In recent months, I witnessed firsthand the impact attacks and disruptions in education are having on the human dignity
We Must Rise to the Occasion, Now.
In 2021, COVID-19 continued to plague the world – a world already burdened by armed conflicts, climate-induced disasters and forced displacement. Communities, nations and people struggled to maintain normalcy in the midst of the abnormal. This was especially notable in the education sector – a sector that is the very foundation for achieving all human rights and all Sustainable Development Goals.
Countries affected by existing crises also suffered the absence of infrastructure and the omnipresence of extreme poverty, while conflicts raged all around. In 2021, with little, if any means, these countries had to rise to the occasion. Teachers, parents and students sought to protect lifesaving, continued and inclusive quality education for children and youth to sustain hope in the future.
It was a most difficult year for millions of crisis-affected children and adolescents around the world. More children and adolescents were pushed out of school. While we celebrated Human Rights Day a week ago under the theme of “equality”, one can only lament the stark reality: today, over 128 million girls and boys are being denied their basic right to education due to violent conflicts, forced displacement and climate-disasters wreaking havoc around the world.
In recent months, I witnessed firsthand the impact attacks and disruptions in education are having on the human dignity and well-being of children and adolescents caught in crises as diverse as Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, and just a few weeks ago, Cameroon.
In Cameroon, Jan Egeland, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, and I met some of the more than 700,000 children and adolescents affected by deliberate attacks on education and by school closures in the North-West and South-West regions. The Far North region and eastern parts of the country are also impacted by the Lake Chad Basin conflict and the refugee influx from neighboring Central African Republic, respectively.
They reminded us that we all must rise to the occasion, now. Working with our in-country partners in governments, communities, civil society, the United Nations and amongst strategic donors, ECW will launch a Multi-Year Resilience Programme in these three crisis-affected areas of Cameroon in early 2022. With this in mind, we urgently appeal to all ODA, private sector partners and foundations to fully fund this humanitarian life-saving and sustainable development investment in Cameroon and across another 35 crisis-affected countries. In doing so, we need to place the rights of girls upfront.
In Cameroon and elsewhere, I heard tragic stories of despair and lost opportunities, in particular for adolescent girls. As the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education, Helen Grant, stresses in ECW’s latest interview, when crises hit, girls are more likely than boys to miss out on education. Meanwhile, we know that girls’ education is the foundation to creating healthier and more peaceful, prosperous societies, or as the World Bank states, ensuring all girls’ education will contribute with US$12 trillion to the global economy. Together with all our partners, ECW will continue to put girls at the forefront of all our investments and pursue affirmative action with a target of 60% girls and adolescent girls in all our investments.
Thanks to our partners in civil society, communities, host-governments, strategic donors, the UN system, regional organizations and the World Bank, the Education Cannot Wait community has mobilized $845.3 million in contributions to the ECW Trust Fund and leveraged over $1 billion aligned with ECW’s investments in joint programmes. Our latest Annual Results Report highlights our collective impact in reaching nearly 30 million children and youth in response to COVID-19, and an inclusive, whole-of-child quality education approach for close to 5 million children and adolescents, half of whom are girls.
This has brought us hope. As 2021 draws to a close, our hope was further fueled at the RewirEd Summit 2021, convened by Dubai Cares during Expo 2020 last week. The global education community was on fire. It came together in full force to steer the dramatic shifts needed in education globally. It laid the ground for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Summit on Education in 2022, as well as the development of ECW’s new Strategic Plan in 2022 with an expected funding requirement of $1 billion at minimum.
Indeed, we shall rise to the occasion, again and again. This is what education in emergencies and protracted crisis is all about. To learn from those we serve despite the odds they face: the 128 million crisis-affected girls and boys in the world’s toughest contexts. Every morning they bravely rise up to learn.
