FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2018
Ariel Brown, Youth Engagement and Communications Associate
Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director
Dakar, Senegal -- On February 2, 2018, government, civil society and business leaders gathered at the 2018 Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal, and pledged to finance global education for children and youth around the world. This was the first GPE funding conference to be held in Africa, hosted jointly by President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Macron of France and convening 1,000 people from around the world. In total, 53 developing country governments pledged $110 billion and donors pledged $2.3 billion for GPE through 2020. The need, however, is $3.1 billion. The pledges made today are a downpayment and beginning to ensure the right to quality education for all.
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Michelle Bekkering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) led the U.S. government delegation to Dakar, and said, “Today, the United States is proud to contribute $75 million in FY17 funding, with future contributions subject to the availability of funds through a congressional appropriations process….We will continue our work with GPE at all levels to deliver results, to promote innovation, to improve learning outcomes, and to reach the most marginalized--especially girls and children with disabilities--so that all children can feel the transformative effects of education.”
Global leaders, including Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US) coalition members in Senegal, urged increased action to fund education around the world. George Srour, Founder of Building Tomorrow, said, “This year's financing conference has helped affirm what many of us in the space have felt, momentum is on our side. The world is waking up to the potential we can realize when every child is afforded access to an inclusive, quality education. It is an exciting time. While today is a celebration of sorts with pledges being made from donor countries and domestic budgets--including the first from Africa--it is also time to roll up sleeves and get to work.”
Gayle Smith, President and CEO of ONE, reacted: “Today the world positioned itself for progress, but is not yet in the right place to win the battle against the education emergency. Dakar must be seen as the beginning of a bigger and sustained campaign to meet our goals. Most of the donors did increase their commitment but did not deliver their fair share. The fight for access to education for all does not stop in Dakar. Do the math; we don’t yet have the resources we need, and we owe it to every girl and boy out there to keep going until we win.”
“Today’s announcements mark a big step forward, with low-income and conflict-affected countries showing remarkable commitment to addressing the education crisis,” stated Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund and GCE-US Board Member. “Unfortunately, with some important exceptions, donor countries have not yet matched that ambition. The U.S. had a chance to demonstrate leadership on a world stage and amp up its investment in global education for children who need it the most. Regrettably, the administration did not take this opportunity. But there is bipartisan leadership in Congress on global education, and we are now counting on them to step up for the world’s kids. We’ve made huge advances through GPE, but the reality is that 263 million kids remain out of school. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know education is one of our most powerful tools in reducing poverty and inequality, and has positive ripple effects throughout communities and nations. And we must not forget that education is a right, not a privilege.”
Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director of Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), said, “Thank you to all policymakers, partners and advocates for your leadership on global education and pledges made today. These vital contributions will help the more than 260 million out-of-school children and youth to access quality education and better, more equitable futures. We agree that there is a need for continued support and increased international education funding through the congressional appropriations process. We urge Congress to fund international basic education, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Education Cannot Wait Fund for Children in Emergencies at the highest possible levels for the 2018 financial year and beyond.”
Ahead of the GPE Financing Conference, members of the American public signed petitions, contacted their Members of Congress, wrote letters to the editor, and took remarkable action in support of robust funding for the Global Partnership for Education. These actions total over 300,000 and show wide support for GPE across the United States. Civil society organizations urged support, with a diverse array of 21 NGOs calling the US Government to finance the Global Partnership for Education.
Yet, there is more work to be done. The Global Campaign for Education-US calls on Congress to maintain this momentum and support for GPE by adopting the House Appropriations bill recommendation of $87.5 million to GPE for the 2018 financial year and increase in coming financial years to meet the full $337.5 million asked of the US by 2020. Congress has already signaled strong support for GPE, with 99 Representatives co-sponsoring H.Res. 466, a resolution in support of the Global Partnership for Education. We ask the public to continue to call on their Members of Congress to support this resolution at: http://bit.ly/SupportGPE
These remarkable pledges and commitments to fund education at the GPE Financing Conference mark a turning point for the global education advocacy movement. The global leadership and increased support from partner countries is essential to building a society where education equity is truly supported as a human right. We will continue to work toward building a world where every child receives quality education, which is essential to building a stronger, more egalitarian, economically stable world.
We are grateful to the US government and civil society delegations to Senegal for championing quality education for all. To make this important vision a reality, we look forward to working closely with the US government and partners to increase support for the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, and US bilateral efforts on global education through 2020 and beyond.
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The Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US) is a broad-based coalition of over 80 organizational members dedicated to ensuring universal quality education.
The Global Partnership for Education is a partnership that brings together governments, schools, and community groups in order to ensure quality education for children and youth. GPE partners with over 60 countries to provide financial and technical assistance, so that all children and youth can access quality education, which is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty, increasing gender equity, improving maternal health outcomes, improving the environment and decreasing the likelihood of war and conflict. GPE aims to finance quality education and ensure that the world’s most marginalized youth, including youth with disabilities, girls and youth affected by crisis or emergency, can learn and build a more peaceful world. Learn more at: https://www.globalpartnership.org/