Geneva, 7 October 2021 - Today, a shared workspace officially opened at Rue de Varembé 7, hosting staff from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) as well as other members of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies. This is an exciting new venue which enables organisations advancing the delivery of education in emergencies to work together more closely and more collaboratively in the heart of Geneva’s international district.
The new workspace allows ECW staff to work closely with colleagues and partners who share the goal of transforming the delivery of education in emergencies and delivering collaborative and rapid education support to children and young people affected by conflict and crisis. In recent months, ECW has steadily increased its presence and capacity in Geneva, growing from three members of staff to 14, now exceeding the size of its New York team.
ECW is delighted to share the space with the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies, which was launched in January 2021 as a result of a pledge made at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF). The Hub brings together a strong alliance of partners who understand the critical importance of supporting education in emergency contexts. It will now be able to do so from this new office. The added capacity, including meeting rooms and workspaces, will help the Hub support its growing membership, which is now up to 30 from the original 10 co-signatories.
Others who have taken up desks in the same office space include education specialists from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), World Vision International, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - who have relocated some staff from Paris to Geneva in order to take advantage of synergies from this city’s international networks.
At an official ceremony held on 7 October, Swiss Ambassador Félix Baumann, representing the Host State, stressed that the new office is “an open space that welcomes field colleagues during their time in Geneva, bridging local action with global reach, translating into tangible change at country level.”
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Switzerland and the other members to make sure that the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies becomes a resounding success and that it has a real, tangible impact on the children, families and communities whom we serve”, said Yasmine Sherif, Director of ECW.
Visitors were also welcomed by Petra Heusser, the Coordinator of the Geneva Global Hub, and Sarah Epprecht, ICRC’s Deputy Director of Operations. ICRC is an active member of the Hub and one of the original co-signatories.
The opportunity to work closely with other Hub partners is timely for ECW, as it publishes its 2020 annual results report and looks forward to continuing to expand its reach to children and young people affected by conflict and disaster. In 2020, ECW delivered education services across 34 countries, and to date has reached 4.6 million crisis-affected children and young people (48% girls). The proximity to partners in the new shared workspace will offer valuable opportunities for ECW to further increase efficiency by staying connected to other actors and stakeholders in the education in emergencies sector.
About the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies
Humanitarian crises, conflict and displacement deny millions of children and youth their right to education. That is why, at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Switzerland, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the University of Geneva pledged to promote Geneva as the global hub for education in emergencies, leveraging the Geneva international community by convening actors and creating synergies for joint action so that all crisis-affected and displaced children and youth have their right to education fulfilled, respected and protected.
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
ECW is a global multilateral fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. It was launched during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 by international humanitarian and development actors, along with public and private donors, to address the education needs of children and youth marginalised by crisis, conflict, and disaster. Translating the World Humanitarian Summit’s Agenda for Humanity into action, ECW’s efforts are geared towards improving access to inclusive and equitable quality education for crisis-affected girls and boys, with a particular focus on those left furthest behind. This entails, inter alia, facilitating joint planning and programming, strengthening humanitarian-development coherence, and leveraging additional financing for education in emergencies and protracted crises. ECW’s efforts are specifically aimed at upholding the commitments of the Grand Bargain: they facilitate swift and sustainable action, enabling actors on the ground to respond with humanitarian speed and development depth to the education needs of crisis-affected children and youth.
Maarten Barends LL.M.
Chief, Humanitarian Liaison and External Relations / Head of the ECW Geneva Office
Coordinator of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies
Communications Specialist for the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies