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, 771 million children are cut off from schools.

GPE has quickly mobilized more than US$250 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

As of May 28, 10 grants have been approved for US$125 million and 38 proposals totaling US$385.7 million are under review.

5 additional countries have expressed their intention to apply for the grant before the end of May for a total of US$19.9 million.

7 countries have also expressed their interest to apply for the grant in June for a total of US$25 million.

Approved grants

Country Amount (US$ M) Date submitted Date approved Grant agent
Rwanda 10 April 21 April 28 World Bank
Zambia 10 April 24 May 5 UNICEF
Ghana 15 April 29 May 11 World Bank
Mozambique 15 April 30 May 14 UNICEF
Malawi 10 April 30 May 15 UNICEF
Somalia (Federal Government) 5.4 May 1 May 28 Save the Children
Pakistan 20 May 4 May 28 World Bank
Madagascar 15 May 5 May 28 World Bank
Papua New Guinea 9.44 May 5 May 28 UNICEF
Tanzania 15.16 May 5 May 28 SIDA
TOTAL 125      

Last updated: May 28, 2020

Funding for COVID-19 response


  • March 6

    COVID-19 task team established

  • March 11

    WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic

  • By March 16

    1/3 of GPE partner countries have closed schools nationally

  • March 25

    US$8.8 million announced for UNICEF to help 87 countries with COVID-19 response planning

  • By March 30

    UNICEF country offices in 87 countries receive GPE planning grant

  • April 1

    US$250 million announced for a new COVID-19 accelerated funding window to benefit 67 countries

  • April 7

    Guidelines published for accessing COVID-19 accelerated funding window

  • April 13

    64 of 68 partner countries have closed schools nationally

  • April 21

    Rwanda submits grant application for COVID-19 funding

  • April 22

    First tranche of US$25 million global/regional grant application approved for UNICEF, UNESCO and the World Bank

  • April 24

    Zambia submits grant application for COVID-19 funding

  • April 28

    Grant application for Rwanda approved

  • May 05

    Grant application for Zambia approved

  • May 11

    Grant application for Ghana approved

  • May 14

    Grant application for Mozambique approved

  • May 15

    Grant application for Malawi approved

  • May 28

    Grant applications for Somalia (Federal Government), Pakistan, Madagascar, Papua-New-Guinea and Tanzania approved

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.

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 $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.

Resources for partner countries

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