Delivering on the universal right to education, especially girls’ education, is one of the best returns on investment, said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power in a recent speech:
“One recent study indicates that for every dollar invested into girls’ rights and education, developing countries could see a return of $2 dollars and 80 cents. One additional year of schooling can increase a woman’s earnings by ten to twenty percent.”
Moreover, each additional year of schooling reduces an adolescent boy’s risk of becoming involved in conflict by twenty percent. One study estimates that over half of the reduction in child mortality worldwide since 1970 is linked to increased education among women of reproductive age.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated education systems around the globe,” noted Administrator Power. In response, USAID has adapted educational programming in more than 50 countries to reach more than 24 million students whose studies have been disrupted by COVID-19.
Nevertheless, many girls, refugees, and internally displaced people are still not able to gain access to schooling. That’s why USAID has announced a new pledge of $37 million dollars in funding to Education Cannot Wait, including a $14 million dollar contribution from the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau.
Education Cannot Wait is an educational lifeline increasing access to education in conflict areas like Central and Northern Mali, where schools were shuttered even before the pandemic, through the distribution of solar-powered radios so students can learn outside the classroom.
Through war-torn regions and protracted crises in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Ethiopia, Education Cannot Wait is enabling millions of marginalized children and adolescents to continue their studies.
“The United States has proudly supported Education Cannot Wait since its very inception in 2016,” said Administrator Power:
“We look forward to continued cooperation to increase access to education, improve learning outcomes, and reach the most marginalized students, especially girls, refugees, internally displaced communities, gender and sexual minorities, and children with disabilities.”
When access to quality education is equal, the results are clear: greater economic growth, improved health outcomes, stronger democracies, more peaceful and resilient societies, and healthier and more successful children. “Let’s make sure,” said Administrator Power, “the world doesn’t miss out on a generation of talent and potential.”