Policy Brief: "A Fund for Education in Emergencies: Business Weighs In"

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Zocherman/IRIN.

This discussion draft was prepared by Kolleen Bouchane, Daniel Boyer, and Kevin Kalra with the input of Justin van Fleet. Special thanks to the companies that contributed to the initial consultation.


All children have a right to education. Yet, 58 million children are out-of-school and more than half of these children live in conflict and emergency settings. Education is under attack and schools are targets of violence. Yet, donor funding for basic education in emergency and conflict is grossly inadequate. Of the $22.2 billion in overall humanitarian aid in 2014, only 1 percent went to education. This is despite the fact that more than 8 million children were forced out of school by the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the war in Syria alone.

Education should be a priority investment in times of emergencies and protracted crises. It is critical for long-term development and stability. However, despite significant evidence of the benefits for children of having a safe place to play and learn during and after a crisis, education remains a low priority within the humanitarian appeals process and amongst donors more broadly. The disruption to education leaves behind a serious economic impact. From 2009 – 2012, the long-term impact on national income of reduced education due to conflict in Pakistan was $2.9 billion, about 1.3% of GDP. In Syria, the long-term impact of having 3 million out-of-school children is a loss of at least 5.4% of GDP. Without the mitigating short and long-term effects from providing access to education, the human, social and economic impacts of a crisis also multiply exponentially.

In May 2015, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Secretariat invited GBC-Education to coordinate a global consultation with the business community on a draft discussion paper on financing education in emergencies. The consultation findings were clear: The business community supports the creation of a fund or financing mechanism to mobilize increased resources to address the crisis of education in emergencies.  The discussion draft linked to below summarizes both the rationale for this view as well as the recommendations drawn out by the consultation from companies representing a range of industries, sizes and regions of operation as well as business coalitions.