UK commits to unlock education for children in emergencies

UK civil society organisations warmly welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement during the G7 in Biarritz today that the British Government will support the education of almost 600,000 children caught up in humanitarian emergencies, including armed conflicts, natural disasters and protracted crises.[i]

Education Cannot Wait has reached nearly 1.5 million children and youth – half of whom are girls – in 31 crisis-affected countries since the Fund became operational in early 2017.

“A child’s right to an education should not end in times of emergency, but sadly it often does. During crises having access to school can be life-saving and life-sustaining and provides crisis-affected children with hope,” said Chris Weavers the Chair of Send My Friend, the UK campaign for global education.

This new funding from the UK will support more children get access to and stay in school.

“We welcome the fact that some of the funding will support education in the Sahel which has the worst education outcomes in the world, especially for girls”, said Lisa Forsyth the Acting Head of Advocacy at Malala Fund.

“We are delighted that the UK has affirmed its support for the education of the world’s poorest children, who through no fault of their own, have had their education interrupted by conflict, fragility and natural disasters,” said Madge Thomas, Senior Director, Global Citizen.

“Far too many young people are caught up in emergencies and being systematically locked out of opportunity. The U.K. commitment should encourage other donors to step up to the plate and fully fund Education Cannot Wait so we can end the global education crisis.” Said Justin van Fleet, President of Theirworld.

“This announcement is a clarion call to other donor governments to join the UK and help ensure that Education Cannot Wait has the funds necessary to support 8.9 million children affected by crises to get an education,” said Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, Head of Education at Save the Children.

In particular we hope that France, Japan and Italy join their G7 partners Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in supporting Education Cannot Wait and that all of them join the UK in growing their funding for education in emergencies.

“The UK’s support for multilateralism in response to international challenges is critical and this announcement affirms the UK’s commitment to international cooperation and we look forward to building on it to do more to support the world’s poorest children.”

* In April 2019, the Send My Friend to School campaign, partnered with Bond, Global Citizen, Theirworld and War Child UK and published ‘Unlock education for everyone: how the UK can ensure children affected by crises get an education’. It called for the UK to renew its commitment to Education Cannot Wait.

[i] The UK pledged £90 million over four years, £85 million of which will be channelled through Education Cannot Wait: the global fund for education in emergencies and £5 million will be programmed by the Department for International Development in support of innovation, research and evaluation. Education Cannot Wait’s average cost per child is approximately $120.


Education Cannot Wait seeks to raise enough funds to support the education of 9 million children and youth by 2021.