Education Cannot Wait announces multi-year investment to deliver education to 750,000 crisis-affected children and youth in Ethiopia

New York

10 December 2019

US$17.9 million catalytic grant from Education Cannot Wait will kickstart the multi-year programme and initiate resource mobilization efforts to raise the total US$161 million required over three years

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announces a US$17.9 million seed funding investment to support the delivery of quality inclusive education to close to 750,000 girls and boys displaced by the crises in Ethiopia. The two-year funding will support the implementation of a new multi-year resilience programme developed by the Ministry of Education with the support of Education Cannot Wait and a range of partners – United Nations agencies and civil society organisations – and donors to address pressing humanitarian crises that have displaced over 2.6 million school-aged children.

The catalytic grant is designed to activate resource mobilization efforts from donors, civil society organizations, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to fully-fund the programme, which will cost an estimated US$161 million over three years.  

“This multi-year investment from Education Cannot Wait will help address one of the most important yet often overlooked needs for vulnerable children and youth in times of crisis,” said H.E. Dr. Tilaye Gete, Minister of Education, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. “By building a programmatic response that brings together multiple stakeholders including the local community, this is a sustainable investment in the future of our children and in the prosperity of our country.”

If fully funded, the programme will reach 745,000 children (380,000 boys and 365,000 girls, including 74,600 children with disabilities). To help address Ethiopia’s high drop-out rates at Grade 1, the programme focuses on early childhood education, providing improved educational opportunities for 213,000 pre-primary and 532,000 primary school-aged children.

To improve the inclusive quality of education, and create equitable, safe, protective and gender-sensitive learning environments, the programme will support over 1,200 refugee teachers and 10,000 national teachers in building their capacity to respond to the specific psychosocial needs of displaced children.

The programme will be led by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education in partnership with Save the Children International, UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait and the Education Cluster. UNICEF and Save the Children will implement Education Cannot Wait’s US$17.9 million two-year grant.  An additional Education Cannot Wait seed funding grant is planned for the third year – for an expected total investment of $27million.

Since April 2017, UNICEF has supported the education of over 138,000 children in refugee and host communities with funding from Education Cannot Wait.

“This seed funding from Education Cannot Wait will be key in restoring and continuing the education of some of the most vulnerable children in Ethiopia, many of whom have had their education interrupted by displacement,” said UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr. “UNICEF, as a grantee of the ECW-fund, along with Save the Children, will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and local education partners and stakeholders to build the resilience of the education system to provide quality education and skills to over 60,000 out-of-school children.”

Ekin Ogutogullari, Country Director of Save the Children in Ethiopia said, “According to the 2019 OCHA severity analysis data, Somali Regional State is one of the most affected regions by recurrent humanitarian crises. Save the Children has been working in this region with the government, community members, schools and other partners to address education and related needs and rights of vulnerable children and the communities. The seed funding from Education Cannot Wait, in which Save the Children is grantee in Somali region, will significantly build on existing efforts to create safe, inclusive and protective learning opportunities for crisis-affected pre and primary school age boys and girls.”

The programme will be rolled out in 17 locations, covering 60,000 out-of-school children, and then expand as resource mobilization efforts allow for scaling up of these results.

“This is an opportunity for aid partners to work together in breaking the cycles of inequality, illiteracy, poverty and hunger that too often come with forced displacement and jeopardize a child’s development. It’s a new vision for how nations can address the pressing educational needs of internally displaced children, refugees and returnees,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We must step up to address this challenge and I call on all partners to join our efforts and contribute to this multi-year resilience programme to ensure no child is left behind in Ethiopia.”

The new grant from Education Cannot Wait builds on the achievements of the Fund’s Initial Investment in Ethiopia, which reached 86,000 girls and boys from 2017 to 2019, enhancing quality and inclusive educational opportunities for refugee children and youth in the country in the Gambela and Beninshagul-Gumuz regions. 


Media contacts

Kent Page
Education Cannot Wait
Tel: +1-917-302-1735
Wossen Mulatu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Ethiopia
Tel: +251 115 184028

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. 

To date, ECW investments span more than 30 countries affected by armed conflict, disaster and forced displacement.

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