Washington D.C., September 18, 2018 --- The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is putting new finance to work, improving education prospects for the world’s most disadvantaged children. Grant approvals by the GPE Board of Directors in the seven months since the successful Financing Conference in Senegal in February have reached almost US$300 million. At the conference, donors pledged US$2.3 billion for 2018 through 2020 and further commitments continue to be announced.
“GPE is putting this new education financing to work so that all children can go to school and get a quality education,” said Julia Gillard, Board Chair, Global Partnership for Education. “We are turning the global momentum in support of education into concrete action, helping countries strengthen their education systems that will be the backbone of their future prosperity and stability.”
The recent approval of US$55.7 million in new grants for Bhutan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Zimbabwe follows a first set of grants of US$95.3 million approved in March for Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Madagascar and a second set in May providing more than US$45 million to Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros and Somalia. Several of these low-income countries are in the midst of conflict or just emerging from difficult times and have a growing school-age population.
In addition, the Board approved close to US$100 million in allocations to 11 countries from the GPE Multiplier, GPE’s new innovative financing instrument. This funding is set to leverage more than US$400 million in additional financing for these countries.
“The GPE Multiplier has quickly gained traction and is successfully crowding in significantly more investment for education,” said Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer. “It demonstrates that developing countries and donor partners want creative and flexible mechanisms to address local education challenges. The new Multiplier is another example of how GPE continues to evolve to deliver impact and extend its role as a leading catalyst of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal to educate all the world’s children by 2030.”
The latest grants to Bhutan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Zimbabwe build on progress from earlier GPE support for the implementation of national education plans. The countries have met the requirements for GPE funding, which include the development of quality plans, commitment to increase domestic financing for education and a strategy for improved data collection. GPE’s results-based funding model also means that 30 percent of the funding for Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe will only be disbursed once the countries have met agreed results to improve equity, efficiency and learning. This does not apply to Somalia, because of the country’s vulnerable circumstances, and for Bhutan, because of the small size of the grant.
Bhutan will receive US$1.8 million to ensure more children aged 3-5 can get a quality early childhood education and improve parent engagement, particularly in rural and urban poor areas. In addition, more early childhood education centers will be established and teachers trained. The funding will also help develop a framework for national learning assessments to ensure that better data is available on student’s learning outcomes. Such data is the basis for decisions on policy, teaching practice and resource allocations. Save the Children serves as the GPE grant agent.
Sierra Leone, a GPE partner since 2007, will receive US$17.2 million. The grant will focus on strengthening the country’s early learning program for children between 3 and 5 years and on improving reading, writing and math skills of children in grades 1 through 3. It will also strengthen school monitoring, improve data management and support a new learning assessment unit in the education ministry. To receive the results-based portion of the grant, Sierra Leone must increase pre-primary education in underserved areas, reduce the repetition rate in first grade and improve how learning is measured. UNICEF is the GPE grant agent in Sierra Leone.
Somalia’s grant of US$17.9 million will help eliminate fees that keep the poorest children from attending school and enroll more children from marginalized groups. The grant will improve the quality of schooling through teacher training, textbook distribution and the development of new learning standards. It will also provide Somalia, a GPE partner since 2012, with essential resources to improve administrative capacity and education data monitoring and learning assessments. CARE is the grant agent for this funding. Somaliland already received US$7.7 million earlier this year and last year Puntland received a grant of US$5.6 million. This brings the total of GPE support for Somali children to over US$31 million.
Zimbabwe, a GPE partner since 2013, will receive a grant of US$18.8 million, including US$10 million from the GPE Multiplier, which Zimbabwe has leveraged to raise an additional US$50.5 million from other donors. The funding will be used for a school grant program to improve around 1,000 schools in disadvantaged and rural areas. In addition, it will support a new learning curriculum and teacher training to improve learning outcomes and student retention. To receive the results-based portion of the grant, Zimbabwe must improve transition rates to lower secondary school in districts where many children drop out after primary school, ensure that more girls complete lower secondary school and improve math skills across the country. UNICEF serves as the grant agent.
About the Global Partnership for Education: The Global Partnership for Education works with more than 65 developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, the most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility and conflict. GPE mobilizes financing to improve learning and equity through building stronger education systems. As the only global organization focused exclusively on improving education, GPE brings together developing country and donor country governments, multilateral development and humanitarian agencies, and organizations from the private sector, philanthropy, civil society and the teaching profession.