Denmark’s government and the Lego Foundation have jointly pledged $15 million towards a fund dedicated to protecting girls’ education from the impact of Covid-19 in lower-income countries.
The support will go to the Girls’ Education Accelerator, a fund created by the Global Partnership for Education. The partnership, which is working to transform education systems in the developing world, has itself matched the Lego Foundation’s pledge and added another $8m.
The Girls’ Education Accelerator was created in December 2020 and strives to get more girls into school in 30 countries where the education gender gap and early marriage rates are highest.
“This new funding comes at a critical time for girls’ education,” said Alice Albright, chief executive of the Global Partnership for Education.
“An estimated 20 million girls may drop out permanently because of the pandemic, with the Omicron variant likely to make this bleak situation far worse. These landmark contributions from the LEGO Foundation and Denmark will help spur transformative change so that millions of girls can get back into the classroom and get 12 years of quality education.”
The partnership is seeking at least $5 billion by 2025 to help 175 million children to learn and enable 88 million more girls and boys to get into the classroom by the middle of the decade. A July 2021 summit in London led to the partnership raising $4bn in donations from governments and stakeholders towards that target.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated education inequality in low-income countries, with Unicef warning that as many as 10 million girls are now at risk of becoming child brides as schools close and economic shocks wreak havoc.
At the height of the pandemic and with classrooms shut around the world, about 1.6 billion children were affected by school closures.