Awareness Must Rise: Action Cannot Wait

Just weeks ago, the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies was inaugurated. Thanks to the Government of Switzerland, Education Cannot Wait and key partners have taken a major leap forward in strengthening collaboration to accelerate crucial education in emergencies and protracted crises response. Extending the global reach of our New York headquarters, we now share offices with the education in emergency community in Geneva, the humanitarian capital of the United Nations. Our actions will be even closer to the millions of crisis-affected children and youth whom we serve.

Nevertheless, as Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ambassador Patricia Danzi, states in her interview with ECW in this month’s Newsletter, “Awareness has to rise”, because the world needs to understand better that if education is not delivered in a timely, effective manner, human capital will be lost. This compelling call for action must be heeded and inspire us all.

Having just returned from the first all-women mission to Afghanistan, composed of Education Cannot Wait staff and our UNICEF colleagues in Kabul, my colleagues and I clearly see the urgent need for action in delivering quality education for all children and youth in Afghanistan - especially adolescent girls. There is no time for delay or hesitation. Afghan adolescent girls cannot be left further behind than they already are.

Afghanistan is on the brink of a total collapse. A humanitarian catastrophe is looming due to the consequences of the economic crisis, prolonged drought, COVID-19 and decades of conflict and insecurity. The education sector has been in crisis for decades. An estimated 4.2 million children were out of school in 2019, of whom 60% were girls.

In 2020-2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school were closed for 13-18 months causing important learning losses and increasing the risk that the most marginalized may never return to school. The education system has long suffered a lack of infrastructure and educational materials, as well as trained teachers, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the Afghan population lives.

Despite these challenges, since 2019, ECW has worked together with UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, UNESCO and others, along with international and national NGOs, such as Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee and Wadan, amongst others, to support education in Afghanistan with a total of $45 million invested in emergency responses and a multi-year resilience programme.

Our investments focus on community-based education and accelerated learning programmes to reach the most marginalized children and youth, especially girls, including adolescent girls and children with disabilities. Working in hard-to-reach areas and engaging with local communities, this model has been successful, with girls representing 58% of children and adolescents reached.

Despite this progress and given the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground, more needs to be done at this crucial point in time. UN agencies and civil society organizations stand ready to take immediate action, but critical funding is missing. A minimum of $1 billion will be required across the education sector in near-term to address immediate education needs in a sustainable way.

As a top-priority, UNICEF has the capacity and means in place to manage the urgently needed disbursement of teacher’s salaries. There are a number of organizations on the ground, such as the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), who have successfully built trust through dialogue to enable secondary school girls to resume their studies in schools supported by the SCA in 14 provinces.

With so many education actors who have the proven capacity to deliver, there is no time to lose. Nor can we afford to waste any more of Afghanistan’s human capital: the children and the youth, not the least the girls. Awareness is the first step towards action but is not an end in itself.

We must go all the way and take action. Now. Afghanistan cannot wait and education cannot wait.

Yasmine Sherif
Education Cannot Wait
The UN Global Fund for Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises
Director's Corner in Exposure


ECW Interviews Patricia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Patricia Danzi was appointed Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in May 2020. For nearly three decades, she has dedicated her career to serving the world’s vulnerable populations.
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The Sunday Times/UK Chief Foreign Correspondent Christina Lamb Interviews ECW Director Yasmine Sherif on Afghanistan

“I found it on the brink of total collapse. If we don’t act within a month we may lose 20 years of development work. What a waste of money and lives that would be.” – ECW Director Yasmine Sherif.
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ECW Approves US$4 Million First Emergency Response in Afghanistan

The new investment will provide 38,000 internally displaced girls and boys – including adolescents – with protective, inclusive and flexible learning opportunities.
Arabic | English |  French | Spanish

ECW All-Women Mission Calls for Urgent Funding to Fulfill the Right to Education of all Children and Youth in Afghanistan

ECW Director leads first all-women mission to Afghanistan since Taliban takeover: “With Afghanistan on the brink of a total collapse, the international community must stay engaged. The humanitarian imperative must come first.”
Arabic English | French Spanish | UN Press Briefing | Social Media Highlights

USAID Funds Education in Northern Mali through ECW

USAID has provided initial funding of US$5 million for the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu to support education in northern Mali. “This funding from the American people is part of our larger commitment to supporting Mali’s development and helping to ensure that Malians all across the country, including in the North, benefit from quality education and the promise of a more peaceful and prosperous future.” - US Ambassador to Mali Dennis B. Hankins.
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Gordon Brown and Allan Goodman Project Syndicate Op-Ed: Education in an Age of Displacement

With the number of displaced people on course to double by mid-century, if not sooner, developing their potential is crucial. Extending hope and opportunity to young people at risk of being left behind is a powerful way to advance human rights, promote equality, and foster peace and stability.
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UN Security Council Adopts Resolution to Condemn Attacks Against Schools, Children and Teachers

Through the resolution delegates emphasized the invaluable role education plays for individuals and society, including as life-saving spaces. They noted that providing, protecting and facilitating the continuation of education in armed conflict, should remain a key priority for the international community.
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New Education in Emergencies Hub Inaugurated in Geneva

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Switzerland and the other members to make sure that the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies becomes a resounding success and that it has a real, tangible impact on the children, families and communities whom we serve.” – ECW Director Yasmine Sherif.
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ECW Director Commemorates UN Day: Opinion Piece

“In 1945, 76 years ago, in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, with fresh and raw wounds still open the founders of the United Nations brought purpose and hope to the world.” – ECW Director Yasmine Sherif
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ECW and Partners Accelerate Global Advocacy Efforts

