Angelina Jolie - Education Partnership for Children of Conflict
Angelina Jolie - actress, activist, co-founder of"Education Partnership for Children of Conflict" Foundation
Tens of millions of children worldwide can't go to school because they are caught in the crossfire of war, are refugees or live in places healing from conflict or natural disasters. Even when they are able to go school, too often they don't have the trained teachers or basic supplies they need to succeed. These children fall through the cracks – there is just not enough funding to support the programs that help them rebuild their lives.
Co-chairs, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and Gene Sperling, Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations, founded the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict in 2006. Their goal was to bring together organizations, corporations, and foundations to create awareness about education for these children and rally resources to get them into quality, safe schools.
In 2007, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the idea came to life: 19 organizations made a commitment worth $148 million to educate 350,000 of the children out-of-school in conflict areas and help improve the quality of schooling for nearly 700,000 additional children.
The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict (EPCC) now connects over 40 organizations working to help children of conflict learn and heal. We believe that all children deserve quality schools and a chance to learn – most of all those who have seen the worst: war, violence, and disasters.
But there is still more that needs to be done.
In the words of our co-chair, Angelina Jolie, "Every child has a right to an education. And conflict is not an excuse for us to ignore that right. If anything, it is the time that they need it the most."
Because the need for education in conflict areas is ongoing, we need to do more than just find funding for current programs. To assure all children will have access to education, we need to figure out the best ways to set up schools and keep them safe in difficult situations. We are working with our partners to create a network of information sharing and collaboration. By collecting and connecting this knowledge, everyone can benefit from best practices, new reports, and the approaches and programs that are working.
The Founding Project
The founding project was the LEGACY Initiative -- a project in West Africa that partnered Novo Foundation with the International Rescue Committee. In its first year, the LEGACY Initiative - operating in war torn Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire - educated 30,000 marginalized girls and boys, trained 1,500 teachers, and improved 150 schools and 25 vocational institutions with infrastructure and materials.
The First Year
In its inaugural year, the Education Partnership sought out partners from the non-profit, corporate, and foundation world to come together around a common cause: educating children of conflict. The Partnership received seed capital from the Hewlett Foundation, Children's Investment Fund Foundation, and Unbound Philanthropy. Additional support came from the Boeing Corporation and the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
By the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, EPCC had catalyzed a wide array of commitments supporting education for displaced Iraqi refugee children; young people affected by the Darfur genocide; girls and youth in rural Afghanistan; and other children affected by conflict across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
How it Works
We work with our partners to find places where, with extra resources, the partners can make a real difference in the lives of children living with the effects of conflict or natural disaster. These organizations let us know how they can expand access to school, improve the quality of learning, or give students who would not have the chance to go to high school or college the support they need. Then we connect them to sources that can provide the funding needed.
We find out where help is needed most and where dollars will do the most good. And we try to be as precise as we can – we don’t want to just add to a big pot of money. We ask our trusted partners to provide us with details about the specific needs for different projects (including how many children can benefit and what type of needs there are – books, teachers, etc.). Then we share this information with funders. We look for corporations and foundations to help fund larger projects. But, we also know that there are ways for everyone to get involved.
Tens of millions of children worldwide can't go to school because they are caught in the crossfire of war, are refugees or live in places healing from conflict or natural disasters. Even when they are able to go school, too often they don't have the trained teachers or basic supplies they need to succeed. These children fall through the cracks - there is not enough funding to support the programs that help them rebuild their lives.
Through the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, we identify new and innovative projects that are helping to provide education for children affected by conflict, violence, war or natural disaster. Next, we work to identify potential donors and mobilize resources for these organizations by matching organizations with funders. And this website is our way to invite everyone to join in our efforts to support education for these brave children - the future teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and leaders.
From individuals and local school groups to corporations, we're working to create a network of support to educating children of conflict.
About the Partnership | Education Partnership for Children of Conflict
Shakira Believes in Education for Every Child
Shakira -actress, activist, founder of "Pies Descalzos" ("Bare Feet") Foundation
"As a young girl in Colombia, I promised myself that, someday, I would help change the lives of the barefoot, desperate children living in the parks around my home. I had the audacity of youth: I remember thinking that every child deserved the opportunity to learn. I also had the clarity of youth: I knew that all children deserved an equal chance.
When I was eighteen, I took the first steps toward keeping my promise. I started the Pies Descalzos ("Bare Feet") Foundation in honor of the barefoot children who inspired me. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure that all children can exercise their right to a quality education and a chance to fulfill their true potential. We provide nutritious meals, quality education and psychological support to more than five thousand students and their families across Colombia.
Education is a right, not a privilege, and we need to treat it that way. Far too often, children who are born poor die poor, trapping too many children in a cycle of despair. Education is the most powerful way to break the cycle. Education affects every aspect of development. Research has shown that access to education increases wages, lowers the risk of disease and decreases the likelihood a child will turn to a destructive violent life. A single year of primary education can increase a girl’s wages by 10 to 20 percent later in life. We cannot possibly hope to thrive as a global community if we continue to turn our backs on the potential and talents of millions of children.
