May 09, 2018

"Why education funding plan will deliver a brighter future for our children and communities"

Students take part in class at a school in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Photo credit: World Bank

Global Youth Ambassadors tell why a bold approach is needed - and what the launch of a big financing idea would mean for children who are out of school or not getting a quality education.

The voices of young people will be heard loud and clear when three of Theirworld's Global Youth Ambassadors meet the head of the United Nations.

They will hand 1.5 million petition signatures backing a bold education funding plan to António Guterres at the UN's headquarters in New York on May 11.

Lian Wairimu Kariuki from Kenya, Asmita Ghimire from Nepal and Ousmane Ba from Sierra Leone are the Global Youth Ambassadors who will deliver a strong message that the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) is the big idea that can help to get millions of children into school and learning.

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We asked some other of our other Global Youth Ambassadors to say why IFFEd must happen - and what it would mean to their countries and communities.

Julius Karl Dugboer Fieve (Ghana)

Millions of children are out of school for reasons such as poverty, discrimination, disabilities, access and hunger. These children miss the opportunity to acquire the basic skills and knowledge needed to thrive within society - due mostly to the underfunding of education.

IFFEd bridging the funding gap and helping every child into school would mean a better retention rate, low absenteeism and economic growth, and opportunities for children - especially girls.

This would ensure economic growth and development in the communities, as there is no development strategy better than one built around children. It has immediate benefits for nutrition, health, savings, social and economic development and reinvestment at the family, community, country and ultimately global level. Educating children is a social development policy that works. It is a long-term investment that yields an exceptional high return.

Educating children, especially girls, could decrease maternal mortality, child marriage, population explosion, infant mortality, domestic and social violence. It could stop militancy and terrorism and improve socio-economic growth and political involvement - all which leads to the economic, social growth and development of my communities, Ghana and the world.

When children are provided with equal rights and equal access to education, they go on to participate in business and economic activity. Increased earning power and income combat against current and future poverty through feeding, clothing and providing for entire families.

Saket Mani (India)

The right to education is a fundamental human right. Access to education is also required for the promotion and protection of all human rights.

We have been campaigning for the establishment of a bold plan that will generate the largest investment in education history - IFFEd. It will be particularly helpful for young women in my country and war-torn countries like Syria and allow them to have more power over their own lives in a variety of ways. 

Girls and women's education is one of the most powerful transformational forces we have to build peace and social inclusion. As well as widening their choices, it can boost their confidence and perception of freedom.

Child marriage could be eliminated from the country. But only if there is a political will at all levels and concerted efforts are undertaken to systematically address it through education - enhancing opportunities for girls - and continued awareness programmes.

Bridging the funding gap and helping every child into school will also help end the vicious cycle of child labour. A lack of education forces them into the unorganised sector which is unregulated and exploitative. 

Our voice in the G20 and in the future clearly indicates that young people want to be an integral part of the process of deciding, from planning to execution. Investment in young people’s education will ensure they are able to realise their full human potential as leaders, decision makers and change agents today and tomorrow.

From left to right: top row - Saket Mani, Mitchell Ofuyo, Abubakar Sulaiman Sardin Fulani; bottom row - Umair Rana, Kenneth Gyamerah and Emmanuel Nuankwelie Bomosie Flomo

Photo credit: Theirworld

Umair Rana (Pakistan)

IFFEd will allow for a better future, which is the most essential goal for my community. It will help to implement the Right to Education Act, and it will bring out-of-school girls and boys back to educational institutions. 

In addition, it will turn into a ripple effect that will become an opposition force to child marriage, child labour and illiteracy. Moreover, school education will promote peace and prosperity in the long term, as it creates equality. It will give education to refugee children.

Quality education has been an essential issue in my community. With IFFEd funding, teachers would be trained enough to change learning outcomes in our classrooms. A greater education budget is necessary to create a better learning environment by including art and sports activities in primary schools as they are found rarely in early education.  

