How GPE supports education in 8 countries affected by emergencies

On top of supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts by allocating 61 grants worth more than US$457 million since April, GPE remains committed to ensuring that other emergencies caused by conflict or natural disasters don’t disrupt education for millions of children. Here’s how we are supporting countries affected by emergencies.

October 27, 2020 by GPE Secretariat
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7 minutes read
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Students try to get the teacher's attention to answer a question. The girls are sitting outside in the sweltering heat because their classroom--made of bamboo--fell down during a storm. Nurul Islam Basic School for Girls, Nyala South Locality, South Darfur, Sudan
Students try to get the teacher's attention to answer a question. The girls are sitting outside in the sweltering heat because their classroom--made of bamboo--fell down during a storm. Nurul Islam Basic School for Girls, Nyala South Locality, South Darfur, Sudan
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

On top of supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts by allocating 61 grants worth more than US$457 million since April, GPE remains committed to working with governments and other partners to ensure that other emergencies caused by conflict or natural disasters don’t disrupt education for millions of children. Since last December, 8 countries have benefited from GPE’s accelerated funding.

GPE works to build resilient education systems to face future crises and foster long-term change. Our unique approach in crisis contexts is designed to encourage long-term planning and needs remain in focus as a partner country responds to an emergency, allowing countries the flexibility to adjust their allocations as a crisis evolves. Furthermore, GPE funding incentivizes close coordination between local humanitarian and development education groups, ensuring that funding to education helps governments meet urgent needs while also furthering progress towards their long term goals.

Commitments at the Global Refugee Forum

In December 2019, the global community came together for the first Global Refugee Forum and affirmed its commitment to supporting refugees. At the forum, the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait announced a joint pledge to improve the coordination and financing of efforts in support of education for refugees and host communities.

GPE further announced US$250 million in accelerated funding to support education in countries experiencing humanitarian emergencies. The aim of this funding was to allow governments to protect education systems under stress, make progress to link displaced children to formal education opportunities, in alignment with the Global Compact for Refugees, and build capacity to respond to and prepare for future crises.

While partner countries experiencing a crisis are able to request up to 20% of their GPE grant allocation on an accelerated basis to address emergencies, this funding is additional to countries’ allocations, giving governments more resources to support critical measures such as building temporary classrooms, school meals and supplies, teacher payments and school grants.

Since December, GPE has approved 9 accelerated funding requests totaling US$81 million.

Supporting countries experiencing political and social crises

  • Since 2016, Burkina Faso has endured internal insecurity linked to terrorism, resulting in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The situation deteriorated further in 2019, with a dramatic increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from 87,000 in January 2019 to more than 838,000 in March 2019.

    GPE approved US$11 million in accelerated funding to Burkina Faso to support the education of 170,000 girls and boys aged 6 to 17 in six conflict-affected regions (Boucle du Mouhoun, Center-Nord, Est, Hauts-Bassins, North and Sahel). The grant will provide them with formal and non-formal education opportunities, build inclusive education spaces, train teachers, including on psychosocial support to children, and provide school meals.
  • Haiti experienced political and social unrest in 2019, leading to a humanitarian crisis and 60% of the schools closing nationwide. To support the continuation of schooling, GPE provided Haiti with US$3.3 million in accelerated funding. The grant supports 80,000 primary and secondary children in 200 public schools, providing teaching and learning materials, remedial courses, tutoring, financial support to vulnerable families, and psychosocial support to both children and teachers.
  • In Nigeria, the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) have been affected by violence and displacement caused by Boko Haram. 3.1 million children are estimated to be impacted by the ongoing conflict in these states, as well as by the COVID-19 pandemic. The accelerated program funded by a US$20 million GPE grant will provide learning materials to 500,000 out-of-school children who are repatriated, displaced or from host communities. Up to 100,000 children will also receive psychosocial support, and 100 schools will be built or rehabilitated with separate sanitation facilities for girls and boys.
  • In Somalia, the Federal Government received US$9.17 million to support education efforts for 10,000 children affected by conflict, climatic shocks and population displacement. The grant is supporting public and community-run primary schools and alternate basic education centers in 4 federal member states and Benadir administrative region. The program targets children in internally displaced communities, returnees, overaged children who dropped out of school in the most disadvantaged urban host communities and children with disabilities. Up to 100 schools will provide food and water to students, 88 temporary classrooms with sanitation facilities will be constructed, teaching and learning materials will be distributed to 10,000 children, and 400 teachers and 50 head teachers will receive training. Additionally, the program will train and deploy 50 female teachers to promote girls’ enrollments and provide sanitary kits and uniforms to girls in targeted schools.
  • In Somalia, Puntland also faces natural disasters (droughts, floods, and more recently locusts), protracted conflict and continuous population displacement. GPE provided an accelerated grant of US$2.89 million to support the education of displaced and host community children, with a focus on girls, children with disabilities, hard-to-reach rural children and children from minority groups and those in coastal communities in Nugal, Bari, Sool, Mudug, and Sanaag regions.
  • Sudan received US$11.8 million from GPE to provide rapid support to schools and retain students in the face of deteriorating economic conditions. The project will support 16,500 schools in 18 states to offset the risk of children dropping out of school by providing school grants. An estimated US$2 per child will be allocated to all schools, and will help offset family expenses, thus reducing the burden on them during these hard times.
Students from Grade 1 using reading materials prepared by their teacher at Avondale Infant School in Zimbabwe. Credit: GPE/Carine Durand
Students from Grade 1 using reading materials prepared by their teacher at Avondale Infant School in Zimbabwe.
Crédit : GPE/Carine Durand