ECW continued to make headlines in leading outlets worldwide in October, reaching a total potential audience of 52 million people. Key messages focused on Afghanistan, the Annual Results Report launch, girls and education, refugees, protracted crises and funding.
The Times | Forbes | Yahoo Finance | MSN | Republic World | Xinhua | Project Syndicate | DagensNyheter | IPS | Skolporten | Göteborgs-Posten | Global Citizen | The National | La Nación | Gulf News | VOA | UN Press Briefing | Social Media Highlights


Winning The Human Race

ECW rallies global support for the education of children and youth in emergencies and crises around the Annual Results Report launch. The recently launched ‘Winning the Human Race’ report highlights our efforts in 2020 to support children and adolescents facing the impacts of climate change, food insecurity, forced displacement, natural disasters and ongoing violence with access to a safe, quality and inclusive learning environment.
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UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore Advocates for Protection in Yemen

Henrietta H. Fore
Whenever the conflict in Yemen flares and violence escalates, children are the ones who pay the heaviest price. Families are being torn apart by horrific violence. Children cannot and must not continue to be the victims of this conflict.
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Connecting Climate Resilience and Education

ECW investments are connecting girls' education, empowerment and climate action in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and beyond.
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Bringing Quality Education to Syria’s Most Vulnerable Children

ECW's Multi-Year Resilience Programmes are fulfilling the right to a quality education for the most vulnerable girls and boys in Syria. Meet the children living on the frontlines of this ongoing crisis with these inspiring stories of hope and resilience.
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World Vision: No Recovery from COVID-19 without Increased Support to Teachers

On World Teachers’ Day, as communities around the globe continue to reel from the impact of COVID-19, recognition and commemoration of teachers is simply not enough. The importance of teachers to the lives and well-being of children and youth has never been more acutely felt.
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WFP Executive Director David Beasley: 23 Million Marching Toward Starvation in Afghanistan

David Beasley
DIRECT from #Afghanistan with @BBCWorld: We are witnessing the world’s humanitarian crisis in the making. 23 million people marching toward starvation. 95% of Afghans don’t have enough food. The economy is collapsing. Winter is coming. This is going to be hell on earth.
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UK Special Envoy for Girls’ Education Helen Grant Highlights Value of Girls’ Education For Black History Month

Helen Grant
See my piece below on Girls' Education for #BlackHistoryMonth in @TheHouseMag
#BHM2021 @FCDOGEC@GPforEducation@UKaid @EduCannotWait. The House magazine @TheHouseMag. "This year’s Black History Month is a perfect period to reflect on why Girls’ Education is such a game changer, particularly for African nations." Writes @HelenGrantMP — Part of @TheHouseMag's #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM digital hub
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ECW Addresses Attacks on Schools at Abuja Conference

Education Cannot Wait
“We must ensure that the voices & dreams of children who go to school amidst conflict, are heard - and the #SafeSchoolsDeclaration serves that purpose.” ~ #ECW Director @YasmineSherif1 at #AbujaConference. We must all help #ProtectEducation Learn more:
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Discussing the Importance of Education in Afghanistan with Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan

Canada Mission UN
Canadian @DeborahLyonsUN in her role as @UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for #Afghanistan discussing the urgent education needs of Afghan boys and girls.
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UN Secretary General António Guterres: ‘We are in a Race Against Time to Deliver Life-Saving Aid in Afghanistan’

António Guterres
Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. We are in a race against time to deliver life-saving aid and pre-position supplies ahead of winter. I urge the world to take action & fund our efforts in support of the most vulnerable.
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Scaling-Up Community-Based Education in Afghanistan

Education Cannot Wait
"We must scale-up community-based education, accelerated learning, paying teachers. We must act with the fierce urgency of now, because the Afghan children, women & people, indeed #AfghanistanCannotWait." ~@YasmineSherif1 in #Kabul leading all-women mission to Afghanistan. @un
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Training Out-Of-School Girls in the Central African Republic with NRC

Assania's prospects looked bleak, until she discovered NRC's sewing programme. Now she's earning a living & dreams of being the best tailor in town! Discover how we're providing training to out-of-school youth in the #CentralAfricanRepublic, with the support of @EduCannotWait
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Entegrando Kits Educativos en Ecuador con UNESCO, UNICEF, World Vision y ECW

ACNUR Ecuador
Entregamos 237 kits educativos a niños, niñas y adolescentes en movilidad humana fuera del sistema educativo . Los kits incluyen mochila , cartuchera, pintura y otros implementos. Junto a
@UNESCOQuito, @unicefecuador y  @worldvisionec y @EduCannotWait.
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Canadian MP Heather McPherson: Educating Girls Key to Addressing Climate Crisis

Heather McPherson
The positive impacts of educating girls is far reaching. As the world heads to #COP26 its important to note that educating girls has been shown to be one of the most effective long-term tools to deal with the #ClimateEmergency. #educationcannotwait
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Voz de América: Entrevista Con Yasmine Sherif Sobre Inversiones en América Latina

Voz de América
Haciendo un llamado a la comunidad internacional para invertir en educación en países que atraviesan emergencias o conflictos, la directora de Education Cannot Wait dio detalles del trabajo que este fondo de la ONU realiza en América Latina. : Celia Mendoza - @CELIAMENDOZA25
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Norway Proud to Support Education in Emergencies Worldwide with ECW

#Norway is a proud supporter of Education in Emergencies worldwide, including the work of
@EduCannotWait. Quote Tweet: On this #UNDay learn how #ECW rallies global support for the education of girls, boys & adolescents in emergencies and protracted crises around the Annual Results Report launch! Full @exposure story here: #ECWResults #SDG4
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Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth. ECW is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations; operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

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