Save the Children and UNICEF
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Global Education Cluster Newsletter

Special issue on the World Humanitarian Summit

Issue N° 29

Dear EiE colleagues,

We are pleased to share the 29th issue of the Global Education Cluster newsletter. Our newsletter is issued every month and is primarily produced by and for Education Cluster members and partners at global and country level. This month's newsletter provides a summary of the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). In the rest of the newsletter, you will find an update on the staff changes in the Global Education Cluster team, RRT deployments, and the latest resources related to education in emergencies. Please share this newsletter with colleagues, partners, country-level Education cluster members and other colleagues who might find the information and contacts useful.
World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, 23-24 May:
In its 70 year history, the United Nations has never come together at this scale, with so many different stakeholders, to discuss the pressing challenges that result in so much suffering today. The WHS sought, above all, to bring to the world's attention the scale of the changes required to address the challenges before the humanitarian community. It was agreed that humanitarian assistance alone can neither adequately address nor sustainably reduce the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people and that a new and coherent approach is required to address root causes, increase political diplomacy for prevention and conflict resolution, and bring humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts together.

Education emerged as a major theme throughout the Summit, education in emergencies (EiE) received great attention. In 2015, there were 75 million school-aged children directly affected by crises across 35 countries, who could not access education and had little hope for their future. Affected children and their parents cite education as their top priority during crises, but it is often the first intervention to be sacrificed in the immediate response to an emergency. After years of advocacy, education was finally recognized as a priority and as equally important to other sectors.

The launch of the Education Cannot Wait Fund (ECWF) during a special session on EiE was a major outcome of the WHS. With the aim of providing quality education to all children and youth affected by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises by 2030, the Fund is expected to help to ensure better coordinated funding, deliver a more collaborative and rapid response to the educational needs, and reduce the gap between the humanitarian and development spheres. The amount of $90 million was pledged, from donors such as Dubai Cares, the European Union, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Global Business Coalition for Education announced its commitment to mobilize about $100 million for the new fund in financial and in-kind contributions. In addition to funding, many actors also pledged technical and political support. The amount pledged so far is however not sufficient, covering just over half of the money the Fund aims to raise in its first year.

The ECWF will be hosted at UNICEF initially. A secretariat for the management of the Fund will be set up in the coming weeks, with staff seconded from multiple agencies. For more detailed information on the Fund core functions and operationalization modalities, links to key resources and interesting blogs, visit our special webpage.

Resources on the Education Cannot Wait Fund you should not miss:
The launch of the ECWF was a flagship event of the Summit, but many other events were also dedicated to the issue of education in emergencies, see a full list here:
  • Attacks on education was one of the main topics of the side event Education in Emergencies: Towards a Strengthened Response in African Nations. Forest Whitaker, actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Education issued a video at the WHS supporting the Safe Schools Declaration.
  • During the High-Level Leaders Roundtable on Upholding Norms that Safeguard Humanity, Argentina announced that they will host a follow-up conference on the Safe Schools Declaration by the end of the year.
  • During the side event Delivering Quality Education in Emergencies: What Needs to Be Done?, an event co-hosted by INEE, Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, underlined that education requires specific planning and responses during protracted crises and there is a significant gap between planning for humanitarian and development projects. She stresses the need to bridge this gap, and for example, consider inclusive education as well as formal and non-formal education settings during emergencies.
On forced displacement and refugees, the UN Secretary-General suggested a fairer approach to sharing the burden of refugees with host countries, and a target to reduce internal displacement by 50 percent by 2030. Significant announcements were made by governments: the UK outlined a new approach to address protracted displacement, including investment in education, Malta showed its commitment to the establishment of a platform to secure safe access to education for children in crisis, and Portugal stressed the need to address education at all levels. However, according to some participants, there is only the potential of a new approach to address issues affecting refugees and displaced people, but no concrete plans.

Investing in disaster risk prevention and mitigation was also largely discussed. The finance ministers of the Vulnerable 20 Group launched, alongside the World Bank and the UN, a new global partnership for preparedness (GPP) to help their countries better prepare for shocks, including better access to risk analysis, contingency plans and social protection schemes. There is a consensus about the need to a shift, but no clear decision was made and no target was set.                                                                     

One of the most concrete outcomes of the Summit was about aid agencies and top donors signing the Grand Bargain, which aims at reforming the humanitarian funding system, and to make aid more efficient by:
  • streamlining humanitarian appeals
  • donors increasing their flexibility regarding proposals and decreasing their reporting requirements
  • reducing overhead costs
  • improving evidence, and encouraging collective needs assessment and data collection.
  • granting less funding for specific projects
  • pushing a shift towards greater use of cash transfers
  • allocating multi-year humanitarian grants
  • increasing transparency of costs
  • dedicating 25% of humanitarian funding directly to local and national agencies, among others.
Several governments and aid agencies made commitments, but the institutional responsibility for the Grand Bargain still needs to be settled.

