Education Cannot Wait
By Jennifer Rigg, Global Campaign for Education – US
As a parent of two active children, I see the amazing skills and knowledge they’re gaining at school every day. Yet the vital right to education is just a dream for 75 million children impacted by emergencies and crises. Across our global community, we cannot wait any longer and must act today to reach all children with quality education.
Education Cannot Wait: a fund for education in emergencies officially launched at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23, 2016. Governments, organizations and the private sector pledged more than $90 million, including $20 million pledged by the U.S. government. However, the education in emergencies funding gap is estimated at $8.5 billion – $113/child per year – and more funding is urgently needed.
This fund is timely as the world is in the midst of the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The impact is long lasting across entire generations: the average displacement due to refugee situations is 17 years, meaning that entire generations are uneducated and unprepared to contribute to recovery and stability.
Last year alone, 60 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes due to disasters or conflicts and half were children under the age of 18. For many of these children, education - and the future it opens to them - is a lasting casualty. According to a policy paper jointly released by the Global Education Monitoring Report and UNHCR, refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than other children.
Yet less than two percent of all humanitarian funding has been allowed to support education, leaving millions of children and young people out of school and vulnerable to trafficking, child labor, early marriage and extremism.
What Can We Do?
The Education Cannot Wait fund is a key opportunity to change this situation. It is critical for governments and donors to step up and put forward the finances necessary to make this initiative a success.
More than 10 million people have signed a petition urging world leaders to ensure all children can go to school, without danger or discrimination. The Global Campaign for Education helped develop a Call to Action which garnered support from over 60 leading organizations for the Education Cannot Wait fund. We must bring new and immediate financing to deliver education alongside protection and other essential humanitarian and development aid. The Call to Action urges the Education Cannot Wait fund to:
- be financed with multi-year donor commitments,
- be supported by new funding and resources that are ambitious enough to address the scale of the crisis in education and emergencies,
- be supported by resources that are additional, and not at the expense of other critical education and poverty-fighting interventions, and
- build on existing financing mechanisms so as to ensure smooth transition from crisis response to longer term development of education systems.
The Education Cannot Wait launch was a first chance for donors to invest, and it’s not the only opportunity. The next key pledging moment will come in September 2016 when world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama hosts a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, and the International Commission on Financing Education Opportunities releases its final report.
We need everyone’s help to make quality education a reality, no matter where a child or family lives. Education is a life-saving intervention and universal right that simply cannot wait.
Action: Thank USAID Administrator, Gayle Smith, for recognizing how important education in emergencies is and pledging to support the millions of kids around the world in emergency and crisis settings access their right to education.
Links to learn more:
- Education Cannot Wait – Case for Investment
- Five Things you Need to know about the Education Cannot Wait Fund, Global Citizen
- World Humanitarian Summit Marks Key Moment for Education in Emergencies, EduJesuit
- Education Cannot Wait Fund Official Launched: More than $90 Million Pledged, Kolleen Bouchane
Jennifer Rigg is the Executive Director of the Global Campaign for Education-US