Last May, the International Education Funders Group (IEFG) held a virtual symposium on the contribution of philanthropy to mitigate and transform some of the most pressing education challenges created by the pandemic: out-of-school children and learning loss.
The group is a member-led learning and collaboration network for foundations, donor-advised funds, and other private grant-makers who fund education systems and programs in low- and middle-income contexts.
Over three days, more than 80 IEFG members and 20 external speakers from Peru to Pakistan discussed the evidence base on out-of-school children and learning loss. They heard about programmatic responses to these challenges and debated how philanthropies can foster the resilience of education systems and of learners to manage the ongoing fall-out from the pandemic.
Sub-themes echoed throughout the symposium included the why, what and how of remote learning, the need to double down on pre-pandemic inequities and the importance of engaging stakeholders across the education ecosystem.
A diverse field of funders
Sessions reflected the varied interests and expertise that exist within education philanthropy.
IEFG members tackled topics ranging from the need to center communities within education grantmaking, whether and how foundational numeracy and literacy should be the future focus of global education policy, and ways of effectively advocating for communities affected by conflict and disaster in the midst of an unprecedented global education crisis.