Private sector to mobilize $100 million for new fund for education in emergencies

Photo by OCHA/Charlotte Cans.

On the opening day of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) Executive Chair Sarah Brown announced that the Coalition will mobilize $100 million in financial and relevant in-kind contributions for the Education Cannot Wait fund, launched at the Summit.

“In emergency situations, education is the last priority, leaving millions of children and youth on the streets,” said Sarah Brown. “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 announcement was made during GBC-Education’s event, “Stepping Up in Crises: Finance, Delivery and Innovation in Education,” which convened 150 high-level representatives from business, government, philanthropic organizations, and donor agencies to address the challenge of millions of children and young people who are left behind in crisis.

Through the support of CEOs who will leverage their corporate core assets — including employee engagement and contributions, consumer contributions, philanthropy and other products and services — the Coalition will work with the Education Cannot Wait fund to identify top challenges in delivering education in emergencies and identify private sector solutions to address the issue.

Despite the fact that one in four of the world’s school-aged children living in conflicts today — 75 million of whom are in desperate need of educational support — education is routinely overlooked during humanitarian crises despite the catastrophic cost of not investing.

Financing education for these children caught in emergencies is decreasing; leaving a annual $8.5 billion financing gap. Through the new fund, and GBC-Education’s support, the private sector has an unprecedented opportunity to contribute to the delivery of education in emergencies at scale.

“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,” said GBC-Education Director of Global Strategy Tom Fletcher. “And, working hand in glove with the governments and NGOs who have traditionally borne the brunt of the challenge, business can now be on the frontline of responding to global issues – this initiative ensures that education in emergencies will be one of them.”

To begin the initiative 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.

GBC-Education Supports Education in Emergencies

From consulting business leaders on their vision for an education in emergencies financing mechanism to advocating on the private sector’s behalf at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development where the fund was officially approved, GBC-Education has long been a leader in supporting the delivery of education in emergencies.

Most recently, GBC-Education mobilized $75 million from the private sector to help support education initiatives targeting one million Syrian refugees. Now, three months later, it has developed a tracking tool to make sure these businesses are delivering on their commitment. Today’s announcement of support to the new Education Cannot Wait fund is in addition to these commitments.

One GBC-Education member is already stepping forward to take part in these efforts. The Speed School Fund, our newest member, is exploring how the private sector can contribute to the fund and is 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.

Interested in joining The Speed School Fund and other companies that will be stepping up to the plate? To contribute to the fund, please contact [email protected].