BY DAYO ADESULU
Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has received over US$450 million in new pledges Monday towards the “Raise Your Hand” financing campaign with 3.7 billion kroner (US$430 million) from Norway, US$23 million from the LEGO Foundation and US$1 million from the Open Society Foundations.
The campaign seeks to raise at least US$5 billion to transform education for the most vulnerable children in nearly 90 lower-income countries and territories.
The announcements were made today at the Raise Your Hand Nordic Midsummer Festival, where Nordic leaders and other champions highlighted the urgency of ending the global learning crisis and prioritizing education finance – a critical area of investment as the pandemic continues to disrupt education globally. The event also featured musical performances by Danish rapper BATHSHEBA, Finnish modern pop-kantele player Ida Elina, Norwegian musician Moddi and Swedish singer Lisa Ajax.
Norway’s pledge represents an increase of 50 million kroner (US$6 million) a year compared to Norway’s previous pledge to GPE in 2018.
GPE also welcomed its first contribution from the LEGO Foundation, totaling US$23 million. This includes US$3 million to the GPE Knowledge & Innovation Exchange (KIX), which is dedicated to connecting expertise, innovation and knowledge to help partner countries build stronger education systems. The remaining US$20 million commitment will support the GPE Multiplier, an innovative financing mechanism that catalyzes additional investment in education from development partners, including philanthropic foundations and the business community.
The Open Society Foundations’ pledge of US$1 million will go towards the newly developed Girls’ Education Accelerator, which supports opportunities for girls to attend school and learn.
Pledges by the LEGO Foundation and Open Society Foundations demonstrate an increasing engagement in the ‘Raise Your Hand’ financing campaign from foundations. These pledges add to the funds already committed by Dubai Cares in April.
Pledges recently announced during the G7 Summit in Cornwall by the UK and the European Commission were also highlighted at the Festival. The UK committed GBP 430 million (US$600 million) while the European Commission committed EUR 700 million (US$ 850 million), the highest single donor pledge to GPE.
Julia Gillard, Board Chair of GPE, said:
“The pandemic has brought on a massive crisis in global education. We hope that Norway’s generous pledge to the GPE financing campaign will encourage other donors from Nordic countries and beyond to demonstrate clear ambition around education. Pledges from the LEGO Foundation and the Open Society Foundations show the increasingly critical role of foundations to help provide all children, especially girls, with 12 years of quality education.”
Dag Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister of International Development, said:
“Education is our most powerful tool to achieve equal opportunities for all and now is the time for the international community to deliver on our commitment to provide 12 years of quality education for all children. Norway is a long-term supporter of the Global Partnership for Education and we will continue to strengthen our commitment to the partnership.”
John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation, said:
“At the LEGO Foundation, we believe that innovative educational approaches such as learning through play, are vital for accomplishing SDG4. We must come together to build a future with inclusive access to quality education for all children. A genuine collaborative spirit, a commitment to co-creation and appropriate resourcing will get us far.”
Mark Malloch-Brown, President, Open Society Foundations, said:
“Girls’ education plays a crucial role in developing the talents and skills of future women leaders. Our pledge to the Girls’ Education Accelerator will allow girls and women to take their place in both the classroom and in the streets to bring real change to address the world’s toughest problems.”
The Nordic Festival is a major milestone ahead of the Global Education Summit on July 28 and 29 in London. The Summit, co-hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, will aim to secure a fully-funded GPE and transform education for the most vulnerable children in up to 90 lower-income countries and territories.