Those left furthest behind are the ones with no legal, nor physical protection.
THEIR BOUNDLESS HOPE BREAKS ALL BOUNDARIES
Those left furthest behind are the ones with no legal, nor physical protection. They are the ones not accessing their right to an inclusive and continued quality education. They are hidden in the margins of the society - far away from official registers and development plans. They are hiding in the woods shattered by fear as they flee persecution in their country. They subsist in makeshift shelters in cramped camps for the forcibly displaced. They are pushed out of sight because of a disability or because of their gender or ethnicity. They are the ones forced to marry at 13 and bear children, exposed to trafficking, sexual- and gender-based violence or recruitment into armed groups and terrorist groups. As if this was not enough, they also endure their young years in countries and regions plagued by war-crimes, crimes against humanity, climate-induced disasters of epic proportions, while shackled to the chains of extreme poverty.
Those left furthest behind are the forgotten children and youth of the 21st Century. Today, they comprise a staggering 128 million due to COVID-19.
The joint ECW/UNHCR mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this month was a stark reminder of their existence, their burdens of inexplicable suffering, as well as the shimmer of hope that they carry in their young hearts: their hope for an education. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and I traveled to Ubangi-Nord Province to meet newly arrived refugees from the Central African Republic, of whom 70% have never attended a school before arriving in the DRC. It took 14 hours to travel back and forth between Kinshasa and their Settlement of Hope in the north, established by the Government of the DRC. We travelled by air and changed planes, then we boarded all-terrain vehicles and maneuvered over dirt roads for another two hours and 33 kilometers to reach Modale village, where refugee children and youth from the Central African Republic had been transferred with their families for their safety.
Still, our journey to reach them was not even close to the arduous, dangerous journey the refugees themselves had taken to arrive in the DRC. Many told us how they had walked for weeks fleeing their homes, hiding in forests to desperately seek safety before crossing the border into DRC. We spoke with refugee children who together with Congolese host-communities, attended temporary learning centers and poorly equipped local schools. On the ground we also met with UNHCR, AVSI and local civil society organizations providing admirable and quality support in difficult circumstances.
During our meeting with the refugee children and youth, I invoked Education Cannot Wait’s First Emergency Response window and announced US$2 million to support our partners working on the ground to empower these children and youth without delay. Because their education cannot wait. They urgently need school infrastructure, training of teachers, adequate learning materials, school feeding, water and sanitation, and psycho-social services. But more needs to be done.
During the second part of my visit to the DRC, the Education Cannot Wait team also met with government, UN agencies and civil society partners to provide support to our UNICEF colleagues and partners, like Save the Children and WFP, among others, whose spirit of coordination and cooperation sets an shining example, as they begin implementation of a three-year US$67.5 million Multi-Year Resilience Programme for Congolese children in crisis-affected areas - and there are many in DRC.
Approved by Education Cannot Wait’s Executive Committee in December 2020, this humanitarian-development-peace joint programme targets three of the hardest-hit provinces in DRC affected by forced displacement – including internally displaced, returnees and deported refugee children – as well as areas affected by outbreaks of Cholera, Ebola and COVID-19. The programme covers Ituri, Tanganyika and Kasai Orientale provinces, and adopts a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to education from pre-school through to the end of secondary level in safe and protective learning environments.
After decades of conflicts, crises and forced displacement, the Government and the people of the DRC face a daunting, complex and multi-layered crisis. What ECW has contributed in seed funding – US$2 million for the CAR First Emergency Refugee Response and US$22.2 million for the Multi-Year Resilience Joint Programme – helps alleviate some of the most urgent needs in the education sector. But more needs to be done.
We urgently appeal to all our strategic donor partners, current and new, to help close the gaps of US$45.3 million for the Multi-Year Resilience Joint Programme and US$4 million for the First Emergency Refugee Response. I call on the international community to act now. The DRC is just one of the 38 countries in which Education Cannot Wait is making speedy, deep and collective investments to accelerate SDG4: access to an inclusive and continuous quality education through a multi-sectoral approach – with affirmative action for the inclusion of all girls and children with disabilities.
