As 2020 comes to a close and we reflect on Education Cannot Wait’s mission this past year, two things stand out: hope and action. Amidst multiple crises around the globe, exacerbated by the COVID-19 global pandemic, hope has been the fuel driving us all forward to take action to deliver to those left furthest behind. Indeed, while hope is life-sustaining for a young girl or boy enduring conflict, forced displacement and disaster, it cannot be sustained without action.
With this universal imperative in mind, the entire Education Cannot Wait team and I take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation and deep gratitude to our all ECW stakeholders – from our Executive Committee and High Level Steering Group to all our in-country host-governments, local communities, UN and civil society partners. Thanks to you, thanks to our strategic donor partners, governments, private sector and foundations alike, and thanks to our partners in-country, we have been able to sustain hope through action.
ECW has delivered crucial financial resources which were quickly translated into real and concrete action to achieve measurable results and sustainable impact at an unprecedent speed. It is thanks to all our partners globally and locally that the ECW community has been able to work so effectively with a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and coordination to deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the most difficult circumstances.
As Mohammed, a Palestine refugee with impaired vision who attends a specialized UNRWA programme for children with disabilities, told us during our mission to Lebanon a week ago: “I was worried. I was worried that I could not continue my education because the programme was going to be cut. Now I have hope that I can continue to study and make my dream come true.”
The ECW community stands for hope and action. In 2020, ECW approved more financing under the First Emergency Window than 2018 and 2019 combined! The entire ECW First Emergency Reserve, coupled with top-up support, totalling $60 million was released from April onwards to respond to COVID-19, reaching 33 crisis-affected countries, supporting 85 different grantees to enable them to deliver on the ground. Of this, $22 million was exclusively dedicated to refugees and internally displaced.
Working together, the ECW COVID-19 response reached over 400,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, who were already affected by conflicts, forced displacements and climate change. If ECW had had more emergency funds at its disposal, many more could have been reached with unprecedented speed in our collective quest to respond with “the fierce urgency of now,” as Martin Luther King Jr once said.
ECW’s investments aligned with national COVID-19 strategies, and financed a broad range of interventions including communications campaigns to help prevent further spread of the virus, enhanced water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, distance education, remote learning and support to get children back into school when facilities re-open. As a priority, it entailed affirmative action to reach girls, provide psychosocial support to both students and their teachers, and target investments for children and youth with disabilities.
At the same time, as the ECW community was responding to COVID-19, we also pursued and reached our targets of 10 new multi-year resilience programme (MYRPs), supporting humanitarian-development coherence in the education sector in protracted crisis countries. At the time of this writing, the ECW Executive Committee has approved five MYRPs: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, amounting to almost $70 million in seed funding. A further three MYRPs with a total of over $33 million in seed funding for the Sahel, including Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, are expected to be approved before the end of the year.
This will bring the total to eight countries in 2020 with seed funding amounting to over $100 million, as well as two regional multi-year investments for the Sahel and South America respectively. These investments will reach over 900,000 crisis-affected girls and boys, including adolescents, with over 60% of those being girls and adolescent girls.
More needs to be done though. Since ECW investments serve as seed-funds to leverage additional funds, an additional $233 million is required to fill the funding gaps for these joint programmes in Central Sahel ($117 million) and South America ($116 million), alone. Provided that these are fully funded, the ECW community will be empowered to deliver holistic, ‘whole-of-child’ and inclusive quality education through humanitarian-development coherence and local ownership towards real results and learning outcomes. In this newsletter, we will hear from Colombia’s Minister of Education, H.E. María Victoria Angulo and Burkina Faso’s Minister of Education and National Literacy, H.E. Stanislas Ouaro, our government partners in South America and Central Sahel.
Government partners, communities, local organizations and our multilateral partners in-country are under severe pressure and funding shortage to manage and deliver in already existing crises, in addition to the COVID-19 crisis. It was for this reason that ECW fielded a visit to Lebanon in December 2020 and will visit the Sahel in January 2021.
Our in-country missions help us learn first-hand of the challenges, show solidarity, see the results and plan ahead for deepened support. In Lebanon, we witnessed ECW’s earlier investment together with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, other UN agencies like UNRWA, UNHCR and UNICEF, as well as the work of a most impressive civil society consortium, composed of Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, AVSI and SAWA, one of the many local civil society organizations benefiting from ECW’s investments. All of them are working tirelessly close to the refugees and host-communities were serve. All of them bring hope through action.
In Lebanon, the consequences of the blast in Beirut on 4 August this year provided us with another eye-opener. Combined with the hosting of nearly 2 million refugees - the largest per capita refugee hosting country in the world, in addition to a growing number of impoverished Lebanese host-community children and youth - Lebanon suffered a shock with a long-lasting impact. Lebanon requires urgent international solidarity and action. It used to be a middle-income country, but multiple crises have thrust Lebanon into its worst economic crisis in decades. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (UNESCWA), 55% of Lebanon’s population now lives below the poverty line.
Lebanon, the Sahel and South America are among the many countries and regions in the world severely affected by either conflict, forced displacement and climate-induced disasters – all further exacerbated by COVID-19. They are in dire and urgent need of international solidarity in the form of financial support, including ECW investments to deliver a quality education and build back better.
As we enter into 2021, the coming year must be the year when we recognize and reward the hope held on to by millions and millions of children in emergencies and protracted crisis, who are now also suffering the added burden of COVID-19. Their stoic and life-sustaining hope must inspire our non-negotiable, uncompromising and ultimate commitment to action in 2021. If not, what is there left to inspire us to action?
Yasmine Sherif Director
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
RESULTS & UPDATES
EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INTERVIEWS COLOMBIA’S MINISTER OF EDUCATION H.E. MARÍA VICTORIA ANGULO
In this expansive interview, Colombia’s Minister of Education, María Victoria Angulo, looks at Colombia’s education in emergency response to the Venezuela regional crisis and the value of ECW’s new multi-year resilience programme. Fully funded, 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. Learn More
ECW INTERVIEWS H.E. MR. STANISLAS OUARO, MINISTER OF NATIONAL EDUCATION AND LITERACY, BURKINA FASO
In this inspiring interview, Minister Ouaro explores the upcoming ECW-financed multi-year resilience programme and the triple threat of Conflict, COVID-19, and the Climate Crisis, which have come together to displace over 1 million people in Burkina Faso. Learn More
DENMARK CONTRIBUTES ADDITIONAL DKK64 MILLION TO ECW
WITH MINISTER OF EDUCATION FOR LEBANON, ECW HIGH-LEVEL MISSION TO LEBANON ACCELERATES SUPPORT FOR MULTI-YEAR RESILIENCE PROGRAMME
On a six-day mission to Lebanon, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif announced a new partnership with UNESCO to support the rehabilitation of schools damaged by the August blast in Beirut. She also met with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education, UN and Civil Society partners, and children and youth impacted by the blast and ongoing crises in the country. The mission focused on assessing the scope of needs in the education sector and accelerating resource mobilization to roll out a multi-year resilience programme in Lebanon. Read more | Watch video | Exposure
ECW APPROVES US$27.2 MILLION FOR VENEZUELAN REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNITIES IN COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PERU
In response to the ongoing situation forcing Venezuelans from their homes, ECW announced 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. Learn More | Español
ECW APPROVES US$22.2 MILLION FOR MULTI-YEAR RESILIENCE PROGRAMME IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
In response to large-scale, complex and protracted crises, the programme will 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.
