“Game-changing” $3bn education fund to be launched next week

17 May 16

A “game-changing” education fund with hopes of tackling what has been described as a global crisis in education is to be launched next week.


The Education Cannot Wait Fund will be launched during the world’s first World Humanitarian Summit, which kicks off in Istanbul on Monday. It will bring together more than 100 countries, companies and philanthropists with hopes of raising $3.85bn for education over the next five years.

Announcing the fund’s launch yesterday, the United Nations special envoy for education and former UK prime minister Gordon Brown said it is designed to cater to the educational needs of 30 million displaced girls and boys – the largest number of uprooted children since 1945.

He said the fund could be the only chance to save a generation lost to war, child marriage, forced labour and recruitment into violent extremism.

The fund will be “unique in many different ways”, he continued, noting it will be the first to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development aid – a key priority at next week’s summit.

The fund is being billed as a game changer and global first, forming the first comprehensive public partnership in humanitarian aid.

It hopes to recruit 100 major donors, from philanthropy and the private sector as well as governments and international organisations.

The $3.85bn it aims to raise will be used to offer up to five years of funding for national-level plans to deliver education during emergencies, with the aim of increasing access, quality and child protection.

In 2014, education received less than 2% of emergency funding and often this support is too short term.

Last year, UNICEF said that 35 million children and adolescents were left with no opportunity for education as a result.

The fund also hopes to increase and unite high-level attention to the crisis of education in those regions affected by conflict and disaster, and enhance knowledge-sharing between different spheres.

It will be built around the recent initiative, announced during the Syria Donors Conference in London in February, to ensure 1 million Syrian refugees have access to school in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan by this September.

However the fund will also span Nepal, where 900,000 children are out of school following last April’s earthquake, South Sudan and Nigeria where conflict and insecurity have denied many more children an education.

“For too long we have neglected the education of young people in conflict zones, at the cost of making youth the recruits for terrorist groups and the their parents the most likely to leave and seek a better future for their children,” Brown said.

“This is a lost generation that we must help urgently.”

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