Looking at the situation in the DRC alone, it may seem like a bottomless pit – and yet there is hope. Each of these children and adolescents have a face, an identity and a dream. Their dream of an education keeps them going despite having walked hundreds of miles in terror. Their hope breaks all boundaries – boundaries that could easily hold them back from having any hope at all and simply succumbing to terror, traumas and threats.
In the spirit of the book, “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival,” authored by Melissa Fleming, who heads the United Nations Department of Global Communications – and whose inspiring interview appears in this month’s ECW Newsletter – let us display the same courage and hope as the 128 million children and youth left furthest behind. Let us dare to be fully humane and break the boundaries of what we think we can or cannot do – so that those left furthest behind can finally see their boundless hope turning into reality through an inclusive and continued quality education.
ECW INTERVIEWS UN UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS MELISSA FLEMING
Melissa Fleming is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Global Communications. She oversees operations in 60 countries and platforms that reach millions of people in multiple languages. In this compelling and inspiring interview, Ms. Fleming highlights the importance of investing in education for the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Learn More
FRANCE PROVIDES €4 IN NEW SUPPORT FOR ECW TO SUPPORT EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN LEBANON AND SAHEL
ECW AND UNHCR ANNOUNCE US$2 MILLION GRANT FROM ECW TO RESPOND TO THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REFUGEE INFLUX IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
“We have an urgent, shared responsibility to ensure that refugee children and youth are able to access quality education, delivered in a safe environment, at the earliest point possible during a crisis. We commend Education Cannot Wait for their commitment to providing targeted investments to support the response to the CAR crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including strengthening the national education system for the inclusion of refugee learners in a way which also benefits host community children and youth.” - UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. English | French | Watch Video
ECW ANNOUNCES US$1 MILLION GRANT FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IMPACTED AND DISPLACED BY CRISIS IN ETHIOPIA’S TIGRAY REGION
ECW announced US$1 million in emergency education grant financing to benefit 20,000 children and youth impacted by the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The 12-month grant will be implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education, Save the Children and local civil society, and responds to the risks posed by displacement, violence, COVID-19 and other factors that are pushing families from their homes and children out of school. Learn More
PROJECT SYNDICATE OPINION: THE CLIMATE-EDUCATION CRISIS, BY ECW DIRECTOR YASMINE SHERIF
ECW Director Yasmine Sherif underscores the value of connecting climate change and education in her Earth Day opinion piece published by Project Syndicate. “World leaders must acknowledge the deepening links between the climate crisis and education. Over the next 30 years, more than 140 million people are expected to be displaced by climate change across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America, at a cost of some $7.9 trillion.” Arabic | Chinese | Czech | English | French | German | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish
HIGH-LEVEL STEERING GROUP RALLIES BEHIND ECW
In its April session, ECW’s High-Level Steering Group approved the extension of the Fund’s Strategic Plan and US$400 million Case for Investment, and continues to rally full support for ECW’s global movement to reach the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Share Tweet
BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIERS TO GIRLS' ACCESS TO EDUCATION IN UGANDA
In the Adjumani District of Uganda, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and other partners are working toward improving access to and completion of education for youth, especially girls. “It is the greatest gift we can give today’s youth and future generations in this unprecedented time.” - Thomas H. Smolich, JRS International. Learn More
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: ECW DIRECTOR YASMINE SHERIF ON BUILDING BACK BETTER IN THE DRC
