The right to an inclusive quality education is not a privilege. It is a human right.
JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED: THEIR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT
The right to an inclusive quality education is not a privilege. It is a human right. Delaying or ignoring the right to an education equals failing to protect human rights. The longer we wait, the less we contribute to justice.
For the 128 million children and adolescents growing up in forced displacement and protracted crises, the denial of an inclusive quality education means delaying their growth, their safety and their lives. Born into violent conflict zones, forced displacement or a context where education is seen as a threat, they have no means whatsoever to reclaim their rights without international financing. Financing is key to defending, promoting and protecting the right to an education, which in turn is the very foundation of all other human rights and all other Sustainable Development Goals. International aid, such as grants and loans, as well as private sector financing, are thus powerful means to deliver justice.
Amongst the 128 million children and youth still waiting for such justice, 7.3 million are refugee children and adolescents between the ages of 4 and 18. In parts of the Sahel in Western Africa, children are so afraid of being caught learning that they do their school-work in the sand - ready for it to be quickly erased should anyone question what they are doing. In the Central African Republic, attacks by armed groups force families to move on a regular basis, uprooting them overnight, fleeing for their lives, preventing children from feeling safe and repeatedly denying them stable access to learning. And in Nigeria, for adolescent girls, simply going to school puts them at immediate risk of being kidnapped or killed.
In this month’s Education Cannot Wait’s Newsletter, we interviewed one of the founders of the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund, Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK. He speaks to us about the right to education from the lens of justice. It is very much in the same spirit of another founder, The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group, who often refers to our collective struggle for the right to a quality education as the civil rights movement of our century.
It is time to look at the right to an inclusive quality education, as the most important human right and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) of our times. Without 12 years of an education, all else falls away – be it local empowerment, gender-equality, ending poverty or maintaining peace and security. Imagine trying to achieve all that in any society without an education?
Martin Luther King Jr once said: “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The 128 million children and youth left furthest behind (the number significantly increased from an estimated 75 million to an estimated 128 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic), cannot reconcile with the fact that their justice is being both delayed and denied. Their sense of justice is right on target. To them, their education cannot wait.
In May 2021, the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund commemorated its Fifth Anniversary and the international community came out in full force to positively embrace our shared achievements (several of them quoted in this Newsletter). Since becoming fully operational four years ago, ECW and ECW partners have reached 4 million children and youth in crisis countries with quality education, and delivered emergency responses to over 10 million children, including in response to COVID-19.
With more financing, we could have reached even more children and youth. It is all about financing. With a funding ask of $400 million for 2021/22 (which is a modest ask compared to the needs, yet takes into account the economic recession), the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund can deliver justice to millions of more children and youth, by making sure that an inclusive quality education for those left furthest behind is neither denied, nor delayed.
On May 24, ECW celebrated its five-year anniversary with the launch of the #ECW5 campaign. Donors, partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, celebrities and more joined the campaign to celebrate the impact the UN’s global fund for education in emergencies has had in its first five years. Exposure | Video Playlist | Top Tweets | Social Media Kit
ECW INTERVIEWS SAVE THE CHILDREN UK’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE KEVIN WATKINS
“I think you should be hugely proud of what is being delivered by your partners, of the lives changed by your support and that of the donors who fund ECW. Even more than that, you’ve won the argument and won it forever – I don’t think anybody will ever again be able to say with any credibility that providing education in emergencies is either not necessary or not possible. You’ve broken open the imagination of the global system and given everyone the confidence to think they can do this – now that’s proven we can’t ever go back.” – Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK. Learn More
THEIRWORLD'S BLUEPRINT ADOPTED BY GREEK GOVERNMENT TO GIVE EDUCATION AND HOPE TO CHILD REFUGEES
