18 April 2020, New York – The LEGO Foundation today announced US$15 million in funding for Education Cannot Wait’s education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LEGO Foundation is the largest private sector donor to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), with a total of US$27.5 million in contributions to date. The announcement was made during ‘One World: Together At Home’, a historic, cross-platform global special organized by Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organization to honor frontline responders and garner support for the global fight against the pandemic.
John Goodwin, CEO, the LEGO Foundation announced the contribution via a video message aired during the broadcast special. The LEGO Foundation joined a host of other private sector organizations making historic commitments to COVID-19 relief efforts during the special, alongside performances by the world’s top artists and comedians curated by Lady Gaga which includes: The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Elton John, Shawn Mendes, Usher, Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox, The Killers, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and more.
“Research shows that while learning through play is vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures, which is needed now more than ever given the crisis we’re currently up against,” said John Goodwin, CEO, The LEGO Foundation. “We must support all children, including the most vulnerable children in refugee settings, to ensure they continue to have access to education and develop skills critical for them to thrive in a constantly changing world. We are honoured to collaborate and support Education Cannot Wait and our other partners who are working extremely hard in unforgiving circumstances to bring education, hope and a future to children everywhere.”
This contribution builds on recent emergency funding announced for ECW, the global fund for education in emergencies, earlier this week by the United Kingdom. In just six days, thanks to these two contributions, ECW mobilized over US$21 million toward its US$50 million appeal to replenish its emergency funds reserve to deploy life-saving and life-sustaining education services for crisis-affected girls and boys impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters - who now also face COVID-19.
“I am deeply grateful to the LEGO Foundation for its growing and steadfast support to Education Cannot Wait, and our shared mission for children and youth in crises. ECW appreciates this generous contribution to help children and youth left furthest behind in armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters, who are now doubly affected by COVID-19. There is no end in sight to how much these young souls have to suffer and they must be our absolute priority,” said Yasmine Sherif, Education Cannot Wait Director.
“The LEGO Foundation is the first private sector partner contributing to Education Cannot Wait’s emergency response to COVID-19, bringing hope to the world’s most vulnerable children through creative solutions to learning and play in the midst of the pandemic. LEGO is a shining example for all to follow and we encourage more private sector and government donor partners to come forward,” continued Sherif. “I also want to express my gratitude to our partners at Global Citizen and their supporters for providing this impactful platform ‘One World: Together at Home’ to share the critical work we are doing and encourage donors to support relief efforts.”
This funding is part of the LEGO Foundation’s US$50 million grant to support vulnerable children and youth impacted by COVID-19. It builds on ECW’s COVID-19 response by supporting play-based approaches, pre-primary education and synergies with existing ECW investments spanning some 30 crisis-affected countries to support refugee, displaced and host communities and other crisis-affected children and youth, including girls and children with disabilities who are often among the most marginalized.
ECW’s education in emergencies response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly being deployed across 26 crisis-affected countries and contexts, through 55 grantees from UN agencies and NGOs. These activities will run from 6 to 12 months and include emergency education interventions ensuring continuous learning opportunities and supporting the health and wellbeing of children, messaging on protective measures and support around risks, and increasing access to water and sanitation facilities for children and their communities.
With support from an exceptional group of artists, the One World: Together at Home global broadcast & digital special is supporting frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations and the WHO asked Global Citizen to support their COVID-19 response by bringing the world together through music and inspiring everyone to take action.
- THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW! EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID-19
- CIVIL SOCIETY URGES INCREASED COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT TO FUND AND SCALE UP COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS
- COVID-19 AND EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES
Notes to Editors:
Information on the Education Cannot Wait Global Fund and its investment modalities are available at: www.educationcannotwait.org
About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.
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Additional information available at www.educationcannotwait.org
For press inquiries:
The LEGO Foundation
Rajdeep Roy Chowdhury, rajdeep.roy.chowdhury@LEGO.com, +45-5215-9745
Education Cannot Wait
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