May 11, 2018

Shakira thanks 1.5m youth campaigners calling for global education fund

Shakira has been a leading figure in the campaign for an innovative education funding idea

Photo credit: World Economic Forum

In a special video message, the singer says their backing can "make the impossible possible" by getting millions of children into school.

Shakira has sent a personal message of thanks to youth activists and campaigners who are calling for a new global funding plan for education.

The singer and education champion has been leading from the front in the push to launch the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd). It will unlock $10 billion a year to help millions of children into school.

Shakira - a member of the influential Education Commission that proposed the bold idea - thanked more than 1.5 million people who have signed a petition backing IFFEd that will be presented to the head of the United Nations today.

Watch Shakira's message

Theirworld has secured a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York, where the petition will be handed to him by three of our Global Youth Ambassadors from Nepal, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

Theirworld has been working with the organisations BRAC and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and the campaigning website Avaaz to collect the signatures. 

Shakira has been a leading figure in the campaign to tackle a global education crisis and get some of the most marginalised children into school. 

More than 260 million children and youth are currently out of school and many millions drop out before they even reach secondary school.

If this doesn’t change, by 2030 over half the world’s children and young people – 825 million of them – will not have the basic skills or qualifications needed for the modern workforce.

Shakira joined an impressive list of global leaders and experts who in 2015 became Education Commissioners - tasked with coming up with big ideas to solve the problems. Chaired by Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, the commission produced The Learning Generation report in 2016, which included plans for the International Finance Facility For Education.

Shakira on stage at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg last year with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Gordon Brown

Last year, Shakira delivered an inspirational message to the world's most powerful leaders on the eve of the G20 summit in Germany. At the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, she stood on the stage beside Gordon Brown and said IFFEd had to become a reality.

She added: "There are too many kids at risk of missing their only window of opportunity. We can't press pause and ask them to wait to grow up until we have it all figured out."

Shakira is a long-time supporter of education. In her native Colombia, she set up the Fundacion Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Foundation) when she was only 18 and the organisation has helped to educate thousands of children.

Now she is backing IFFEd to succeed in the same way that a new funding approach in the 2000s helped to ensure that massive vaccination schemes saved the lives of millions of children.

The education scheme would make aid more effective by leveraging and maximising the impact of donor resources through the World Bank and regional development banks. In its initial stage, the aim is to get 20 million children into school.

Countries would multiply the impact by increasing their own funding and committing to critical education reforms.

Brown said: “The human faces behind these statistics are the most heartbreaking. Instead of being in school, children will be trapped as labourers, brides, soldiers, and victims of trafficking. Aspiring doctors, lawyers, teachers, and innovators of tomorrow will never realise their talents – this is a loss we cannot afford.” 

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