Liberia: More schools for Liberia’s post-war children as UNICEF launches Education Pooled Fund (EPF) worth $14 million
MONROVIA, May 23, 2008 – The President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially launched the Education Pooled Fund (EPF) with initial funding from UNICEF through a contribution from the Netherlands Government, announced during UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman’s first visit to Liberia in February 2008, and the Open Society Institute (OSI).
The Education Pooled Fund (EPF) was launched with $15 million; $12 million comes from the Netherlands Government through UNICEF and $3 million from the Open Society Institute (OSI) which has pledged another $2 million. The funds will be used to finance national education priorities, initially those articulated in the Liberia Primary Education Recovery Programme (LPERP).
President Johnson Sirleaf called upon the Minister of Education and officers of the Ministry involved in the management of the fund, “to make sure that this programme works, to make sure that we bring more partners into this initiative thereby enabling an expansion of activities … with proper monitoring, proper accountability and proper transparency that would contribute to reinforce the confidence of partners”.
The President of Liberia recognized the tremendous gap in the country’s quality of education which she said still remained a problem, in particular in the neglected rural counties, which she said had been bypassed by development for so many years. The President called for renewed efforts “so that those children too have equal opportunity, so they too can reach their potential in life based upon a solid education.” She called on more development partners to contribute to the EPF so that the sector will have reliable, predictable and coordinated financing, noting that, although national budget allocations to education have increased substantially in the last two years, continued external financial support is still needed.
The EPF is an innovative flexible transitional funding mechanism to provide the Government of Liberia with the much needed resources to rebuild the education system and to make progress towards meeting the stringent requirements for sector financing, such as through the Catalytic Fund, and evolving into direct budget support.
UNICEF Representative Rozanne Chorlton said “In the context of reduced humanitarian financing and the absence of regular development funding, our intention was to assist in moving the financing agenda forward by finding mechanisms that would build both the capacity of government to handle larger resource flows to the sector and the confidence of donors to contribute larger amounts to Government.”
The Ministry of Education said the pooled fund will be used to improve access to quality education, including the construction of new schools, particularly in the rural areas.
For further information, please contact: Yvette Bivigou, UNICEF, +231 689 6362, firstname.lastname@example.org