Global Partnership for Education approves over US$200 million in grants for Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan

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Washington D.C., November 26, 2018 --- The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is stepping up its support for countries affected by conflict with three new grants approved by the Board of Directors for Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan totalling US$209.4 million.

The new grants bring the total funding approved by GPE in 2018 to over US$430 million to improve children’s education in more than 40 developing countries and regions, many struggling with conflict and crisis.

Children living in conflict-affected countries are at far greater risk of missing out on education, especially girls, who are more disadvantaged and more likely to drop out of school.

GPE focuses on getting the most vulnerable children into school for a quality education. Overall, more than 60 percent of GPE’s funding supports children’s education in countries affected by fragility and conflict.

“These GPE partner countries have each suffered prolonged periods of conflict and instability, drastically impacting children’s chances to learn,” said Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair and former Prime Minister of Australia. “Educating children in Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan is critical to their countries’ long-term prosperity, peace and stability.”

GPE directs its investments to the needs of the most disadvantaged and marginalized children, working to ensure that no child is left behind, regardless of their circumstances,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education. “GPE brings together the collective strength of its partners and its resources to work with partner governments to improve how education is delivered.”

Afghanistan will receive US$100 million over 5 years to increase equitable access to basic education, especially for girls in provinces that lag behind the rest of the country. The funding will be used to build new schools and get more children into school and improve their learning through better trained teachers and a new curriculum. The results-based portion of the grant is dependent on improved transparency and accountability, including better school data, more effective resource allocation and reporting on results, successful dissemination of learning materials and merit-based teacher recruitment and management. GPE funding will be combined under a single program – Education Quality Reform for Afghanistan – with US$100 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association and US$100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to streamline donor coordination in Afghanistan. The World Bank is the GPE grant agent in Afghanistan.

Myanmar will receive US$73.7 million over 4.5 years in support of the country’s first national education sector plan. The grant will help improve the quality of learning and address the education needs of marginalized children. This includes channelling more resources to the most vulnerable schools and expanding non-formal education for out-of-school children. An estimated 23 percent, or 2.7 million children between 5-16 years old are not enrolled in school. Many of these out-of-school children are thought to be from ethnic minorities, internally displaced, low-income households, or children with disabilities. US$14 million of the total grant has been ring-fenced for Northern Rakhine state. The entire program is results-based whereby the government receives funding upon the attainment of planned results. The GPE grant agent in Myanmar is the World Bank.

South Sudan's grant of US$35.7 million will support the country's education sector over 4 years. With one third of its population displaced by conflict, the number of children not in school has significantly increased over the past two years. Gender disparity in South Sudan is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa with further disparities between regions. GPE’s grant to South Sudan will support one million children by training teachers, developing new curriculum and textbooks and improving management, supervision and inspection systems. A special advocacy program will focus on increasing girls’ enrollment in school. To ensure that the most vulnerable children are reached, GPE’s support will also map the numbers of out-of-school children so that access to school in the most marginalized areas can be increased. UNICEF is the GPE grant agent in South Sudan.

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The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with more than 65 developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality education, prioritizing the poorest, the most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility and conflict. GPE mobilizes financing for education and supports developing countries to build effective education systems founded on evidence-based planning and policies. As the only multilateral partnership focusing exclusively on education, GPE brings together developing country and donor country governments, international organizations, civil society, the teaching profession, foundations and the private sector. At the successful GPE Financing Conference in Senegal in February, donors pledged US$2.3 billion for 2018 through 2020, with further commitments continuing to be announced.

GPE’s results-based funding model provides 70 percent of grant funding based on a credible education sector plan, a data strategy and an increase in domestic spending on education. To receive the remaining 30 percent, countries must demonstrate agreed-upon results in equity, efficiency, and learning outcomes.

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