The expanding support among world leaders for providing quality education to children in the world’s poorest countries received a major boost today as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) agreed to a multi-pronged collaboration that will broaden and deepen GPE’s engagement with new partners.

Dr. Mohamed Nouri Jouini, IsDB’s Vice President of Partnership Development, Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair and Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer, today signed a letter of intent outlining the new collaboration, which aims to bolster developing countries’ access to critical financing to strengthen education systems, reduce the number of out-of-school children and enable more children to learn and thrive. 

“This exciting new alliance comes at an urgent moment when hundreds of millions of children around the world are not in school and many more are in school, but not learning,” said Julia Gillard, GPE’s Board Chair and former Prime Minister of Australia.It is a strategic step forward in the campaign to end the global education crisis. The Islamic Development Bank will provide vital political, technical and financial leadership in the education sector and is a privileged partner for GPE. Together we can achieve impressive progress.”

 “The IsDB believes in the power of working in partnerships to drive forward progress to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The signing of this letter of intent is a significant milestone in our common desire to strengthen education systems in member countries and ensure inclusive quality basic education that impacts on student learning outcomes rather than mere school attendance,” said Dr. Mohamed Nouri Jouini, IsDB’s Vice President of Partnership Development.

As part of the collaboration, IsDB will help leverage new funding through the GPE Multiplier, an innovative funding mechanism that provides low- and lower middle-income countries one dollar from GPE for every three dollars they raise from other sources. IsDB will also work with GPE to strengthen coordination and policy dialogue among education groups in developing countries and become an alternate member of the GPE Board of Directors.

The two organizations also agreed to jointly promote greater political commitment for education through global, regional and country-level advocacy and communications efforts, and raise the political profile of education.

“Developing countries understand that education is a pre-requisite to nation building, a game-changer for their economic prosperity, social progress and political stability,” said Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer. “This new partnership between GPE and IsDB will help mobilize more resources, particularly through the GPE Multiplier, so we can extend learning to all children, especially those from vulnerable and marginalized communities.”

In addition to today’s letter of intent, GPE and IsDB each endorsed an agreement last week with several other partners to form a Global Education Coalition, whose goal is to enroll and retain 28 million out-of-school children in member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by 2030. The coalition’s goal is to meet the Sustainable Development Goal for universal and equitable education by 2030.