Saturday, April 17, 2010

Education as a Tool to Reduce Poverty

By Heidi Topp Brooks
RESULTS Partner, Albuquerque

Do you think next year our school could have a third grade . . . and a bathroom?”  This was one Senegalese boy’s question to a visiting US dignitary.  He was in the second grade, the top class in his school.  Without help, he faced the end of his academic career and a future with no skills to count on in a global economy. 

Some of the 72 million children who can’t go to school are victims of lack of schools, lack of teachers, lack of supplies, lack of sanitary facilities, lack of stable governments or peace.  Others can’t afford school fees, are needed to work on the farm or in the home.  We can say, however, that all suffer from a lack of political will to make education available to them.

The Global Campaign for Education  is issuing a clarion call for all of us to hear that little boy and answer his fondest wish.  People all over the world are participating in “The Big Lesson” about how we can – and must – fund the effort to bring free basic primary education to all children, no matter where or how they live.  This is compatible with Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals, which promotes Universal Primary Education.

In the United States, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) will introduce the Education For All (EFA) Act of 2010.  It calls for the establishment of a Global Fund for Education that would provide a framework for quality measurements, predictable funding, country-led initiatives, and a strong multilateral effort on behalf of education. 

The Global Campaign for Education is an alliance of many organizations, including RESULTS, Bread for the World, The ONE Campaign and other groups.  Our actions are geared toward securing Congressional co-sponsorships and public support for the EFA bill.  

On Wednesday, April 21, RESULTS Albuquerque will hold a public meeting of interested individuals and representatives of partner groups, with a discussion of why education is so important in the fight against poverty, and the opportunity to take several actions.  A community group sign-on letter will be available, as well as a sign-on letter for individuals and easy instructions on phoning our members of Congress to encourage their actions.  We will also discuss other ways for our organizations to participate in this world-wide effort.

Place: Fellowship Hall of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 
114 Carlisle SE
Time: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

If you can't attend the meeting, please call Rep. Martin Heinrich or Ben Ray Lujan to ask them to cosponsor the Education for All Act.  

Representative Heinrich:
202 225-6316 (DC)        505 346-6781 (ABQ)
Representative Lujan:   
202 225-6190 (DC)        505 984-8950 (ABQ) 

Click "Read More" to learn more about this initiative.

What is the Education for All Act? 

The Education for All Act of 2010 will be introduced in April by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the congressional champion of basic education. The bill seeks to ensure the U.S. provides the resources and leadership to ensure a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education by 2015. It calls for assistance to expand access to school; improve education quality; reach marginalized and vulnerable children, including those affected by conflict and humanitarian crises; and mandates a new U.S. Education for All strategy to be overseen by an Education for All Coordinator.

Perhaps most importantly, the bill calls on the U.S. to support a new Global Fund for Education -- an independent multi-donor education initiative to increase and improve the impact of international aid for education. It should be based on the following principles:

  • transparency with respect to financing, key policy decisions, and impact
  • coordination among governments, private sector, and civil society
  • mutual accountability between donors and recipients for achieving measurable results in access and quality
  • alignment with host country priorities; and
  • predictable, long-term funding disbursed in a timely manner. 

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