Nina Mbah (Nigeria)

If IFFED bridges the funding gap and helps every child into school, my community would have a better-educated, growing generation and that would improve the prosperity of lots of families, reducing poverty and crime in our communities and our nation at large. 

Bridging the education funding gap is a long-term investment. But it’s worth it because it will yield positive outcomes for every child and will transcend across so many other sectors around the world for years to come.

Olowo Omotoke Titilope (Nigeria)

If IFFEd was to bridge the funding gap and help every child go to school, that would really translate into achieving my lifetime goals of getting every child living with a disability an inclusive education they deserve.

Being an advocate for children living with disabilities, I am aware of the wide gap between education for children without disabilities and children living with disabilities in my community. 

Having run my NGO The Autism Awareness Place for over a year now, we know the basic problems facing education of children living with disability, which includes inadequate and under-qualified teachers, lack of appropriate equipment and instructional materials to facilitate learning, lack of refresher courses for teachers and dilapidated school buildings. 

With the IFFED funding, these problems could be tackled and translated to a world where each child counts and each child gets the education they deserve.

Danilo Mirabile (Italy)

The main problem in my community is that although education is guaranteed to everyone it is not of high quality. The school drop-out rate and the subsequent unemployment rate are a clear signal that the education system is not up to date and fails to involve young people in the right way. 

Our future and the future of our planet depends on the quality of the education we give to our young people. A fund to guarantee access and improve the quality of education would bring incalculable benefits to my community, making it competitive and boosting the local economy.

Abubakar Sulaiman Sarkin Fulani (Nigeria)

Education is the foundation of development in every society and young children in every society are the future of that society. So to improve the prosperity and development of any society, investment must be made into the younger generation - giving them quality education is one of the great ways to create a better and brighter society in the future.

According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, around 263 million children and youth are out of school, which means 263 million out of the world's population do not have access to education. 

IFFEd would bridge the gap and helping every child (orphans, street children and the less privileged) into school. By doing so, a better educated generation will be created, which also improve the prosperity of the community.

From left to right: top row - Olowo Omotoke Titalope, Nina Mbah, Simbongile Siyali; bottom row - Julius Karl Dugboer Fieve, Benedict Jason, Mobashhera Amin

Photo credit: Theirworld

Mitchell Ofuyo (Kenya)

If IFFEd was to bridge the funding gap and help every child into school, I know for a fact that it would elevate the overall standard of not just my community, but my entire country.

The UN Charter on Human Rights, which my country Kenya signed and still is a part of, states that government should provide the best standard of education, in accordance with its capabilities. My government has constantly fallen short of this. This leads us to the IFFEd funding.

Getting every Kenyan child into school will not only help increase families and whole communities standard of living by ultimately contributing to an increased income per family, it will also foster back within the society the dignity and overall quality of life. 

I want that for my country's people. I believe that one of the most noble things we can do for others is help them live a dignified life. And by bridging the funding gap in education, we will achieve just that. To give my people a future to hope for and a life to look forward to with a sense of pride at the end of the day. That is the true miracle of life.

Simbongile Siyali (South Africa)

A girl child growing up in a developing country is faced with many harsh challenges. She could fall through the trap door of poor nutrition, lack of education, prostitution and vulnerability to early pregnancy. 

Bridging the gap will empower communities to develop new generations of productive citizens and will empower these young girls and change the adult misconceptions and misunderstandings of the challenges that are faced in today's world by their children.

There is a need for more funding and this might be the solution to make every girl child in my community believe that education is actually the real tool to change their lives. Educating a girl child means there can be more female leaders and that alone means transformation.

Emmanuel Nuankwelie Bomosie Flomo (United States)

As a victim of low-support education in my community, I struggled to receive quality primary education. I would like to inspire IFFEd to stand up and bridge the current gap we have in our educational systems across the globe. 

When I lived in Liberia, there were times when I had to walk about four hours each day to school and back home because of the lack of primary education in my community. I never had the opportunity or access to a good learning environment or facility.

There are many children today who are still going through the same hardships I had gone through many years ago. They have no access to quality education, they live in a deplorable community because the foundation for better environment has been left out many years ago.

