A Call For Action



Education Cannot Wait and its partners are calling on governments, private sector companies, philanthropic foundations and global leaders to rise and support our efforts to mobilize $1.8 billion by 2021 to provide quality education to children and youth in crisis. By working in partnerships and bringing together humanitarian and development actors and a wide range of global and local partners, these catalytic investment target 9 million children in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Through our partnerships and support to groundbreaking programmes, we are already reaching over a million children a year. Join us today as we accelerate this work, focus on concrete action and increase our investments, so that we can reach those furthest left behind and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education for every child.

Our Case for Investment | Impact and Donor Overview


Realizing Our Vision


As we Act 4 Education in Crisis, our vision is simple: A world where all children and youth affected by conflicts and disasters can learn free of cost, in safety and without fear, to grow and reach their full potential.

Our Case for investment in Quality Education in Crisis lays out the urgency and the value of investing in the education of children in crisis-affected countries as one of the soundest investment in human and socio-economic development and in peace and stability to make today.

It is our case for protection and safety, for inclusion of children with disabilities and children otherwise marginalized, and it is our case for gender-equality, empowerment of girls and women, and the right for every girl to attain her potential. It is our case for humanity as we invest in the human mind and the human will of a new generation affected by conflicts and disasters. When we invest in the human mind, when learning is achieved, it cannot be taken away or destroyed. Indeed, it is all that is left to prevent, mitigate, manage, recover and rebuild from crisis.

As we ramp up multi-year programmes in at least 25 priority countries over the coming months and years, we are calling on strategic donor partners, the private sector, foundations and international leaders to help us fill the annual $8.5 billion funding gap for education in crisis, with $1.8 billion in financing by 2021.

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Want to know the 20+ countries where Education Cannot Wait is already supporting emergency or multi-year educational responses? Check the full map of our current investments here

Resource Mobilization

$1.8 billion is urgently needed for Education Cannot Wait and its partners to give the opportunity of an education to close to 9 million children in conflict and crises by 2021. By raising $673 million, the Education Cannot Wait Global Trust Fund responds to new sudden onset crises and supports multi-year educational responses with a target of 25 priority countries affected by protracted crises to provide hope and opportunities to 9 million children like Aisha and Jospin.  These groundbreaking programmes, launched with Education Cannot Wait’s seed-funding allocations, need to catalyse close to $1.2 billion in additional co-financing at the country level to support learning outcomes and children and youth’s wellbeing.

For about $113 a year, a child living in the most complex and unstable crisis settings can get the education they need to give them hope and to give them a future.

How to Make a Contribution

Education Cannot Wait offers flexible modalities for public and private donors to join the partnership and contribute to the Fund’s collective efforts to reach children and youth caught up in crises. Education Cannot Wait receives donor contributions through its Global Trust Fund. Donors can also contribute by co-financing multi-year programmes facilitated by Education Cannot Wait in crisis-affected countries.

  • Education Cannot Wait Global Trust Fund

Education Cannot Wait’s Global Trust Fund allows for pooled risks, rapid emergency responses, catalytic investments in multi-year programmes, predictability of funding, innovation and research, collective education outcomes, and funding the humanitarian and development nexus in the education in emergencies sector. It is hosted and administered by UNICEF.

  • Country Co-Finance

Country co-finance allows for targeted outcomes, national ownership, resilience building, demand-driven operationalization of multi-year investments and increased collaboration between humanitarian and development aid stakeholders at the country level.

  • In-Kind Contributions

Education Cannot Wait facilitates in-kind contributions to multi-year programmes supported by the Fund in crisis-affected countries.

How Our Investments Work

Education Cannot Wait’s Global Trust Fund has three investment windows that cover the continuum from emergency relief to resilient multi-year support and foster long-term transformational change.


First Emergency Response Window 

This window responds to the most immediate and urgent needs at the outset of crisis or when it escalates. It provides rapid funding against proposals that are coordinated among humanitarian organizations on the ground and is aligned with humanitarian funding appeals such as Flash Appeals and Humanitarian Response Plans.

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Multi-Year Resilience Window

This window applies a New Way of Working to end siloes, bridge the divide between humanitarian and development aid and achieve collective outcomes. It shifts the focus to joint analysis, multi-year planning and joint programming between humanitarian and development aid stakeholders in countries affected by protracted crises.

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Acceleration Facility Window

This window supports activities and research that feed into broader collective efforts to improve education preparedness, planning and response in sudden-onset and protracted crises. Grants under this window increase response capacity, coordination and the collection and analysis of evidence to inform best practices, scale-up innovations and turn investments into concrete public goods.

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Quick Facts

Emergencies and protracted crises represent the abnormal that now is the new normal. The average humanitarian crisis now lasts more than nine years and families caught in conflicts spend decades as refugees or internally displaced people.

Children who are in school during crises and displacement are better protected, healthier, and have greater capacity to heal from trauma and become productive. Education empowers marginalized children to experience a sense of belonging and appreciation for their contribution, and to take charge of their futures.

This is particularly true for girls and adolescent girls whose education is key to escape forced marriage and other forms of gender-based violence, and to realize a more equal society where women and men have equal access to power, finance, independence, health and a better life.

The same applies to children with disabilities and children who are marginalized or discriminated against because they belong to a forgotten or hidden minority. Their access to inclusive quality education is the tipping point: to make them or break them.

Children who receive quality education go on to help create more stable and peaceful societies in the longer-term.  Education reduces violent conflict-resolution and the risk of child recruitment into armed groups or extremist groups.

Lack of a timely education response in crises for displaced and refugee children often generates cycles of displacement, abject poverty, child labor, trafficking, and systemic inequality. Education reverses this negative cycle: a more educated public supports greater public goods, poverty reduction reduces instability and displacement, and economic and social empowerment ends disenfranchisement and builds a healthier and more prosperous society.

Education is a sound economic investment. For each dollar invested in education, more than US$5 is returned in additional gross earnings in low-income countries and US$2.50 in lower middle-income countries.

On average, women with secondary school education earn almost twice as much as those with no education at all.

Armed conflicts destroy costly educational infrastructure and lower educational levels that would support stronger governance, economic and human development. While the numbers vary, many studies indicate that the average cost of out-of-school children can range from 2 to 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Failure to progress on education for children and youth affected by crises undermines efforts to achieve the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG4, which strives for universal, equitable education by 2030. Without quality inclusive education, it is virtually impossible to achieve gender-equality, eliminate poverty, or attain justice and peace.

Education is a foundational sector. Each Sustainable Development Goal relies on our ability to empower children and youth affected by crisis with the knowledge, tools and training they need to tap into their resilience, develop their potentials and become productive citizens. Only then can they contribute to socio-economic development, effective governance, peaceful co-existence and stability for their countries, their region, and the world. 

View References


While education is a lifeline for children in crisis, it accounts for less than 2% of humanitarian aid.

Education in Emergencies By The Numbers

awareness of this discrepancy and calling on global leaders to raise


30%. Children and youth in fragile and conflict affected countries are 30 per cent less likely to complete primary education.


50%. Children and youth in fragile and conflict affected countries are 50 per cent less likely to complete lower-secondary education.
2.5X. Girls in crisis settings are 2.5 times more likely to be out of primary school than boys.


90%. Girls in crisis settings are 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in countries where there is no crisis.
An estimated 75 million children caught up in war, disasters and crisis need urgent educational support.
The World Bank estimates that if every girl worldwide were to receive 12 years of quality schooling, irrespective of whether there’s a crisis or not, their lifetime earnings could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion.

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