Finland supports education in crisis areas and fragile operating environments

Under-Secretary of State Pasi Hellman from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will attend the pledging conference of the Education Cannot Wait fund in Geneva 16 to 17 February. The fund supports education in humanitarian and prolonged crises. Finland will grant two million euros to the Education Cannot Wait fund this year. In 2020–2022, Finland supported the fund by a total of EUR 6 million.

‘’Finland aims to promote high-quality and inclusive education that is open and equitable to all.  The focus is on the most vulnerable girls, people with disabilities and children and young people living in crisis areas. We will promote this objective through multilateral partnerships, such as the Education Cannot Wait fund, and as part of country programmes in our partner countries. Finnish civil society organisations are doing valuable work to achieve this goal’’, says Permanent Under-Secretary Pasi Hellman.

Founded on the initiative of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the fund supports education in sudden crises and prolonged crises in more than 30 countries, such as Ukraine, Afghanistan, the Sahel region, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria.

Climate change, natural disasters, wars, protracted conflicts, and the resulting refugee crisis affect the wellbeing of children and young people in many ways. In crises, it may not be possible to go to school at all, or school attendance may be disrupted. According to a new global assessment(Link to another website.), 222 million children living in crisis areas need support to continue their schooling and learning.

The programmes supported by the Fund ensure a safe learning environment, psychosocial support, school meals and learning materials. The support will be targeted especially to secure the school attendance of girls and children with disabilities. The programmes also support the crisis preparedness of schools and the integration of refugee children into the school systems of the receiving countries. The programmes of the Education Cannot Wait fund require cooperation and coordination between different actors so that funding from different channels can be used effectively to strengthen school systems. Support is needed directly at the country level, too.

‘’Last December I was in Ethiopia where I visited, among other things, the school meal programme supported by Finland in the Amhara Regional State. The possibility to have meals at school encourages children to return to school and strengthens food security in regions affected by drought and conflict’’, Hellman says.

In 2022–2024, Finland will support the multi-annual education resilience programme in the Amhara regional state in Ethiopia in cooperation with UNICEF, the World Food Programme WFP and the Education Cannot Wait fund by a total of EUR 5.3 million. Of this, EUR 1.3 million is additional funding granted for 2023. The support will be used to renovate schools damaged in the war, acquire learning materials and organise school meals. In addition, Finland supports safe provision of education by EUR 2 million in the Tigray regional state through UNICEF.  


  • Paula Malan, Senior Education Adviser, tel. +358 295 350 424 
  • The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format