Additional Education Funding to UNHCR

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 9, 2016


The United States is pleased to announce a contribution of nearly $37 million of humanitarian assistance toward the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support programs that address critical education gaps for refugees in 16 countries.

On September 20, 2016, delegations or heads of state from Jordan, Mexico, Germany, Ethiopia, Sweden, Canada, as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon will join President Obama in hosting the President’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees. This Summit will bring together government leaders who are prepared to make new and significant pledges that address the most urgent needs of refugees. As part of the Summit, the United States and co-hosts aim to increase refugee self-reliance by encouraging major refugee-hosting member states to focus on new policies that will facilitate refugee access to education and increase the number of refugee children enrolled in school by one million. In order to reach that goal, additional resources are needed to close significant funding gaps of leading humanitarian organizations.

This funding will both further the United States’ financial contributions to refugee education and support the implementation of the commitments made for the Summit by refugee-hosting countries through the provision of additional resources to UNHCR to increase the number of children accessing quality education. UNHCR is the largest provider of education for refugees globally, but remains underfunded. The UNHCR fundraising document “Education for Refugees: Priority activities and requirements supporting enrollment and retention in 2016” highlights unfunded or underfunded education activities for schools and students at all levels of education. The document appeals for nearly $60 million to support refugee education in sixteen countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – which collectively host 2.1 million refugee children of school-age (5-17 years), an estimated 57 percent of whom are out of school. With full funding, UNHCR could support tens of thousands of refugee children to enroll in school during the upcoming academic year. The United States government strongly encourages other donors to close the remaining $23 million funding shortfall.

For further information, please contact the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration press office at PRMpress@state.gov.