July 28, 2017

Education gets a fifth of money donated to help displaced Syrians and refugees

A Syrian refugee girl studies at home in Turkey

Theirworld/Jessica Bryant

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

But $1.5 billion of pledges have still to come in - and more than 500,000 refugee children in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are not yet getting an education. 

International donors have delivered almost three-quarters of the money pledged for 2017 to help millions of Syrians forced out of their homes by the ongoing conflict - including getting children into school.

That means $4.4 billion promised at the the Supporting Syria and the Region conference has been spent or committed to aid those displaced inside the war-torn country plus refugees and the communities hosting them in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

But $1.5 billion of pledged money has still to come in - and donors have been urged to make good on their promises.

Just under a fifth of the 2017 grants from donors - about $566 million - is being used for education, according to an update on funding commitments released today by the conference countries.

UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel visits Syrian refugee and Lebanese children supported by UK Aid

DFID / Robert Oxley

The 19% share makes it the second biggest sector - behind economic recovery and infrastructure but ahead of health, food, shelter and protection. The conference's spend on education for the whole of 2016 was $646 million.

The financial tracking report comes from the co-chairs of the Supporting Syria and the Region conference. In February 2016, they met in London and promised that every Syrian refugee child in neighbouring countries would be in school by the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

There has been progress. But with the school year now over, more than half a million refugee children in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are not yet getting an education.

Theirworld made this #YouPromised film ahead of the April meeting in Brussels

The new report makes no mention of how many children are in or out of school in Syria and the neighbouring countries hosting refugees - and no breakdown of how money is being used to deliver education.

Theirworld's #YouPromised campaign has been pushing world leaders to keep their pledge to get every Syrian child in school. 

When the Supporting Syria conference met again in Brussels in April, a special education report showed that some progress had been made. At the end of 2016 the total number of out-of-school refugee children was 534,272 - down from 630,417 in December 2015.

Norwegian foreign minister Borge Brende told the conference: "Education is key to Syria's future. We simply cannot afford to lose a whole generation of young Syrians."

At that Brussels gathering, the co-chairs - Germany, the UK, the EU, Norway, Kuwait, Qatar and the UN - met with representatives of more than 70 countries, organisations and Syrian civil society. 

Multiyear pledges were made for 2017 to 2020 to help Syria and the nations hosting refugees.

Almost $10 billion in grants was pledged by donor countries, with $6 billion earmarked for 2017. International financial institutions and donors also announced almost $30 billion in loans. 

2017 grant contributions against pledges by recipient country - figures are in $US millions

Today's report said: "By mid-2017, almost 74% of the pledge total for the year had been met, with contributions of $4.4 billion. Therefore, contributions remain $1.5 billion short of the pledges made at the Brussels conference."

It revealed that 24 of the 42 donors who pledged money in April have still to deliver or give information about their contributions. And the 2017 appeals for the Syria crisis coordinated by the United Nations are only 27% funded.

The biggest donors to the Supporting Syria and the Region projects include Germany, the US, the UK, the EU, Norway, Canada and Japan.

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