ECW funding in Bangladesh is positively impacting the learning and well-being of primary and secondary-age Rohingya children in the Cox’s Bazar Kutupalong Refugee Camp. “Since 2017, ECW has continued to prioritise the learning needs and well-being of Rohingya refugees and affected Bangladeshi children in the district of Cox’s Bazar.” - Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW. Learn More
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR REFUGEES IN UGANDA WITH UNHCR AND ECW SUPPORT
An ECW investment in Uganda, delivered by UNHCR, supports the COVID-19 education continuity plan to ensure students, including refugees, continue to learn. “Technology is a tool that has the potential to elevate millions of young people out of marginalization and poverty. It empowers girls and boys with previously unavailable information, new networks and channels to learn and develop 21st century skills.” - Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW. Learn More
SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES FILIPPO GRANDI AND ECW DIRECTOR YASMINE SHERIF ANNOUNCE NEW FUNDING FOR DRC DURING FIELD MISSION
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR COUNTRIES TO PROTECT EDUCATION AND BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
António Guterres @antonioguterres
Almost 1 billion students are still being affected by school closures and restrictions due to #COVID19. At this pivotal moment, I call on all countries to protect education and use the recovery to narrow access divides, expand digital connectivity & reimagine learning. Share Tweet
EU COMMISSIONER JUTTA URPILAINEN ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL €6.5M FUNDING FOR ECW
Today, I’m pleased to announce additional €6.5M funding for @EduCannotWait. Many vulnerable children – girls, refugees & displaced – have had their education disrupted by the pandemic. To protect their future, we need to bring them back to school. Watch Video Announcement
UNESCO’S AUDREY AZOULAY CALLS FOR INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION AND HEALTH FOR VULNERABLE ADOLESCENTS
Audrey Azoulay @AAzoulay #COVID19 has exacerbated challenges for adolescents through compromised education, risks to physical & mental health, lack of access to reproductive health services. We must invest in their education & health now. Share Tweet
SAVE THE CHILDREN CALLS FOR €40 MILLION EU INVESTMENT IN ECW
NORWAY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAG INGE ULSTEIN ON ECW SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN IN SYRIA, SOMALIA AND THE SAHEL
Dag Inge Ulstein @dagiulstein
Norway was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of Education Cannot Wait. Norway is the second largest donor to the fund, which in 2018 alone supported education for more than 1.4 million children and young people in countries affected by crisis and conflict, such as Syria, Somalia and countries in the Sahel region.#DetNytter Share Tweet
CANADA'S MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT KARINA GOULD: CANADA COMMITTED TO ENSURE CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT RECEIVE A QUALITY EDUCATION
ECW EXCEEDS 10% TARGET FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT – GLOBAL EDUCATION FORUM
Justin W. van Fleet @justinvanfleet
Well done, @EduCannotWait on reaching the 10% investment target for the early years! @theirworld. Quoting tweet: #GlobalEducationForum: "Early childhood development is key to achieving foundational learning. #ECW is proud to have exceeded the 10% #ECD target. We thank @Theirworld @JustinVanFleet & others who set the target." ~@YasmineSherif1 ECW Director @Tharman_S @G_MachelTrust @AliciaH_1 Share Tweet
ECW ADVANCES ADVOCACY AT GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION #GAWECHAT
Education Cannot Wait @EduCannotWait
We have depleted our resources ensuring we leave no child in conflict and crisis settings behind in our COVID response. But the numbers of crisis affected kids out of school has jumped from 75M to 128M. #ECW needs $400M urgently to keep responding and reverse this trend. #GAWEChat #GAWEChat
UN DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL AMINA J. MOHAMMED: ‘REIMAGINE EDUCATION’
ECW AND THEIRWORLD CALL FOR RESPONSE TO ST. VINCENT VOLCANO ERUPTION
The devastating volcano eruption in St. Vincent has left thousands of children out of education. Together with @Educannotwait, we're calling on the international community for urgent action to ensure that no child is left behind. Share Tweet
LE HCR VA POUVOIR CONTINUER À AMÉLIORER L’ACCÈS À L’ÉDUCATION DES ENFANTS REFUGIÉS CENTRAFRICAINS
Grâce à @EduCannotWait, le HCR va pouvoir continuer à améliorer l’accès à l’éducation des enfants réfugiés centrafricains + membres de la communauté hôte à travers le renforcement des infrastructures éducatives nationales. Share Tweet
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.