Rotary’s relationship with the Global Partnership for Education is already having an impact, as incoming district governors learned at the International Assembly in January. “Together we are changing the lives of girls and other vulnerable children in the poorest corners of the world,” said Alice P. Albright, the organization’s chief executive officer, in her remarks about the relationship, formed in April 2020. “Rotary has a unique voice and standing on the global stage and in virtually every country. You can use that voice to advocate for more resources and then work with government leaders to ensure that they are distributed equitably.”
GPE is a multi-stakeholder partnership and global fund that facilitates improved outcomes and gender equity in education and supports large-scale changes to education systems around the world. In Rwanda, for example, GPE helped increase access to early childhood education by funding training for more than 5,500 teachers, developing teaching kits and play-based instructional materials, and building 400 schools. In Kenya, the organization helped implement a plan that included making primary education free, which increased enrollment from 72 percent in 2003 to 88 percent in 2012 and closed the gender gap, achieving nearly equal numbers of boys and girls in school. And in Pakistan, GPE provided funding for a distance-learning program that uses social media platforms, as well as radio, TV, and mobile phones, to keep students learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program may even help reach the 19 million children who were not attending school before the pandemic.
Rather than implementing projects itself in a given country, GPE brings together stakeholders from the public and private sectors around a national education plan; it also channels funding from private donors and governments to help finance those plans. Each country’s plan is tailored to its specific needs and aligned with the local education plan supported by the government. In turn, partner countries are encouraged to allocate 20 percent of their domestic budget to education. Ultimately, GPE’s goal is for local governments to take responsibility for fully funding a plan that delivers 12 years of schooling, plus a year of preschool, to every girl and boy.