Education Cannot Wait
The UN Global Fund for Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises Director's Corner in Exposure
RESULTS & UPDATES
ECW Interviews UK Special Envoy for Girls’ Education Helen Grant
‘I am hugely honored to be the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education. In this role I globally champion the message that providing every girl on the planet with 12 years of quality education is one of the best ways of tackling many of the problems facing the world today such as poverty, climate change and inequality.’ Learn More
Violence Impacts Over 700,000 Children Due to School Closures in Cameroon
Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland and ECW Director Yasmine Sherif called for an end to attacks on education in Cameroon during their joint visit to Cameroon, where attacks against education and killings, kidnappings and harassment of students and teachers are forcing schools to close and pushing vulnerable children further to the margins. English | French | Video
CNN’s One World Covers Joint NRC/ECW Mission to Cameroon
Thank-you @ZainAsher for drawing attention to the need for all children to access education in #Cameroon, one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises.” ~ @YasmineSherif1 @oneworldCNN @un @nrc_norway @nrc_egeland @UN_Cameroon @helengrantmp @canadacameroon #SDG4 Share Tweet
The LEGO Foundation Announces US$7 Million New, Additional Contribution to ECW
ECW appreciates the new, additional €7 million contribution by The LEGO foundation announced at the RewirED Summit. This generous donation from our largest private sector donor will ensure that even more crisis-affected children and youth can access quality education in the world's toughest contexts. Share Tweet
Ireland Announces €5 Million New, Additional Contribution to ECW
To educate is to invest in hope! Thank you Ireland for your new, additional €5 million contribution to ECW announced at the RewirED Summit in Dubai. This will help us deliver more hope through education to more crisis-affected children and youth. Share Tweet
Education Must Come First in Cameroon: ECW Director Yasmine Sherif Op-Ed in Modern Diplomacy
‘Children are not targets. Teachers are not targets. Schools are not targets. These senseless attacks on basic human rights – and on our collective humanity – must stop immediately. Respect for human rights and adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law must be reinforced.’ Learn More
Dubai Cares, Gordon Brown, Yasmine Sherif, Henrietta Fore, Filippo Grandi, H.E. Reem Al Hashimy and Other Leading Education Advocates at RewirEd
Led by Dubai Cares, in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), and delivered in partnership with global stakeholders, the RewirED Summit presents an opportunity for the global education community to come together to scale and jumpstart some of the positive change we want to see in education. Learn More | Social Media Highlights
Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al-Gurg Addressing RewirEd on ECW’s Key Role in Education in Emergencies & Protracted Crises
“Thank-you @DubaiCares CEO #TariqAlGurg for speaking of @GordonBrown’s vision and your support in establishing #ECW! We’ll continue to immediately deliver both quality education and funding for crisis-affected children and youth.” ~ @YasmineSherif1 @RewirEd2021 @FCDOeducation @UN #SDG4 Share Tweet
H.E. Minister Reem Al Hashimy MoFA ICUAE with UNESCO & ECW at RewirEd
“Thank-you for your leadership and the results and hope you bring for crisis-affected children, H.E. Minister Reem Al Hashimy @MoFAICUAE. We must invest in EdTech in an equitable way for all girls and boys.” ~ @YasmineSherif1 with @SteGiannini @UNESCO at #RewirED2021. @DubaiCares @UN Share Tweet
Canada’s Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan Speaks to ECW’s Work at RewirEd
“Even in the most difficult circumstances, when we give children a meaningful chance to get an education, we give them hope.” ~ Canadian Minister Sajjan at #RewirEdSummit High-Level panel with @EduCannotWait #LeaveNoOneBehind Share Tweet
Bipartisan Resolution Calls on International Community to Prioritize Children in COVID-19 Rebuilding Efforts, Including Increased Support for ECW, UNICEF and GPE
“Thank-you @RepSaraJacobs & @RepBrianFitz for introducing a bipartisan resolution calling on the international community to prioritize children in #Covid19 rebuilding efforts, including support for @EduCannotWait!” ~ @YasmineSherif1 #ECW Director @UN #SDG4 Share Tweet
The Future of an Entire Generation Hangs in the Balance: Joint IPNEd / ECW Statement
@IPNEducation & ECW Share their commitment to mobilizing political leadership to close the funding gap for education in emergencies, working to increase the volume, predictability and effectiveness of financing for #EiEPC ~ @J_NhanOreilly @YasmineSherif1 Share Tweet
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi at High-Level Officials Meeting
“I am certainly very proud to be one of the members of the Steering Group of #EducationCannotWait, a marvelous initiative.” ~@FilippoGrandi, #UN High Commissioner for @Refugees at #HLOM @UN @AntonioGuterres @AminaJMohammed @KellyTClements @UNHCR_Education @YasmineSherif1 Share Tweet
ECW Launches Two New Guidance Note Resources to Better Address Gender-Based Violence Through Education in Emergencies Programmes
To support education in emergencies partners ECW proudly launches two new guidance notes on gender-based violence risk mitigation measures and meaningful engagement of local women organizations. Overview | Local Organizations | Risk Mitigation
ECW Launches New Visibility Guidance Note
ECW’s Visibility Guidance Note gives clear guidance on providing visibility and incorporating ECW messaging throughout the implementation of ECW’s grant cycle. It aims to ensure cohesive and coordinated use of shared media assets while also providing a sample visibility and communications plan template and other key resources. Visibility Guidance Note | Brand Guidelines
ECW Commemorates #HumanRightsDay!
