Investment for education in emergencies – a review of evidence (ODI)

March 9, 2015

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has just published a new report which reviews questions important to “making the case” for investment in education in emergencies. Investment for education in emergencies – A review of evidence carries out a rigorous literature review around four key areas:

  • Is education seen as a ‘high priority’ amongst emergency affected populations?
  • To what extent is schooling disrupted by different types of emergencies? And how are different groups affected?
  • What are the economic and human costs of emergencies on education? And what are returns to investment in education in emergencies?
  • What is the nature of funding for education in emergencies?

The report finds that:

  • Communities, children especially, prioritise education over other needs in emergency contexts;
  • Longer term costs of emergencies to education include estimates that reach hundreds of millions – and even billions – of dollars;
  • Humanitarian aid to education in emergencies is very low, with limited understanding of how existing funding catalyses or complements other sources.

Case studies of Haiti and DRC illustrate that even when education is a high priority for communities after emergencies, funding for the sector can be very erratic. A series of 10 recommendations then offer suggestions on further research that could help secure and target investment for the sector more effectively.


Commissioned by Save the Children, the report was authored by Susan Nicolai and Sebastien Hine of the ODI. Susan was former global Education Cluster Coordinator for Save the Children in Geneva.

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