ECW APPROVES US$20.1 MILLION FOR MULTI-YEAR RESILIENCE PROGRAMME IN NIGERIA
In response to the armed conflict and escalating humanitarian crisis in Nigeria that has left over 1 million girls and boys in need of educational support, ECW announced US$20.1 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$98.7 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to reach over 2.9 million children and youth. Learn More
PRIVATE SECTOR ROUND TABLE: ECW PARTNERS WITH GLOBAL CITIZEN AND PRIVATE SECTOR REPRESENTATIVES TO LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND
ECW & GLOBAL CITIZEN PRIVATE SECTOR ROUND TABLE: THE RT. HON. GORDON BROWN ADDRESSES PRIVATE SECTOR LEADERS: ‘IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REKINDLE HOPE’
At ECW’s Private Sector Round Table, business leaders came together to show their support for the 75 million children and young people trapped in conflict zones worldwide. Notable attendees included Microsoft, Verizon, Lego, SAP, WW International, L’Oréal, Aga Khan Foundation and Dutch Postcode Lottery. The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group kicked off the round table, saying that “A lost generation is one where hope dies in those who live. It is our responsibility to rekindle hope." Watch Video
DISABILITY INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FORUM: CO-HOSTED BY GOVERNMENT OF NORWAY, GCE-US, SPECIAL OLYMPICS, IDA, IDDC, INEE AND ECW: REACHING THE MOST MARGINALISED
Hosted by the Government of Norway, ECW, the Global Campaign for Education, Special Olympics, International Disability Alliance (IDA), International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies, the ‘Disability Inclusive Education Forum – Reaching the Most Marginalised’ sought to encourage local, national, and international decision makers to ensure that inclusive education for learners with disabilities – particularly in humanitarian emergencies – should be a key focus of education systems, delivery and planning as well as COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Learn More | Minister Dag Inge Ulstein Video | INEE Video | Disability Day Exposure Story
NORWAY’S MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAG-INGE ULSTEIN HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: EDUCATION IS A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT AND THE PRIORITY OF THE 21ST CENTURY: IPS NEWS OPED
On Human Rights Day, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif discusses how education is the key to unlocking all other human rights. “Education is not a privilege. It is a fundamental human right. Yet, education is undervalued even at the best of times.” Learn More
WORLD CHILDREN'S DAY
To commemorate World Children's Day, ECW and our partners called on governments, donors, the private sector, and philanthropic foundations to accelerate educational support for children and youth caught in armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change-induced disasters, and protracted crises. Learn More | Watch Yasmine Sherif’s Address | Rise Together
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL - MY VOICE, OUR EQUAL FUTURE! OPINION PIECE BY UNICEF ROSA REGIONAL DIRECTOR & ECW DIRECTOR
“Girls are change-makers and world shapers! When girls speak up, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. This International Day of the Girl 2020 we listened to girl-led and girl-centered organizations from across South Asia and heard about how they have been empowering girls in their communities and at the forefront of advocating for #GenerationEquality on #DayoftheGirl.” Learn more in this inspiring opinion piece from UNICEF ROSA Regional Director Jean Gough and ECW Director Yasmine Sherif. Learn More
ECW ADVANCES ADVOCACY GOALS WITH HEADLINES IN LEADING MEDIA ACROSS THE GLOBE
ECW and our partners are building a movement to leave no child behind and ensure quality inclusive education for girls and boys caught in emergencies and protracted crises. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, called for continued learning during the COVID-19 pandemic on Al Jazeera, Colm Brophy, Ireland’s Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, highlighted the value of girls’ education in The Business Post, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif advocated for increased finance via InterPress Service, and Lego Foundation CEO John Goodwin discussed the impact of learning through play on Brick Fanatics. On the high-level mission to Lebanon Yasmine Sherif and national partners made headlines in Xinhua, IPS, L’orient, UN News, Almodon and the Ministry of Education.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
'HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAMS' - YASMINE SHERIF IN LEBANON