The government’s plans follow a blueprint for reform set out by Theirworld in their 2020 report, Finding Solutions to Greece’s Refugee Education Crisis. By the end of 2021, Theirworld will have invested more than $5 million in the refugee education response on the Greek Islands through its partnership with Education Cannot Wait and Nationale Postcode Loterij, supporting local organizations working alongside UNHCR and UNICEF. Learn More
INTERVIEW WITH ECW DIRECTOR YASMINE SHERIF ON EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT’S FIFTH ANNIVERSARY – INTER PRESS SERVICE
“These results, the difference we make in the lives of crisis-affected girls and boys, is our most important achievement. And here I would like to stress that this would not have been possible unless we had over 20 strategic donor partners, governments, foundations and private sector, who steadfastly provided both strategic and growing financial contributions.” – ECW Director Yasmine Sherif. Learn More
A CASE FOR INVESTMENT
In less than five years, ECW’s investments have reached nearly 5 million children and youth in some of the most challenging crisis settings, and an additional 10 million children and youth in response to COVID-19. Yet, millions of other girls and boys are still left behind and need urgent support. Education Cannot Wait’s investment modalities deliver rapidly at scale, while also ensuring depth in quality and sustainability. To be able to continue to do so, the Fund urgently needs additional and substantive resources. Learn More | Download the Case for Investment
ECW ANNOUNCES US$1 MILLION GRANT TO ENSURE ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR NEWLY ARRIVED REFUGEES IN CAMEROON
Implemented by UNHCR in partnership with the Government of Cameroon, the 12-month ECW-financed first emergency response will provide over 6,000 refugee children and youth (including 3,500 girls, 2,400 boys and 250 children with disabilities), with access to safe learning environments. Over 1,000 host community children and youth will benefit from the new investment. English | French
ECW ANNOUNCES US$1 MILLION GRANT IN CHAD IN RESPONSE TO INFLUX OF REFUGEES FLEEING VIOLENCE IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Implemented in partnership with the Government of Chad and UNHCR, the ECW first emergency response will enhance protection and learning opportunities for 7,800 refugee and host community children and youth. English | French
ECW SCALES UP MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR CRISIS-IMPACTED CHILDREN AND YOUTH
New US$300,000 ECW Acceleration Facility grant will be delivered by the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, focusing on creating new public goods to improve linkage between education in emergencies, mental health and child protection actors. Learn More
ECW ENHANCES MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT FOR CRISIS-AFFECTED CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Approximately 100 million children are out of school in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts and protracted crises. To provide these girls and boys with the mental health and psychosocial support they need to deal with the trauma and stress of these multiplying crises, ECW announced US$250,000 in new funding to support the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Better Learning Programme in the Middle East. Learn More
BUILDING A GLOBAL MOVEMENT TO LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND
NETHERLANDS VICE MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION KITTY VAN DER HEIJDEN HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR GIRLS’ EDUCATION
"The Netherlands places a high priority on refugee education, #mentalhealth & psychosocial support & #girlseducation. ECW is an important partner for our shared mission of ensuring access to inclusive, quality education for all." ~ @KittyvdHeijden, Netherlands Vice Minister of International Cooperation. Watch Video
DUBAI CARES CEO TARIQ AL GURG REINFORCES SHARED COMMITMENT TO ENABLE INCLUSIVE QUALITY EDUCATION
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER CASEY AFFLECK: ‘ECW IS A TRAILBLAZING ORGANIZATION’
#ECW5: “Education Cannot Wait's a trailblazing organization; it has invested in quality education for ~5M kids in crises. It brings everyone together for one cause: to educate & nurture the whole child in the hardest times.” ~ Casey Affleck https://bit.ly/3feeNoR@yasminesherif1 Watch Video
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
HOPE FOR ROHINGYA GIRLS AND BOYS
Education Cannot Wait is partnering with the Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF and key stakeholders to provide an education to Rohingya refugee girls and boys. English | বাংলা
RADIO-BASED LEARNING GETS ITS DAY IN THE SUN IN MALI
Through an Education Cannot Wait-financed programme implemented by UNICEF, solar-powered radios are helping conflict-affected children continue their learning during the COVID-19 crisis. English | French
REFUGEE CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA EXPLAIN HOW EDUCATION HELPED PUT THEIR TRAUMA BEHIND THEM
ECW’s funding has helped provide education to 140,000 pre-primary, primary and secondary refugee school children — 38 percent of whom are girls — in the Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regions of Ethiopia. This incisive feature by IPS highlights the inspiring stories of hope and opportunity on the frontlines of this crisis. Learn More
SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
LEADING THE DELIVERY OF EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM
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.