Education is a fundamental human right; the key to unlocking all #humanrights – be they social, economic or cultural rights, or political and civil rights. On #HumanRightsDay21 and every day, #EducationCannotWait for any child! @unhumanrighst @mbachelet Share Tweet
Afghanistan: The Humanitarian Imperative Must Come First to Avoid Catastrophe – ECW Director Yasmine Sherif Op-Ed in Modern Diplomacy
The international community must urgently step-up direct funding through United Nations agencies and NGOs to provide Afghan girls and boys with the lifesaving support they need now. Learn More
ECW Continues Global Advocacy Push Across Top Tier Media Outlets
ECW support unlocks opportunities and access to holistic education for children and adolescents impacted by emergencies and protracted crises. Discover inspiring stories from around the globe. Learn More
Hot School Meals from WFP Help Children in Wake of Haiti Earthquake
Learn how a World Food Programme school feeding initiative funded by Canada, France, Switzerland, USA and ECW is changing lives in this inspiring story from the field. Learn More
SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown Congratulates Global Teacher Prize Winner
European Union Increases Education Funding by €2 Billion!
Last year, I said that we would increase education funding from 7% to at least 10% in @EU_Partnerships countries. Now this commitment is materializing: by 2027, according to our estimates, the European Union will devote over €6 billion to education worldwide. That’s a €2 billion increase! Share Tweet
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi Says Education is a Priority for Humanitarian Response in Syria
I spent the day in Talbiseh and met people who have returned home after years of displacement, inside and outside Syria. They need decent housing, clean water, health care, education for their children, and livelihoods. Helping returnees is a humanitarian priority. Share Tweet
ECW thanks UNICEF DED Omar Abdi for his continued support
Our thanks to #UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi for your continued inspiration and strong support of #ECW’s mission to realize the #humanrights of every child to quality education, good health and protection! #HumanRightsDay @UN @YasmineSherif1 @KentPage @Anouk_Des #SDG4 Share Tweet
COP26: Climate Education Crisis Meeting with FCDO, UNHCR and ECW Highlights Need to Urgently Connect Climate Action with Education
UNHCR and ECW Provide Afghan Refugee Girls with New Hope
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
Asma and Zarmina are Afghan refugees & best friends, who teach at the same school in Balochistan. They hope for a new generation of Afghan girls who will be able to reach higher levels of education. ~ Education is the right of all children. #EducationCannotWait Share Tweet
Swiss Embassy in Cameroon Provides Key Support
Education Cannot Wait
Thank you @SwissAmbYaounde for hosting #ECW & @NRC_Norway mission & for the insightful discussions on #Cameroon’s humanitarian situation. Working together we can strengthen access to education for girls & boys affected by the multiple crises in Cameroon! #SDG4 @SwissDevCoop Share Tweet
Children Enter Formal Education in Lebanon with Support from AVSI and ECW
NRC América Latina
¡La educación no puede esperar! Hemos acompañado a niñas, niños y adolecentes migrantes, refugiados y víctimas del conflicto armado en #Colombia para que regresen a las aulas de clase y continúen estudiando. Gracias a @EduCannotWait la educación brinda esperanza y oportunidades. Share Tweet
Data is Key to Building More Effective Education in Emergencies Investments: ECW’s Christian Stoff at RewirEd
UN OCHA Issues Urgent Call to Respond to School Closures in Burkina Faso
OCHA Burkina #Burkina#Educationcannotwait. As of October 31, 2021, the number of schools closed increases from 2,244 to 2,877, or + 633 new closures. This represents 11.01% of the 26,123 schools. These closures affect 344,363 students, including 159,751 girls, and 184,612 boys. Share Tweet
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.