A big step forward, with many more to go

February 2, 2018
by Joanne Carter, Executive Director

I’m in Dakar, Senegal, where world leaders are gathered to make financial pledges toward the goal of reaching every child with a quality education.

Today they made the biggest ever global commitment to fund education at this financing conference convened by the Global Partnership for Education. That’s great news, but it’s not the whole story. And it can’t be the end of the story. Here’s what stands out to me:

Who’s leading the way. At this global conference, it was low-income and conflict-affected countries that pledged the overwhelming majority of the funds. They committed $110 billion for their national education programs, recognizing that education is both a human right and an antidote to poverty. Every dollar pledged plays a role in giving more children the future they deserve.

Where we’re still falling short. Donor countries pledged an additional $2.3 billion to the Global Partnership for Education over three years. While that’s the largest commitment to date, it still falls woefully short of what’s needed. The world should be investing that much — at least — every year to make sure the most vulnerable children get access to quality education.

Not done yet! Pressure from advocates and leadership from Congress has already more than tripled the annual U.S. investment in the Global Partnership for Education since 2012. In Dakar today, the U.S. administration showed up and voiced its support, but didn’t make any new financial commitments. This is a disappointment, but not necessarily a surprise. We knew that a U.S. multiyear pledge would be a challenge to secure. But this isn’t over by a long shot — the final funding decision falls to Congress, where you’ve built unprecedented bipartisan support.

Building on your extraordinary advocacy. Just in the last year, RESULTS volunteers published almost 250 pieces of media in 49 states, rallied support from over 100 members of Congress from both parties, and helped pass historic legislation on global education. Now, as the decisions about funding for the Global Partnership for Education get passed back to Congress, there’s already strong bipartisan momentum thanks to your work.

We cannot back down. There are still more than 263 million kids out of school. Today’s news will help put a big dent in that number, but we’ll still be leaving far too many behind. So much of the growth in funding and global leadership on education is thanks to relentless advocacy by people like you. Starting right now, we will build on that momentum to deliver the resources to support countries in reaching every child with a quality education.

Earlier this year, Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai said, “I hope world leaders will pass their own test and resolve to keep their promises every day, in every country, in every classroom.”

Thank you for your advocacy work to make sure they do.

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