Administrator Power at the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Steering Group Meeting

Speeches Shim

Monday, September 27, 2021

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Good afternoon, everyone.  If you asked CEOs, economists, government officials, and development experts what they would all agree on, they would tell you that delivering on the universal right to education, especially girls’ education, is one of the highest-return development investments that we can make. 

One recent study indicates that for every dollar invested into girls’ rights and education, developing countries could see a return of $2 dollars and 80 cents. One additional year of schooling can increase a woman’s earnings by ten to twenty percent. 

But it’s so much more than just GDP. It is the livelihoods and the dignity of all of our children that is at stake. We’ve also seen that every additional year of schooling reduces an adolescent boy’s risk of becoming involved in conflict by twenty percent. And over half of the reduction in child mortality worldwide since 1970 is linked to increased education among women of reproductive age. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated education systems around the globe.  Since the start of the outbreak, USAID has adapted educational programming in more than 50 countries to reach more than 24 million students whose studies have been disrupted by COVID.

Still, despite our best efforts, we know that the confluence of the pandemic, persistent poverty, conflict, and climate change severely restricts girls, refugees, and internally displaced people from getting an education. That’s why I’m pleased today to announce a new pledge of $37 million dollars in funding to Education Cannot Wait, including a $14 million dollar contribution from the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau.

Education Can’t Want is an educational lifeline in dozens of crisis-affected countries globally. Along with its implementing partners, Education Cannot Wait is increasing access to education in conflict areas like Central and Northern Mali where schools were shuttered even before the pandemic, through the distribution of solar-powered radios so students can learn outside the classroom. 

Through war-torn regions and protracted crises in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Ethiopia, Education Cannot Wait is enabling millions of marginalized children and adolescents to continue their studies.

The United States has proudly supported Education Cannot Wait since its very inception in 2016, and we are proud to boost our support today. We look forward to continued cooperation to increase access to education, improve learning outcomes, and reach the most marginalized students, especially girls, refugees, internally displaced communities, gender and sexual minorities, and children with disabilities.

Because we know when access to a quality education is equal, the results are clear: greater economic growth, improved health outcomes, stronger democracies, more peaceful and resilient societies—and healthier and more successful children. Let’s make sure the world doesn’t miss out on a generation of talent and potential. Thank you so much.

Last updated: September 21, 2022

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