The private sector played a strong role at the Summit and asked that business be seen as an equal partner - the current gap in responding to crises is estimated at $15 billion. Innovative financing mechanisms such as the humanitarian impact bond were discussed, where private investors will make an initial investment, and will be reimbursed by traditional donors was one of the ideas. 

The Summit also saw the launch of the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR), a network aiming to “reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships. Moving from “Delivering Aid” to “Meeting Need” was a noted theme in addition to accountability to affected populations, hand in hand with the need to move towards local solutions through local responders to emergencies. The Regional Organisations Humanitarian Action Network (ROHAN) was also launched, set up to strengthen capacities and collaboration within and between regional organisations.

Although commitments made were notable, there is concern that the way forward on some initiatives is not clear. In the absence of an inter-governmental process, the WHS opted for inclusiveness and participation over formal negotiations and binding agreements and as a result, while several hundred commitments have been produced, the security of a formal framework has not. The WHS Chair's Summary Standing up for humanity: committing to action outlines key commitments made at the Summit across the five core responsibilities.

The individual and collective commitments will be reviewed over the summer and will be gathered into a “Commitments to Action” platform that will be publicly accessible, which will also ensure accountability. In addition, there will be an IASC Principals meeting in June/July that will feed recommendations to the General Assembly and to member states, in September. Taking commitments forward, including through intergovernmental and inter-agency avenues and the many initiatives, platforms and partnerships launched at the Summit will be the priority. The Global Education Cluster is following up with UNICEF and Save the Children, identifying entry points to take part in follow-up discussion, in particular discussion on the Education Cannot Wait Fund.

The WHS programme, speeches, press releases, statements and recording of the events are all available on the WHS website.

News articles and blogs on the outcomes of the WHS:

Update on the staff changes in the Global Education Cluster team: The Global Education Cluster is pleased to announce the appointment of Maria Agnese Giordano and Tyler Arnot as Global Education Cluster Coordinators for UNICEF and Save the Children respectively.

Maria Agnese joins us from the Office of the OCHA Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, where she focused on evaluations and strategic planning, and led a number of inter-agency initiatives under the auspices of the IASC to assess humanitarian system performance in Level 3 emergencies. Before joining OCHA, Maria Agnese worked in the UNICEF Evaluation Office on education in emergencies. She also worked in the Division for Policy, Evaluation and Training of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and worked on a number of emergencies. Previously, she spent over five years in the Western Balkans where she served with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), focusing on the provision of education for national and ethnic minorities, as well as IDPs and refugees.

Maria Agnese holds a Masters of International Education and Development from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom and a graduate degree in Languages and Literature from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. She will start in her new role as Global Education Cluster Coordinator on 13 June.

Tyler began his career with Save the Children US in 2007, going on to work in Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan and Bhutan in international programme management, communications and grant management. After receiving a Masters of Education from Harvard University with a focus on education in emergencies he went on to serve as Education Cluster Coordinator in Somalia. Tyler then joined the Global Education Cluster Rapid Response Team with Save the Children UK and later with NRC/UNICEF. In his role with the RRT, he has supported national clusters in strategy development, capacity building and information management capacities. With the Global Education Cluster, he has held lead roles in processes such as the development of the Core Skills Training package and attacks on education consultancy.

Tyler will start his new role with the Global Education Cluster by the end of June.

New Rapid Response Team member: Michael Wilkins (Save the Children UK) joined the Rapid Response Team as Needs Assessment Specialist in May 2016. Prior to joining the team Michael worked as an Information Analyst at the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) in Geneva where he worked primarily on the 2015/2016 Ebola Outbreak, South Sudan and Myanmar. He holds a Master’s degree in Post-War Recovery Studies and a Bachelor^s degree in History.

Monitoring, Reporting and Responding to Attacks on Education Report and Annotated Reference Guide:
Attacks on education and the military use of schools are a major challenge to education provision in conflict-affected countries. In recent years, Education Clusters and Education in Emergencies Working Groups (EiE WG) have been increasingly engaged in monitoring, reporting and responding to attacks on education and the military use of schools.

The Global Education Cluster and UNICEF Education, in close cooperation with the Global Child Protection Working Group, commissioned a consultancy to map global practices and perspectives in relation to the Education Cluster's role in monitoring, reporting and responding to attacks on education, and to develop field-based guidance for coordination teams. The results of the consultation with in-country teams, MRM specialists, and global experts are detailed in the mapping report The Role of the Education Cluster in Monitoring, Reporting and Responding to Attacks on Education - Mapping of Perspectives and Practices. The Annotated Reference Guide contains a selection of global resources relevant to the Education Cluster's work. As a next step, the Global Education Cluster team will develop this important work further into practical guidance for country coordination teams.

