Act 4 Education Key Messages 


A Call to Action

  • Education Cannot Wait and its partners are calling on governments, private sector companies, philanthropic foundations and global leaders to rise and support the Fund’s efforts to mobilize $1.8 billion by 2021. The time to Act for Education in Crisis is now.  
  • Built through integrated partnerships and a new way of working, Education Cannot Wait’s catalytic investments will support quality education for close to 9 million children living in the midst of war, crises and disaster by 2021.   
  • Our case for investment in quality education for children and youth in crisis-affected countries is our case for humanity. 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 and the right for every girl and boy to go to school. 
  • A large gap persists in funding for education in crisis, with just 2 to 4 per cent of annual humanitarian funding going to the education sector. This $8.5 billion annual funding has left 75 million children living in conflict, crisis and disaster behind.  
  • Donors are starting to step up to the challenge but much more remains to be done. The European Union commitment to increase the share of education in emergencies to 10 per cent of its overall humanitarian aid budget in 2019 sets an example for others to follow.  
  • For a little over a $100 a year, a child living in the most complex and unstable crisis settings will be able to get the education they need to give them hope and to give them a future.  
  • The Act 4 Education in Crisis campaign is a global initiative led by Education Cannot Wait in partnership with Civil Society Organizations, global leaders, private sector partners, philanthropists and global education ambassadors. By Acting for Education in Crisis, partners have the chance to deliver quality education for the girls and boys left furthest behind in the world’s worst humanitarian crises.   
  • Partnerships, innovation and new ways of working are key to achieving our common goals to ensure universal and equitable education.  


ECW Core Key Messages 

  • At Education Cannot Wait, we believe in a world where all children and youth affected by crises can learn free of cost, in safety and without fear in order to grow and reach their full potential. 
  • Education Cannot Wait delivers with humanitarian speed and development depth: thanks to reduced bureaucracy, focus on the field and optimal use of the humanitarian coordination system, ECW’s investments are determined and disbursed with higher speed, while also focusing on quality and learning outcomes.  
  • Education Cannot Wait’s investments are designed to provide speedy emergency responses when a crisis erupts or escalates, while also linking humanitarian and development aid efforts to ensure quality learning outcomes for children and youth in protracted crisis contexts. 
  • This is an investment in girls and boys living in some of the harshest and most dangerous conditions on the planet. It is an investment in stronger and peaceful societies, in more resilient economies, in a brighter future for generations to come and in our humanity. 
  • Education Cannot Wait is the first global multilateral fund dedicated to supporting education for girls and boys in countries affected by wars, disasters and crises. 
  • Education Cannot Wait serves as a catalyst to bring partners together through joint programming, collaboration and cooperation, ending silos and competition.  
  • Education Cannot Wait seeks to empower children and youth to tap into their own inner strength, resilience and perseverance, in order to develop their potentials and acquire the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.   
  • Education is an inherent human right for every girl and boy on the planet. Education Cannot Wait puts the furthest behind first, investing in the most marginalized children and youth in crises, such as girls, children with disabilities and minorities.  


Linking to the SDGs 

  • If we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goal for inclusive, universal education (SDG4) we need to ensure children living in crisis, conflict and disaster have access to the protection and opportunity an education can provide.  
  • Education is an inherent human right for every girl and boy on the planet.  


Our Impact 

  • By 2021, Education Cannot wait aims to launch groundbreaking multi-year educational responses in 25 priority countries affected by protracted crises where urgent educational needs, risks and vulnerabilities are particularly high. To date, five such programmes are already rolled out with six additional ones being developed to be launched before the end of 2019.  
  • Education Cannot Wait is improving the speed of educational responses in sudden onset or escalating crises. The Fund has been the first to support emergency education responses in some of today’s most pressing crises, such as the Rohingya refugee crisis and the recent devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa.  
  • Education Cannot Wait has exceeded its mobilization goals with over US$344 million in total resources mobilized to date (April 2019).  Find updated figures at 


A Case for Investment 

  • In addressing the root-cause of crisis, investing in education is also our case for socio-economic empowerment, peace and security, and for the realization of all human rights.  
  • 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. 
  • Failure to progress on education for children and youth affected by crises will undermine efforts to achieve the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG4, which strives for universal, equitable education by 2030Without quality inclusive education, it is virtually impossible to achieve gender-equality, eliminate poverty, or attain justice and peace.  
  • 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.

A Case For Human Development  

  • 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.   


A Case For Peace And Stability 

  • 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 an average of 17 years as refugees. 
  • 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 and dispossession, abject poverty, child labor, trafficking, and systemic inequality. 
  • Education reverses this negative cycle and perpetuates a virtuous cycle where a more educated public supports greater public goods, where poverty reduction reduces instability and displacement, and where economic and social empowerment ends disenfranchisement and builds a healthier and more prosperous society. 

A Case For Economic Returns 

  • 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). 


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