On April 16th, at the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, announced that Canada met GRAN’s ask for a commitment of $120 million dollars to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) over the four year replenishment period (2015-2018). This amount is double Canada’s commitment during the last replenishment period. Canada has also promised what we hope is an additional $10 million to UNICEF to support education and child protection in humanitarian situations around the world. We certainly applaud this additional bilateral commitment to get the world’s children into safe school learning environments.
This announcement was made following UN Envoy Gordon Brown’s safe schools meeting calling for a global emergency education fund to be established for children who are out of school because of conflict, disease or national disasters. Canada is also being invited to a world leaders summit on Education to be held in Oslo in July.
Civil society organizations are pleased with the pledge. As a member of a CSO coalition who has been advocating for this commitment, GRAN is VERY happy that funds are being allocated to global education, that this basic human right for children to learn is closer to being met and that the MDG goal #2 of achieving universal primary education is moving closer to being realized.
The Education Working Group is both breathing a big sigh of relief and ecstatic with this result. We would like to thank everyone for letters written to MP’s, visits/phone calls to MP’s, your participation in our days of action in June and November, petitions signed, letters to the editor sent in, your tweets and spreading awareness through conversations with family, friends and neighbours. GRANs can stand tall and be proud of the collective effort we put forth. All of our actions came together to help influence our leaders in making this decision to support the GPE.
Many thanks as well to the CSO coalition who met several times over the past year to design a strategic plan that we could all contribute to, in order to amplify our voices and be heard. We learned so much. A special thank you to the Global Partnership for Education, Results Canada and Plan Canada for your leadership, your support in sharing resources and including GRAN in the coalition. It was a pleasure to work and collaborate in partnership with all of you.
With Canada’s commitment, the GPE will be better able to meet the needs of those countries asking for assistance. Children in 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit. Funds will go to building schools, training teachers, putting more girls into school, and breaking down barriers to provide schooling for all children. But most of all, this funding will help to build strong, sustainable national education systems throughout our world and further reduce the number of children and youth who still do not have access to a good quality education.
The long term goals of education will also be affected, transforming lives and contributing to improved health, safety and security, gender equity, economic growth, prosperity, democratic practices and more peaceful societies to name just a few of its possible outcomes.
Although we are certainly happy with this commitment to global education, GRAN will definitely continue to advocate for an increase in both multilateral and bilateral funding for education. As one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and inequality, Canada must continue to invest in education and lifelong learning to help lift the lives of millions to reach their full potential, become productive citizens and have hope for a better future.
Well done GRANs! Do your happy dance!
Please join us, raise your glass to celebrate the future and to congratulate ourselves on our part in making it happen!