The Education Above All Foundation (EAA) in association with Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), 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 recently.

There have been partnerships between EAA and the World Bank where EAA joined the World Bank in committing $250mn to support access to quality education for 2mn out-of-school students 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.

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.

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.

“With international partners, co-ordination 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 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 said.

The event featured keynote presentations from Khalifa al-Kuwari, director general, QFFD, and Stefania Giannini, assistant director-general for Education, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and Dr Waleed al-Wohaib, director general, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.

“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 al-Kuwari.

“The next ten years…must be focused on delivery, implementation and building capacity in education,” noted, Giannini. “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.”

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