ECW investments delivered by UNHCR in Mali are training teachers, reducing dropout rates and protecting vulnerable children from abuse, exploitation and child labor. “For the country, it means the promotion and preservation of a peaceful nation, in which youth are essential actors contributing to peace-building processes,” writes UNHCR’s Leandro Salazar-Lievano in this inspiring first-person narrative. Learn More
NYAGOA’S LONG JOURNEY: SAVE THE CHILDREN PROGRAMME IN ETHIOPIA MAKES HEADWAY WITH ECW FUNDING
Nyagoa Dak was born into a world in chaos. Her story is one of loss, redemption, struggle, and triumph. In this inspiring story from the field, learn how an ECW-supported programme implemented by Save the Children is providing refugee girls with disabilities like Nyagoa with new educational opportunities in Ethiopia. Learn More
DESPITE CONFLICT AND COVID-19, CHILDREN STILL DREAM OF CONTINUING THEIR EDUCATION IN AFGHANISTAN THROUGH A UNICEF PROGRAMME FUNDED BY ECW
With funding from ECW, UNICEF is safely reopening community-based education centres in Afghanistan, according to a new report from IPS. The first year of the multi-year resilience programme saw some 3,600 classes established in nine of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Learn More
‘I DID NOT LEARN TO READ, BUT I WANT THE BEST FOR MY CHILDREN’ – UNICEF ECUADOR PROGRAMME FUNDED BY ECW SUPPORTS TEACHERS AND STUDENT COUNSELORS
With funding from ECW, UNICEF is providing teachers and student counselors in Ecuador with tablets and data plans to keep children from dropping out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More
ADVANCING INFORMAL LEARNING AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT FOR SYRIAN REFUGEE STUDENTS IN LEBANON
AMINA J. MOHAMMED – ‘ALL CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE’
Education Cannot Wait @EduCannotWait
“All children have the right to protection from violence. Violence can infect any setting, whether it be at home, in schools, or on line. It is now understood that experience of violence in childhood can have long-term impacts on mental health and wellbeing." ~ @AminaJMohammed@UN Share Tweet
UNHCR HIGH-LEVEL PROTECTION DIALOGUE: ECW CALLS FOR EXPANDED ACTION FOR GIRLS WITH UNHCR’S FILIPPO GRANDI
UK IS COMMITTED TO 12 YEARS OF QUALITY EDUCATION: UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT AFFAIRS AND FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE DOMINIC RAAB
Dominic Raab @DominicRaab #COVID19 has caused an unprecedented education crisis. As a force for good, the UK champions every child’s right to 12 years of quality education so they can thrive & reach their potential. We must use the power of education to ensure no child is left behind #WorldChildrensDay Share Tweet
WORLD CHILDRENS DAY: EU COMMISSIONER JANEZ LENARČIČ: ‘#FOREVERYCHILD #EDUCATIONCANNOTWAIT’
David Beasley @WFPChief
We are so honored to accept the #NobelPeacePrize today. At the same time, it is my tragic duty to tell you that famine is at humanity’s doorstep. The silver lining is that we can stop this together. Join us as we call for urgent action. Share Tweet
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY WITH THE LEGO FOUNDATION AND ECW
The LEGO Foundation @LEGOfoundation
Learning through play can help children to reduce their anxiety and stress and gives them room to just be a child again. Quoting tweet: @EduCannotWait "The @LEGOfoundation forged our partnership with ECW to ensure that children in conflicts and crises get psychosocial and developmental support, by securing Learning Through Play in the classrooms of refugees and their host communities." - John Goodwin, CEO LEGO Foundation. Share Tweet
CANADA REMAINS COMMITTED TO MAKING A BETTER WORLD FOR EVERY CHILD
MINISTRA DE EDUCACIÓN DEL ECUADOR DESTACA APOYO DEL FONDO ‘LA EDUCACIÓN NO PUEDE ESPERAR’
Monserrat Creamer @monserratcream1
“Esta iniciativa de UNICEF Ecuador, que se realiza en coordinación con el Ministerio de Educación y el apoyo del fondo “La Educación No Puede Esperar” (ECW) y el Gobierno de Dinamarca, ha brindado apoyo pedagógico y psicoemocional a más de 65.000 estudiantes en Ecuador”. GRACIAS! Share Tweet
GLOBAL REFUGEE FORUM ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY: SEVERAL PLEDGES AND CONTRIBUTIONS FULFILLED
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. ECW was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to help reposition education as a priority on the humanitarian agenda, usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and foster additional funding to ensure that every crisis-affected child and young person is in school and learning. Figures for donor contributions and pledges are rounded up. Variations may occur due to exchange rates and fluctuations from local currencies to $US.