Response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

GPE is supporting developing countries to mitigate the impacts that school closures have on the most vulnerable children and to build the resilience of education systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an education emergency of unprecedented scale. In developing countries, which were already facing a learning crisis before the pandemic, more than 700 million children are cut off from schools.

GPE has quickly mobilized more than US$500 million to support partner countries with planning and implementing their response to the pandemic.

GPE is committed to working across the partnership to promote coordinated responses that are country-driven, aligned behind government priorities, and to share information and experiences.

COVID-19 grants

  • 55 grants have been approved for US$440 million
  • 1 proposal for US$11 million is under review
  • 11 countries have also expressed their interest to apply for the grant by end-September for a total of US$23.5 million
  • US$20 million has been approved for a joint initiative by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank to ensure regional and global efficiencies and knowledge sharing.

Approved grants

Country Amount (US$ M) Grant agent
Afghanistan 11 UNICEF
Bangladesh 15 World Bank
Burkina Faso 7 AFD
Benin 7 World Bank
Bhutan 0.75 Save the Children
Burundi 7 UNICEF
Cabo Verde 0.75 UNICEF
Cambodia 7 UNICEF
Cameroon 11 UNESCO
Central African Republic 7 UNICEF
Chad 7 World Bank
DR Congo 15 UNICEF
Republic of Congo 7 UNICEF
Cote d'Ivoire 11 UNICEF
Djibouti 3.5 World Bank
Ethiopia 15 World Bank
The Gambia 3.5 World Bank
Ghana 15 World Bank
Guinea 7 UNICEF
Guinea Bissau 3.5 UNICEF
Guyana 3.5 UNICEF
Kenya 11 World Bank
Haiti 7 UNICEF
Lesotho 3.47 UNICEF
Liberia 7 UNICEF
Madagascar 15 World Bank
Malawi 10 UNICEF
Maldives 0.75 UNICEF
Mali 7 World Bank
Mozambique 15 UNICEF
Myanmar 11 UNICEF
Nepal 11 World Bank
Nigeria 15 UNICEF
OECS (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines) 3 OECS
Pakistan 20 World Bank
Papua New Guinea 9.44 UNICEF
Rwanda 10 World Bank
Sao Tome and Principe 0.75 UNICEF
Sierra Leone 7 World Bank
Senegal 7 AFD
Somalia (Federal Government) 5.4 Save the Children
Somalia (Puntland) 1.3 UNICEF
Somalia (Somaliland) 2.2 Save the Children
South Sudan 7 UNICEF
Sudan 11 World Bank
Tanzania 15.16 SIDA
Tanzania (Zanzibar) 1.5 UNICEF
Timor-Leste 3.5 UNICEF
Togo 7 World Bank
Uganda 15 World Bank
Vanuatu 0.75 Save the Children
Zambia 10 UNICEF
Zimbabwe 7 UNICEF
TOTAL 439.72  

Last updated: September 15, 2020

Results stories

Funding for COVID-19 response


Our response

On April 1, GPE unlocked US$250 million to help developing countries mitigate both the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. This came just three weeks after the outbreak was declared a pandemic.

On June 1, to respond to strong demand from partner countries, GPE increased the COVID-19 response window to US$500 million to support distance learning programs that prioritize the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, including girls, children with special needs and disabilities, and children without access to electricity or internet connectivity.

GPE’s COVID-19 fund will help sustain learning for up to 355 million children in 67 countries, with a focus on ensuring that girls and children from the poorest families, who will be hit the hardest by school closures, are not left behind.

Of the initial $250 million window, US$25 million has been set aside to support global and regional coordination, learning and knowledge sharing, such as developing shared teaching materials. It is expected that additional funding will be required to meet the needs in all 67 countries.

On March 25, GPE provided US$8.8 million to UNICEF to kickstart education systems’ response to COVID-19. The funds are supporting 87 developing countries to:

  • plan and coordinate their education systems’ responses
  • develop communications around safe school operations
  • share knowledge and build capacity for the current and future pandemics.

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