for education in emergencies aims to deliver on this priority for children and their families.
The fund is a collaborative solution – an innovative, complementary and long-needed change that will allow the global community to respond quickly to children and youth in emergencies. Working with partners in both the public and private sector, the fund will increase the number of children and youth reached and the quality of the education they receive.
The benefits of investing
Affected populations cite the intrinsic value of education and the added benefits in terms of protection, resilience, recovery, stability and livelihoods. Investment in education is the most effective means of restoring social and human capital, stimulating economic growth and buffering societies against future shocks.
The inaugural World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, and the political momentum generated by the universal agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals, present a critical moment to re-energize advocacy for education in emergencies.
Political momentum and global consciousness to reach the most vulnerable children must extend to those in the most complex and fragile places. Conflict and crises severely limit whether children and youth have a fair chance to learn and lead a productive, peaceful and fulfilling life. Denying them their right to education during a crisis further deprives them and their community of their ability to recover and rebuild. The fund will provide children and young people with the opportunity to thrive, the tools to succeed and the skills to drive social and economic stability.