USA: Congress Approves Funding for Refugee Education

23 December 2019

For the first time, the House and Senate included funding for Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a new global fund that provides access to education for children and youth affected by conflict, in its annual funding package. Signed by the President last Friday, the U.S. will contribute $25 million to ECW in Fiscal Year 2020.

“In a time of competing fiscal priorities, we thank Congress for recognizing the important role education plays in fostering hope in all young people affected by conflict, especially those who have been displaced from their homes,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations at JRS/USA.

Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched in 2016 by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW partners directly with program implementers to foster a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes.

ECW-supported programs span a wide spectrum of context-specific activities designed to meet education needs for crisis-affected children and youth aged 3-18 years old. Since its inception, ECW investments have reached more than 1.4 million children and youth in its first two years of operations. In 2018, internal displacements were the focus of 61 percent of ECW-supported countries.

Jesuit Refugee Service partners with ECW in Chad, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. With this support, JRS has built schools, provided learning materials, trained teachers, and organized parent associations for refugees living in protracted and early-onset crisis settings. Funding provided by the U.S. Government for ECW is part of an $875 million allocation for global basic education programs, an increase of $75 million over last year’s funding.

JRS/USA is proud to have played a pivotal role in advocating for these critical funds that will help support the work of Education Cannot Wait. We look forward to continuing to serve the forcibly displaced through our education programs around the world and advocating for global leaders – like the U.S. – to stand by children and youth striving to achieve an education in the most challenging of circumstances.