Supporting countries in the aftermath of natural disasters

  • In 2019, Mozambique was hit within 6 weeks by cyclones Idai and Kenneth, resulting in 648 deaths and extensive damage. An estimated 31 preschool facilities, 1,306 primary schools and 26 secondary education centers were damaged. The loss of educational infrastructure and learning materials interrupted the normal school cycle. To support recovery efforts, Mozambique received US$20 million from GPE to benefit 2.1 million students in 2,278 schools in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Manica, Nampula, Sofala and Zambezia. The grant supports the construction of educational infrastructure that is resilient to environmental disasters such as cyclones and floods. Schools in affected areas are providing meals to children, which in turn serves to promote student attendance and reduce dropout rates.
  • Vanuatu experienced damage due to Tropical Cyclone Harold last April. GPE provided the country with US$0.5 million to support recovery activities. The grant supports restoration of water supply systems in at least 70 schools. It will also support the distribution of teaching and learning materials in 70 government-supported early childhood care and education centers.
  • Zimbabwe received US$2.34 million to support children affected by Cyclone Idai, which hit the country in March 2019. A total of 139 schools in the Eastern and Southern provinces of Manicaland and Masvingo were damaged extensively, representing a significant risk to the learning and wellbeing of 90,847 school-aged children. The education system in Zimbabwe was already overwhelmed before the cyclone, as a result of multiple crises, including ongoing drought, food insecurity and the economic crisis coupled with hyperinflation. The GPE grant supports rehabilitation and retrofitting of classrooms, and restoration and protection of water sources. The grant also provides teaching and learning materials, hygiene products for girls and school meals.

Coordinating humanitarian and development funding for maximum impact

Programs funded through GPE’s accelerated funding are based on needs assessed through the local humanitarian coordination group, the Education Cluster, and aligned with a government’s transitional education plan or education sector plan, where possible.

In each context, GPE also coordinates closely with governments and other partners through the local education group (LEG), which works in close collaboration with the Education Cluster to initiate the application process, designate a grant Agent, and develop the program. These characteristics – joint coordination between the Education Cluster and LEG, aligning with national priorities and linking interventions to the formal system, and having a flexible mechanism available in the first place – make GPE’s accelerated funding a mechanism that strengthens humanitarian-development coherence and promotes sustainability.

Accelerated funding applications are coordinated with key partners, such as Education Cannot Wait (ECW), through the Local Education Group and Education Cluster to ensure that programs complement support provided through agreed response plans such as the Multi-Year Resilience Plans where they exist.

Education is one of the most important investments that countries can make in a better future.

Conflicts and disasters can cause major setbacks to a country’s progress on delivering quality education to every child. GPE’s accelerated funding mechanism is a valuable tool that helps empower partner countries to respond rapidly to crises without losing sight of their long-term goals.

Learn more on GPE's support in crisis situations

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