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UN fund for education in emergencies helps 7 mln young learners in 5 years

United Nations | Xinhua | Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, and strategic partners have reached about 7 million children and adolescents since the ECW became operational in 2017, said the fund in its annual report released Tuesday.

Through its strategic partnerships, the ECW reached 3.7 million children and adolescents across 32 crisis-impacted countries in 2021 alone. About half of the beneficiaries (48.9 percent) were girls. An additional 11.8 million children and adolescents were reached through the fund’s COVID-19 interventions the same year, bringing the total number of children and adolescents supported by COVID-19 interventions to 31.2 million, shows the report.

The ECW mobilized a record-breaking 389 million U.S. dollars in 2021 alone. Total contributions to the ECW Trust Fund now top 1.1 billion dollars. Furthermore, across 19 countries supported through ECW’s multi-year resilience programs, donors and partners mobilized an additional cumulative amount of more than 1 billion dollars in new funding.

ECW Director Yasmine Sherif said the fund should not lose steam as the ECW estimates that a staggering 222 million school-aged children and adolescents caught in crises globally are in urgent need of educational support. These include 78.2 million who are out of school and 119.6 million who are in school but not achieving minimum competencies in mathematics and reading. When the ECW was established, only 75 million school-aged children and adolescents were estimated to need educational support.

According to the report, conflict, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters and the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic fueled increased needs for education in emergencies with funding appeals reaching 2.9 billion dollars in 2021, compared with 1.4 billion dollars in 2020.

“What we need to do today is to ensure that financial resources are made available to meet the needs,” she told reporters in New York at the launch of the report. “Together we can change the world, we can make sure every child can reach their potential through quality education. We do not need to leave anyone behind.”

The ECW will hold a high-level financing conference in Geneva in February 2023. The ECW is looking for a minimum of 1.5 billion dollars, she said.

Germany, Britain, the United States, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the European Commission were among the largest donors.

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