World Humanitarian Summit: GBC-Education announces $100m for emergencies fund

Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies

Syrian children on their first day back at school in Homs City in 2015 Picture: UNICEF/Sanadik

The private sector is to mobilise $100 million of backing for the new education in emergencies fund, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) has announced.

The financial and relevant in-kind contributions to the new Education Cannot Wait fund were revealed at the start of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey.

Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of GBC-Education, said: “In emergency situations, education is the last priority, leaving millions of children and youth on the streets and impacting growth, stability, innovation and opportunity. 

“The negative long-term implications of children not getting a quality education is huge. The business community finds it unacceptable to stand by and lose generations of young people.”

The Education Cannot Wait fund will be launched at the Istanbul summit today to help millions of children who are deprived of schooling because of emergency situations – including wars, natural disasters and health crises.

Last year 75 million children had their schooling disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters – yet less than 2% of all humanitarian aid went towards education.

Sarah Brown helps students at Mtien school in Lebanon unpack Kano computer kits Picture: Anthony Achkar

Sarah Brown added: “More so now than ever before, crises and disasters are impacting countries and regions that have traditionally been drivers of economic growth. 

“The challenge of getting children back into school following a humanitarian emergency requires urgent and innovative support from all sectors.

“The business community has a unique role in tackling some of the barriers stopping children and youth from getting an education and rebuilding local economies and societies.” 

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GBC-Education will bring forward private sector CEOs to advocate for education in emergencies and leverage corporate core assets – including employee engagement and contributions, consumer contributions, philanthropy and other products and services – to innovate and finance the delivery of education in emergencies.

Tom Fletcher, Director of Global Strategy for GBC-Education, said “The coalition is bringing together innovative new partnerships to work alongside the new Education Cannot Wait fund.

“Business has stepped up to deliver vital support for education in current crises, especially Syria. We now want to make it possible to imagine a future crisis response which has business reacting in the first wave to bring education to children who find their education destroyed – and working hand in glove with the governments and NGOs who have traditionally borne the brunt.

Somalian children at a centre for internally displaced people Picture: Unietd Nations/Tobin Jones

“Business drive and expertise is on the frontline of responding to so many global challenges – this initiative ensures that education in emergencies will be one of them.”

GBC-Education will work with Education Cannot Wait to identify top challenges in delivering education in emergencies and tap the expertise of private sector business leaders and companies to develop new solutions.

To start, GBC-Education has committed to developing the first-ever database of potential corporate in-kind support for education in emergencies for the new fund.

The vision is to create a database that can be activated when crisis or emergency strikes, making it possible to identify partners willing to provide expertise, products or services necessary to restore hope and opportunity to children.

In February, GBC-Education mobilised $75 million from the private sector to help support education initiatives targeting 1 million Syrian refugees.

Now it has developed a tracking tool to help these businesses deliver on their commitments. Today’s commitment to support the new Education Cannot Wait fund is in addition to these commitments.

One GBC-Education member, The Speed School Fund, is a new private philanthropic fund designed to develop and scale innovative approaches to getting out-of-school children back to schoo.

It is commited to exploring a financial leveraging partnership with donor support channelled through the Education Cannot Wait fund, including a financial matching window of potentially up to $10 million over five years in countries where both funds operate to support accelerated learning initiatives.

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