Six key steps that will help to get millions of children into school

South Sudan Education 4
A boy holding an exercise book smiles in a class in Lich Primary School near the city of Bentiu, capital of South Sudan's Unity State (UNICEF / Everett)

Barriers to education, Education Cannot Wait, Education funding, Right to education, Sustainable Development Goals, The Education Commission

Tomorrow marks exactly four weeks since the world’s most powerful leaders sent out a message that they’re serious about education.

The G20 summit in Hamburg made a landmark commitment to act on a new financing plan that will unlock $10 billion a year and help to get millions of girls and boys into school.

After 10 years of declining funding for education, the innovative International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) will tackle a huge shortfall in funding.

Here’s a quick look back at six crucial steps this year that will help to turn a bold idea into a reality.

1. March 22

A group of major charities and organisations – including Theirworld, Save The Children, ONE, Avaaz and Global Citizen – calls on world leaders to help launch a new way of providing the funding needed to educate millions of children and give them a better chance in life.

They ask the G20 countries to make education financing a top priority – by urging the World Bank, regional development banks and donors to establish IFFEd.

Theirworld Campaigns Director Ben Hewitt With Christos Stylianides Eu Commissioner For Humanitarian Aid And Crisis Management

2. April 19

An impassioned plea for IFFEd to be adopted is made at the United Nations by Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

He is speaking ahead of the Spring Meetings hosted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC – a key moment in the international calendar attended by top decision-makers from governments, civil society organisations, finance and business.

3. May 16

Singing superstar and education campaigner Shakira urges world leaders to help shape the future for millions of children. 

She launches a petition with Theirworld and says the G20 summit in Germany is a huge opportunity to push education to the top of the agenda.

Shakira Unicef School

(Shakira / UNICEF)

4. June 9

Young people from around the world call on G20 leaders to back education for every child. Saket Mani – one of Theirworld’s network of Global Youth Ambassadors – delivers a powerful message to the nations who will meet in July. 

He hands over petitions supporting education that were signed by thousands of supporters of Theirworld, ONE and Global Citizen. 

Saket Mani Gya At Y20

GYA Saket Mani hands petitions and call to action to Lars-Hendrik Röller, the German government’s G20 Sherpa and Chancellor Merkel’s economic advisor, left, and Katarina Barley, Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

5. July 7

Shakira, international leaders and more than 145,000 campaigners call on the G20 summit to back education

She tells the crowd at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg: “That is powerful and inspiring. You have shown that we are not going to ignore the 263 millions kids who can’t access an education.”

Erna Solber Shakira And Gordon Brown At Global Citizen Festival

Messages from 145,000 people and 30 leading organisations, including Theirworld, calling for the G20 leaders to back education are handed over at the Global Citizen Festival on the eve of the G20 summit. Pictured, left to right, are Norwegian Prime Minister Ena Solberg; Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International; singer and Education Commissioner Shakira; Malawian schoolboy Wongani Nyirenda; and Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education (Ryan Gall / Global Citizen)

6. July 8

In a crucial turning point for global education, G20 leaders make a commitment that could change the future for children around the world. 

The summit commits to action on IFFEd – the first time in a decade that G20 leaders have signalled action on a new education funding initiative in one of their official statements.

G20 Statement On Education


The announcement in the G20 summit Leaders’ Declaration says IFFEd will be progressed under the G20 presidency of Argentina in 2018 – taking into account other existing initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri said at the Global Citizen Festival: “Nothing is more important for our future than education. This involves the person and country and international community.

“Today we have to educate our children for jobs that don’t even exist. And all of us need to keep on developing skills throughout our lives. Education assistance needs to expand – to be ready to change.”

Learn more about IFFEd and how it would work

More news

See all news