Canada announces funding to support quality education for children in emergency and crisis situations worldwide

News release

February 16, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Conflict, climate change and COVID-19 have caused a global education crisis, with an estimated 222 million children and adolescents who are not developing the essential skills and knowledge they need to build and prepare for their futures. Canada is investing in immediate and sustainable programs to ensure access to quality education for children and youth in emergency and crisis situations so that no child is left behind.

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, today announced Canada’s pledge of $87.5 million over 4 years (2023 to 2026) to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Canada’s contribution will support 20 million crisis-affected children in accessing quality education, particularly girls and adolescent girls living in hard-to-reach, fragile or conflict-affected regions. This contribution also includes funding to ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Bangladesh, as part of Canada’s strategy to respond to the Rohingya and Myanmar crises. This will help provide education for Rohingya refugees and host communities and reach more than 350,000 children and youth aged 3 to 18 years old in Bangladesh.

Minister Sajjan made the announcement virtually at ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference is mobilizing funding for education in emergencies and protracted crises and generating dialogue between leaders from the private and public sectors, civil society organizations, and youth with lived experience as refugees and displaced persons.


“All children and youth have the right to quality education and a chance for a better future. The strength of partnerships, communities and youth themselves can generate the global change needed to address the current education crisis. Together, we can make sure that no one is left behind.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“This pledge from Canada is a crucial step toward making good on our global promise to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals in armed conflicts, climate disasters and forced displacement for the 222 million crisis-affected children and adolescents who urgently need quality education. This is our investment today to empower them and build a better world for generations to come.”

- Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director, Education Cannot Wait

Quick facts

  • This new funding will contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education. Canada is committed to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals through the Decade of Action.

  • Canada helped establish ECW in 2016 and is currently its seventh-largest donor, having contributed $82.5 million (excluding today’s pledge) since its inception to educate children living in crisis and emergency contexts.

  • Hosted by UNICEF, the ECW is designed to deliver rapid, flexible support to address gaps in financing, capacity and coordination to ensure that children and youth in crisis situations have access to quality education.

  • Canada’s pledge to the ECW builds on decades of leadership in global education, including the Charlevoix Initiative and the Together for Learning Campaign, and contributes to ensuring that the most marginalized have access to quality, inclusive education, with a particular focus on girls and adolescent girls, and forcibly displaced children and youth.

  • Canada’s Together for Learning campaign, launched in February 2021, strives to strengthen partnerships and bring together stakeholders to promote quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth experiencing forced displacement due to conflicts and crises.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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