One million children in Mozambique are estimated to have been affected by cyclone Idai; thousands of schools have been destroyed, leaving children out of education. Last week 14 children were killed as their school was hit by an airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen. A country where a quarter of all children are out of school as a result of the conflict.
There are countless other crises which have not made the headlines where millions of boys and girls are missing out on learning. More than 75 million children across crisis- and conflict-affected countries require urgent support to receive a quality education.[i]
These children are paying the heaviest price for conflict and disaster. Their futures are in jeopardy.
A child’s right to an education does not end in times of emergency
In times of conflict and crisis, education provides a safe space to learn and a precious sense of normality, routine and calm. Schools keep children safe from risks in their environment and can mean reduced rates of sexual violence, child marriage, harmful work and recruitment into armed forces or armed groups.
A safe and high-quality education is a key contributor to securing economic recovery, social stability and peace in the most fragile of contexts.
When our staff respond to an emergency, children frequently tell us that education is one of their biggest priorities – they know it’s the key to their future.
The UK should maintain its leadership on global education
Investment in global education is truly transformative aid, having a lasting impact long after children have left school and that is why the UK public list education as the second highest priority for UK aid.[ii]
We are proud that the UK has been at the forefront of global efforts to scale up investment and expertise in education in emergencies and protracted crises. Between 2011 and 2015, DFID supported the learning of over 11 million children.
Last week the Secretary of State, Penny Mordaunt made a very welcome announcement of £4 million into Education Cannot Wait to help children affected by cyclone Idai get back into school.
But there is an urgent need for more and better international funding for education – particularly for forgotten crises.
More UK investment is needed into Education Cannot Wait
Education Cannot Wait is the first and only global fund for education in crises. It works across humanitarian and development programming, to deliver education quickly, with impact and value for money.
This year Education Cannot Wait seeks to raise enough funds to support the education of 9 million children and youth by 2021.
Alongside other UK civil society organisations Save the Children is calling for DFID to make a significant renewed investment into Education Cannot Wait of £75 million over the period 2019-2021. You can read the report here.
This increase will help address the considerable learning needs of the most marginalised children in some of the most challenging and heart-breaking contexts around the world.
Why support Education Cannot Wait
Education Cannot Wait has exceeded many of its results targets. It has reached more than one million children and youth – half of whom are girls – in 19 crisis-affected countries since the Fund became operational in early 2017.
The Fund has been able to operate in some of the most challenging conflict-affected states which have largely been forgotten by the rest of the world. Including in Palestine, the Central African Republic, and Bangladesh.
It is right that multilateral organisations like Education Cannot Wait are subject to scrutiny, yet frequently they are best placed to achieve UK aid objectives. The Fund pools investment and expertise, it is cost effective in coordinating complex education responses, it has the ability to target countries which UK aid does not have a large presence in and can operate at a larger scale.
A significant increase in UK investment in to Education Cannot Wait would reposition the UK as the leading donor, giving the UK more influence over the strategic direction of the Fund. The UK can push for the Fund to drive for improved learning outcomes and child protection within its programmes, and have a greater focus on girls’ education and early childhood development.
Significant impact on children’s lives
The UK is a world leader in delivering education to some of the world’s poorest children and young people. It has championed education in emergencies where access to a quality education can make a significant difference to a child’s future.
We call upon the UK to make a further commitment to boost children’s children when they are at their most vulnerable, with the education they need to recover when devastating crises occur.
[i] ODI, 2016, Education Cannot Wait, Proposing a fund for education in emergencies https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/10497.pdf
[ii] After health. Hudson, David. 2019. AAT trends and images of development. London: Development Engagement Lab.