Humanitarian aid: education’s double disadvantage

The GEM Report’s recent paper on trends of aid to education shows how education remains an under-prioritised and underfunded sector of humanitarian aid.

Humanitarian aid makes up only a small share of the external financing that countries receive for education. In 2014, compared with the US$13.1 billion of development aid that was disbursed for education, humanitarian aid to education was just a fraction at US$188 million.  

In 2015, out of a total amount of US$10.6 billion of humanitarian aid, the education sector received $198 million. This is less than 1.9% of total funding, despite a target set by the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) for education to receive at least 4% of humanitarian aid.

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Education is suffering a double disadvantage because it is not only receiving the smallest proportion of humanitarian appeals, but it is also receiving consistently a lower than average share of what it requests.

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In 2015 the sector received 31% of what it had requested in terms of humanitarian aid. This compares with an average of 55% across all sectors.

The World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 where the new Education Cannot Wait Fund will be launched, and the publication of the report of the International Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunity, scheduled for September, should be seized as opportunities to increase aid for education, especially where need is greatest, such as in the immediate aftermath of conflict or emergencies, and in long-term crises. There is also a pressing need for a much better articulation of humanitarian and development aid. The impact of such crucial measures will not be felt for a few more years. There is no time to waste.


1 comment

  1. Essentially the “west” is asked to pay to mitigate the violent eruptions by certain groups or countries in the “south.” Some critics have argued that the “west” then functions as insurance, that permits the “south” to engage in violence with relative impunity. Not surprisingly, some donors prefer not to play this destructive game.

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