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The Global Partnership for Education Needs $3.1B — and You Can Help

Chair of GPE, Julia Gillard, GPE Global Ambassador, Rihanna, and Global Citizen CEO, Hugh Evans have partnered to support GPE’s replenishment efforts.

Want to know why education matters?

“We know that education makes a difference to prosperity. Educated young people become tomorrow's workers, so we know it matters for economic growth. We know it matters for peace and stability; more educated societies are less likely to be societies in conflict. We know it matters for climate change, for resilience. We know it matters for health and particularly for the education of girls. An educated girl will become a woman who will tend to have children later in life. She'll have fewer children, her children themselves will be more likely to survive infanthood, and she’ll be less likely to contract HIV/AIDS. So everything in the health agenda centers around educating children, particularly educating girls.”

These are the words of Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, spoken in an interview with the World Bank last week.

Global Citizen was in Washington DC to witness Gillard launching GPE’s replenishment and case for investment, called 'Fund Education: Shape the Future', just a few hours later at the Center for Global Development during the World Bank spring meetings.

GPE is setting out to raise $3.1 billion from donor governments between 2018 and 2020, which is set to affect the lives of 870 million children. 

Gordon Brown, UN special envoy for education, Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania, and Tony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, were also on hand to support the GPE replenishment launch.

“There is a chance to build a consensus across the political spectrum right now to unite on the agenda of child rights and the right to an education,” Brown said. “The education reform agenda unlocks so many of the other sustainable development goals and delivers SDGs 1,2,3,5, 8 and 10.”

Read More: What Is GPE?

Lake added that, “UNICEF is enthusiastically supporting GPE’s replenishment.”

GPE has been funding education for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children since 2002.

GPE’s last four year replenishment raised $2.1B so at this replenishment it will seek an extra $1B in crucial funds over three years. As an example, US$3.1 billion could enable an additional 19 million children to complete primary school and 6.6 million complete lower secondary school, train 1.7 million teachers, build 23,800 classrooms and distribute 204 million textbooks.

Because GPE works directly with governments in developing countries to support national education systems and isn't just focused on out of school kids, the grants GPE gives out aren't just handouts they're a building block for each recipient country and can support millions more children to learn.

Read More: Rihanna to Be New Voice of Education For Millions of Children

“For children to learn a system is required,” Gillard said, speaking at the lunch. “We need education systems around the world to be well planned and properly resourced … We also need more money and greater efficiency.”

She said GPE replenishment is a practical case for change and the $3.1 billion raised will mean GPE has $2B in annual funding by 2020 and is aiming for $4B per year in annual funding by 2030.

With $3.1 billion:

19M additional children can complete primary school

6.6M additional children can complete secondary school

1.7M teachers can be trained.

23,800 classrooms can be built.

204M textbooks can be distributed.

“If we can't keep the journey of change accelerating, all of the [already scary education] statistics will go downhill by 2030. We will be testing the generosity of the international community in the coming months,” Gillard said.

Some critical changes that have come with the release of GPE’s new Financing and Funding Framework, launched in February 2017 make GPE an even better investment for donors.

Read More: 8 Reasons to Invest in the GPE

GPE will be concentrating on primary and secondary schooling. Emerging and middle income economies, including India, Indonesia and Vietnam are now also eligible for types of GPE funding, including sector plan support and knowledge and innovative education funding to take their education system to the next level. This takes the total countries eligible for GPE support to 89 countries and any funds GPE receives now have the potential to affect the lives and education of 870 million children.

For the first time, donors, particularly private sector and foundation donors, can actually support specific areas of GPE's work, around knowledge and innovation exchange, girls education, or regional support to specific countries.

GPE hopes this will encourage new donors to the table and allocation of new funding from existing donors through the lens of other issues they care about (ie. gender equality, health, humanitarian).

Read More: Millions of Kids Are Being Stranded Without an Education

GPE grants will be sustainable in many senses. Around $300M from GPE's own, existing, pocket will be put into a leveraging fund which will generate an extral $900M by 2020. They will give priority of leveraging fund grants to countries that are investing in themselves through domestic resources. So for every three dollars a country invests, they can access one dollar extra from the GPE leveraging fund.  This can turbo charge financing.

This is less than GPE asked for overall ($3.5B) but more per year, and more than GPE raised ($2.1B) from donors at the last replenishment. So it will still require new donors to come to the party and an increase from most of their traditional donors. Global Citizen will be supporting GPE to call on its traditional and non-traditional donors to step up to the plate.

For example, the UK and Norway, both champions on education, will be expected to lead the replenishment charge and we hope that the US, which has increased its support to GPE by 400% over the past 5 years, will continue to increase support. Other G7 countries including France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany will also be asked to step up, with some of these countries currently contributing only around $1M per year to GPE.  

Read More: UN: Nearly 1 Billion Kids Will Be Jobless If Education Aid Stays Flat

In the past few weeks alone, the U.K. and German governments have both publicly addressed calls for them to support GPE. In the U.K. FYI, a select Committee shared a recommendation calling on DFID to increase its share of funding to education with widespread support for the work of GPE and the Education Cannot Wait fund. Facebook and Twitter posts by the BMZ responded to Global Citizens’ actions in support of GPE. While they talk about Germany's support for education broadly, they don't mention scaling up support for GPE and Global Citizens need to keep encouraging the German government on this point.

Global Citizen will approach a range of new donors including France, the UAE, New Zealand, Argentina and China to encourage them to support GPE and help reach GPE’s $3.1 billion target. This year, GPE will actively pursue contributions from private foundations and non-traditional donors as well.

While no replenishment host has been announced we support Malala Yousafzai and GPE’s request for Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau to host the replenishment conference in late 2017 or early 2018.

Read More: 16 Classrooms From Around the World

This means the global community has less than a year to mobilize the funds needed and this is why we’re calling on global citizens to take and share our GPE petition action to world leaders, or, our tweet action to ask their leaders to make a long lasting investment in the future of 870 million of the world’s children through GPE.

GPE is a crucial part of putting in place the financing needed to get every child in school, and a fully funded GPE will be the step-change needed alongside increasing the percentage of aid going to education, fully funding  Education Cannot Wait and establishing a new International Financing Facility for Education.