NEW YORK, 8 January 2021 – The NGO Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has approved $33.3 million in catalytic funding for education in the central Sahelien states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
The three-year program funds the continued education of 300,000 children and youth impacted by displacement, armed conflict and the new coronavirus pandemic.
The approval extends to $103 million the total of ECW funding benefitting communities and vulnerable groups like girls and boys in conflict-hit Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Children in two other countries – Ecuador and Peru – will also benefit from the funding.
The funds are expected to leverage an additional $117 million in co-financing from national and global partners, the private sector and philanthropic foundations.
ECW programs prioritize the education of girls from pre-school thorugh to secondary levels.
Up to 60 percent of the beneficiaries of ECW programs are female, according to the organization’s outreach material.
Millions of girls and boys in the three countries live on the frontlines of violent conflict, poverty, forced displacement, crime and hunger.
ECW initiated an initial $30 mllion program in 2019 which is currently benefitting 250,000 boys and girls in the three countries.
More than 2.6 million children and youth are out of school in Burkina Faso alone.
Another 1.7 million students enrolled in schools in Burkina Faso are at risk of dropping out of school.
Just one-in-ten children in the conflict-impacted Sahelien regions of Burkina Faso continue to secondary school.
The fact that only 3.8 million girls and boys are currently enrolled in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school across Mali suggests that about 50 percent of children of school-going age are out of school.
In Niger, only 13 percent of pre-school-aged children were in school.
Enrollment in primary school represents 64 percent of childrenwho should be in school.
Only 29 percent and 10 percent of the children in Niger who should be in lower secondary and in upper secondary schools are currently attending school.
More than half of out-of-school primary children live in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations.