NEW YORK, 25th August, 2022 (WAM) — Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, revealed that its investments have reached close to seven million children and adolescents – 48.4 percent of whom are girls – since becoming operational in 2017.
‘Moreover, of all children reached by ECW’s investments to date, half are girls, and 43 percent are refugee or internally displaced children, according to the ECW Annual Report, which also noted that despite global upheaval, the fund and partners have continued to expand their response.
Last year, ECW reached 3.7 million students across 32 crisis-impacted countries, 48.9 percent were girls. An additional 11.8 million students were reached through the fund’s COVID-19 intervention programmes. These schemes have brought the total number of children and adolescents supported by COVID-19 interventions to 31.2 million, 52 percent of which are girls.
92 percent of ECW-supported programmes reporting data demonstrated an improvement in gender parity.
More girls and boys are completing their education and/or transitioning to the next grade/level, with a weighted completion rate of 79 percent and transition rate of 63 percent .
Close to 27,000 teachers (52 percent female) were trained and demonstrated an increase in knowledge, capacity, or performance in 2021.
Over 13,800 learning spaces are now featuring mental health and/or psychosocial support activities and the number of teachers trained on mental health and psychosocial support topics has doubled in 2021, reaching 54,000.
Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, reflected on the progress made by the fund and said, “ECW’s solid results in our first five years of operation are proof of concept that we can turn the tide and empower the most marginalised girls and boys in crises with the hope, protection and opportunity of quality education.”
In terms of resource accessibility, last year ECW mobilised a record-breaking US$388.6 million. Total contributions to the ECW Trust Fund therefore top US$1.1 billion.
The report’s results were released in the wake of shocking new estimates issued by ECW in June 2022, which revealed that worldwide, 222 million students are in urgent need of educational support. This includes 78.2 million who are out of school and 119.6 million who are in school but not achieving minimum competencies in mathematics and reading.
“While progress is being made, we still have a long way to go,” said Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
The ‘Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Financing Conference’, will take place in Geneva in February 2023. It will be hosted by Switzerland and Education Cannot Wait – and co-convened by Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan – through the 222 Million Dreams campaign. The Conference will call on individuals and institutions, in the private and public sectors, to make substantive funding contributions to ECW.
“We urge governments, businesses, and philanthropic actors to make substantive funding contributions to ECW to help turn dreams into reality for children left furthest behind in crises,” Sherif said.
According to the report, conflict, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters and the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic have fueled an increase in education emergencies. Funding appeals reached US$2.9 billion in 2021, compared with US$1.4 billion in 2020. While 2021 saw a record-high US$645 million in education grants given – the overall funding deficit spiked by 17 percent. The growing funding deficit signifies a worrying trend in resource shortages.