It’s difficult to believe that, in today’s world, 72 million kids don’t have access to any kind of education, and 226 million adolescents don’t attend secondary school. Hundreds of millions who do attend school can’t learn because of inadequate teachers, lack of supplies or empty stomachs.
Our schools in Colombia are proving each and every day that no matter where a child is from, no matter how poor they are, they can thrive if given the chance. The best part of my work is watching students blossom and make something of their lives. Last year, a student from a Pies Descalzos school placed 14th out of the whole country in Colombia’s national exams. He came from extreme poverty and suffered from malnutrition as a child. Today, he’s in college and working to use his education to give back to his community. We have seen that every child has a contribution to share.
Now, we are bringing our model to the U.S. and the rest of the world. Education for every child is within our reach. Let’s make a commitment to the children of the world. Let us tell them -- today -- that we see their value, no matter where they happen to have been born or how difficult their circumstances. Let’s make clear that we believe in them and that through hard work they can improve their lives. Let’s commit to giving them the tools they need to build our future."
Internationally acclaimed recording artist Shakira is a leading advocate for universal education. Her Pies Descalzos foundation has helped over 28,000 of Colombia’s children access education. Her US-based Barefoot Foundation is expanding her work internationally. Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and honorary chair of the Global Campaign for Education. She is the 6th highest selling artist of all time and the winner of two Grammys, eight Latin Grammys and countless awards worldwide.
Shakira: "Education Is a Right"
Jessica Alba:Walking the Halls for Global Education
Jessica Alba - actress, activist, U.S. Co-Chair of 1GOAL: Education for All
"This past week, I visited Washington DC to walk the halls of Congress, the State Department, National Security Council and Office of Management and Budget. I was there with 1GOAL: Education for All to pound the pavement and talk about education for the world's poorest children.
I was looking for champions -- those who have been working tirelessly on this issue, like Chairwoman Nita Lowey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I wanted to sit with these incredible women, learn from them, and say thank you for their work on helping every child, especially girls, get the opportunity to have an education. I thanked Senate Majority Leader Reid for his support and met with both Democrats like Congressman Smith and Republicans like Senator Isakson, who believe education is a powerful tool to expand opportunities for women and fight extremism.
I spoke with people like Gayle Smith, President Obama's lead on international development at the National Security Council, spoke with expert teams at the Office of Management and Budget and met with the groups and advocates working on this issue. My view of the global education crisis expanded even further as I listened to their take on best approaches to policy. We all agreed that the U.S. has the responsibility to lead on the goal of getting the 75 million children currently out of school into a classroom. And do it sooner rather than later.
I believe that 2010 is the year for a breakthrough on global education. With the World Cup in Africa and the eyes of the world on the continent, we can connect the energy of this global game with the power of the negotiating table at the world's leading forums like the G20, G8 and UN Millennium Development Goals Summit. The stage is set for America to be a leader and convener, with an opportunity for President Obama to pledge to achieve education for all children and also call on other governments to do their fair share through joint funding and shared approaches.
Why now? The fact is education is the most effective way to fight poverty. Every year a child is out of school is a year they lose in literacy, in health, in opportunity. In the current economic environment, investing is education is smart aid and smart power. Increased global education funding fights global poverty at the root, empowers girls and women, and promotes economic growth in poor countries around the world. Experts tell us that a girl will earn an additional 10% in income for every year of schooling she receives and be 50% less likely to become infected with HIV/AIDS. Larry Summer's own research showed that in Africa, children of mothers who receive five years of primary education are 40 percent more likely to live beyond the age of 5.
For many of my meetings on the Hill, I walked the halls with Mary Njoroge, a Kenyan school teacher who was at the helm of the Kenyan government push in 2003 to get rid of school fees. These small fees, often for a uniform or the equivalent of a just a few dollars, were an insurmountable barrier for children from families living in poverty. Once the fees were abolished, over 1 million children enrolled in school in just one week. Mary has seen it herself, we have approaches that work. Now we need the political will to put them into action.
Every child should have that chance to stand up and walk into their future. They need leaders in Washington and around the world to deliver on their promises so all our children can receive the education they deserve. With U.S. leadership, if we come together in 2010, we can make the lasting legacy of the first World Cup in Africa education for all children."
Jessica Alba: Walking the Halls for Global Education
Actress Jessica Alba met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Friday morning to talk about the importance of global education. Pelosi then took Alba to a conference room in the speaker's suite to address 18 members of the Democratic Women's Caucus about raising awareness of the issue.
"Jessica spoke very articulately and knowledgably about the need for greater emphasis on education," a House leadership staffer told Politics Daily in an exclusive interview Friday morning.
"It's great to see Jessica Alba bringing her celebrity to promote this important issue of basic education to children in the developing world," said a policy staffer for Speaker Pelosi.
Jessica Alba Touts Global Education in Meeting With Nancy Pelosi -- Politics Daily