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People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Young Iraqi children pose for a photo on the day their new school is opened in Taji, Iraq, March 20. Photo by Spc. Jason Young (Flickr/DVIDSHUB)

The UK Just Pledged to Help 880,000 Children Get an Education

Friday was a historic moment for education — and the UK was a part of it. 

For the first time the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference was hosted jointly by a G7 leader, French President Emmanuel Macron, and the president of a developing country, Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal. 

Held in Dakar, Senegal, what it achieved will have a lasting impact for many years to come: $2.3 billion to support education in developing countries. 

And the UK has helped make a step in the right direction for funding education around the world.

Take action: Thank the UK for Pledging to Keep 880,000 Kids in School — But Ask Them to Do More in April

After 1.4 million dedicated Global Citizens and activists raised their voice, the UK government announced that it will help keep 880,000 children in school, by pledging £225 million to the GPE. 

The UK’s pledge is also enough to train 170,000 teachers; build 2,400 new classrooms; and distribute more than 20 million new textbooks. 

But while the pledge made by the UK on Friday is a good first step, it fails to live up to what could have been achieved. 

The GPE asked for the UK’s help to put 1.6 million extra children in school every year — but with the pledge made on Friday, we can only help around half of these children. 

This means that this life-changing fund will struggle to fulfil its goal of ensuring every child is able to set food in a classroom and learn — no matter whether they’re a boy or a girl.

Read more: Rihanna Just Tweeted Theresa May — and It's Possibly the Best Use of Twitter of 2018

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals and end extreme poverty by 2030, and education is a key part of this. We need to see every child, no matter where they’re born, given the same access to a quality education. And the UK has to step up to achieve this goal. 

You can take action by clicking here to send a message to the Department for International Development to say “thank you” for the positive step it has taken at the conference in Senegal, but to call on them to do more at the Commonwealth Summit when it is held in London in April. 

The GPE conference in Senegal showed how the world is pulling together to offer universal support for education. 

More than seven heads of state, over 60 ministers, the President of the World Bank, leaders of UN agencies, civil society organisations and corporations and — not forgetting of course — GPE’s global ambassador Rihanna. 

Read more: 10 Barriers to Education Around the World

“I would like to especially thank everyone who’s pledged and donated today,” Rihanna said, at the close of the event. 

“Give yourselves a round of applause because this is what we’ve wanted all along. We’ve made tremendous progress today, but of course, our work is never done,” she continued “We have a long way to go and this is a fight that we’re never going to stop fighting until every boy, and every girl, has access to education.” 

The UK’s international development secretary Penny Mordaunt described it as a “terrible waste of potential that half the world’s children leave primary school unable to read or write because the quality of teaching is so poor.” 

“We need an education revolution, but to succeed in tackling this global learning crisis, we will not just need to be open-hearted — we need to be hard-headed too,” she said. “The UK will lead the way by supporting countries’ governments to fundamentally overhaul their education systems to make sure they can ultimately step up and provide a good education for their own people.” 

“All children deserve a decent education to make the most of their talents and to help lift themselves and their countries out of poverty — building a more prosperous and more stable future for us all,” she said. 

Read more: Kids in These Conflict Zones May Never Learn to Read and Write

The results of the conference clearly demonstrate the power of the collective voice of Global Citizens. You have taken more than 263,600 actions since the campaign kicked off in earnest in April last year — a rallying cry that was joined by Rihanna in the weeks leading up to the replenishment. 

Countries specifically targeted by Global Citizens’ actions, and our high level campaigning, were some of the biggest donors on the day. The EU, Norway, and the UK committed EUR 337.5 million; NOK 2 billion; and £225 million, respectively, and Canada reaffirmed its commitment of CAD 180 million announced a few days ago at the World Economic Forum, in Davos. 

France committed EUR 200 million, along with EUR 100 million of bilateral education support, President Macron announced. 

The GPE, which is a global effort to provide universal education, works with teachers, students, and partners in 65 developing countries to give children in some of the hardest to reach parts of the worlds access to education. 

Read more: Rihanna Spent a Week in Malawi for a Really Good Reason

Nearly half of the countries in which GPE operates are “fragile” or “conflict-affected” states. 

And it works. Between 2002 and 2015, GPE helped to get more than 70 million children into school in partner countries, and trained hundreds of thousands of teachers.