Partners focus on how to leverage innovative funding models to support inclusive and equitable access to quality education
Qatar, 29 September 2019 - Demonstrating the importance of ensuring that high-level financial commitments are translated into measurable changes, the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) in partnership with Qatar Fund for Development, Islamic Development Bank and other partners gathered a panel of experts and education advocacy leaders for a side event entitled, “Innovative Financing to Address ‘Intractable’ SDG4 Problems,” as part of the United Nations General Assembly, on Thursday, 26 September. One year after announcing its groundbreaking approach to help qualifying countries overcome a lack of access to credit on the international financial market and secure funds for education, EAA brought together stakeholders to discuss progress to-date and highlight innovative funding models that are bringing additional financial resources to education—including to support girls’ education and children with special needs—with a focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).
EAA and its partners have chosen to specifically address barriers that exclude children from education—including gender and other forms of discrimination, which are among the “intractable” barriers to inclusive education--and ways that solutions to overcome barriers can be funded at scale. The conversation focused on progress and the remaining challenges in designing and implementing alternative funding modalities for out of school children.
The discussion included new partnerships between EAA and the World Bank where EAA joined the World Bank in committing US$250 million to support access to quality education for two million out-of-school students (OOSC) in over 40 countries. This new agreement is another step in broadening the multi-lateral partnerships EAA established at last year’s UN General Assembly where a partnership with the Islamic Development Bank was announced.
“With international partners, coordination is extremely important. One of the key innovations [of our approach with EAA] is the pooled fund and the other key innovation is that its results based,” said Mr. Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, Global Director, Education for the World Bank. “We are living through a learning crisis and we need to have a sense of urgency about the magnitude of the challenge that we have. The partnership that the World Bank has signed with Education Above All is absolutely critical to addressing these issues,” he continued.
The event featured keynote presentations from Mr. Khalifa Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD); and, Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Dr. Waleed Al-Wohaib, Director General, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD).
“In alignment with this growth in innovative finance in various sectors, QFFD is committed to the long-term improvement of global education, particularly in the world’s poorest countries, in terms of both access and education quality. This includes the provision of education in conflict zones and crisis, improving the resilience and assisting the development of countries education systems as they emerge from crisis,” said Mr. Khalifa Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar Fund for Development
“The next ten years…must be focused on delivery, implementation and building capacity…[in education],” said Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “As a community dedicated to education, we should help to design new models for public investment. To that end, the availability of more complete and accurate data is essential…for effective policy planning and monitoring. We also need accountability for how budgets are spent and whether or not they are reaching the intended beneficiaries,” she continued. Ms. Giannini also called upon those gathered to prioritize advocacy and partnership in their efforts.
Many speakers made the connection between access to quality education as an enabling condition to achieving the rest of the SDGs. According to Mrs. Laurence Breton-Moyet, Executive Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Communications, Agence Française de Dévelopement, a sustainable development and climate expert, education is inextricably linked to the future well-being of our planet. Other speakers focused on the issues of gender equity related to education, and the long-term benefits of providing girls with access to education. “It costs more money give girls an education because families have to calculate the cost labor lost…However, when you educate a girl, she does not just elevate herself. She elevates her family and her community. Through Qatar Fund for Development, we’re looking for innovative ways to fund girls’ education,” said Ms. Maryam Al Subaei, Head of Media and Communications, Qatar Fund for Development.
Panellists and speakers included Mr. Fahad Al-Sulaiti, Chief Executive Officer, Education Above All Foundation (EAA); Mr. Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, Global Director, Education, The World Bank Group (WB); Mrs. Laurence Breton-Moyet, Executive Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Communications, Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD); Ms. Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait (ECW); and Mr. Stavros Yiannouka, Chief Executive Officer, World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Comments from the floor were made by Dr. Tanjina Mirza, Chief of Programs Office, Plan International and Ms. Maryam Al Subaei, Head of Media and Communications, Qatar Fund for Development.
Discussion focused on various approaches to leveraging financial resources that are targeted towards the barriers that out of school children face and how these funds are making a difference at the local level—additionally and positively affecting their families, and communities. Several participants made the point that, much like the technology sector, education is ripe for innovation with regard to both funding models and approaches. Given the importance of education to supporting the economic well-being of individuals, communities and nations, it was discussed that venture capital can also play a key role in working with governments and NGOs, as well as interfacing with official development aid.