Somalia: The Somalia Education Cluster, already with a strong coordination team on board, has received the first ever deployment of a Rapid Response Team Needs Assessment Specialist. Michael Wilkins’ first deployment was to Nairobi in the first week of June to help the team overcome challenges collecting data from across Somalia. Due to ongoing security restrictions and the quickly changing emergency context in the country, it is ever more important for the Cluster to have access to information from the field. Michael will work to establish a rapid, mobile data collection system that the team can use to identify emergency priorities. He will also pave the way for more in-depth needs assessments by developing a mechanism that is responsive to the alerts raised through the mobile system.

Ukraine: The Education Cluster conducted a Cluster Coordination Performance Monitoring (CCPM) review process. While the survey results are very positive overall, they also indicate some areas of improvement. All survey results were validated and qualified through workshops in Kyiv and three regional coordination hubs. The Education Cluster Performance Monitoring report is finalized and will be presented to the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) and Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in June together with the transition plan. The consultative CCPM process and workshops with partners and key stakeholders was utilized as an opportunity to feed into the discussions and lessons learned to develop the transition plan. The transition is therefore grounded on partners’ feedback on where coordination strengthening is necessary and where support is still needed.  
The Ukraine Education Cluster Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) was formed in May to support the Education Cluster Team throughout the transition period. During its first meeting on 31 May, the SAG commented on the draft transition plan and gave valuable feedback for the Cluster team to finalize the transition strategy. Considering that uncertainties remain in the status of the conflict, in the design of the humanitarian architecture and in the level of government capacity to coordinate and respond to the humanitarian needs, the Cluster considered three scenarios of an escalating, stable and improving situation for transition. 
RRT coordinator Kaisa-Leena Juvonen, who deployed in April and in May, will deploy for the third time to Ukraine mid-June for the finalization of the transition plan, and to do the handover with the newly recruited coordinator. The new national Information Management Officer has already joined the Cluster team and is actively supporting the coordination of the Education Cluster response. He will also join the Global Education Cluster Core Skills Course taking place in Switzerland in July.

  The Syria Education Sector Working Group has released its first Education Bulletin. The bulletin serves as a medium for sharing, exchanging and updating education responses and good practices undertaken by key partners of the Damascus coordination hub. 

  Since its launch in 2012, ( has helped transform a fragmented array of individual operational websites into a single, common platform hosting today over 30 country sites and 20 thematic sites providing information on topics such as needs assessment and cluster coordination. The team has just published the Standards and Naming Conventions which provides guidance on document and file name, date and location, conventions and many other metadata fields. These standards are designed to help the 400+ editors around the world to upload documents and operational information in a consistent and predictable way, making it easier and quicker for users to find the information they are looking for.

  Save the Children's report Futures on the Line - Yemen's children missing an education highlights how access and quality of education have been impacted by the ongoing conflict exacerbating pre-existing weaknesses of the sector. It also contains recommendations to ensure the safety and availability of schools, access to quality learning, and call for increased funding for education.

   The Global Cluster for Early Recovery (GCER) launched a new website to support humanitarian and development practitioners working on the integration of Early Recovery in crisis responses.

  Data is changing the face of humanitarian response, providing unprecedented opportunities to innovate and to better assist affected populations. OCHA's new policy paper Building data responsibility into humanitarian action identifies the critical issues humanitarians face as they strive to responsibly use data in operations. It proposes an initial framework for data responsibility based on a four-step process that aims to mitigate potential harm from data use.

  With the view to promoting inclusive education systems, the UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS in collaboration with the Education and Disability Sections at UNICEF HQ, has developed a cohesive set of webinars and companion booklets related to Inclusive Education, products that will support the capacity development of UNICEF staff and provide them with a set of materials that can be used in the field.
Some recent videos and articles you should not miss:

How countries in crisis can continue to provide education?, Global Partnership for Education (24 May 2016)

•  Boko Haram violence creates education crisis in NE Nigeria, Agence France-Presse (27 May  2016)

School is a magical place for children in South Sudan, Global Partnership for Education (19 May 2016)

With kind regards,

Education Cluster Unit

Education Cluster Unit  | Save the Children | 1, rue Varembé, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland | Phone +41 22 919 2004 | United Nations Children’s Fund | 5-7 Avenue-de-la-Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland | Phone: +41 22 909 5345 | E-mail: | Website:

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Education Cluster Goal:
A predictable, well coordinated response that addresses the education concerns of populations affected by humanitarian crises