Syrian refugees at a double-shift system school in Lebanon
More than 50 leading global charities today called on world leaders to urgently fund education for children caught up in conflicts and natural disasters.
They said the international community must commit to a new education in emergencies platform when they meet at the first World Humanitarian Summit next month.
They said that, for the Istanbul summit to be a success, the platform must be launched and leaders must commit to multi-year pledges aimed at supporting the education of millions of children affected by emergencies.
An education in emergencies "scorecard" published by A World at School last month revealed that in 2015 more than 80 million children and young people had their education disrupted or destroyed by emergencies and prolonged crises.
Record numbers of attacks on schools, natural disasters, wars and the largest refugee crisis since World War II have increased the need for education in emergencies.
Nepalese children back at school months after the 2015 earthquake
Despite this, less than 2% of all humanitarian funding has gone to education every year since 2010. There is now an annual shortfall of about $9 billion for education in emergencies.
The charities warned that the new fund must:
- Be financed with multi-year donor commitments
- Be supported by new funding and resources that are ambitious enough to address the scale of the crisis in education and emergencies
- Be supported by resources that are additional - and not at the expense of other critical education and poverty-fighting interventions
- Build on existing financing mechanisms to ensure smooth transition from crisis response to longer-term development of education systems
Rob Williams, CEO of War Child UK, said: "We need the new education crisis platform to be ambitiously funded from its launch.
"The cost to the international community of not doing so, the cost of more lost generations of children denied their right to education, is just too high."
Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director of the Global Campaign for Education US, said: “Around the world we are facing lost futures for millions of children, youth and families as prolonged crises and emergencies destroy communities and disrupt lives.
Alison, 14, reads at a camp for internally displaced people in conflict-torn Central African Republic Picture: UNICEF/Bindra
"The current average displacement due to refugee situations is 17 years. Education is a life-saving intervention and universal right that simply cannot wait.
"New and additional funding is required to equip children and youth with the tools to rebuild their futures and the futures of their communities.”
Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns and Communications for Theirworld, said: “We cannot stand by while children are shut out from the opportunity for an education due to conflicts and disasters.
"We must bring new and immediate financing to deliver education alongside protection and other essential social services. It is imperative we invest in hope, and the future.
"Getting children back into school and keeping them there can prevent risks of exploitation, early marriage, trafficking and extremism.”
The charities' call comes after A World at School launched the #SafeSchools campaign last month. We believe the new platform can - and must reach - at least 20 million children annually within five years - with a plan in place to reach every child by 2030.