Global Action November 2009

Tell President Obama: United States Leadership Needed to Create a New Global Fund for Education

We will support the Millennium Development Goals and approach next year’s summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.

— President Obama, remarks to the UN General Assembly, 23 September 2009

Above all, we must do our part to see that all children have the basic right to learn. There is nothing more disappointing than a child denied the hope that comes with going to school, and there is nothing more dangerous than a child who is taught to distrust and then to destroy. That’s why the third commitment I’ll make is working to erase the global primary education gap by 2015. Every child — every boy, and every girl — should have the ability to go to school. To ensure that our nation does its part to meet that goal, we need to establish a two billion dollar Global Education Fund. And I look forward to signing the bipartisan Education for All Act that was first introduced by Hillary Clinton — a true champion for children.

— Then-presidential candidate Obama, speech at the Clinton Global Initiative, 25 September 2008

In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight internationally agreed-upon goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015. He also pledged to attend the 2010 UN Heads of State Summit on MDGs next September with a plan to achieve the MDGs, which include the Education for All goals of getting the 75 million primary-aged and 225 million secondary-aged children currently out of school into classrooms, as well as early-childhood education and adult literacy training.

One year before his UN speech, then-candidate Obama pledged $2 billion at the Clinton Global Initiative for a global education fund to close the education gap. 2010 is the year for the president to fulfill his promises on the MDGs and Education for All by leading the world to create a new multilateral (many countries), multi-donor response — a new Global Fund for Education — to increase global funding commitments, coordination, transparency, and accountability to achieve universal access to basic education.

On December 10 Education for All advocates from around the country will join together through the U.S. Chapter of the Global Campaign for Education (www.campaignforeducationusa.org) and call the White House to ask President Obama to fulfill his promise and take leadership on creating a Global Fund for Education. To prepare for December 10, write to President Obama today and ask him to include funding for the creation of a new multilateral, multi-donor Global Fund for Education in his next funding request (fiscal year 2011).

Sample Letter to the President

Instructions: include your address and phone number. Make your letter short (150–250 words) and to-the-point using the EPIC format (see sample letter below). Mail your letter to The White House, Washington DC 20500. For faster delivery, fax your letter to: (202) 456-2461 or send it online via the White House website.

Engage

Dear President Obama:

I was inspired by your promise at the UN in September to attend next year’s UN summit with a plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. I was also inspired by your pledge during the campaign to provide $2 billion for a global education fund to help get every child in school.

Tip: Connect your letter to a personal experience or local event.

Problem

There are currently 75 million primary-aged children shut out of the classroom, and the MDG on education will not be met without a strategy to achieve education for all. We need your leadership to galvanize global support for a new Global Fund for Education.

Tip: Find more Education for All at: www.results.org/issues/global_poverty_campaigns/education_for_all/

Inform about the solution

The world is ready to support your vision on the MDGs and education by creating a new multilateral, multi-donor Global Fund for Education that would increase global funding commitments, coordination, transparency, and accountability. But full U.S. participation and leadership in 2010 is needed to galvanize global support to achieve these goals.

Call to action!

To signal to the world that 2010 is a year of action on education, the U.S. should be an early leader in supporting a new Global Fund for Education. The first concrete step you can take to build global support and leverage funding from other countries is to include $2 billion for a Global Fund for Education in fiscal year 2011 budget.

What Is Education for All and What Progress Have We Made?

Education for All (EFA) is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children. EFA was launched at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990. Education for All is also goal #2 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — eight internationally agreed-upon goals that serve as the blueprint for cutting extreme poverty in half.

Of the 75 million primary-aged children not in school, 55 percent are girls, roughly three-quarters live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, and some 40 million are in conflict-affected countries or emerging states. Tens of millions more children drop out of school before grade five because schools are overcrowded, unsafe, poorly equipped, poorly managed and have inadequately trained teachers. If current trends continue, 58 out of the 86 countries that have not yet achieved universal primary enrollment will fail to do so by 2015.

Standing between these children and the classroom is a lack of funding for quality basic education which helps overcome barriers to education such as tuition fees, disabilities, lack of sanitation, and poorly qualified teachers. The U.S. and other countries must do more to support countries to eliminate school fees and other barriers and work in closer partnership with poor countries that have committed to providing education for all children.

Why Is Education So Important?

Education is a basic human right and a significant factor in the development of children, communities, and countries. Opening classroom doors to all children, especially girls, will help break the intergenerational cycles of poverty because education is intrinsically linked to development, including: supporting gender empowerment, improving child health and maternal health, reducing hunger, fighting the spread of HIV and diseases of poverty, spurring economic growth, and building peace.

2010 Is a Year of Opportunities

2010 is the key year for action and a time of unprecedented global attention and support for Education for All:

  1. There is growing global support from donors and civil society that a new multilateral mechanism is needed.
  2. Soccer’s famous World Cup tournament will be in Africa for the first time (in South Africa, June–July) and the legacy is “1 Goal: Education for All.” This official message is likely to reach three billion people, with an estimated 30 million calling for action from world leaders. The president s can stand in union with a global call for Education for All.
  3. The Group of 20 nations (G-20) will meet in Canada in June and in South Korea in November. Canada has a strong track record supporting basic education, and South Korea is now a donor country because of its own massive investments in its education system. A Global Fund for Education could be the first major deliverable establishing the G-20’s new global leadership role in development.
  4. Next September at the UN Heads of State Summit on the MDGs, the U.S. has the opportunity to announce, in union with leaders of both developed and developing countries, a new Global Fund for Education and to gather global funding commitments to realize this fund by the end of the year.

The United States Must Lead

2010 will only be a year of transformative action for global education if the U.S. is fully committed to achieving Education for All and takes concrete leadership steps to bring leaders together to create a new multilateral, multi-donor response to the education crisis — a new Global Fund for Education — that would increase global funding commitments, coordination, transparency, and accountability to achieve universal access to education. President Obama can signal his intentions to achieve Education for All by including $2 billion for a Global Fund for Education in fiscal year 2011 budget.

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