Public/Private Cooperation on Behalf of Children in Crisis

At this year’s United Nations General Assembly, $24.5 million in funding for Education Cannot Wait (ECW) from a public and private sector partnership was announced. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are committing $12 million, while the LEGO Foundation is providing a private sector match of $12.5 million.

This funding for ECW will deliver safe, free, and quality education to crisis-affected youth. Quality and comprehensive early childhood development and education in particular are essential in overcoming challenges children face in conflict settings and ensuring future success in school. It is important because an estimated 25 percent of the world’s school-aged children and youth live in countries affected by crisis.

“We recognize that high-quality early childhood education supports school readiness and the social and emotional learning needed for successful transitions from emergency situations,” said John Goodwin, CEO at LEGO Foundation. “We are proud to join USAID and PRM in support of Education Cannot Wait, as we stand to lose an entire generation if we don’t take immediate action to support education in crisis settings.”

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The fund was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to help prioritize education on the humanitarian agenda, foster a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and raise additional funding to ensure that every child impacted by crisis is learning. The fund is widely supported by organizations and governments around the globe, including Denmark where the LEGO Foundation is headquartered.

ECW operates in support of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities). ECW’s mandate is both to inspire political commitment so that education is viewed by both governments and funders as a top priority during crises and to generate additional funding to help close the $8.5 billion funding gap needed to reach 75 million children and youth. The Fund is a catalyst for a wide range of partners to collaborate towards achieving learning outcomes for children and youth in crisis settings.

“This support provided by The LEGO Foundation, USAID and PRM will allow us to deepen our investments in the future of the millions of children and youth who are left furthest behind in armed conflicts, disasters and forced displacement. These are among the most vulnerable, excluded and hard-to-reach girls and boys in the world,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are very grateful to The LEGO Foundation for this new strategic partnership. We have a shared vision and outlook, which is inspiring. Our joint focus on pre-school aged children will support Education Cannot Wait in allocating 10 per cent of the Fund’s resources to early childhood education. Together with our partners, we must ensure children in crisis contexts have a better start in life.”

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