I am pleased at this time of my life to call on IFFEd to step in and bridge the gap and help every children get back to school and gain quality education for their future.

Bridging the gap and helping every child into school will hugely reduce premature marriage and educate children on teenage pregnancy, it will help increase the prosperity and develop a village, and it will be creating the next generation of leaders across the world.

Mobasshera Amin (Egypt)

If IFFEd could be a reality in my community, many children will benefit. Several employment facilities can be established. Many qualified teachers can be hired and paid well which would improve their lives. Indirectly, the infrastructure of the community could change in the long term. 

The students' future could be given a shape and chance to flourish. The facility could banish illiteracy towards zero. Optimism about life could be brought to children who are being deprived of education due to financial inability.

If the facility could help children, families would stop considering their children as burdens and prevent them from becoming child labourers. The families could earn money and utilise it in improving and investing on improving their lives. 

If the financial gap is bridged, schools will be equipped with proper educational materials and staff, which can help children to stay in the community. This way, the community can improve through the future learners as they'll be contributing creatively and innovatively to their own place rather than going to some countries or cities. 

They'd be able to learn the 21st-century skills and apply them to develop their own community. They would learn and love their community more as they would be indulging in more community-related activities instead of doing hard labour.

Danilo Mirabile, Ngunun Ioron Aloho and Diksha Dinde

Photo credit: Theirworld

Benedict Joson (USA)

IFFEd will be instrumental in ensuring that young people around the world have inclusive and equitable quality education. It will make financing available to lower-middle-income countries like that of my native Philippines where 3.8 million children and youth are out of school. 

Such funding will enable a generation of Filipinos – the learning generation – to gain the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the innovation economy of the 21st century.

Ngunan Ioron Aloho (Nigeria)

In 2017, I met Angbiando alongside other girls in the same situation or worse, aged between 12 and 18. She was pregnant at the time with another toddler from a previous birth, she was malnourished and had been out of school for four years because of teenage pregnancy.

She had no place to stay as her family, including her husband, had abandoned her. She was taking shelter in an incomplete church building until help came.

Her greatest regret is abandoning school at a young age and getting married. She believes girls all over the world would do better in life if they acquire quality education.

Angbiando laments that girls aged 11 are school dropouts and, more often than not, married against their will in rural communities to older men to look after their families.

IFFED will help keep more girls alive. It will help reduce the emotional and sexual trauma suffered through child marriage. More girls will go to school, learn better and innovate groundbreaking ideas that will harness economic development. 

Diksha Dinde (India)

The IFFEd can be a way of bridging the gap between two-hands, that is the hands of millions of children who are out of school and the hands of Financial Institutions who shall colour the dreams of these children.

Millions of children around the world are excluded from access to education because of war and conflict, child labour, child marriages, and preconceived notions about gender, periods (girls' education and Periods are still a taboo in many countries) and disabilities.

All these social evils are robbing the potential of children and diminishing our society.

Kenneth Gyamerah (Ghana)

Education is a basic right that provides opportunity for individuals to fulfil their  potential and contribute to the development aspirations and growth of their country. I am very worried about how we are depriving half a generation of their education and their chance to reach their potential. 

The futures of many children in developing countries are under serious threat. We cannot allow this educational crisis to occur in our generation. To achieve inclusive quality education and lifelong learning, donors, countries and international organisations must fund education. Investment in education is an investment for a prosperous, secure, fair and sustainable future .

I believe this is the best time for donors, countries and other organisations to fulfil their promises to fund universal basic education. Right now we are falling short on our promise to achieve, by the 2030 deadline, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring an inclusive and quality education for all. To do so, we urgently need more and better financing for education.

I believe that IFFEd will help my community in three key ways:

  • By enabling access to quality education for young people in rural communities. 
  • By enrolling more children in schools. 
  • By allowing Ghanaian education experts to conduct extensive, quality research into our current education system. This will offer better alternatives that can be explored to improve performance of students especially those who are not attaining foundation literacy skills in schools.
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