“Is it a sin to be a girl? We don’t want to be at home and illiterate. We want to go to school, study and be intelligent.”
In just a few words, this plea for education from a young Afghan girl
has captured the world’s attention. Her heartbreaking question shows how the Taliban’s recent ban on girls attending secondary school and university – effectively ending education opportunities for all Afghan girls and women – is not only violating their fundamental human right to education but shattering countless hopes and dreams in an instant.
As we mark the International Day of Education
, world leaders must make good on their promise of providing quality education for all by 2030.
Education is our investment in peace where there is war, our investment in equality where there is injustice, our investment in prosperity where there is poverty.
Education Cannot Wait stands in solidarity with every girl and woman in Afghanistan. Each one has an inherent human right to education. We also stand in solidarity with every Afghan father, brother, husband and son, suffering the pain of seeing their daughter, sister, wife and mother brutally denied their right to an education.
Dr. Liesbet Steer is the Executive Director of the Education Commission
, chaired by UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group, The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown. Under Liesbet’s leadership, the Commission has been at the forefront of new thinking in education financing calling for more effective and “progressive” domestic spending, innovative international and private financing (through the International Finance Facility for Education
(IFFEd), the Education Outcomes Fund
and Greater Share
) and better coordination of external funding (including through her leadership of the Global Education Forum
and Save Our Future
A joint mission to Ethiopia by Education Cannot Wait (ECW), and Norway's International Development Minister has drawn attention to one of the world’s largest education crises that have left 3.6 million children out of school. The number of out-of-school children has spiked from 3.1 million to 3.6 million, according to UNICEF. However, ECW-funded schools provide children with ‘whole-of-child’ interventions, including school feeding, psychosocial support, teacher training, school materials, accelerated learning, gender transformative approaches, and the construction and rehabilitation of school facilities.
As we commemorate Human Rights Day, let us recall the opening preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…
The United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued a ground-breaking Position Paper
today that draws clear linkages between the climate crisis and global education crisis.
A silent catastrophe is unfolding in Ethiopia on the backdrop of years of inter-communal conflict and the most prolonged and severe drought in recent years. High inflation and food insecurity in the drought-ravaged country is among the worst in the world.
ECW works together with governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector for an inclusive world where all children with disabilities are able to go to school in safe and accessible learning environments. We work together for an inclusive world where the complex challenges of today offer up the transformative solutions of tomorrow.
As we now have entered the 21st century, we must end violence against girls and women. Attacking and abusing girls and women as a means of warfare, the war-machinery or domestic violence as a result of crisis, is absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable. Exposing half of the world’s population to the risks of violence because of their gender is not only a violation of international and domestic laws, but a disgraceful and brute breach of our very own humanity.
On World Children’s Day
, we must remember what it means to be a child born with a right to reach the human potential. Nothing is more precious, more priceless, than a child growing towards that potential. And nothing is more despicable than to ignore the innocence and learning needs of a child in the process of becoming…
There is a stillness to the tent as I enter. This is a place of loss and pain, yet also a place of resilience and hope; everything coming together all at once.
Justin van Fleet
, Ph.D, is President of Theirworld and Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition for Education. Justin previously served as the Director of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity and Chief of Staff to the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and prior to that as a Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education.
The Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Yasmine Sherif, launched a strong call for public and private donors to step up funding, asking them to “show the same courage” she saw in the children she met during her week-long visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Yasmine Sherif, and the UNICEF Representative, Grant Leaity, called on donors worldwide to provide US$45 million in urgent, additional funding to support ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), a country facing one of the world’s most overlooked crises.
Sigrid van Aken is the CEO of Novamedia/Postcode Lottery Group
, a private company with a social purpose, that brings together business and ideals. It sets up and operates Postcode Lotteries worldwide to raise funds for charity. With a lucky winning postcode (zipcode), neighbours win together. At the same time, thanks to these player communities, vital funding is raised for charities and good causes (yearly €825 million), making the Postcode Lottery Group the 3rd largest private charity donor in the world after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
Taking the stage at this weekend’s Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park, the LEGO Foundation CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen announced a substantial new US$25 million contribution to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
Just a week ago, the international community commemorated the adoption of the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, a monumental document that transcends boundaries, cultures, societies, and nations.
Refugee youth advocate, Mary Maker, called on UN member states to honor their commitments to transform education from the foundation up to the top, starting with those living in the direst and fraught circumstances.
Suicide bombings shattered Aisha Khurram’s school, and her university was attacked by terrorists – but despite learning in an environment where the walls were colored by blood spatter, it never shook her determination to be educated.