This week we celebrated the news that Save the Children is a 2010 laureate for the WISE Education awards, for its Rewrite the Future campaign.
Rewrite the Future has concentrated on delivering quality education to children living in countries affected by conflicts and emergencies in over 25 countries, from Colombia to Afghanistan.
Much credit goes to colleagues developing and implementing innovative programmes in these countries, often in very challenging circumstances.
From my perspective, the other innovative part of our work was to challenge those who hesitated to invest in education in these contexts, and to remind them that unless they invest in education in conflict-affected fragile states, MDG2 (on universal primary education) will be far from being achieved.
Throughout the five years of Rewrite the Future, you have heard us talking about 39 million children who are out of school and who live in conflict-affected fragile states (CAFS).
This year the Global Monitoring Report showed that the global number of out of school children has decreased from 72 million to 69 million. This is worth celebrating, but it’s also worth noting that according to international commitments, this number needs to be zero by the time we get to 2015.
This global reduction may well mean that our 39 million children figure for Rewrite the Future has also dropped, but we have many reasons to believe that the number will not change dramatically unless the international community, governments and agencies step up.
This year we launched our flagship report called ‘The Future is Now’ – because we can’t forget that the future of children is being shaped now, and their education is an essential part of it.
Being out of school means not enjoying the basic right to education, it means losing out on all the opportunities education (and an education of quality, if I may add) provides to break the cycle of poverty.
And, as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote in the foreword to our report, “without investing in education…we will be subjecting future generations to an unjust and insecure world.”
And so it is that in the coming years, we will keep on talking about that 39 million figure and getting involved at all levels until the global figure is dramatically reduced and children in these countries enjoy their fundamental right to education.
We will keep on doing this in an innovative way, of course.