2022 end of year message by Charles North
Charles North with school children during his visit to Kenya
Charles North with school children during his visit to Kenya in May 2022
Credit:
GPE / Translieu / Nyaberi

Three years after the onset of the worst pandemic the world has known, its impacts have reached every corner of the globe, affecting students, teachers, parents and communities.

Consequently, GPE partner countries are confronting a deepening learning crisis, particularly for the most marginalized children. Economic shocks and conflict, including the war in Ukraine, are stretching education systems and budgets even further. The impact of climate-related disasters on children’s education is also growing.

In the face of these enormous roadblocks, I remain optimistic because I firmly believe that the GPE approach can rise to the challenge, help countries tackle these difficulties and make education a reality for millions of children.

Over the past year, GPE has maintained its track record of doing the right thing, in the right places, at the right time.

Doing the right thing

In 2022, GPE approved close to $300 million in new grants to 31 countries. The GPE active grant portfolio reached nearly $3 billion. These grants are making a difference, reaching 106 million children, distributing 56 million textbooks, and training half a million teachers. Close to $900 million of grants were used to ensure gender equality is at the heart of education systems.

GPE is also supporting the right environments for countries to sustain transformation:

  • Through KIX, GPE is helping countries identify policy priorities, generate evidence and scale innovative approaches. For example, KIX research is helping Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone scale up accelerated learning programs for girls and children with disabilities. In Central America, KIX is identifying best practices to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in schools.
  • Strong civil society engagement is equally critical. Through Education Out Loud, GPE supports civil society in more than 60 countries. The work of these groups is vital to transformation. For example, the National Education Coalition in Tanzania advocated for teen mothers to be able to re-enter school, a policy that was approved in November 2021. In Somalia, the national coalition is advocating for internally displaced children’s education.
  • GPE is responding to country demand to build expertise in key areas that will help them sustain transformation. We are piloting this in three areas: strengthening monitoring, evaluation and learning systems, improving data, and addressing climate change in and through education.

In the right places

Guided by our framework for response in crisis situations, GPE has helped to open vital pathways to learning for children in some of the world’s most difficult contexts.

In Afghanistan, in close collaboration with Education Cannot Wait (ECW), GPE helped lead development partners to define a transitional education framework that will enable millions of children, especially girls, to receive the education they need. Based on that framework, $2 million were disbursed to support community-based education, and in September I approved $10 million in accelerated funding to procure textbooks for secondary school girls. UNICEF and Save the Children, selected to be GPE grant agents, are designing new programs worth $150 million.

In Myanmar, again working closely with ECW, GPE approved $15 million to support crisis-affected girls’ and boys’ access to safe, quality and inclusive education that promotes their continuous learning and wellbeing.

In Ethiopia and Somalia, GPE has provided nearly $50 million to support school feeding programs for 350,000 of the most vulnerable children. In Pakistan, four provinces have been able to repurpose funds towards emergency education needs in the wake of the devastating floods.

At the right time

Of GPE’s 66 COVID emergency grants totaling $467 million, the last 30 are wrapping up implementation. Partners have told us how important the speed of GPE’s response and the flexibility of the grants were to governments. Thanks to this funding, 76 million girls and boys have been reached and nearly 230,000 teachers trained.

A year of growth and forward momentum

Our partnership has grown with new donors, multilateral organizations, foundations and businesses joining GPE this year.

We have welcomed nine new partner countries, including Ukraine recently. Together, partner countries now account for more than 730 million school-age children around the world.

We piloted a new flexible, inclusive, country-driven approach to transform education systems that mainstreams gender equality. Our dedicated learning team listened to the pilot countries’ feedback and is implementing changes to the approach now being rolled out in 45 countries.

Partner countries have told us how much they value of the coordination required in the GPE approach, the inclusiveness of the dialogue, and the ability to tackle difficult questions, grounded in data and evidence. They have praised our flexibility and focus on what can really make a difference for children’s learning.

We know we still need to keep the pressure on to increase investments in education. This came out clearly at the Transforming Education Summit at the UN, where GPE played a key role in amplifying the voices and priorities of education ministers. This is also where we announced President Akufo-Addo of Ghana as the new GPE champion on education financing.

The need and demand for GPE continues to grow, and our support to education is more important than ever. It has been an honor for me to serve as GPE’s acting CEO for the past 10 months after the departure of Alice Albright and before the arrival of Laura Frigenti earlier this month.

Close to the halfway point towards SDG 4, we continue to strive for a world where every child, everywhere, has a quality education.

*******

View our factsheet: the year 2022 in numbers

Charles North with school children during his visit to Kenya
Charles North with school children during his visit to Kenya in May 2022
Credit:
GPE / Translieu / Nyaberi

Latest news